Why attend two times the same course? Well I did it for a simple reason – because I could. I have been to Rapid Software Testing from Michael Bolton in the summer of 2011 and I liked it. A couple of months later at codecentric we talked about what we want to do in the near future. I wrote down, I was thinking get James Bach to the Netherlands because he has an interesting view on testing. I read a couple of the books he wrote, watched presentation from him on video. I thought he has a lot to tell.
Begin of this year everything came together when a new colleague joined codecentric (Krystian Kaczor). He was organizing a RST training with James Bach in Poland. Which could be moved to the Netherlands. The result was RST training in April 2012 in the Netherlands. The question was: Should I attend the course because I all ready followed the course by Michael Bolton? But I thought it was a good idea to listen twice to a great training. Was it worth it? Did I hear two times the same thing? What are the differences? Is James better then Michael? Here are my observations.
The main difference in my opinion is that James is way more focusing on the soft (ethic) side of the tester than Michael. James is more a testers coach, every time he is focused to get you your answer ready and well thought. Where Michael was more testers lead, focused on the techniques and practice. Michael explained, why there are certain approaches, when to use them, decorated with loads of experience stories where he uses that techniques or practice. It must be said that Michael had more great one-liners throughout the course. Michael is a very good storyteller.
Was it worth it? Oh, yes. I have learned a lot again. It is with all things, if you experience it more often you get a better picture what it means. But for me personal it was great to have James the coach in action.
Did I hear two times the same thing? Yes, for 61.234 % (Of course this percentage is not true). In the training you learn that it is not all about numbers. Like consistency to image, consistency to history, consistency to user expectation. The majority was the same but both have their best practices (no, just kidding ;) ) their favorite practice / stories / games.
What is the difference? I had the idea that the course was a bit more organized from James than from Michael. Michael was more adapting the content to his students. When it was needed Michael toke 3 steps instead of 1 step. Examples where Michael explained how the pattern exercise xls file was created and why. James just showed it. The dice game was also different where James gave 1 big assignment and Michael gave the same assignment in 3 little assignments (step by step improving). Games played by Michael where games played to give you inside where James wanted to learn you something. The heuristic test model was explained by both but with Michael we played with the heuristic test model. The wordpad exercise from James was a good insight in test missions and credibility as a tester. He teaches this in a coaching style. Where he asks you to get your test idea ready and he asks questions to let you find out how good your idea was. One other thing that James was a bit more focused on was reporting and an appropriate test rapport.
Both have loads of material for the RST training therefore I think 2 times the same training by Michael or James are not even the same. Michael gave more material to read and to test. James had a refreshed set of presentations with the example why boundary value analysis is wrong in a presentation form.
Is James better then Michael? No, he is different.
If I can choose to go again where would you go? In an Agile environment I tend to say James for his coaching style, which is more appropriate to Scrum. Most testers are the only testers in a Scrum team. Working on getting respect / credibility as a tester is a must by James. At the other side Michael is a good teacher, who lets you be prepared with convincing stories to all other team members. If you have the luxury as I had, go for both.
The best advice James gave me was when I was bringing him back to the airport. On the question how should a beginning tester start learning testing. James said: Let them learn all the stuff during practice. All the terms are way easier to learn when you are doing it in practice. Stop the work and explain, continue, stop and explain. Then they will easily understand the terms like preconditions, test design, coverage, pair wising, why do we need to track info, etc.
To all who have the intention to go: My conclusion is “The RST course makes you smile”.