Better Software Magazine Archive:

Nov/Dec 2002

IN THIS ISSUE

Making Virtual Teams a Reality
By Linda McInnis

What all virtual teams have in common is that they are working on a project, but may not be located in close physical proximity, and they must find ways to communicate, track progress, and manage tasks without being able to physically meet regularly. The prerequisites for success with virtual teams are 1) clear, manageable objectives; 2) management's commitment to necessary resources; and 3) mature management and technical personnel. Learn how to lead a workgroup you cannot see.

Mastering the Discipline of Testing
By James Whittaker

Becoming a master software tester requires training. We are not artists whose brains are wired at birth to excel in quality assurance. Uncomfortable with labeling software testing as either an "art" or a "craft," Dr. James Whittaker makes his case for testing as a discipline to be mastered.

A Look at the Performance Testing Aspect of TeamTest from Rational
By Jonathan Harris

Jonathan Harris looks at performance testing with Rational TeamTest, including its capturing ability, data correlation ability, scripting language, recording response time, and scalability.

Advance Your Career--Get Involved
By Eric Patel

Professional development activities can help you stay competitive in the marketplace. Eric Patel describes ways you can benefit from extracurricular career activities such as volunteering, joining professional associations, attending and speaking at conferences, and pursuing continuing education.

It's in the Bag
By Kristi Wheeler

Kristi Wheeler wanted to create a forum in which all of the testers in her company could come together to talk about their skills, learn more about testing, and bring individual experiences into a group setting. Here, she describes how she started up brown bag groups for testers and developers in her organization–and how you can start them in your own company.

An Atypical Confused Deputy Bug
By Kragen Sitaker

FreeBSD is a popular free version of Unix, much like Linux. In April, the FreeBSD project released a security advisory, which warned that any logged-in user could gain full control of, or "root access" to, almost any machine running any previous version of FreeBSD. The problem was due to a bug in a program called keyinit. It’s an atypical example of a confused deputy bug. However, it is often useful for programs to be allowed to do things their invokers can’t. In this month's bug report, Kragen Sitaker tells the story of this atypical "confused deputy" bug.

Eileen and Wayne Strider on Building and Managing Technical Teams
By Eileen Strider
Wayne Strider

Eileen and Wayne Strider recommend some useful resources for building and managing technical teams. Technical team leaders have two different yet related responsibilities. One responsibility is to build a product such as a system, an application, a network, or a Web site. The second responsibility is to build and maintain their team's ability to work together so they can build a product. Building a product requires the right mix of technical skills and experience. Building a team's ability to work together requires a different skill set. Reading about those skills is valuable, but practice is essential.

The Shopping Cart Delusion
By Brian Marick

Believing that a technique is a well-defined thing can hamper you if you're not careful. It encourages you to react to problems in just one way: try ever harder to do the technique right. It turns off the "situated" part of situated reasoning. Brian Marick shows how the "shopping cart delusion," or strictly adhering to definitions, keeps you from breaking the rules to your benefit.

Wall-to-Wall Tools
By Amanda Sulock

Got blank walls? Instead of hiring a decorator, perhaps you should enlist the help of a facilitator. This article examines how three experts use the wall in very different ways to make retrospectives, design, and collaboration better and easier.

Testing Merged Databases
By Lawrence Nuanez

Joining forces with another company can be a logistical nightmare. This article presents a case study of a fictional merger between two large companies. It addresses four different problems that have to be overcome in a database merger: 1) duplicate records; 2) mismatched columns; 3) data corruption; and 4) front-end assumptions.

Test Estimation: Tools and techniques for realistic predictions of your test effort
By Rex Black

Sometimes the toughest thing about testing is deciding how long it will take and what resources it will require. Read about techniques, including "Divide and Conquer," to make this part of the job easier.

QA Consciousness Raising
By Lisa Crispin

Change is hard, but leading your managers and co-workers toward higher quality needn't be dull and dreary. In this article, author Lisa Crispin explains several techniques you can use to take your organization to the next level, including gauging your visibility and recruiting a quality champion.

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