Silverpath Technologies Inc. -- Thinking Through Testing



 

Papers & Presentations

Silverpath makes available the following resources aimed at helping software companies to improve their quality processes and development methodologies.

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Confidence’s Role in Software Testing

Confidence – “the feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something; firm trust.” https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/us/confidence A few weeks ago I sat down to write about verifying bug fixes. I wanted to determine if there was a systematic approach … Continue reading

Beyond the Agile Testing Quadrants

You can build the right product and you can build it right, and still not deliver value to the customer/user. For any number of reasons, they don’t adopt it easily, completely, or on time. You can blame them. Luddites. You … Continue reading

Accessibility Testing: Four Tips for Doing It Right

If you are feeling a little overwhelmed by the extra effort involved in delivering accessible software, don’t be dismayed. Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind. 1. Embed Accessibility Testing The purpose of the first round of guideline … Continue reading

Better Test Reporting – Data-Driven Storytelling

Testers have a lot of project “health” data at their finger tips – data collected from others in order to perform testing and data generated from testing itself. And, sometimes test reporting gets stuck on simply communicating this data, these … Continue reading

Augmenting Testing in your Agile Team: A Success Story

One of the facts of life about Agile is that remote resources, when you have a mostly collocated team, generally end up feeling a little left out in the cold.  Yet, with appropriately leveraged tools, sufficient facilitation, management support and … Continue reading

8 Test Automation Tips for Project Managers

Software testing has always faced large volumes of work and short timeframes. To get the most value for your testing dollars, test automation is typically a critical component. However, many teams have attempted to add test automation to their projects … Continue reading

Software Testing Guiding Principles

All effective test teams typically have well defined processes, appropriate tools and resources with a variety of skills. However, teams cannot be successful if they place 100% dependency on the documented processes, as doing so leads to conflicts. Especially when testers use … Continue reading

Testing COTS Systems? Make Evaluation Count

Over the years, I have been involved in a number of projects testing COTS (Commercial-Off-The-Shelf) systems across a range of industries. Sometimes the project was with the vendor and sometimes with the customer. When it came to supporting a company … Continue reading

Stop Testing – Start Thinking

Throughout my career I have observed numerous organizations all looking for the ‘silver bullet’ to solve all their product quality problems. News Flash: There is no ‘silver bullet’.  Solving product quality problems can only begin when organizations “Stop Testing and … Continue reading

Uncovering High Value Defects

Methods of uncovering defects have for the most part stayed the same even with great advancements in process and development tools. One thing that has not stayed the same is the amount of time we have to uncover these defects. … Continue reading

Maximizing the Value of Test Automation

High quality software delivered to market quickly has always been the goal of Agile teams. A common process teams use to achieve this goal is test automation. However, simply implementing test automation doesn’t always result in reaching this goal. Over … Continue reading

Testing as a Service? Testing is a Service

We, as testers, do not “build in quality” and can not guarantee all the defects will be found.  We can not, should not, define “what is quality?”  And, we should not be making the choice to release or not. Not … Continue reading

New Project? Shift-Left to Start Right!

Project management is continually challenged with delivering the “right” solution, on-time and on-budget, with high quality. In the face of typical project constraints and changing priorities, quality is sometimes sacrificed towards the end of the project for the sake of … Continue reading

By Executive Order – Get The Best Test Automation Solution

Test automation is an investment. Like any investment, you expect a future return. As stated in “Test Automation – Building Your Business Case” the following are some of the benefits typically expected from investing in software test automation: Discover defects … Continue reading

Distributed Teams – An Interview with Janet Gregory

I recently interviewed Janet Gregory on the topic of distributed teams. Janet is the founder of DragonFire Inc., an agile quality process consultancy and training firm. Janet co-wrote the original book on agile testing “Agile Testing: A Practical Guide for … Continue reading

Is Functional Assurance the new Quality Assurance?

