The Latest

Customer Satisfaction: What to Ask, How to Ask, and Who to Ask[magazine]

Improving customer satisfaction should be a primary goal of process improvement programs. So how satisfied are our customers? One of the best ways to find out is to ask them. Here are techniques for creating a useful survey and interpreting the results.

Linda Westfall's picture Linda Westfall
Your Piece of the Pie[magazine]

More than 1,800 industry professionals responded to the third annual STQE/StickyMinds salary poll. The results suggest that, although it has been an unsettling year, the picture doesn't look all that bad for software QA professionals.

Alyn Wambeke's picture Alyn Wambeke
Perspectives from a Test Manager: Four Keys to Keeping Your Testing on Track[magazine]

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.

Chris DeNardis's picture Chris DeNardis
Step-By-Step Test Design[magazine]

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.

Kathy Iberle's picture Kathy Iberle
Session-Based Test Management: A Strategy for Structuring Exploratory Testing[magazine]

Unlike traditional scripted testing, exploratory testing is an ad hoc process. Everything we do is optimized to find bugs fast, so we continually adjust our plans to refocus on the most promising risk areas; we follow hunches; we minimize the time spent on documentation. That leaves us with some problems. For one thing, keeping track of each tester’s progress can be like herding snakes into a burlap bag. Every day I need to know what we tested, what we found, and what our priorities are for further testing.

James Bach's picture James Bach
The Ritual of Retrospectives[magazine]

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?

Norm Kerth's picture Norm Kerth
Risky Beginnings: How to Start Software Projects Off on the Right Foot[magazine]

Esther Derby's opening comments set up the thrust of her enlightening article: "Have you ever managed a project that went directly, hopelessly, and irretrievably to hell? Would you like to avoid some of the traps so your project doesn’t end up there?"

Esther Derby's picture Esther Derby
The Quality Barometer[magazine]

A QA manager is often faced with measuring the impossible. Here is a simple, post-ship metric to help judge the test effort's effectiveness. The Quality Barometer method uses the bug counts found during testing, calculates a percentage, and then uses that percentage as the defect target number that can be tolerated after shipment.

George Hamblen's picture George Hamblen
Risk-Based Testing: How to Conduct Heuristic Risk Analysis[magazine]

Software testing is often motivated by risk. If you accept this premise, you might well wonder how the term "risk-based testing" is not merely redundant. However, conducting a heuristic risk analysis by employing a checklist of open-ended questions, suggestions, or guidewords is a proven approach to help you find the most important risks for developing your testing plans. 

James Bach's picture James Bach
Lessons in Test Automation[magazine]

Elfriede Dustin has worked on many projects at various companies where automated testing tools were introduced to a test program lifecycle for the first time. In reviewing these projects, she has accumulated a list of "Automated Testing Lessons Learned," taken from actual experiences and test engineer feedback. In this article, she will share examples of this feedback, hoping that this information will help you avoid some typical false starts and roadblocks.

Elfriede Dustin's picture Elfriede Dustin
Testing Web-based Applications[magazine]

To be most effective in analyzing and reproducing errors in a Web environment, you need to have a command over the operating environment. You also need to understand how environment-specific variables may affect your ability to replicate errors. With the application of some of the skills covered in this article, your Web testing experience should be less frustrating and more enjoyable.

Hung Nguyen's picture Hung Nguyen
Designing Useful Metrics: Using Observation, Modeling, and Measurement to Make Decisions[magazine]

First-order measurement can help you understand what's going on, make decisions, and improve results. Observation, modeling, and simple data gathering are things that you can implement in your work group without a big measurement program or big funding. Start by modeling your system and working out on paper how different measures will affect your system. Then involve your team, expand your model, and try some simple data gathering. This approach to measurement is one more tool in your toolkit, and it will move your organization toward better quality.

Esther Derby's picture Esther Derby
The Influential Test Manager[magazine]

Test managers often feel that while somebody might be in control of schedules or resources, they certainly are not. An experienced test manager shares ways to develop and use professional influence to help the test group.

Johanna Rothman's picture Johanna Rothman
Retiring Lifecycle Dinosaurs: Adaptive Software Development[magazine]

Adaptive Software Development (ASD) is one of a growing number of alternatives to traditional, process-centric software management methods. Extreme Programming (XP), Lean Development, SCRUM, and Crystal Light methods—although different in many respects—are tied together by a focus on people, results, minimal methods, and maximum collaboration. They are geared to the high speed and high change of today's e-business projects.

Jim Highsmith's picture Jim Highsmith
Cem Kaner on Rethinking Software Metrics[magazine]

The theory underlying a measurement must take into account at least nine factors. This article defines these nine factors (e.g., the scope of the measurement, the scale of the instrument, and the variation of measurements made with the instrument) and applies them to a few examples.

Cem Kaner's picture Cem Kaner

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