Preparation for the Rapid Software Testing Course

16 Mar

In June this year I will be attending the Rapid Software Testing (RST) Course with James Bach, through Testing Times in Australia.

To say I’m excited is an understatement. I have high expectations of this course, based on many excellent reviews that I’ve read in blog posts from testers whom I respect.

What do I intend to achieve from taking the RST course?

  • Improve my testing skills, and add new skills to my testing toolbox
  • Explain my approach to software testing in a professional way
  • Discuss and debate various testing approaches with confidence
  • Approach unexpected challenges with confidence
  • Regularly re-prioritise my testing efforts towards areas of highest risk
  • Learn to grasp the key elements of new concepts quickly
  • Improve my critical thinking skills and questioning skills, particularly when faced with illogical statements that appear reasonable at first glance
  • Write a blog post discussing aspects of the question in my blog URL: Is it good enough yet?

This is quite a list of things to expect from a 3 day course on testing!
From everything I’ve read about this course from past attendees it is also completely achievable, which makes this course unlike any other.

Why didn’t I ask my company to send me? 

This question came up on Twitter. Adding course cost, international flights and 4 days off work including travel time, RST costs a lot of money. Yet I’ve chosen to send myself to the course. Why?

  • Fear of being told no if I had asked my company to send me (i.e. I fear I might find out that I work for a company which doesn’t recognise the innate value of this course)
  • Lack of confidence in my negotiating skills (James Bach is not usually mentioned in a positive way at my company, so I suspect that I’d have some convincing to do…)
  • To prove to myself that I take my career seriously
  • Knowledge that this is a worthwhile investment, and excellent value for money

How am I preparing for the course?

Wow. This started as a short list, and the more I researched, the longer it grew. If I do even half of the things on this list I’ll be a much better tester, without even taking the course! I need to remind myself that they don’t ALL need to be done in the next three months, and practise prioritising.

  • Read some blog posts and resources on
  • Read blog posts about RST experiences (- tick)
  • Lessons Learned in Software Testing – flick through it again
  • Read RST slides and appendices
  • Keep playing the dice game
  • Basically try to prepare myself so that James can’t catch me out. Then acknowledge and accept that I will be caught out, that I will feel uncomfortable, and that I’ll learn something from it
  • Read ‘Thinking fast and slow’ (- in progress)
  • Read ‘Explore It!’ and practice as I read (- in progress)
  • Learn about experiment design
  • Watch 7 Samurai movie (?? This came from David Greenlees)
  • Read “Things that make us smarter”
  • General Systems Thinking – read it again
  • Bill Anders (Also from David’s blog post. “Failure is not an option”? I need to do more research here)
  • Learn some basic Ruby. Everyday Scripting with Ruby: For Teams, Testers, and You, by Brian Marick
  • What are Decision tables?
  • Practise drawing State Models
  • Brush off my dusty Unix shell scripting knowledge (I hope it’s still in there somewhere)

What do I need to remember most during the course?

  • Don’t be afraid to fall into a trap and learn your way out of it
  • Ask for help when you need help
  • Ask questions when you need more information
  • Verify or state your assumptions
  • Don’t get defensive
  • Don’t take anything personally

This post was written by me, for me. If you’ve also received any value out of it – awesome! Let me know in the Comments section.


Posted by on March 16, 2014 in Uncategorized


Tags: , , ,

10 responses to “Preparation for the Rapid Software Testing Course

  1. Vaagai Virtual Admin Services

    March 17, 2014 at 10:44 AM

    Great prepartion. All the best. Hope you get a lot out of it.

    Can I know what tool are you using for state diagram and resources?


    • Kim Engel

      March 17, 2014 at 11:07 AM

      At this stage I’ll be using pen and paper, and maybe Excel. I haven’t looked into any other tools yet, but I’ll be either updating this post or adding new posts as I learn things which spark my interest.


      • Vaagai Virtual Admin Services

        March 21, 2014 at 6:53 AM

        Kim, Thanks for your response. I was wondering are you free Skype test coaching? I heard some from testing industry are doing.


    • Kim Engel

      March 23, 2014 at 8:35 AM

      I’ve had some Skype coaching training that would be great to put into practice, I’m happy to help where I can. Ping me on twitter with your time zone and suggest a few dates in late May.


  2. Chris

    March 17, 2014 at 2:35 PM

    Hi, I’ll also be a self funded attendee. The way I looked at it was this; that I was going to attend the course, it would be great if work would pay, but it was more important I attend than it be free. Maybe I should try and blog something similar to at least organise my thoughts as to what I want to achieve, and what (if anything) I want to do before hand. Most importantly, I have to remember that the more open I am to fail, the more likely I am to learn….easy to remember, difficult to do.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kim Engel

      March 23, 2014 at 8:33 AM

      I think it was a useful exercise for me, and I’ll be referring back to this post before, during and after the course. Let me know iif you do write up a post, I’d like to read yours too.

      See you at RST!


  3. Anna Baik

    March 17, 2014 at 9:43 PM

    Congrats on taking the decision to self-fund – it’s kinda freeing isn’t it? I put myself through RST in May 2010, and can honestly say it was worth every penny for me. I came back with a whole lot more confidence in my testing, and that let me jump into a totally different environment and set testing up from scratch with enough confidence to explain myself to senior management.

    That practice at being put on the spot and needing to be able to explain your approach coherently is absolutely invaluable. Not least because having the confidence to do that more often helps me realise I’ve missed something/got something wrong!


  4. doliceliu

    June 17, 2014 at 9:20 AM

    You are always looking for progress and willing to share your skills and knowledge to us, taking your career seriously make me respect you.


  5. doliceliu

    June 17, 2014 at 9:24 AM

    You are always looking for new progress and willing to share your skills and knowledge to us, taking your career so seriously that makes me respect you.



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