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Michael Bolton


Tester, consultant, and trainer Michael Bolton is the co-author (with James Bach) of Rapid Software Testing, a course that presents a methodology and mindset for testing software expertly in uncertain conditions and under extreme time pressure. Michael is a leader in the context-driven software testing movement, with twenty years of experience testing, developing, managing, and writing about software. Currently, he leads DevelopSense, a Toronto-based consultancy. Prior to DevelopSense, he was with Quarterdeck Corporation, where he managed the company’s flagship products and directed project and testing teams—both in-house and worldwide. Contact Michael at [email protected].

Speaker Presentations
Monday, May 5, 2014 - 8:30am
Full-day Tutorials
A Rapid Introduction to Rapid Software Testing

You're under tight time pressure and have barely enough information to proceed with testing. How do you test quickly and inexpensively, yet still produce informative, credible, and accountable results? Rapid Software Testing, adopted by context-driven testers worldwide, offers a field-proven answer to this all-too-common dilemma. In this one-day sampler of the approach, Michael Bolton introduces you to the skills and practice of Rapid Software Testing through stories, discussions, and "minds-on" exercises that simulate important aspects of real testing problems. The rapid approach isn't just testing with speed or a sense of urgency; it's mission-focused testing that eliminates unnecessary work, assures that the most important things get done, and constantly asks how testers can help speed up the successful completion of the project. Join Michael to learn how Rapid Testing focuses on both the mind set and skill set of the individual tester, using tight loops of exploration and critical thinking skills to help continuously re-optimize testing to match clients' needs and expectations.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014 - 1:00pm
Half-day Tutorials
What's the Problem? A Workshop in Identifying, Clarifying, and Solving

Most of the time, as testers, our primary responsibility is to find problems. But, have we paused to consider what a “problem” is? In this interactive, hands-on workshop, Michael Bolton leads delegates in examining and mapping out ideas about problems. What constitutes a problem? How do we recognize one? What are the factors or dimensions of a problem? How do we describe it so our clients recognize the significance of what we’ve found?  Michael examines these questions and discusses how to decide whether something is a problem, why it is a problem, whether it's a problem that matters, and what should happen with a problem once we've recognized it. This workshop includes testing of an application, mind-mapping, discussions, and a role-playing simulation to probe the social, political, and emotional dimensions of declaring, evaluating, and resolving problems.

Thursday, May 8, 2014 - 9:45am
Test Techniques
Leaping over the Boundaries of Boundary Value Analysis

Many books, articles, classes, and conference presentations tout equivalence class partitioning and boundary value analysis as core testing techniques. Yet many discussions of these techniques are shallow and oversimplified. Testers learn to identify classes based on little more than hopes, rumors, and unwarranted assumptions, while the "analysis" consists of little more than adding or subtracting one to a given number. Do you want to limit yourself to checking the product's behavior at boundaries? Or would you rather test the product to discover that the boundaries aren't where you thought they were, and that the equivalence classes aren't as equivalent as you've been told? Join Michael Bolton as he jumps over the partitions and leaps across the boundaries to reveal a topic far richer than you might have anticipated and far more complex than the simplifications that appear in traditional testing literature and folklore.

Delegates should bring a laptop computer to this session to experience hands-on activities.