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Michael Bolton

Past Presentations

You can find an extensive list of presentations and courses that I've taught, including the slides and speaker notes for many of them, here.

Coming up—let's meet!

Check out my schedule, and drop me a line if you'd like to get together when I'm in your part of the world. If you'd like me to work with you and it doesn't look like I'm available, remember that my clients' schedules are subject to change, so mine is too. Finally, note that some conferences offer discounts—and even if they don't advertise it, maybe we can work something out.

April 7-8, 2014

Toronto, Canada

A full-day tutorial, a keynote address, and a track session at STAR Canada. The conference continues through April 9. Contact me for a special registration discount (an ultra-special discount before February 7).

April 11-17, 2014

Beijing, China

A keynote talk at an in-house testing conference, followed by a Rapid Software Testing class and a day of in-house consulting for a corporate client.

The Rapid Software Testing class originally to be held in Vienna has been postponed to September; see below.

April 28-May 2, 2014

London, UK

A return visit for four days (!) of the three-day Rapid Software Testing class at a client near Heathrow.

May 5-8, 2014

Orlando, Florida, USA

A full-day tutorial and a track session at STAR East.

May 19-13, 2014

Copenhagen, Denmark

PrettyGoodTesting is planning sessions of Rapid Software Testing for Managers and Rapid Software Testing the week of May 19. Register using the links on this page.

May 26-28, 2014

Åkersberga, Sweden

The Let's Test conference is in its third year as the leading conference for the context-driven community. This year I'll be presenting a workshop on testing games and what we can learn from them with my partner in crimePaul Holland.

June 23-26, 2014

Dublin, Ireland

A three-day Rapid Software Testing class, in-house for a corporate client.

August 11-13, 2014

New York City, USA

The Conference for the Association for Software Testing (CAST), where I'll be giving a workshop with Laurent Bossavit called "Thinking Critically About Numbers: Defence Against the Dark Arts"

September 15-24, 2014

New York City, USA

An intensive session of Rapid Software Testing with participants from Per Scholas. I'm excited about all of my classes, but this one's special.

September 29-October 3, 2014

Vienna, Austria

A three-day Rapid Software Testing class (with an extra day of consulting work) for a corporate client.

October 13-16, 2014

Anaheim, California, USA

The STAR West conference, where I'll be presenting a one day Rapid Introduction to Rapid Software Testing, and a one-day class on Critical Thinking for Testers.

October 27-November 7, 2014

Chengdu, China

A return visit to China for two more weeks of training and consulting in Rapid Software Testing with a corporate client. Watch this space for other events, too.

November 24-27, 2014

Dublin, Ireland

I'll be attending (at least) the EuroSTAR Conference.

Rapid Software Testing Coursebook Cover

Rapid Software Testing

A course, a mind-set, and a skill set about how to do excellent software testing in a way that is very fast, inexpensive, credible, and accountable.

written by James Bach
and Michael Bolton

Learn more about the Rapid Software Testing course.

Read what people say about it.

Hello and welcome to the DevelopSense Web page! I'm your host, Michael Bolton. I provide consulting, training, coaching, and other services in software testing for companies, teams, and individuals world-wide.

For the last five years, I have been providing training and consulting services in testing and quality to organizations in Canada, the United States, and around the world. In particular, I teach Rapid Software Testing and Rapid Software Testing for Managers, courses that I co-author with James Bach.

We're aligned with the Context-Driven School of Software Testing, a community of people who believe that testing should respond first and foremost to the needs of the organization and the project, rather than to "best practices" that may not be best at all in the given context. You can read more about these ideas here.

You can read about my recent work here. I'm based in Toronto. I'm a citizen of both Canada and the U.S., so I can work easily in either country and around the world.

From 2006 through 2009, I was Program Chair of TASSQ, The Toronto Association of System and Software Quality. In 2008, I was the Conference Chair for the Conference for the Association for Software Testing.

I maintain a mailing list and a sporadic newsletter. I use the newsletter to publish my articles, to notify my correspondents of upcoming courses, and to provide other useful information on testing. Please join the mailing list by clicking here.

I do a little programming, mostly in Ruby and Perl. In the past, I've worked with Visual Basic C and C++, and I've done extensive work in Excel. I've also done rather a lot of technical writing. You can see samples of this work on this site.

If you (or your company, or your manager, or your employee) need counselling or instruction on software testing, I can help; contact me for details.

If you find errors in these pages, I'd be grateful if you could tell me about them.

What People Are Saying About Rapid Software Testing

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." More...
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

"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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