e-Talk Radio: Derby, Esther, 4 January 2001


Ms. Dekkers and Ms. Derby talk about various management issues (e.g., promotions based on technical skills instead of people management skills, and the importance of interpersonal skills training for managers) and modeling organizational change.

TEXT TRANSCRIPT: 4 January 2001
Copyright 2001 Quality Plus Technologies and Carol Dekkers. All rights reserved.

Announcer: Welcome to Quality Plus E-Talk with Carol Dekkers, brought to you by StickyMinds.com, the online resource for building better software. This program will focus on the latest in the field of technology. All comments, views, and opinions are those of the host, guests and callers. Now let's join your host, Carol Dekkers.

Carol Dekkers: Welcome to Quality Plus E-Talk with Carol Dekkers. I'm Carol Dekkers, and I'd like to wish every one of our listeners a Happy New Year 2001. We've moved to a new date and time. We're now on Thursday mornings, running from January 4 to March 29, and we're going to be airing from 10 to 11am Mountain Standard Time, noon to 1pm Eastern Standard Time, and as you heard we've got a new sponsor, StickyMinds.com, who many of you may be listening through the StickyMinds.com Web site. So I'd like to say thank you to StickyMinds.com.

The theme of this next thirteen weeks is going to be on Building Better Software, the tools, the techniques, the testing requirements, cost estimating, test management, extreme programming, the whole gamut, with really a focus on the tools and techniques that will help you as a company, as a developer, as a manager, develop better software. I'd like to tell you a little bit about myself and the company. I'm the president of a company called Quality Plus Technologies, and we help companies to build better software through measurement. My background is in mechanical engineering, paired with about a dozen years of systems development experience. Today I'm a certified management consultant, a certified function point specialist, and I'm a lead of an outstanding team of management consultants and certified function point specialists whose forte is really teaching companies to think. We're a little bit different then some of the other consulting companies in that we really pride ourselves in maximizing the knowledge transfer. When we go into a company to consult with your company, we aim to make your professionals confident and capable in software measurement, kind of like leading you through the wilderness of measurement and we teach you to become confident, capable so that you can become self-sufficient in measurement yourself. And we're always there when you need us. So we don't move into a company to stay there for the next five years, we really aim to make you confident, competent in doing software measurement yourself for process improvement and to really make the gain.

So I'm really excited to introduce our first guest. It's really the first show of the really new millennium and our guest today is Esther Derby, who is a writer, consultant, and a facilitator who is based in the cold winter port of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Esther has worked in software development for over twenty years, she's been a developer, a system manager, a development manager and a project manager. She's the founder and principal of Esther Derby Associates Incorporated, a one-woman firm that works with individuals and teams to improve their effectiveness working with complex human systems, like software development projects and software development organizations. Esther has a Masters of Arts in Organizational Leadership and is a technical editor for the Software Testing Quality Engineering magazine, along with her co-editor Brian Marick. Now Brian Marick was unable to join us today, but I would like to give a warm welcome to Esther Derby, the technical editor of STQE, welcome.

Esther Derby: Thank you, I'm happy to be here.

Carol Dekkers: And you're not freezing cold, as actually, you mentioned before the show started that you had a surge in your temperature and that you're up to, what did you say?

Esther Derby: 31 degrees, so we're having a heat wave.

Carol Dekkers: For any of our listeners who might be outside the United States, that is not 31 degrees Celsius, that is 31 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the equivalent to about minus 1 Celsius, so it's not hot by any means. But it's hot for Minneapolis this time of year.

Esther Derby: For this time of year, it's quite warm.

Carol Dekkers: Well, welcome to the show. We're going to talk about the Software Testing and Quality Engineering magazine, that is. You're going into the third year. We came up with a topic for this session to be Trends and Insights into the changing field of software development, what's changing, what's the same, that type of thing. And it's going into its third year--Software Testing Quality Engineering has evolved from what was originally fairly, fairly modest roots and is now going into your third year. That's pretty exciting.

Esther Derby: Yes, we're very excited about it. Actually, the magazine started out with a fellow named Steve Whitchurch, who was doing it pretty much as a labor of love, and STQE took over the distribution of that for a year and then after that first year, with that original subscriber base of a thousand, 1,000 subscribers, evolved into the magazine we have now.

Carol Dekkers: Oh, wow.

Esther Derby: And we're currently at right around 12,000 subscriptions with our total circulation of about 20,000.

