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Reflections on a Fable about Developer-Tester Relationships[article]

Lee Copeland's fictional story about getting children to clean their rooms struck a chord with many of our readers, who compared it to getting developers to test their code. Here are Lee's responses to your feedback, along with a few insights about the dynamics behind developers examining their work.

Lee Copeland's picture Lee Copeland
Is Quality Negotiable?[article]

XP teams have the right to do their best work. On the other hand, customers have the right to specify and pay for only the quality they need. How does one reconcile two potentially conflicting points of view? Is quality negotiable? If so, how do we go about negotiating it? This paper will explore the following questions: Is quality negotiable? How can we negotiate quality? What are internal and external quality, and are either or both negotiable? What's the XP tester's quality assurance role? How far should testers go in helping the customer define acceptance criteria?

Lisa Crispin's picture Lisa Crispin
Did You Hear What I Said?[article]

Software projects are complex endeavors that rely on clear communication for success. If communication methods are mismatched or leave too many gaps, your project could suffer, and you could be highly frustrated. In this column, Karl Wiegers details potential problems to be mindful of, and strategies to use, when communicating about a project.

Karl E. Wiegers's picture Karl E. Wiegers
The 11th Hour[article]

Testers are often on the critical path for getting a software release out. They must plan carefully in order to minimize the critical path, while still doing a complete job of testing. This schedule pressure is taken to an extreme when a production server must be taken offline in order to deploy the software, and everyone is waiting for the final test results before the system can go live again. Karen Johnson describes her company's carefully planned and orchestrated method for doing a final check of an installed system. Her story is relevant to e-commerce companies as well as IT shops that are under pressure to keep systems updated while minimizing downtime.

Karen N. Johnson's picture Karen N. Johnson
Let's Bury the Term Software Engineering[article]

Softwareengineering is not an accurate way to describe what software designers anddevelopers do. We create software in an environment that is constantly changingto fulfill the expectations of businesspeople who aren't exactly sure what theywant. Does that sound like engineering? As I'll discuss in this article, physicalengineers deal with the universal laws of physics, but software designers and developersdeal with unrelenting change. By using the word engineering to describe our profession, we set ourselves up for staticprocesses and brittle team structures that tend to discourage change, ratherthan folding it into our everyday lives. Once we can shift our mindsets awayfrom engineering our software, people, and processes, we'll find that our teamsare more responsive, productive and change-readythan ever before.

 

Daryl  Kulak's picture Daryl Kulak
Testing Your Worth[article]

There's no doubt that the current job market is tight and a little shaky for test professionals. In a climate where entire test groups are being laid off or trimmed to the bone, Johanna Rothman notices a trend in test management priorities that you might want to consider. Follow the story of how one test manager determined tester ROI and how testers might approach increasing their value.

Johanna Rothman's picture Johanna Rothman
License to Hack[article]

Is your organization doing Extreme Programming or one of the other agile methods? Are they considering it? Before you jump on the latest methodology bandwagon, you should make sure you're not just giving your developers a license to hack. Karl Wiegers provides some insight into how agile development models can be misused and how you can ensure that your process improvement effort has the best chance to be effective.

Karl E. Wiegers's picture Karl E. Wiegers
The Problem Isn't Always THE Problem[article]

When things go awry, sometimes the first problem you see is not The Problem but just a product of its symptoms. But if problems can hide behind other problems, how can you learn to spot the true culprit at the source of your dilemma? Elisabeth Hendrickson shares some lessons she's learned about "The Problem."

Elisabeth Hendrickson's picture Elisabeth Hendrickson
Exploratory Planning[article]

StickyMinds columnist James Bach has used this space to describe and discuss Exploratory Testing, a style of testing that emphasizes product exploration and fluid test design and execution. In this week's column, test consultant Lee Copeland adds his own twist to the exploratory premise.

Lee Copeland's picture Lee Copeland
7 Keys to Building Great Work Teams[article]

Successful projects depend on how well the team works together. Elements that lead to success include commitment, contribution, good communication, and cooperation. Cooperation itself includes factors such as follow-through, timeliness, and others. Conflict management and change management are also important. This article analyzes and explains all of these elements that constitute a productive and successful team.

Suzanne Willis Zoglio's picture Suzanne Willis Zoglio
Across the Great Divide[article]

Many bemoan the strained relationship between testers and developers. But while we can't force testers and developers to see eye to eye on everything, we can reduce some of the tension by making simple changes in the way we communicate. Learn some great tips and tricks in this article.

Susan Joslyn's picture Susan Joslyn
Internet Accessibility[article]

Ever try to navigate the Web with your eyes closed? Without a mouse? Fifty million Americans are differently-abled, and nearly half of these people encounter difficulties accessing the World Wide Web. The U.S. government recently took steps to tackle the accessibility issue. Here's some coverage of the issue.

Brian Globerman's picture Brian Globerman
Conducting a Temperature Reading[article]

Negative mindsets and instances are so easy to fall into, and it can be difficult to see the positive in things. By using the "temperature reading" technique, a completely attitude and outlook turnaround time can be achieved in very little time. Learn this easy method for improving your mindset.

Naomi Karten's picture Naomi Karten
What Could Possibly Go Wrong?[article]

A software project is a complex thing. It involves many players, many tasks, and lots of things that could go wrong (and often do). If not for dogged optimism, some projects might not be tackled at all. But optimism doesn't mean turning a blind eye to potential pitfalls. In this column, Esther Derby applies a lesson about asking, "What if..."

Esther Derby's picture Esther Derby
Getting to the Bottom of Project Troubles[article]

It's amazing how many projects, already in a hole, keep sinking deeper. When team members and staff don't have the insight or objectivity to turn things around, an independent consultant can help—or not. In this column, a leading industry consultant gives you "the straight dope" on what to watch out for.

Eileen Strider's picture Eileen Strider

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