Better Software Magazine Articles

The Cream of the Crop

Reuse is one of the rare things in our industry that everyone agrees is necessary. But as an industry, we are pretty bad at it. Welcome to the world of pragmatic software reuse. On your current project, follow the steps outlined in this article to create and deliver truly useful libraries of reusable components.

Simon P. Chappell's picture Simon P. Chappell

Conference Presentations

A Test Odyssey: Building a High Performance, Distributed Team

It seemed simple enough-hire the best available technical staff that would work from home to build some great software. Along the way, the team encountered the usual problems: time zone differences, communication headaches, and a surprising regression test monster. Matt Heusser describes how Socialtext built their high-performance development and test team, got the right people on the bus, built a culture of "assume good intent and then just do it," created the infrastructure to enable remote work, and employed a lightweight yet accountable process. Of course, the story has the impossible deadlines, conflicting expectations, unclear roles, and everything you'd get in many development projects. Matt shares how the team cut through the noise, including building a test framework integrated into the product, to achieve their product and quality aims.

Matthew Heusser, Socialtext
Using Test Automation Frameworks

As you embark on implementing or improving automation within your testing process, you'll want to avoid the "Just Do It" attitude some have taken. Perhaps you've heard the term "test automation framework" and wondered what it means, what it does for testing, and if you need one. Andrew Pollner, who has developed automated testing frameworks for more than fifteen years, outlines how frameworks have grown up around test automation tools. Regardless of which automation tool you use, the concepts of a framework are similar. Andrew answers many of your questions: Why build a framework? What benefit does it provide? What does it cost to build a framework? What ROI can I expect when using a framework? Explore the different approaches to framework development and identify problems to watch out for to ensure the approach you take will provide years of productivity.

Andrew Pollner, ALP International Corp
Managing Agile Test Departments

What is the impact of agile methods on test departments and testers? How do you manage testing in an agile test department? Robert Martin, an early adopter and proponent of agile development practices, discusses his experiences and recommendations for how to organize and run an agile test department. He describes the principles, practices, tools, and metrics that are important to successful test management within agile development. Agile methods change the role of test departments from verification to specification. With agile methods, you develop tests before the code, and the tests become the detailed requirements documentation. This paradigm shift has a profound impact on both the test team and the programming team. Learn about the test management problems that often arise in making the transition to agile development and common solutions that address these issues.

Robert Martin, Object Mentor

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