Carol Dekkers: That's pretty outstanding for modest beginnings like that. Who would you say your primary audience is at STQE?

Esther Derby: Well, we write for test managers, development managers and people working in testing and QA, so we're really focused on testing and quality engineering and providing practical information and practical articles that will help people do their jobs better.

Carol Dekkers: And the gamut of things that you've had in your magazine over the last three years has been really outstanding. It runs everywhere from measurement to requirements to quality to testing to technical to people issues, and I think that's quite outstanding for a magazine that's in OUR industry, typically something like information, we can be very technical but yours is very graphically pleasing, very easy to read, very easy to work through, and I'd like to read a Letter to the Editor if you don't mind. I don't know if you will recall this one, but somebody wrote in said "This is the first time that I wait anxiously for a magazine to arrive. Since the first issue I've enjoyed every article. I've had the opportunity to put into practice several of your techniques recommended in your articles, especially the articles regarding requirements and design. Thanks for the quality of the content and the selection of such expert writers." Is that a fairly typical response you get from your readership?

Esther Derby: Well, that is a very nice letter, I didn't recall that one specifically, but we do tend to get that kind of feedback, that people find the articles that we publish to be of practical, pragmatic use, and that is what we really strive for. We try to publish things that are going to help you do your job better in the next month and the next two months…

Carol Dekkers: Oh, right…

Esther Derby: We strive for that as opposed to theory or things that will only work in a Petri dish.

Carol Dekkers: What would you say your goals are for STQE for 2001?

Esther Derby: Well, we want to continue to provide that high-quality practical information, present a wide range of topics both from people who are in the consulting field and people who are actually employees of software companies on the line doing test management, testing and development management.

Carol Dekkers: Now you've seen--you've been involved with magazines for the last--the better part of the last year and I know that Brian Marick has been involved since, a couple of years anyway, and I know you've had some discussions with him and we've talked a little bit about some of the trends that you might have seen or that Brian has seen over the last three years at the magazine. What are kind of the emerging trends that you see or that you think are going to become fairly major in the area of software development?

Esther Derby: Well, you know this is like any situation, we have visibility to what we have visibility to, we don't see the entire span of the world--it's kind of like we're each seeing our piece of the elephant here, and when Brian and I talked about it we were struck by the number of things in the industry that haven't changed. There's really a lot of things that are kind of continuing as they have been over the last several years. Some of the things we do see changing over the last period of time is far more emphasis on light methodologies, small teams, and the kind of extreme programming model that has been quite visible in the media lately.

Carol Dekkers: Right. We had Kent Beck back on Dec. 5, on our final show in the last thirteen-week series and we've got actually two of the three "extremeos"--we have Ward Cunningham and Kent Beck, and we're hoping to line up Ron Jeffries to also be on the show, and we've got them scheduled for February 1, so I think they'll have some interesting things to say about how extreme programming meets measurement and just where extreme programming is going. You said you were stuck by the number of things that have changed, that the smaller teams--what's your feedback in terms of people working in smaller teams--has that helped with testability, has that helped better management?

Esther Derby: Well, I think the dynamic changes dramatically when you get a larger team. When you have a very small group, the quality of interaction tends to be higher, the communication tends to be a little more seamless. When you get a larger team, there's a natural tendency to fragment into subteams, and the communication necessarily becomes far more complex as well as the coordination of activities. So, keeping teams small tends to contribute to having a more manageable piece of work and a more manageable effort.

Carol Dekkers: Have you seen any trend in, towards the Capability Maturity Model? Are more companies embracing that or less companies embracing it, are more companies saying, you know, "We just don't care about standards--let's just go and build software"?

Esther Derby: You know, that's not one of the arenas where I have a lot of experience. I think the CMM is still very prevalent in organizations that are doing any kind of work with the government.

Carol Dekkers: Um hum.

Esther Derby: And they are now working on personal CMM type models that have to do with an individual software development process, as that fits within the overall organization.

Carol Dekkers: Right, but you haven't seen it really pervade the testing industry, you haven't seen it--you haven't seen a major influence where people have either embraced or rejected some of these standards?

Esther Derby: That's not something that I personally have seen, no.

Carol Dekkers: Right, what have you seen that still seems to be our biggest problem? I know that the requirements area everybody talks about--"what are requirements, how can we get them better?"--is that one of the things that seems to keep plaguing our industry no matter, you know, in the area that you're dealing with?

