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Wizardry and Requirements

Illusion and reality. Challenges and fear. These are just a few of the elements that go into requirements gathering and management. Being aware of what you know and what you don't know can ensure getting the right requirements. Read on as Harry Potter fan Becky Winant shares some insight and survival tips for requirements analysts.

Becky Winant's picture Becky Winant
Reflections on a Fable about Developer-Tester Relationships

Lee Copeland's fictional story about getting children to clean their rooms struck a chord with many of our readers, who compared it to getting developers to test their code. Here are Lee's responses to your feedback, along with a few insights about the dynamics behind developers examining their work.

Lee Copeland's picture Lee Copeland
Can You Negotiate Quality?

XP teams have the right to do their best work. On the other hand, customers have the right to specify and pay for only the quality they need. How does one reconcile two potentially conflicting points of view? Is quality negotiable? If so, how do we go about negotiating it? This paper will explore the following questions: Is quality negotiable? How can we negotiate quality? What are internal and external quality, and are either or both negotiable? What's the XP tester's quality assurance role? How far should testers go in helping the customer define acceptance criteria?

Lisa Crispin's picture Lisa Crispin
Managing for Value with Agile Software Development

Agile development increases business value for the customer, with the customer controlling the variables at each iteration. Ken Schwaber, co-creator of the Scrum agile approach, explains the basic notion behind agile development. A number of useful links appear at the end of the article.

TechWell Contributor's picture TechWell Contributor
Did You Hear What I Said?

Software projects are complex endeavors that rely on clear communication for success. If communication methods are mismatched or leave too many gaps, your project could suffer, and you could be highly frustrated. In this column, Karl Wiegers details potential problems to be mindful of, and strategies to use, when communicating about a project.

Karl E. Wiegers's picture Karl E. Wiegers
The 11th Hour

Testers are often on the critical path for getting a software release out. They must plan carefully in order to minimize the critical path, while still doing a complete job of testing. This schedule pressure is taken to an extreme when a production server must be taken offline in order to deploy the software, and everyone is waiting for the final test results before the system can go live again. Karen Johnson describes her company's carefully planned and orchestrated method for doing a final check of an installed system. Her story is relevant to e-commerce companies as well as IT shops that are under pressure to keep systems updated while minimizing downtime.

Karen N. Johnson's picture Karen N. Johnson
Let's Bury the Term Software Engineering

Softwareengineering is not an accurate way to describe what software designers anddevelopers do. We create software in an environment that is constantly changingto fulfill the expectations of businesspeople who aren't exactly sure what theywant. Does that sound like engineering? As I'll discuss in this article, physicalengineers deal with the universal laws of physics, but software designers and developersdeal with unrelenting change. By using the word engineering to describe our profession, we set ourselves up for staticprocesses and brittle team structures that tend to discourage change, ratherthan folding it into our everyday lives. Once we can shift our mindsets awayfrom engineering our software, people, and processes, we'll find that our teamsare more responsive, productive and change-readythan ever before.


Daryl  Kulak's picture Daryl Kulak
What to Do When the Right Person Doesn't Come Along

You've written the job description. You know just what you want in this employee. You have one tiny problem-you just can't find that person. Now what? Sometimes you can continue to wait for the right person to come along. Sometimes you choose to hire someone with inadequate skills. In either case, you don't have to just hope for the best. You have other proactive choices: hiring from within, hiring a candidate with some skills and training the rest, changing the way you work, and changing the job description.

Johanna Rothman's picture Johanna Rothman
Testing Your Worth

There's no doubt that the current job market is tight and a little shaky for test professionals. In a climate where entire test groups are being laid off or trimmed to the bone, Johanna Rothman notices a trend in test management priorities that you might want to consider. Follow the story of how one test manager determined tester ROI and how testers might approach increasing their value.

Johanna Rothman's picture Johanna Rothman
A Comparison of IBM's Orthogonal Defect Classification to Hewlett Packard's Defect Origins, Types, and Modes

In the last three years, the author has worked with seven Software Development teams to help them categorize defects using Hewlett Packard's Defect Origins, Types, and Modes. More recently, the author has assisted a software testing and development organization analyze the results of defects categorized using IBM's Orthogonal Defect Classification (ODC).

John Huber's picture John Huber


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