Conference Presentations

Reading the Tea Leaves: Predicting a Project's Future

What clues from a project's history and present status give us the best insight into its future? Realistically, can much be done to "fix" a project if the current signs aren't promising? Or are most projects' fate preordained? Payson Hall has participated in and reviewed hundreds of projects during his thirty-year career in software development. Without claiming mystical powers, Payson shares patterns of failing projects he's observed on large and small software projects in both the public and private sectors. Then, he explores key leverage points for taking corrective actions to get things back on track quickly. You'll discover ways to identify early "problem seeds" that can grow into larger issues over time. Take back a diagnostic framework-a systematic investigatory process-to help identify root causes of problems.

Payson Hall, Catalysis Group Inc
Creating Crucial Test Conversations

Many test leaders believe that development, business, and management don't understand, support, or properly value our contributions. You know what-these test leaders are probably right! So, why do they feel that way? Bob Galen believes it’s our inability and ineffectiveness in communicating-selling-ourselves, our abilities, our contributions, and our value to the organization. As testers, we believe that the work speaks for itself. Wrong! We must work harder to create the crucial conversations that communicate our value and impact. Bob shares specific techniques for holding context-based conversations, producing informative status reports, conducting attention-getting quality assessments, and delivering solid defect reports. Learn how to improve your communication skills so that key partners understand your role, value, and contributions.

Bob Galen, iContact
STARWEST 2009: The Marine Corps Principles of Leadership

Even with the best tools and processes in the world, if your staff is not focused and productive, your testing efforts will be weak and ineffective and your finished product will reflect this. Retired Marine Colonel, long-time test consultant Rick Craig describes how using the Marine Corps Principles of Leadership will help you become a better leader and, as a result, a better test manager or tester. Learn the differences between leadership and management and how they can complement each other. Discover new approaches to energize your testers and learn to avoid some that won't. Rick explores motivation, morale, training, span of control, immersion time, and how to promote a consistent testing discipline within your organization. He addresses the role of "influence leaders" and how to use them as powerful agents of change.

Rick Craig, Software Quality Engineering
Collaborative Leadership: A Secret to Agile Success

When members of a development project are asked to become a self-directed agile team, some claim that leadership and leaders are obsolete. Or, is a different type of leadership exactly what agile teams need to truly flourish? Pollyanna Pixton describes a new, collaborative leadership style that does not attempt to control or micro-manage. It's one that asks the right questions at the right time to generate new ideas and develop creative products that customers need and want. Pollyanna explains the four areas of collaborative leadership-creating an open environment where the best people can work, learning from stakeholders throughout the enterprise, prioritizing innovative solutions based on business value, and standing back to allow the team to succeed.

Pollyanna Pixton, Accelinnova
Asia as a Test Outsource Center

Outsourcing testing software projects to countries in Asia is a trend that is here to stay. You have a growing number of choices for an outsourcing country in Asia-India, China, Taipei, Korea, and others. Although India currently dominates the scene and both Taipei and Korea have historically provided excellent quality, though at a higher cost, China is quickly moving to become the leader with even lower billing rates and a large number of experienced and educated engineers. In this session, Jacob Hsu offers an overview of the Asian outsource scene including the latest trends and data. Take away a checklist of best practices for successfully outsourcing product testing to Asia, including how to manage distributed testing teams, how to overcome language/cultural issues by country, and what types of testing should (and should not) be outsourced offshore.

Jacob Hsu, Symbio Group
Is the Software Improving?

How can you tell if software is improving? Many QA professionals have found calculating statistics and using various metrics useful in monitoring and predicting software development progress. In this presentation, Anna Allison takes a look behind the scenes of software projects to learn how even simple metrics are useful. Learn how to effectively use metrics to report, predict, and manage your own software projects.

Anna Allison, A2 Software Solutions
Testing in the Cold

"Testing in the cold" refers to those times when you feel there is no commitment to testing and people or other circumstantial factors are not being cooperative. Hans Buwalda provides forty-five tips for testing in such a situation, including issues on commitment, politics, managing expectations, dependencies, difficulty of testing, motivation of participants, and practical issues and problems. Learn how to successfully "test in the cold" when circumstances appear to be working against you.

Hans Buwalda, CMG TestFrame Research Center
Changing the Software Culture

Many of software's current problems stem from the pervasive culture of software organizations. This "hacker" culture glorifies rapid coding, is schedule-driven, and objects to measurement and planning. Commitments are generally missed while quality is unmeasured and unmanaged. In this presentation, Watts Humphrey describes steps to change the current software culture and its consequences. Learn how the Personal Software Process (PSP) and Team Software Process (TSP) guide engineers in planning and measuring their work. Explore the benefits of following a defined, planned, and measured process and the guidelines for making these practices more general in software organizations.

Watts Humphrey, The Software Engineering Institute
Golden Rules and Tools for Establishing a Quality Culture

Developing and implementing a quality program across an entire organization can be a daunting task. Managers want immediate results and value for the money they invest; software developers don't want to be bothered. Learn how to tackle this challenge head-on and discover the "golden rules" to use to help promote and manage quality in your organization.

Laura Jenkins, Lucent Technologies
Building a Learning QA Organization

As managers, we're stewards of our company's assets. Each team's capacity to learn-and rate of learning-should be treated as something to be developed, just like coding skills and other intangible corporate assets. Like many software teams, the QA team needs to be able to ramp up fast. However, due to the diversity of projects and customers, they need to know and grow even faster than most. Bill Goleman shares tricks of the learning trade and shows managers how to enhance team learning skills at little or no cost to the company.

Bill Goleman, Mangosoft, Inc.


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