I have noticed a shift in how companies are attempting to ensure quality and this is what has led me to write this post. Companies desperately want to achieve quality by simply creating automated tests. Why do they want this? … Continue reading

Mobile Application Testing – It’s Not All About the Devices

When designing our mobile application testing strategy, it is important to consider that: it is not all about the devices – but it IS about all the devices. The distinction comes from the fact that it is not possible to … Continue reading

Mobile Testing – An Interview with Melissa Tondi

I recently interviewed Melissa Tondi on the topic of mobile testing. Melissa is the founder of Denver Mobile and Quality (DMAQ), Head of QA at ShopAtHome.com and has had significant experience working in, and speaking publicly about, mobile testing. We … Continue reading

Improving Software Quality with Development Tours

Releasing software in the past was a QA’s dream, plenty of time to check every last corner of the product before eventually releasing to production.  With the move to Agile and the speed at which we need to deliver software, … Continue reading

Test Planning Game: “Mind Your Own Business”

You might find it familiar to be involved in, or responsible for, the planning and design of testing on a project where the business drivers around why/how the project is important, in the larger sense, are not entirely clear to … Continue reading

Make Testing Your Competitive Advantage

At first glance, testing might only look like a cost, but testing can actually help you reduce risk, get your product to market faster and contribute to a considerably improved customer experience. Testing is often viewed as a necessary evil, … Continue reading

Performance and Culture – Contrived vs. Legitimate Quality

I read with interest and appreciation the comments on the View from the Q blog about what not to do with respect to Performance Management. I have encountered reporting situations and the ultimate result is that more energy and effort is spent … Continue reading

Don’t Wait, Take – A Smart Approach to Testing

It is common for testing to be given constraints around schedule, budget, team members/skills, and even tools. So, when you are asked to step out of this box and propose what you think is needed for the next project, a … Continue reading

Improving the User Experience in a Fast-Forward World

Recently, after experiencing a “service not available” error while checking my email, my first instinct was to go scouring the web, including sites such as downrightnow.com, to check to see if others were experiencing similar issues and if there was … Continue reading

Selling Accessibility Testing and a Plan to Get Started

During a sales meeting, a question on accessibility was asked. “How do we talk about the importance of accessibility testing without fear becoming the main motivation to act?” I had to admit that in all my years running accessibility testing … Continue reading

Quality – Epiphany of Value, Purpose, and Function

The article by Brooks, referenced in View from the Q, uses terms like conversion and epiphany to describe the recognition and adoption of quality.  Deming is compared to the famous evangelist, Billy Graham. My own conversion was at the feet … Continue reading

Let’s Start a Test Revolution

Before I started my career as a tester, I was a scientist doing research in particle physics, and my years in science trained me to be skeptical, inquisitive and open to new approaches. It was the idea of continuous learning … Continue reading

Quality Power

This post is in response to the timely and provocative question from the ASQ CEO, Bill Troy.  In his View From The Q post, the challenge is made to members of the Quality community to expand their capabilities to include leadership. The … Continue reading

Can Playing Games Improve Tester Skills? Exploring the Science Behind Games

Are gamers predisposed to careers in software testing? The prevalent perception seems to be that testers enjoy playing games more than the general population, and that playing games makes us better testers by honing cognitive skills, which especially important in … Continue reading

Finding Bugs Under Software Rocks – Exploratory Testing as a Bug Hunt

One aspect of software testing is trying to find as many of the bugs in the software under test as possible and, in that sense, software testing can be viewed as a “Bug Hunt”. As a metric for evaluating the … Continue reading

Strategy: Surviving Contact by Using Mobilization and Governance

This post is in response to the latest View from the Q blog on Strategy. I don’t have anything to add to the formation of a strategy, as Bill Troy addressed this subject concisely and effectively.  Instead I will place … Continue reading

Evolution – Lean Six Sigma Examples

There is a discussion as to whether the future of Quality will progress along an Evolutionary or Revolutionary path.  This will show how Quality has evolved from its origins to is present form. One observation I would like to share … Continue reading

Evolution along the Quality Continuum

In response to the question posed in the recent View From The Q concerning whether the progression of Quality will follow an Evolutionary or Revolutionary path, I will first describe my vision of where the Quality domain will be in fifty years. … Continue reading

Seeing What Isn’t There – The Use of Heuristics

Have you ever been about to document a defect discovered in an application under test and wondered how to best compose your words? You want to make sure the defect is clear to the stakeholders, making sure it gets the … Continue reading

Shorter Interval Projects Are Trending, But What Does That Mean For Testers?

