Rapid Software Testing Foundation

Rapid Software Testing Foundation (RSTF) is a three-day class that introduces and explores Rapid Software Testing methodology. (This is the class we’ve been teaching, in some form, since 2001, when it was known simply as Rapid Software Testing.)

It is only taught in a classroom (as opposed to online) because of the highly interactive nature of the exercise and discussion. While each our classes is designed to work stand-alone, taking this class first is probably the best way to start.


How do I attend RSTF?
What RSTF Is Trying To Achieve
Apart from introducing the RST methodology, this class focuses on how to test a product when you have to test it right now, under conditions of uncertainty, in a way that stands up to scrutiny. It’s about how to find bad bugs before it’s too late.

A secondary goal is to help you think and talk like a testing expert, so that you can proceed with confidence and gain the credibility you need to be allowed to do your job without interference.

Who Should Take This Training
Rapid Software Testing Foundation is for you if you take testing seriously and want to have pride in your work:
  • If you are new to testing, we will show you the true basics of testing and provide exercises that help you discover your testing talents.
  • If you are an experienced tester, we will help you put words to the tacit skills you have gained over time and provide exercises that help you refine them. You will appreciate that RST is a practitioner-centered methodology– you are in control of it.
  • If you are a technical tester, you will learn how your technical knowledge and ability to write code can supercharge the testing process.
  • If you are a developer who does some testing, your deep knowledge of product internals is both a crucial resource and a potential liability. You’ll learn how to improve the intrinsic testability of the product and how to manage your biases.
  • If you manage people who test, you have the power to steer them and create an environment to help them do their most effective work. You will learn what good testing looks like, how to judge the progress of testing, and how to set high, yet reasonable expectations for the testing process.
  • If you are a domain expert who does some testing, we will help you apply your deep knowledge of how the product is used and who uses it. You’ll learn how to find better bugs during acceptance testing—and help others do it too.
  • If you work with people who test, you will gain an appreciation for the challenges of testing, discover how you can support the testing process, and learn what good testing can do for you.
What Topics Are Definitely Covered
These topics are definitely addressed by the exercises, discussions, and slides that comprise the class. Other topics may also be addressed, depending on what questions come up during class discussions. The instructors do their best to make the class relevant to specific needs the students may have:
  • What is testing and how it must fit the project context
  • How mental models and critical thinking form the basis of all testing
  • How to deal with overwhelming complexity or confusion
  • How to recognize problems despite ambiguous or missing specifications
  • How to survey a product to prepare for deep testing
  • How to create tests: heuristics, risks, procedures, coverage, oracles
  • How tools help magnify and manage testing
  • How to know when you’ve tested enough
  • How to analyze test results and report evidence in a compelling way
  • The Heuristic Test Strategy Model and many other specific heuristics for testing
What Topics Are Available
In addition to the central topics of RSTF, we also have a great deal of material on these topics, which may be covered on request:
  • Testability advocacy
  • Bug reporting and advocacy
  • Concise test documentation
  • Session-based test management
  • Ways to evaluate testing
  • How to talk to management about testing
  • Test coaching and facilitation
  • Testing in a regulatory environment
  • Testing in production
  • Test data generation and combinatorial testing
How RSTF Compares To Our Other Classes
  • Rapid Software Testing Applied (RSTA) focuses less on the explaining and demonstrating the concepts and skills of RST, and more on experiencing the core elements of it. RSTA includes long exercises where you will test part of a real product, followed by debriefings. The class is taught in an online format (nine webinars over three days) or in a classroom 2-day or 3-day format. RSTF is not a prerequisite for RSTA. In fact, the two classes can be taken in either order.
  • Rapid Software Testing Management (RSTM) is a free-form class for managers, coaches, and leaders who seek to apply Rapid Software Testing methodology or are otherwise working to improve testing in their organizations. RSTF is ideally a prerequisite for RSTM, but this is not a hard and fast requirement.
  • Session-Based Test Management (SBTM) is like RSTA but focuses on how to manage testing using test sessions and associated session reports. This is a method of organizing testing, developed by James and Jonathan Bach, which suits organizations that demand metrics or otherwise wish for high accountability in the test process.
What Students Should Bring
Bring a computer. You will be doing testing.


Reports from Students

Jari Laakso (Tester, Manager)
“James is the toughest teacher I have ever seen and the better you do, the more he will push you. This is because he wants you to learn… He has incredible skills to read people and activate their minds. Getting an answer from him is sometimes difficult, but if you are persistent enough, he will make you answer your own question! Like I noted earlier, this training gives you much more than you will ever imagine. You will understand event reporting on a whole new level after the course.”

Bill Matthews (Testing Consultant)
“I’ve attended a number of training courses and learning events over the years but, to date, the Rapid Software Testing course is the only one that utilises Socratic teaching methods and for many attending this course this was the first time they had encountered this teaching method…”

Noel Wurst (Sr. Manager Influencer Relations/Corp. Communications at Tricentis)
“Our initial responses to the confusing and uncomfortable exercises given on Day 1 were to often stare unproductively at our screens, hoping something would come to us. But, on Day 2 and 3, when these exercises had grown even more confusing and complex, this silent uneasiness had vanished. We eagerly embraced that confusion by asking great questions to learn more about the application and its users. We sought out the ideas of others in the room, and we formed groups made up of numerous skillsets and backgrounds.”

Kevin McKay (Senior Software Tester)
“If you participate in this course, don’t expect to sit back and have knowledge poured into you as this is truly an interactive learning experience. You will be challenged by puzzles, questioned on what you think you know and on what you know you know and be surprised at the answer(s). You may even see a little magic happen!”