Defect Analysis and Managing Testing in Multiple SDLCs: An Interview with David Oddis


David Oddis talks about the importance of having an effective defect analysis process, as well as insight on how to manage testing across various SDLCs and the challenges it could present for teams. He also shares his opinions on today's hot topics.

David Oddis talks about the importance of having an effective defect analysis process and it being the foundation of process improvement, as well as giving insight on how to manage testing across various SDLCs and the challenges it could present for teams.


Cameron Philipp-Edmonds: Today we have David Oddis. David, thank you so much for joining us today.

David Oddis: Absolutely, glad to be here. Thanks for having me.

Cameron Philipp-Edmonds: Can you start us off by telling us a little bit about yourself?

David Oddis: Absolutely, as Cameron said, my name is David Oddis. I work at the CollegeBoard. I’m from the Baltimore, Maryland area. I have two wonderful boys, Danny and David, and a wonderful wife Janine.

I’ve been in the software testing industry about 18 years now, testing such applications as DNA genotyping and sequencing to voice-recognition software to various eCommerce systems. I love to mentor and teach the testing discipline and I love to study the art of leadership. When I’m not doing those things you can probably find me on the golf course.

Cameron Philipp-Edmonds: Fantastic, do you have a favorite golfer?

David Oddis: Do I have a favorite golfer? Yeah, I like Phil and of course I like Tiger, but I don’t get too caught up with the actual pros.

Cameron Philipp-Edmonds: Can you tell us a little bit about your role on the CollegeBoard?

David Oddis: Sure, I’m the senior director of quality assurance. I run a team of about forty testers and along with those guys we’re responsible for a large portfolio of inward and outward facing applications. I spend the majority of my time probably putting testing strategies together for our chair one level releases, as well as just trying to build environments, healthy and challenging in learning environments, for our teams to be successful both professionally and personally.

Cameron Philipp-Edmonds: Awesome, now you’ve spoken at some of our conferences before and you’re a firm believer in the idea that the foundation for process improvement is defect analysis.

David Oddis: Absolutely.

Cameron Philipp-Edmonds: Why is it important for organizations to have an effective defect analysis process?

David Oddis: Sure, data tells us a lot of things if organizations hope to get better at what they do they need this input. They need these data points. When you have a strong defect analysis process in place it allows organizations to peel the onions to help determine where the opportunities are.

As an example, if you go through a defect analysis process and you see a trend of a lot of defects related to test data, as we dig in and we categorize those defects we may find that, in fact, we have an issue with putting data sets together that mimic production level data or maybe we’re just very simply missing test ideas that cover various data permutations. This will reveal that, and then organizations can then go back and actually do something about that.

Much like if we found a tremendous amount of defects where once we categorize them we saw that these probably should’ve been caught at the unit test level. We now know we need to go do something about our unit testing practices to make it better. At the end of the day, it’s all about getting pointed in the right direction for improvement.


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