I find it interesting that software development projects are generally being planned and executed with shorter time frames than before. Software development projects that were once taken on as a single large project are now being broken down into smaller … Continue reading

It’s Always Risky Business with Web Applications

There is a sign on the front door of our office building. It’s been there all winter. It says something like this: “Would the last person leaving the building please make sure the doors are locked? They sometimes stick”. Sometimes … Continue reading

I Say “Quality”! You Say…?

Quality is one of those words that embodies so much and can mean such different things to different people. Image credit: Pixelors.com For instance: Why do you have the car that you have? Would you change it if you could … Continue reading

Did Sesame Street Impact the Adoption of Agile Methodology?

History of Sesame Street The first episode of Sesame Street aired in November 1969. It was aimed at preschoolers and was based on any number of research studies. ‘It wanted to be an educational program due to the common thought … Continue reading

To Test or Not to Test?

What is COTS? Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) software is pre-built software usually provided by a 3rd party vendor. COTS applications typically require configurations and / or customizations that are tailored to specific requirements of the customer for their software solution. The … Continue reading

Risk Mitigation – Scarcity Leads to Risk-Driven Choices

I presented “Risk Mitigation – Scarcity Leads to Risk-Driven Choices” to yvrTesting.com, the Vancouver Quality Assurance & Testing User Group, and I wanted to share that material with you. Image credit: http://sbhshgovapmacro.wordpress.com/what-is-economics/ Testing is a recognized mitigation solution for certain … Continue reading

Making Numbers Count – Metrics that Matter

As testers and test managers, we are frequently asked to report on the progress or results of testing to our stakeholders.  Questions like “How is testing going?” may seem simple enough at a glance, but there are actually a number … Continue reading

Quality Without Governance = Disaster

I found another example of how an organization’s governance undermined its quality discoveries, to the detriment of its customers and society at large. GM Cobalt Delayed Recall The link describes a scenario where General Motors recalled its 2005-2007 Chevy Cobalt … Continue reading

Testing User Experience – Should You Care?

One day after work, I decided to go to a newly renovated location of my gym to try it out.  My objectives were to get a workout in, see where this new gym was and whether I would like working … Continue reading

Own Your Approach – Drive Process Improvement

You and your team have to live with the impact of poor internal quality every day, on every project.  But fixing these issues or improving the situation is not often a top priority. “No one keeps track of the costs … Continue reading

Tending to Your Tester Garden: Growing a Great Test Team

Creating a great test team is a lot like gardening, you need to find the right seeds and make sure to plant them in an environment where they will germinate, grow and thrive. But what seeds do you look for, … Continue reading

We Are Not The Quality Police

I started my testing career as part of a user group that did analysis, technical writing, training and testing in the Systems Department of an insurance company at a time when having nontechnical people involved in software development was very … Continue reading

Risk Clustering – Project-Killing Risks of Doom

Our home shines dimly with reflected sunlight, a pale blue dot in the expansiveness of space.  Around us, dark shapes move through the skies, in near countless number.  Some few trend in our direction.  Not seeking, but tending inevitably toward … Continue reading

Avoiding Common Test Automation Pitfalls

In an age where many organizations are under pressure to accelerate their software delivery to customers, test automation is becoming a necessity.  There are many reasons why it’s advantageous to implement a test automation solution as part of your testing … Continue reading

Creating Success in a Distributed Agile Team

Agile development methodologies focus on highly collaborative team environments that are continuously planning, developing, testing, integrating and delivering functional software. In such environments, constant feedback and communication are critical and there are small margins for errors and delays. In the … Continue reading

Write a Test Strategy – What Choice(s) Do I Have?

