Better Software Magazine Archive:

Sep/Oct 2000

IN THIS ISSUE

No More Whining
By Johanna Rothman

Johanna Rothman urges test managers to stop whining and deal with the "Not-Enough" problem. She concludes: "You have more capability to influence attitudes, behaviors, and actions in your organization than you know. If you feel like a second-class citizen, reframe the situation. Rethink your job and how you do it, and realize the importance of the contribution–finite, but powerful–you can make toward your organization's product quality."

Flying Solo: Is Consulting for You?
By Alyn Wambeke

Alyn Wambeke interviews several software consultants for their take on the ups and downs of working on their own. He also gives pointers on getting started, and on how to determine if you're up to the challenge.

Visual Modeling with Rational Rose
By Darren Pulsipher

Darren Pulsipher looks at Visual Modeling with Rational Rose. He concludes: "Rose is far from the perfect Visual Modeling tool, but it is definitely one of the best OO tools on the market, and the most popular. Rational Software has done a great job in supporting its tools with user conferences, training, professional services, and seminars."

Are Your Requirements Complete?
By Patricia L. Ferdinandi

Every system contains at least one (and probably more) set of requirements that fits into one of these categories: the functional who, what, where, when, why, how, and the nonfunctional design and project constraints. No one method or technique captures all requirements, but this approach can assist quality engineers in identifying missing requirements. Our objective is to spot the gaps in the requirements sets—just as a Tetris player spots gaps in those moving blocks—as soon as possible.

When Applications Collide
By Bill Mullins

Having multiple applications installed and running on a personal computer system presents interesting challenges for testing, even if all the applications are from a single vendor. Bill Mullins imparts some lessons he learned while testing multiple applications.

Adaptive Software Development
By Johanna Rothman

Johanna Rothman recommends the book Adaptive Software Development by James Highsmith. She says, "Highsmith shows the reader how to recognize when development practices need to change and how to acquire the skills to adapt. For a fresh approach to software development, be sure to check it out."

I Think, Therefore I Prototype
By Brian Lawrence

Prototypes can help you deliver the right software. Here, Technical Editor Brian Lawrence gives examples of prototypes and some guidelines for prototyping.

Intelligent Test Automation
By Harry Robinson

"Warning: The fairy tale you are about to read is a fib--but it’s short, and the moral is true. Once upon a product cycle, there were four testers who set out on a quest to test software." Read this article for the whole Intelligent Test Automation story.

Organize Your Problem Tracking System
By Barry Mirrer

Do you have a bug database or defect tracking system? Whether you call them PRs, CRs, SPRs, or some other acronym, logging your software problems into a database rates as one of the simplest yet most effective things you can do to improve product quality. Sometimes these databases turn into the electronic equivalent of a “roach motel” trap--the bugs go in but they don’t come out!

Step-By-Step Test Design
By Kathy Iberle

Testers are often faced with short development cycles and partial product specifications. This simple, six-step design method helps you come up with a reasonably thorough set of tests for individual product features in a reasonable amount of time. It employs list and table and encourages you to look at the software from a variety of perspectives.

Perspectives from a Test Manager: Four Keys to Keeping Your Testing on Track
By Chris DeNardis

This article highlights four keys to getting better organized: 1. A common set of ground rules on the test progress, defect reporting, and verification; 2. The ability to convey how your team’s testing is going--on a frequent basis; 3. Knowing what needs to be tested--and being able to stand behind the reasons why; 4. Maintaining good communication with the development leaders to help move the product through the development phases--being proactive rather than reactive.

The Ritual of Retrospectives
By Norm Kerth

You've just finished your software release. You have signed off, and it's been shipped. You’re done, right? No! The moment a project ends is the perfect time to reflect on the entire project to see what there is to learn—it's the unique moment when the project can be seen in its entirety. It’s also a perfect moment because the end of your project forecasts the beginning of a new project in the not-too-distant future, which you can improve by applying what you’ve learned from this project. You can look at completing the project as having “paid your tuition.” So now what are you going to learn from it?

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