The Latest

Matching ISO 9000 Registration to Your Organization[magazine]

The chances of getting use from your ISO 9000 certification are greatly enhanced by a registration effort that reflects the real goals and operating principles of your organization. Here are some lessons on how to tailor your effort.

Mark Johnson's picture Mark Johnson
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
Escaping the Clutches of Zombie Projects[magazine]

Timely and accurate information is often your only silver bullet against interminable and doomed projects. Learn how to deliver bad news in such a way that Senior Management hears it and acts promptly.

Payson Hall's picture Payson Hall
Organize Your Problem Tracking System[magazine]

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!

Barry Mirrer's picture Barry Mirrer
Looking Under the Hood[magazine]

Understanding a program's inner workings, dataflows, and bug history can enable you to build more robust tests. Here are pointers on investigating a system's internal design as a tool for effective testing.

Len DiMaggio's picture Len DiMaggio
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
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
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

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