Esther Derby: Yes, that is certainly an ongoing problem, you know, it's an intensely human activity to take one person's understanding and externalize it so it can be understood by a large group of people who may not have specific domain knowledge. It also tends to be that kind of front end of the project where people want to get moving and be forging ahead into something that is perceived as productive, so it's often shortchanged. And it's classically one of those things you either pay now or pay later. But it seems that the trend is for people to pay later.

Carol Dekkers: I've used the analogy before of requirements in software really like doing a floor plan, and sometimes I personally feel like we pour foundation before we've really got a solid floor plan in place. But it seems like our industry and some of the management, especially the user management, does not give a lot of credence to requirements in floor plans in software engineering. And that causes problems for the testers downstream because if you're going to test, how can you test something that is to be determined?

Esther Derby: Yes, certainly that is a problem. Some people are evolving exploratory testing techniques and techniques for rapidly identifying a series of tests to work with, understanding the risks for a product that hasn't been explicitly specified, but it does continue to be a problem--how do you measure the quality of something if you don't have a clear understanding of what it was supposed to do and who was going to get value from it?

Carol Dekkers: Right, now, you said there's new testing techniques, new things that are coming up there. What types of things are people looking at, what types are the major problems that people are really trying to address?

Esther Derby: Well, I think one of the shifts I'm seeing is that, at least in some arenas, people are moving away from focusing on testing as kind of the final stage of the project where you find and fix everything, to testing is the part of the project where you understand something about the quality of the product and the risks associated with releasing the product in the state that it currently is in.

Carol Dekkers: Interesting--and we will be back shortly with more of Esther Derby and talking about Software Testing Quality Engineering, the new magazine that's going into its third year. And we'll be back shortly after these messages.

Announcer: Quality Plus E-Talk is back. Now here's Carol Dekkers…

Carol Dekkers: And we're back. I'm Carol Dekkers and we've been talking to Esther Derby who's one of the technical editors for Software Testing and Quality Engineering. I'll get it right by the end of the show. And we'd like to hear from our callers. If you're listening in and you've got a question you'd like to ask Esther, if you'd like to know something more about the testing industry, if you'd like to have some information, our toll-free number is 866-277-5369. We don't guarantee you can get on, but we'll definitely take your questions and we'd love to hear from you.

We've been talking a little bit about the last three years of the Software Testing and Quality Engineering, I said it right, magazine, and Esther said she's been struck by the number of things that really haven't changed. One thing that hit me, Esther, is that when you take a look across the overall software industry, we've got, you know, the greats, that kind of stand out, Howard Rubin, Ed Yourdon, Tom DeMarco, Tim Lister, the people who have published a lot of books, really made an impact over the last ten to twenty years in our industry. And as they're aging, I'm sure that there's probably a new wave of professionals that are up and coming that have some new ideas, particularly in the test management area. I was just going to ask you, who are the people we should be watching, what kind of things are they writing, that kind of thing? Who do you think we should be watching?

Esther Derby: That's an interesting question. I think there is a new generation of influential writers in the arena of software coming up and we've been lucky enough to have some write for "Sticky." One that comes to mind in test management is Johanna Rothman, who takes a very practical, pragmatic approach to the whole problem of managing tests and looking at test metrics.

Carol Dekkers: And I don't know if you know this, but Johanna is actually one of our guests that we've confirmed for January 25.

Esther Derby: Oh, great, I'm sure she'll have some interesting things and practical wisdom.

Carol Dekkers: Yes, I think so. I've read some of her work and it's very inspiring. Who else do you think?

Esther Derby: Well, the Bach brothers continue to do interesting work in testing, James Bach and his brother John Bach. James pioneered the notion of "good enough" testing and he is now working with his brother developing lightweight processes and ideas for exploratory testing when you don't necessarily have--you may have a standard set of scripts you're going to be running but you also want to find some things opportunistically, so that's some interesting work and they're both actively writing about that work.

Carol Dekkers: Interesting, and who else would you see as emerging?

Esther Derby: In the area of testing? Or requirements? Or just kind of generally?

Carol Dekkers: Generally.

Esther Derby: Well, Karl Wiegers is doing interesting writing about requirements. I think Eileen Strider is doing some interesting writing about management and really looking at the human aspect of organizing people to develop software.