Project Manager: “Your test strategy looks good.”         Test Lead: “Great. I will get started on the next steps. Do you have the finalized delivery schedule?” Project Manager: “I will send it to you shortly.”     … Continue reading

Critical to Value: Strategic Metrics for Quality Management

The content in this post is based on the exceptional book from ASQ Press, Design for Six Sigma as Strategic Experimentation by H.E. Cook.  (ISBN 0-87389-645-9) pub. 2005. While it is insightful for our profession to engage and embrace globalization, … Continue reading

Software Developers and Testers: Friends or Foes?

I have often observed situations where developers and testers working on the same project seem to be in a constant struggle with each other. But why – why are the two different roles so prone to working against each other … Continue reading

Into The Unknown: Entering The World Of Software Testing

I recently joined PQA as a quality detective and, being a novice tester who has just entered the field of testing, I would like to share some of my thoughts based on my experience from the past couple of weeks. … Continue reading

The Science of Testing

The best way to approach a problem is typically to look at it from different angles, to turn it over and to discuss it until a solution can be found.  Similarly, it is important to try to bring different perspectives … Continue reading

How many testers does it take to install a doorbell? Isolating a defect in real-life

As testers, we tend to be analytical thinkers by nature.  This is a valuable quality in our work, but how often do we take note of how we exercise those skills in other areas of our life? The following is … Continue reading

When To Get Serious About Testing

Some years back, I taught a course on software configuration management. In that course, we discussed the benefits and drawbacks to integrating change control within the software development process considering that the software is being actively developed or matured during … Continue reading

Exploratory Testing on Agile Projects

Exploratory testing provides both flexibility and speed, characteristics that have become increasingly important with the quick pace of short agile iterations. But, how do you retain traceability without losing your creativity? The answer is xBTM – a combination of session-based … Continue reading

Meaning of Quality: Different Things to Different People

In my first job following university, I sold financial products on commission.  In this role, I had to memorize a script which I can still remember more than 20 years later. “Financial planning means different things to different people.  To … Continue reading

xBTM: Harnessing the Power of Exploratory Testing

Exploratory testing provides both flexibility and speed, characteristics that have become increasingly important, especially with the quick pace of short agile iterations.  But, how do you retain traceability in exploratory testing without losing your creativity? How do you, as a … Continue reading

Release Criteria – What Is Your ‘Quality Bar’?

In a previous article, I discussed managing risk with quality gates (“None Shall Pass…unless? Managing Risk with Quality Gates”). Such gates and their expectations facilitate tracing issue root cause and examining which preventative measures failed or need to be enhanced … Continue reading

Jumping Into Mobile Application Testing – A Continuously Moving Target

Adoption of mobile devices is at an all-time high and the demographics of the technology market are changing. If the user base changes, user acceptance testing must necessarily change. You can probably trust a Linux user running your command line … Continue reading

IT Consulting – Sales Experience Required?

Sales experience needed in an IT consulting role? OK, first answer these questions… Who are you? What do you do? What do you love? Then, consider…

Model-Based Testing – Learning Experience

As a software tester, I find that using models is very helpful. Models allow us to understand a business process or how a system should behave in a given situation. In my practice of software testing, I keep sketches of … Continue reading

Jumping Into Mobile Application Testing – Too Many Configurations?

At the end of our previous installment, we touched on the fact that Apple instills tight control on its iOS. At the other end of the spectrum, you have the open Android platform; widely embraced in a society where freedom … Continue reading

Jumping Into Mobile Application Testing – Initial Challenges

With all of the latest developments in mobile platforms and the nature of this ever changing landscape, I wanted to share my observations and opinions on how I believe testers can approach this dynamic. As part one of a three … Continue reading

Quality for Rapid Delivery

In the interests of the September theme, I will keep this short.  In his blog, Paul B posed the following challenge: “a conversation about how the practice of quality could evolve to support the needs of a rapidly changing world. … Continue reading

None Shall Pass…unless? Managing Risk with Quality Gates

A common element to a test strategy or master test plan is to include a description of how the project will mature the software system towards release, and how the project team can be sure that progress is on track … Continue reading

You Are a Scientist

On May 15, 2012, Christin Wiedemann presented “You Are a Scientist” at the Let’s Test Conference in Stockholm, Sweden. A software tester is nothing less than a scientific researcher, using all his/her intelligence, imagination and creativity to gain empirical information … Continue reading

It’s Raid Night! Gamification for Software Test Teams?

