e-Talk Radio: Derby, Esther, 4 January 2001

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guarantee you can get on, but we'll definitely take your questions and we'd love to hear from you.

We've been talking a little bit about the last three years of the Software Testing and Quality Engineering, I said it right, magazine, and Esther said she's been struck by the number of things that really haven't changed. One thing that hit me, Esther, is that when you take a look across the overall software industry, we've got, you know, the greats, that kind of stand out, Howard Rubin, Ed Yourdon, Tom DeMarco, Tim Lister, the people who have published a lot of books, really made an impact over the last ten to twenty years in our industry. And as they're aging, I'm sure that there's probably a new wave of professionals that are up and coming that have some new ideas, particularly in the test management area. I was just going to ask you, who are the people we should be watching, what kind of things are they writing, that kind of thing? Who do you think we should be watching?

Esther Derby: That's an interesting question. I think there is a new generation of influential writers in the arena of software coming up and we've been lucky enough to have some write for "Sticky." One that comes to mind in test management is Johanna Rothman, who takes a very practical, pragmatic approach to the whole problem of managing tests and looking at test metrics.

Carol Dekkers: And I don't know if you know this, but Johanna is actually one of our guests that we've confirmed for January 25.

Esther Derby: Oh, great, I'm sure she'll have some interesting things and practical wisdom.

Carol Dekkers: Yes, I think so. I've read some of her work and it's very inspiring. Who else do you think?

Esther Derby: Well, the Bach brothers continue to do interesting work in testing, James Bach and his brother John Bach. James pioneered the notion of "good enough" testing and he is now working with his brother developing lightweight processes and ideas for exploratory testing when you don't necessarily have--you may have a standard set of scripts you're going to be running but you also want to find some things opportunistically, so that's some interesting work and they're both actively writing about that work.

Carol Dekkers: Interesting, and who else would you see as emerging?

Esther Derby: In the area of testing? Or requirements? Or just kind of generally?

Carol Dekkers: Generally.

Esther Derby: Well, Karl Wiegers is doing interesting writing about requirements. I think Eileen Strider is doing some interesting writing about management and really looking at the human aspect of organizing people to develop software.

Carol Dekkers: Which is a really important topic. I think one of the things Tom DeMarco and Tim Lister in their Peopleware book did for us is really illustrate that a lot of the problems in software are not necessarily technical issues but they're really people communication, teams, intercommunication, that type of thing, and I think that those types of areas are really important, particularly when you tie it to some of the stuff that you said Karl Wiegers is doing with requirements.

Esther Derby: Right. That has been my experience, too, that in most cases, the problem isn't technical, it's around people, and ironically people management skills and the kind of management thought processes that you need to really effectively work with people and manage software development continue to be, I wouldn't say ignored, but certainly not at the top of the list.

Carol Dekkers: I'll just ask you a

About the author

Esther Derby's picture Esther Derby

A regular StickyMinds.com and Better Software magazine contributor, Esther Derby is one of the rare breed of consultants who blends the technical issues and managerial issues with the people-side issues. She is well known for helping teams grow to new levels of productivity. Project retrospectives and project assessments are two of Esther's key practices that serve as effective tools to start a team's transformation. Recognized as one of the world's leaders in retrospective facilitation, she often receives requests asking her to work with struggling teams. Esther is one of the founders of the AYE Conference. She co-author of Agile Retrospectives: Making Good Teams Great. She has presented at STAREAST, STARWEST and the Better Software Conference & EXPO. You can read more of Esther's musings on the wonderful world of software at www.estherderby.com and on her weblog at www.estherderby.com/weblog/blogger.html. Her email is derby@estherderby.com.

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