Carol Dekkers: Which is a really important topic. I think one of the things Tom DeMarco and Tim Lister in their Peopleware book did for us is really illustrate that a lot of the problems in software are not necessarily technical issues but they're really people communication, teams, intercommunication, that type of thing, and I think that those types of areas are really important, particularly when you tie it to some of the stuff that you said Karl Wiegers is doing with requirements.

Esther Derby: Right. That has been my experience, too, that in most cases, the problem isn't technical, it's around people, and ironically people management skills and the kind of management thought processes that you need to really effectively work with people and manage software development continue to be, I wouldn't say ignored, but certainly not at the top of the list.

Carol Dekkers: I'll just ask you a question straight off: why do you think that is? Do you think that its roots are in the fact that when we come up through the educational process as testers, developers, as requirements leaders, that there's really not a lot of credit given to the human side of it, that we're supposed to be, you know, rushing to code and rushing to get something to development? Do you think that it's a basis in our educational system that's a problem, or what do you think?

Esther Derby: Well, this is my opinion and I'm sure there are other people who view things differently, but certainly my experience with the education system was that it didn't value teamwork beyond elementary grades where you got marks on "gets along well with others." The emphasis is really on individual performance and competition and when you get into the work place and in certain arenas, those skills still are very valuable, but what's even more critical to success when you're actually out in the workplace is the ability to manage yourself and to work with other people.

Carol Dekkers: And that's a really...I think when you said individual performance is competition, I've never really thought about that before, but yes, you get your own grades in school, you get your As or your Bs and if you do a team project you still get an individual grade out of it.

Esther Derby: Right.

Carol Dekkers: And getting along with others is never a grade but ends up being one of those "Oh, by the way" but I think there is more we can talk about in this area.

Esther Derby: Oh, we could go on about this one.

Carol Dekkers: We're going to be back with more on this after this quick break.

Announcer: Quality Plus E-Talk is back. Now here is Carol Dekkers.

Carol Dekkers: Welcome back to Quality Plus E-Talk with Carol Dekkers. I'm Carol Dekkers and I've been talking this week with Esther Derby, who's one of the technical editors of STQE, and we've been talking about Software Testing Quality Engineering, the magazine, which now if you wanted to look at it from a newsstand perspective, if you wanted to look at acquiring it, has been shortened to STQE, and I'm not going to try and say that other than just saying it's STQE, standing for Software Testing Quality Engineering. So it's changed its name and you'll see it now as STQE. You can acquire it or acquire what's been printed in it by going to www.StickyMinds.com, and you'll find out everything you need to know there. We've been talking to Esther Derby, who has an extensive background in software development. She's been a project manager, she's a principal of Esther Derby Associates Incorporated and she's really run the gamut of experience in software testing, software quality and development. Just before we went into break, we were talking a little bit about why there's problems in testing, why there's problems in software development and we took a little segue into, is it part of the educational system? When we went into break we were talking a little bit about is it because the humanistic side is really not something that is really promoted or rewarded, when we're talking about marks in school, in the education system, and how that is so very important in the workplace. And Esther said she's got some opinions I'd love to hear about, about how managers are chosen and her opinions on how maybe they should be chosen. So, I'd like to welcome you back to the show, Esther.

Esther Derby: Thank you.

Carol Dekkers: What do you think? How do you think that we're hiring our managers or selecting our managers and what do you think are some of the problems that are going on with the current way that we hire or select our managers in the software arena?

Esther Derby: Well, I'm sure there are many, many places that are doing an excellent job of identifying and promoting and selecting people into management positions. And I think for many people the experience is that they are promoted into management because they have excellent technical skills. They're doing a great job as a developer or a great job as a tester or engineer and because they show that talent, someone decides to give them a chance at being a manager. And the very skills that made them good at their technical job aren't necessarily going to help them a lot in their management job.

Carol Dekkers: Do you see that a lot? There was a book written about fifteen to twenty years ago called The Peter Principle, and it really focused on that very thing, the things that you were very very very good at, if you become an excellent technical manager you are just the best programmer, the best tester, the best technical person, that very quickly you will gain the eyes of management and you will get promoted into a position where you may or may not excel, and you'll keep getting promoted until you reach your, what The Peter Principle book calls, highest level of incompetence.

