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Ten Ways to Guarantee Project Failure

Naomi Karten specializes in helping companies succeed in their projects. In this column, however, she gives tongue-in-cheek advice on how to make a project fail. Read on to see if these steps to failure are part of your organization's modus operandi.

Naomi Karten's picture Naomi Karten
Venus and Mars in the Workplace

In the "Venus and Mars" series of mainstream relationship books, author John Gray attests that differences in outlook and inherited traits account for relationship problems between genders. His position is that men and women come from inherently different places and therefore approach things from inherently different perspectives. In this week's column, Carol Dekkers explores how some of the issues in software development might be similarly rooted in differences between the software development and customer communities.

Carol Dekkers
Where Are the Testers in XP?

With Extreme Programming, programmers are taking responsibility for writing their own unit tests. What work does this leave for testers? Some people think that XP saves costs by eliminating the need for testers. Does programmer testing really take the place of tester testing? In this column, Bret Pettichord offers ways for testers to provide value to XP teams.

Bret Pettichord's picture Bret Pettichord
Stop Destroying My Team with Bad MBOs

It's 2003, and you're a manager casting about for a good New Year's resolution. Sure, going to the gym, quitting cigarettes, cutting down on the cheeseburgers-those are all good resolutions for you personally. But how about a resolution that helps you professionally, and will help everyone who works for you? How about resolving to stop destroying your team with bad MBOs? Find out how, in this week's column by Rex Black.

Rex Black's picture Rex Black
What Is Your IQ?

People who work in software are smart people. We take pride in our ability to understand complex information and solve difficult problems. What about that other IQ, our Influence Quotient? Much of the work we do requires the help and cooperation of other people, and that means using influence. In this column, Esther Derby helps us listen in on two conversations to see what we can learn about improving our everyday influencing skills.

Esther Derby's picture Esther Derby
Computer Bribery

"There's a little something in it for you if the product is ready for testing next week." To make a date, have you ever resorted to offering or accepting such a payout? You don't often encounter the technique in management books, but we all know that people can be motivated by money. In this week's column, Sheryl Smith imagines a scenario where the equipment is "bribed" to speed delivery. Read on for the point of view from inside the computer.

Sheryl Smith
Estimating Tester to Developer Ratios (or Not)

Test managers often need to make an initial estimate of the number of people that will be required to test a particular product, before the information or the time to do a detailed task breakdown is available. One piece of data that is almost always available is the number of developers that are or will be working on the project in question. Common sense suggests that there is a relationship between the number of testers and the number of developers. This article presents a model that can be used in describing that relationship. (Editors note: Click here to read another paper on this topic, by Cem Kaner, Elisabeth Hendrickson, and Jennifer Smith-Brock.)

Kathy Iberle
Preventing Web Service Security Breaches with Unit Testing

As Web services increase in complexity and connectivity, security is growing as a major concern. Many security breaches have been the result of poorly tested software that allows unexpected inputs to pass and weaken security measures. Such inputs can create conditions in which intruders can obtain access to parts of the system that would otherwise be secure. One effective way for development teams to prevent unexpected inputs is to perform thorough white-box testing at the unit level. Unlike specification testing (which tests that code behaves as it was intended), white-box testing checks for the conditions and inputs that are not expected, thereby enabling developers to more thoroughly test for what they cannot foresee. By performing such testing at the unit level, developers can quickly and easily identify and correct any weaknesses before security breaches have the opportunity to occur.

TechWell Contributor's picture TechWell Contributor
What Does Your Title Say About Your Job?

"That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." True, sloppy naming schemes may be all right in some cases. But as Johanna Rothman explains in this column, when software professionals are looking for a job, hiring, or negotiating work assignments, it's crucial for their job titles to accurately portray the work they do. Read on to see if you agree with the definitions Johanna assigns to the more common QA-related job titles.

Johanna Rothman's picture Johanna Rothman
The Missing Link

The testing environment of many corporations is all too often composed of young employees thrust into the technical world fresh out of college. They are eager and completely overwhelmed with their new environment. Managers are called upon to teach these employees the ways of their company testing. The result is predictable. Managers with limited skills wind up with a work group that reflects these limitations. Even skilled managers with seasoned workers are facing significant problems. It is estimated that over eighty-five percent of all IT projects are delayed or delivered without meeting the predefined specifications by those authorizing the work. In addition, managers do not typically receive training in newer management methodologies such as project management. One organization that faced just such a dilemma was Software Engineering Services, Worldwide Revenue Capture Systems, Information Technology Division within Federal Express Services. Over a period of eighteen months, this department went from not meeting project load dates to an organization that delivered software on-time with fewer software defects. It is the purpose of this paper to provide a blueprint for other organizations looking to reengineer their testing processes based on this experience.

Karol Vastrick

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