RSTS - Rapid Software Testing Strategy



...developed by Michael Bolton (CA) and James Bach (US)

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This class is based on


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Description - Rapid Software Testing Stratgy (RSTS)

Some people claim that testing is verifying and validating the product against requirements. Job ads for testers often require applicants to have ”experience with creating, maintaining and executing test cases” and in many organizations and projects, test cases are a very big part of the daily life. But are test cases the same as testing? Does testing always depend on test cases? Might an obsession with test cases actually take time away from valuable testing work?


If you’re a member of a team that’s developing a product or service, you’re probably working under time pressure with conflicting information and limited resources. Managers want to know one thing above all: are there problems in the product that threaten the on-time, successful completion of the project? And they want to know right away.

You don’t have time to waste on premature or excessive or unnecessarily formalized testing. If you do need formal testing—as you might if you are working in a regulated or safety-critical environment—you’ll need to do excellent informal testing beforehand, quickly, to prepare for it.

What you will learn

This one-day, hands-on, stand-alone class is for new and experienced testers interested in learning rapid and effective approaches to designing test strategy—the set of ideas that guide your choice of tests.

In this class, through discussion and practice, we will discover:

  • Approaches to developing a test strategy by investigating project information, surveying the product, analysing risk, and preparing for deep testing
  • Ways to de-emphasize the focus on formalized test cases in favor of testing—evaluating a product by learning about it through exploration and experimentation
  • Aspects of informal testing that you practice already, but that you—and your stakeholders—may not have realised were significant
  • Tactics for chartering excellent formal testing when it’s actually necessary
  • How to describe and illustrate your strategy and coverage for managers, developers and other stakeholders.



What People Are Saying About Rapid Software Testing (RST)


Many thanks to my clients who are willing to share their experiences. For understandable reasons, some of them have asked that I use discretion in identifying them.


"I attended the Rapid Software Testing course with Michael Bolton some time ago (July 2010), in Amsterdam, NL. And attending doesn't mean 'sit back, shut up and listen'. There are challenges, puzzles and a lot—a lot—of interaction. Those three days passed by in a second; not a single dull moment. But most importantly, to this date it has had a profound impact on how I relate and look at the art and craft of testing! Oh.. and the lifetime support is fantastic."

Ray Oei - June, 2012


"The Rapid Software Testing course that I attended in June definitely surpassed my expectations. As an experienced tester I was becoming rather disillusioned of the so called "Tried and True" methods of software testing and was really looking for something that resembled, well, reality. So now, instead of spending my time writing test cases, writing reports that no one reads and chasing down Product Specs and Feature Specs I test. What an amazing concept—have the tester do testing!


It has freed up an enormous amount of time and, therefore, the testing is far more productive. Potential "show stoppers" are being found earlier on in the test schedule and test coverage has also improved greatly. More time is spent on important matters and less time trying to hit a number target (i.e. 90% testing complete, 95% pass rate, etc.)


The focus has returned to the task at hand (testing) and there is less focus on reporting (counting). That also allows for the tester to move into a more co-development role to assist with the implementation of new features and functionality. I'm happy, the Devs are happy, the customer is happy and the boss is happy—Thanks Michael!"


Blair Burke, B.Sc., Software Tester, Print Audit, Inc. - September, 2010.


"Recently I finished a three day training course on Rapid Software Testing with Michael Bolton in London UK. This course was very effective and had elements related to learning, questioning and thinking all along. It reinforced my belief that testing is not a 'phase' performed towards the end or a '100% automated suite' as claimed by many Agile shops. Software testing is much more than that and it is extremely important for the successful delivery of any project... Overall this training and all the discussions we had during the course was an amazing experience. I would highly recommend this training to anyone interested in learning rapid software testing.

Anand Ramdeo, London, UK



"You'll be happy to know that my team has been actively meeting to implement changes for improvement, especially with the dashboard concept and that many of my folks are more engaged with their assignments because of their new outlook on the value they can add."

