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Let Me Get Back to You

Sometimes the best thing that can be said during a confrontation is nothing at all. But if you're forced to respond, just promise that you'll get back to the situation at a better time. In this week's column, Peter Clark recalls a time when a competitor completely extinguished any chances of striking a business deal by letting his temper flare...in front of an audience during a teleconference call. From that incident, Peter learned to recognize when people are dangerously reaching their breaking points. No longer intimidated by temperamental barks, Peter explains how he keeps his cool during battle.

Peter Clark's picture Peter Clark
Code Craft: Tame the Name

All code is not created equal. Learn from a master of the craft how to spot bad code and mold it into good. In the first iteration of this regular column, learn why selecting names for classes, methods, and variables is an art you'll want to perfect.

Mike Clark's picture Mike Clark
Before Implementing Scrum, Consider This...

So, you want to practice Scrum? Great idea, but don't be fooled. Great ideas are rarely easy to implement. Alicia Yanik found implementing Scrum to be anything but easy. In this week's column, Alicia contests that the process is certainly worthwhile, makes sense, yet definitely is nothing close to easy to implement.

Alicia Yanik's picture Alicia Yanik
Mistaken Interpretation

Our brains are wonderful processors capable of making sense of the huge amount of sensory input we receive every day. But sometimes, our first interpretation of sensory data can lead us astray. Esther Derby shows us how assuming our interpretation of events holds the truth of the matter can damage relationships, and how testing our interpretations can help.

Esther Derby's picture Esther Derby
Customer-Focused Verbs

When building successful relationships with your customers, certain verbs such as "to respond," "to listen," and "to involve" are important and should be used. But this column is about another common place verb that's not at all customer focused: "to get." Naomi doesn't mean "to get a 50% raise for completing the project on time" or "to get a week off for creating a brilliant test plan." No, she means, "to get customers to do things your way." Learn how simple verb replacement therapy can help you build better relationships with the customer.

Naomi Karten's picture Naomi Karten
Suffering for Success

One of the most valuable services a QA group provides is preventing failure. Ironically if the group succeeds at this, QA might find themselves unpopular or out of a job. Linda Hayes reveals how typical methods of measuring success can actually cause failure. Especially if success is achieved at the loser's expense.

Linda Hayes's picture Linda Hayes
Building an Independent Test Group

Are you attempting to start an independent test group or increase the scope and value of your present group? After building a highly effective thirty-person test group, Scott Eder reflects on the three major areas where he focused and the challenges he faced along the way. Take away sample work scope and purpose statements for your test group, and learn how to set realistic expectations at all levels within your organization. Find out the key processes that Scott implemented immediately to get his team off to a good start.

  • The foundations of an independent test group that is valued by your organization
  • Ways to build relationships with key stakeholders in order to foster a supportive environment for test and quality
  • How to create a sense of identity around which your test team can rally
Scott Eder's picture Scott Eder
Detecting Great Testers before the In-Person Interview

Resumes only tell a portion of a candidate's story just like caller ID doesn't always reveal the caller's complete identity. Screening candidates over the phone can help extract more of the person's story if you ask the right questions. In this column, Johanna Rothman shares phone-screening techniques she uses to detect great potential testers. This process of elimination saves her valuable time and ensures only qualified candidates make it to the in-person interview.

Johanna Rothman's picture Johanna Rothman
TimeLine Postmortems

We should use project postmortems to improve our software process. But few teams do, and fewer teams reliably learn from project postmortems. You can introduce postmortems to your team easily with a timeline postmortem process. If you are already doing postmortems, a timeline-based approach may improve your results.
This process:

  • Takes little time (a few hours).
  • Has a high degree of software engineer acceptance.
  • Provides immediate feedback into your development process.
  • Increases team cohesion and rapport.
  • Reduces finger pointing.
Seth Morris's picture Seth Morris
Not Your Father's Test Automation

If you think that test automation is mostly about executing tests, then you're missing out on a big opportunity. Or rather, you're missing a lot of small opportunities adding up to a big one. Consider this: stop thinking about test automation as merely executing automated tests, stop thinking about test automation as something you need expensive tools for, and start discovering automation you can implement in a couple of days and usually with extremely inexpensive tools or tools you already have available. In this week's column, Danny Faught and James Bach suggest taking a more Agile approach to test automation.

James Bach's picture James Bach

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