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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
Keeping Secrets

Test data has long been a challenge for testing; privacy legislation, identify theft, and the continued trend towards outsourcing has made it even worse. Just establishing and maintaining a comprehensive test environment can take half or more of all testing time and effort. In this column, Linda Hayes adds in the new and expanding privacy laws that inevitably limit your testing options. Yet from the quagmire of laws and company standards, better testing can emerge.

Linda Hayes's picture Linda Hayes
Bumper Stickers for Testers

Why is software testing perceived as dull? How many other jobs can list "crash," "hang," and "death march" in their daily vocabularies? In this week's column, Harry Robinson encourages testers to embrace a little pride and excitement in what they do, and Harry has just the mottos for bumper stickers that announce Tester Pride. Author's note: Feel free to add your own favorite slogan in the comment section at the end!

Harry Robinson's picture Harry Robinson
Thinking Inside the Box

The problem with urging outside-the-box thinking is that many of us do a less-than-stellar job of thinking inside the box. We often fail to realize the options and opportunities that are blatantly visible inside the box that could dramatically improve our chances of success. In this column, Naomi Karten points out how we fall victim to familiar traps, such as doing things the same old (ineffective) way or discounting colleague and teammate ideas. Thinking outside of the box can generate innovative and ingenious ideas and outcomes, but the results will flop when teammates ignore the ideas inside the box.

Naomi Karten's picture Naomi Karten
Talk Talk Talk

Managers need to talk about goals, strategy, and mission. Managers need to talk about how daily work keeps the business humming. Esther writes about how important it is for managers to also ask questions and listen.

Esther Derby's picture Esther Derby
Developing a Requirements Team

Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing. No, they are not a law firm, but the stages of team development proposed by Bruce Tuckman in 1965. I wish I had known about this model much earlier in my career. If you haven't encountered it before and want to help your requirements team, read on.

David Gelperin's picture David Gelperin
Building Better Test Teams

Mustering the best project or test team is key to any project's success. In this column, Johanna Rothman explains her interviewing techniques to help you find the perfect candidate. Find out if your candidates are qualified before they become part of your team. Johanna's methods cover six typical questions that will help you build a better test team.

Johanna Rothman's picture Johanna Rothman
Testing Testability

Recently I overheard a conversation between a test analyst and a business analyst about how a function should be tested. The response from the business analyst was, "If it is not breaking the application, it must be working fine!" Testing staff comes across such scenarios where a part or functionality of the application under test is not "testable." The tests they carry out are not conclusive enough to say that the functionality is working as specified. In this week's article, Ipsita Chatterjee defines testability and looks at the benefits of incorporating it in the products. Also discussed are simple ways to monitor the incorporation of this non-functional requirement in the software development life cycle and a few industry myths about testability.

Ipsita Chatterjee's picture Ipsita Chatterjee
Communicating the Big Picture

Do you know how your work affects the bottom line? Esther Derby explains that taking more time to communicate company strategy to everyone on your team is an investment, which will save you time in the future. When people can connect the dots from their job to company success, they'll be better equipped to make decisions and set priorities.

Esther Derby's picture Esther Derby
How to Energize Your Test Team

You're waist deep in your third month of late nights, weekends, and shipping stress; you can see and feel your team's energy waning. The goal is in sight but still far off, and you need the very best from everyone to reach the goal. How are you going to motivate and energize your team to reach the finish line? This article explores the major issues test team leaders face: keeping a team motivated and knowing when it needs to be energized.

Jamie Tischart's picture Jamie Tischart

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