Esther Derby: Yes, that's the way The Peter Principle talked about it, and I think that in some ways that isn't a real useful way to look at it. I truly believe that everyone is doing the best job they can given the situation which includes their skills, their backgrounds, and their ability. And I think people promote people into positions where they don't necessarily have the skills, not out of malice or incompetence but because they want to give someone a chance. What's really lacking is some thought and some mechanism to develop the kind of self management, self mastery in interpersonal skills, that are really necessary if you want to manage software development or other people, because really if you can't manage yourself you don't stand much chance of managing anything else.

Carol Dekkers: Right, I think not only in, when you get elevated to management as a technical person, managing technical people is a little bit different an animal. I think in a lot of cases as compared to managing business people, that there's some differences there in terms of the types of motivation, the types of things that will work, and I've seen managers who were hired from outside the technical arena, be brought in as manager, this wonderful manager, who has no technical skills and no idea of the systems development process...and that kind of wreaks havoc almost as much as having somebody that's elevated from the technical field and then is expected to get their management skills through osmosis or walk into the manager's office or something like that.

Esther Derby: I think, I just lost my thought--where did it go…

Carol Dekkers: My twelve-year-old son calls that a brain fart, and I keep telling him that he's too young to be having those, he must be at least thirty before he has those start happening.

Esther Derby: Ah, well, then I qualify.

Carol Dekkers: (laughing) Along with the rest of us. The managers that I've seen...and I think one of the things you said is very true, that everyone does their best job they know how, the skills that they've got really are things that they've learned technically, and sometimes they get management skills, but more often it comes through osmosis. Ah, we have a caller...what do you think Esther, would you like to listen to what our caller has to say?

Esther Derby: Let's listen to the caller.

Carol Dekkers: Okay, welcome caller.

Caller: Good morning you all, the best thing about having the flu is I can listen to you all without interruption. I'm a secretary at a large organization, and everything you all are speaking about is the truth. I deal with engineers who have brilliant technical skills, but human relations, human interpersonal sensitivity is lacking considerably, creates a great deal of trauma in the workforce or in the group that I'm the secretary of, and sometimes management has the same problem because when I try to introduce communication classes or seminars--we have time for that in our, you know, day to day working, there's certain time for training classes--they seem to not look at that or even want it, it's almost like they don't want the people to know too much on how to get along with other people, and that has gotten me in trouble because I've seen articles in the paper, on how that skill in today's world of teamwork versus...I guess autocratic versus participative management.

Carol Dekkers: Right.

Caller: It's not being followed. They talk the game but they don't walk it, and it creates a lot of morale problems in the crews and then I'm the one that has...I'm like, when you're a secretary you're like the mother, you know, of an organization, you kind of know more then the manager does because people talk to you and then you relay that information to the people who can, you know, cut the problem off before it creates a bigger problem, without using names. So you're kind of a priest that heals, and it's very difficult--it's gotten me in trouble with management and I've chosen, you know, to take the steps and to be quite blunt, but I find that all over the place and it frightens me in a way, because it really impacts the customer bottom line, it impacts people morale within the company, and I don't know anymore how to approach it other than to take my skills and leave and I don't want to do that, I've got a lot of years invested, but bottom line means it may just be too tough a nut for me to crack.

Carol Dekkers: Esther, what have you seen, have you seen, is this a fairly typical problem in the clients you've encountered? I know you do a lot of work with the complex human system…

Esther Derby: Well, I think it's certainly true that people in the position that the caller is in are often the social glue of the organization, they kind of hold things together.

Caller: Oh, I love that. I'm going to write that down…

Esther Derby: They see a lot of what's going on. I think also that in some ways when you get to be management, there's this notion that you've arrived and I think it can be very hard for people who have a lot of education and who have been very successful to kind of wrestle with the notion that maybe they don't know everything and they need some training...

Caller: And I think I've hit those points of insecurity and I've intentionally done so, but I've kind of sugar coated it saying, explaining it in a very gentle way, but I think I've done it enough that I've kind of made myself a hazard, you know what I'm saying? And that's okay, I'll accept the ramifications because if it's time to leave it's time to leave. I will not allow that to affect my ego or my self-esteem because it can, you know, when you get, I want to say retaliated against for speaking up and speaking the truth. Another book I think is interesting is "The Emotional IQ" or "EQ" I think you call it, the fact that that is almost more important than the intelligence IQ...

Esther Derby: I was just reading Daniel Goldman's book on emotional intelligence. That's been one of the findings he's reported, that good grades are not...

Caller: right...

Esther Derby: the most important determinant of success,

Caller: right, and the way you say it...

