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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
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
License to Hack

Is your organization doing Extreme Programming or one of the other agile methods? Are they considering it? Before you jump on the latest methodology bandwagon, you should make sure you're not just giving your developers a license to hack. Karl Wiegers provides some insight into how agile development models can be misused and how you can ensure that your process improvement effort has the best chance to be effective.

Karl E. Wiegers
The Problem Isn't Always THE Problem

When things go awry, sometimes the first problem you see is not The Problem but just a product of its symptoms. But if problems can hide behind other problems, how can you learn to spot the true culprit at the source of your dilemma? Elisabeth Hendrickson shares some lessons she's learned about "The Problem."

Elisabeth Hendrickson's picture Elisabeth Hendrickson
Exploratory Planning

StickyMinds columnist James Bach has used this space to describe and discuss Exploratory Testing, a style of testing that emphasizes product exploration and fluid test design and execution. In this week's column, test consultant Lee Copeland adds his own twist to the exploratory premise.

Lee Copeland's picture Lee Copeland
7 Keys to Building Great Work Teams

Successful projects depend on how well the team works together. Elements that lead to success include commitment, contribution, good communication, and cooperation. Cooperation itself includes factors such as follow-through, timeliness, and others. Conflict management and change management are also important. This article analyzes and explains all of these elements that constitute a productive and successful team.

Suzanne Willis Zoglio

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