The Latest

A Cautionary Tale[magazine]

Technical Editor Brian Marick uses a fairy tale format to warn software professionals against using easy-to-acquire numbers in place of human judgment.

Brian Marick's picture Brian Marick
Software Requirements[magazine]

Brian Lawrence and Johanna Rothman recommend Software Requirements by Karl Wiegers, a "readable, practical book about gathering and managing requirements, focused on best practices."

The Ariane 5: A Smashing Success[magazine]

On June 4, 1996, the maiden flight of the Ariane 5 satellite launcher ended spectacularly after only forty seconds, with bits of the $67 billion vehicle and its payload spread over a fairly large part of French Guiana. The report issued July 19 by the International Inquiry Board noted that the fiery crash was due to a "chain of technical events." The details of that particular chain of events are reviewed here.

Les Hatton's picture Les Hatton
What's in a Name?[magazine]

Technical Editor Brian Marick outlines a goal for the magazine and its readers: gradual process improvement, driven by immediate needs.

Brian Marick's picture Brian Marick
How to Survive the Software Swamp[magazine]

For a project to make long-term progress, it must build a platform of basic engineering practices. On this platform are set the ladders of advanced techniques that you select using risk analysis. Properly managed, these processes help you avoid falling back into the swamp whenever the project is under pressure.

Michael Deck's picture Michael Deck
Quality Assurance and Testing[magazine]

Brian Marick argues for using testers at the requirements analysis stage of a project. He says, "While QA is primarily about process, testing—my specialty—is about product. Whatever else a tester might do, she certainly eventually exercises the product with the aim of discovering problems a user might encounter. This essay is about that 'whatever else' the tester does."

Brian Marick's picture Brian Marick
A Look at Rational SQA Robot[magazine]

Noel Nyman continues sharing his experiences of working in the Microsoft WindowsNT Group, where he evaluated several automation tools for the Applications Test team. This is the second installment in a series.

Noel Nyman's picture Noel Nyman
Normal Processes[magazine]

Using a sociological theory as his starting point, Technical Editor Brian Marick shows how sometimes systems can encourage local problems to blossom into system-wide catastrophes.

Brian Marick's picture Brian Marick
Finding Patterns in Software[magazine]

"Patterns" have caught on among software designers, especially those working on object-oriented systems. More recently, patterns have been applied to organizational behavior, including patterns for organizing independent test groups. Brian Marick provides Web resources on the study of patterns.

Brian Marick's picture Brian Marick
Big Ball of Mud[magazine]

Much of recent systems theory revolves around applying ideal software development patterns. Big Ball of Mud, in contrast, is for those of us who live and work in the real world, where most systems emerge haphazardly from minimally controlled chaos under constrained development conditions. Bar Biszick recommends and describes the Big Ball of Mud Web site.

Bar Biszick's picture Bar Biszick
Interviewing Your Interviewer[magazine]

Job interviews are stressful. Often, people are so eager to impress the interviewer that they don't find out critical information about the company and the position. But it's just as important for you to be convinced of the position's suitability for you as it is for the company to be convinced of your suitability for the position. If you ask the right questions, interviews can be much more productive at helping you avoid poorly managed, unhappy projects and zero in on well-run, professional projects.

Joe Yakich's picture Joe Yakich
Book Review: Mastering the Requirements Process[magazine]

Brian Lawrence points to Mastering the Requirements Process as a valuable reference book. The book presents a complete step-by-step method for gathering, modeling, and specifying requirements. Along the way the authors offer easy-to-understand and appropriate examples that nicely illustrate how to apply their techniques.

Brian Lawrence's picture Brian Lawrence
Managers Are Just for Budget Cutting, Right?[magazine]

Luisa Consolini tells us why the managerial side of quality is as important as the technical side. The precepts she imparts are: 1) there is something as bad as not doing testing—not managing it; 2) if you don't manage quality, you won't improve it just by applying some fancy quality techniques; and 3) people are not second to quality.

Luisa Consolini's picture Luisa Consolini
Welcome to Software Testing and Quality Engineering[magazine]

Technical Editor Brian Marick introduces the first issue of STQE magazine. He says the magazine "is for people who get their hands dirty, whether by writing tests, cranking out code, managing others, or--perhaps the hardest task of all--being the internal QA consultant who has no direct authority but must somehow persuade ten projects with impossible deadlines to think strategically."

Brian Marick's picture Brian Marick
Heuristic Test Oracles[magazine]

For automated testing, expected results are generated using a test oracle. Here is a look at how heuristic oracles can strike a balance between exhaustive comparison and no comparison at all.

Douglas Hoffman's picture Douglas Hoffman

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