Esther Derby: for the ability to navigate human relationships.

Caller: Our education does say it's a personal endeavor, I want to be an A+ student and I'll run over whoever I have too, or not help anyone so I can get that A+, and that's not the way the game is played anymore in this so-called new economy...

Carol Dekkers: And I think the other thing that happens is, if you've been taught that, if you've strived for, as your entire life...

Caller: exactly…

Carol Dekkers: You've got the As and you see people that are networking their way to the top with no intellectual skills, there's a lot of jealousy that...

Caller: Oh, I agree, and old dogs can be taught new tricks, because I'm an older dog, I'm 55, and I've had to reinvent myself several times to be content in the workplace.

Carol Dekkers: We need to go quickly into a break, but we'll be back with more of Quality Plus E-Talk, Esther Derby, and our caller right after these messages.

Announcer: Quality Plus E-Talk is back. Now here's Carol Dekkers.

Carol Dekkers: Welcome back to Quality Plus E-Talk. I've been talking to Esther Derby for the last 40-45 minutes about some of the issues she's found in the STQE magazine and in the software testing and requirements engineering area. And we have another caller that I'd like to bring on, and welcome Pablo.

Caller: Thanks.

Carol Dekkers: Do you have some comments you'd like to make?

Caller: Yes, actually Esther, I know you have written before, I remember an article a couple of years ago about modeling organizational change.

Esther Derby: Yeah.

Caller: You were talking about when an organization is releasing products with a lot of bugs, there's a few ways to deal with that and you were talking about finding the corrective action that is least painful, least disruptive I guess, and with a shortage of the personnel, I know a lot of overtime and effort to add more testers--that's one solution--but you talked about another way to deal with that. Could you talk a little more about that?

Esther Derby: Right. In that particular article we were looking at a case where there were a lot of defects being released and two of the solutions that people often take are to either add more testers or, you know say we have to do overtime so we can get all the bugs out of this, which then only has the opposite effect and people get burned out and they don't do their best work and people get sick and you know it kind of perpetuates the system. The whole notion of that article was saying that in an organization you're dealing with a system with many interdependent variables and you need to kind of get a sense of what those are so you can choose an intervention that is actually going to help the situation move the system in the direction you want it to go in. What we were talking about in that article was implementing change control so that there was actually a process that people could follow to make decisions based on risk and benefit about what changes would be implemented.

Carol Dekkers: And that particular article, for our listeners that are interested, was in the November/December 1999 STQE magazine and they can access the archives I believe on StickyMinds.com, isn't that true Esther?

Esther Derby: I believe it's out there, yeah.

Carol Dekkers: So it's November/December 1999 and the article itself was called, I'll just pull it up, "Modeling Organizational Change."

Esther Derby: It's about some simple modeling techniques and risk consciousness to help managers make decisions and design effective management intervention around some problems that people typically have in software innovation.

Carol Dekkers: And it's a very insightful article. It's got some new ideas that don't seem to say it would take a whole lot of money, it would take a huge shift, it's just things that people can do, given the resources they already have.

Esther Derby: Right.

Carol Dekkers: Great. Caller, did you have anything else you'd like to say?

Caller: No, I appreciate the thought and thank you very much.

Carol & Esther: Thank you very much for calling.

Carol Dekkers: Esther, we were talking a little bit about how people are doing the best jobs that they can, and I know you wanted to say a little bit more on that area.

Esther Derby: Yes, my sense was that the caller was in a difficult situation and I personally try really hard to stand in that space that says everyone is doing the best that they can given the situation and everyone is trying to be helpful even though it may not look that way. And I find that when I'm in that stance I am much more able to influence change and that it's really difficult to influence someone who you've written off.

Carol Dekkers: Right, I think that's a very good point, I'm glad to notice you brought that up. I think the other thing that sometimes happens is, I don't know where it stems from, I think that you may be right, that it may stem from school and our culture, but I've seen where if the times get tough, it's the interpersonal skills training, it's the management training, it's that type of thing that's the first thing to get cut, and you know the Java programming training that continues on, even the testing if a developing project gets left behind or gets way out of whack in terms of schedule, testing's the first thing always cut, and it seems like, I don't have the answer but I just think it's something that important, that sometimes the things that are most important in the long run are the first things to be cut.