Leslie Berth, Milwaukee, WI



"Last week I took Rapid Software Testing from Michael Bolton. The three days of stuffing my brain in the beautiful downtown campus of the University of Toronto was loads of fun...If you don't go to play each day, or you don't think you can break the rules, or you simply want to become a better tester, give Rapid Software Testing a try. I think you will find, as I did, that it is three days well spent!"

Michael Hunter (The Braidy Tester), Microsoft , "This is your Brain on RST"



"I thoroughly enjoyed your class on Rapid Software Testing. The more time I have to think about the class the more I find value in it. It has really changed my approach and ideologies around testing. The only thing left now is to get everyone in my office on the same page... Before I thought testing was just a stepping stone to move into development but now that I have more of an appreciation for testers, I think I'm going to stick with it and try to get others to realize how important testers are to software development."

James Swanson, Minneapolis, MN



"We are already starting to put into practice what you taught us—here is a mini case study. Four of the group sat down last Friday and tested another product. Dan (name changed for confidentiality --MB) guided and made suggestions. None of the 4 knew the product under test. The product test lead spent half the day being a live oracle. Results: Another 50 defects. Several were crashes (buffer overrun—thanks Perlclip!). Many UI and usability defects. By the afternoon the team was starting to find more specific defects in what the product should do, but wasn't doing. However, by this time they were getting very baked. This sort of testing is really hard work! However, the product lead was amazed by what was found, and the defects found per hour invested was—once again—orders of magnitude more effective than the testing that was currently going on with the product. We are going to cycle this much more frequently, and the same four are going to dig deeper on the same product later this week as well."

A test manager at a commercial utility software company, somewhere in Canada



"The training was a great exposure to a lot of different concepts and methods of attacking problems, and the rapid testing strategy looks to be very useful. On Thursday a support issue came into the group that fell in one of my feature areas, so I replied. I did a little work before lunch, and while out at lunch I thought that this would be a time to try some of the rapid testing methods. Took about 10 minutes, noted steps and thoughts as I was going, and arrived at a cause and possible solution much quicker than I would have in the past."

A recent student

Personal Endorsements - Michael Bolton


"I've known Michael for over 10 years, from his days at Quarterdeck forward. I've designed courseware with him, written documents with him, designed tests, worked through management issues and technical issues, done difficult ethical analyses with him--I would trust Michael with my Social Security Number and my mother's maiden name. And if I was too sick to meet a consulting or teaching obligation, I would feel confident that if Michael agreed to go in my place, he'd handle it so well that the client would be happy they hired me (and got him)."


Cem Kaner, Author of Testing Computer Software and Lessons Learned in Software Testing



"I met Michael in person for the first time at the EuroStar conference 2007. Before that I have been in contact with him through continuously emails e.g. asking him for advice or guidance in tricky test situations. At EuroStar I asked him if it would be possible to have him perform the RST course for our test team at our site, UIQ Technology in Ronneby, Sweden. Michael was visiting us in April this year (2008) and his visit was definitely a success if you ask me and our test team. Michael is one of the best lecturers I ever met. He's knowledgeable, funny, witty and very interesting. Whether you need a great test strategist, someone to teach you everything there is to know about the different sides about testing, a great test oracle or just a friend I will always recommend Michael. I also highly recommend Michael if your company is ready to take it to the next level and e.g. raise visibility of the required need for a balance between scripted tests and the exploratory testing approach."


Petter Mattsson, Ronneby, Sweden



"Michael is a born teacher. He is a very engaging and an effective speaker who knows his topic inside and out—a rare combination!"


QA Manager, Boulder, CO



"This course was highly informative and Michael was excellent in providing examples from real life."


Quality Assurance Analyst, Nashville TN



"Michael is an exceptional teacher with extreme knowledge and commitment to this topic."


Network Specialist, Toronto, ON

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