Esther Derby: You know, that's interesting. Johanna Rothman recently had a piece in "Sticky" about, you know, the position of the test manager, where you're kind of at the end of the line and you don't have enough staff and you don't have enough time and kind of the attitude you can take to shift that, and position what you can get done and what the risks are associated with whatever option you choose and that kind of gets you out of that mode where you don't have a lot of power. It was a really, it was an interesting article, and I think had some real practical information for folks on how to shift that.

Carol Dekkers: And we'll be back to wrap up after these short messages.

Announcer: Quality Plus E-Talk is back. Now here's Carol Dekkers.

Carol Dekkers: And welcome back as we wrap up the show. We had a very interesting last 55 minutes talking to Esther Derby about some of the things that are really relevant to test managers, development managers, requirements managers in the software field. And I'd like to say thank you to you, Esther, for giving up your last hour to spend with us.

Esther Derby: Thank you, it was very enjoyable.

Carol Dekkers: And I'd like to introduce next week's show. On January 11, we're going to be having Winsor Brown, who is one of the main authors together with Barry Boehm on the software cost estimation book with COCOMO II that was recently published. And there were approximately nine authors, including...in addition to Winsor Brown, and Winsor's going to join us to talk about some of the emerging extensions to what used to be considered an older model cost estimator. So if anyone has ever been exposed to cost estimating using COCOMO or COCOMO I, you'll be wanting to join in and listen in to some of the new advancements, particularly in the area of refining your cost estimates using COCOMO II. So we're going to have Winsor Brown with us, and Barry Boehm is going to be at the working group meetings but he has promised to try and break away and be one of our phone-in callers for at least one of the segments. We have some very exciting shows coming up, we have Johanna Rothman, who Esther has spoken highly of, we have Jim Highsmith, who has been scheduled to come on the show, we have...of the Software Engineering Institute, we have a lot of different people who have been lined up and Tom DeMarco, who is one of the leading gurus, has just recently written a fiction book which will be very interesting. We won't be talking necessarily about that, but we will be talking to him about risk management and we've got some experts in the area of test management and requirements that we're going to be talking too. So I hope you will join us every week. If you want to send email, please send it to me at [email protected]. You can also go onto StickyMinds.com, www.StickyMinds.com and click on the talk radio and you can actually send in questions or suggestions that you'd like for the show. Now Esther, I know you're still with us and I'd like to just ask you, what can we expect to see more of in STQE this coming year?

Esther Derby: Well, we will be putting together more articles with factual information on testing, developing tests, testing on the Web, test tools, as well as articles on general software management topics, and software measurement and software processes and techniques. And we have some really great authors lined up. It's going to be an exciting year.

Carol Dekkers: It sounds like you're excited about it, and is the January issue out yet?

Esther Derby: Actually, it just came through my mail slot while we were on the phone.

Carol Dekkers: Wow, you have early, early delivery up there in Minnesota, and obviously the mail carriers don't mind the cold.

Esther Derby: They wear a lot of layers.

Carol Dekkers: Do they get paid cold pay or anything like that?

Esther Derby: I don't think they get hazard pay. I think it's viewed as a feature that they get to be in this cold icebox where they'll be preserved longer.

Carol Dekkers: That's an interesting way of putting it, that everyone in Minneapolis looks much younger then they actually are, because you're so much better preserved. Well, it's been a very enjoyable hour, I'd like to say thank you again, I wish you all the best with STQE magazine and with StickyMinds.com. I think you're doing a very admirable job and the article that you wrote in particular, on Modeling Organizational...what was it called? Modeling...

Esther Derby: Modeling Organizational Change.

Carol Dekkers: Change...I think that's a very good read for anybody that has an extra couple of minutes, it's a very worthwhile thing to take a look at.

Esther Derby: Well, thank you for your kind words and thank you very much for having me.

Carol Dekkers: I appreciate it and to our listeners, I hope you have a great testing and quality week. I hope that all of your developing projects get back on track and you have a wonderful week. We'll talk to you again next week, January 11, from noon to one eastern standard time, eleven to twelve central time and ten to eleven mountain standard time. Have a great week, over and out with Carol Dekkers.

Announcer: Quality Plus E-Talk with Carol Dekkers is broadcast on this station every week at this same time. To learn more about Quality Plus Technologies Incorporated, please call 727-393-6048, that's 727-393-6048 or go to www.qualityplustech.com.

Copyright 2001 Quality Plus Technologies and Carol Dekkers. All rights reserved.

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