I presented “It’s Raid Night! Gamification for Software Test Teams?” to VANQ.org, the Vancouver Software Quality Assurance User Group and I wanted to share that material with you. People, processes and technology are the pillars of any company, but without … Continue reading

Why Are You a Tester?

I am always curious as to what drives people – what their motivation is – especially when it comes to other testers. I know why I am a tester. My driving force is my curiosity and the need to learn … Continue reading

Test Management: Leading Your Team To Success (Course Extract)

I have extracted a small deck of slides from my course “Test Management: Leading Your Team To Success” and linked it below.  Hope you enjoy. You can download the slides on SlideShare.net: Test Management – Leading Your Test Team to … Continue reading

Follow-up on xBTM

Background At STARWest 2011, I gave a talk about xBTM together with Michael Albrecht. Jon Bach was in the audience, and he gave us some very valuable feedback on our idea and how we presented it. This blog post is … Continue reading

The Return Of Dendrograms

What is Dendrogram-Based Testing? Well, what is a dendrogram to start with? A dendrogram is a tree diagram that visualises hierarchical clustering. If that didn’t help, a dendrogram basically groups objects in a tree view based on how similar they … Continue reading

A Remote Tester’s Perspective – The Challenges and Solutions

On October 27, 2011, Keith McIntosh presented “A Remote Tester’s Perspective: The Challenges and Solutions” at the Software Test Professionals Conference in Dallas, Texas. Much has been written on the many challenges associated with remote testing locations whether they are onshore, nearshore or offshore.  The … Continue reading

Scalable V-Model: An Illustrative Tool for Crafting a Test Approach

I recommend a testing approach that is risk-driven, leverages agile principles, encourages early validation and verification activities, reports progress with practical metrics, and is controlled through hand-offs and acceptance criteria overlaid on the development cycle via a scalable “V-model” (whether … Continue reading

Dendogram-Based Testing

Friday afternoon I was looking through the latest tweets when my eye was caught by the phrase Dendogram-Based Testing. I like all words that have a Greek origin and sound like science, so I had a closer look, and of … Continue reading

UAT as a Lean Startup

User acceptance testing (UAT) – that misunderstood human activity that is squeezed from front to back by late delivery and set-in-stone go-live dates – is an opportunity to use lean tactics. The user acceptance team is a cross-functional team. An … Continue reading

Working with Business Testers

From Nancy Kelln’s presentation at STPCon, “Leading Business Testers”, business testers: are not testers do not want to be testers require guidance and support require their expectations to be managed may be working part-time on the project and all of … Continue reading

Feature Advocacy

Take everything you know about bug advocacy – the art of maximizing the likelihood that any given bug is fixed as per its impact on those who care about it – and direct it towards feature advocacy – the art … Continue reading

Role of Outsourcing: Finding Your Vision

On February 24, 2011, I presented “Role of Outsourcing: Finding Your Vision” to VANQ.org, the Vancouver Software Quality Assurance User Group and I wanted to share that material with you. Consciously deciding your outsourcing approach is similar to choosing to … Continue reading

Going To The Extreme – xBTM

Now that the project has finished it is time to sum up my experiences of adapting Thread-Based Test Management (TBTM). Since I generally do not believe in rigorously adhering to a protocol, I ended up not using TBTM strictly, but … Continue reading

Checklists, Refactored

Guided exploratory testing is using checklists to support and guide the exploration. In addition, it also means using those checklists as the backbone for communicating to other stakeholders on the project/initiative. I’ve started to advocate the term ‘testlists’ to replace … Continue reading

Know Yourself as a Tester

Who are you? How do you behave? And how does it affect your testing? I was pair-testing with a colleague, which gave me an excellent opportunity to study his testing behaviour. He had to enter a five digit number repeatedly, … Continue reading

Tying Up Some Loose Ends

I think it is time for a follow-up on my experience of applying Thread-Based Test Management (TBTM). In October last year I blogged about my attempt at setting up my tests for a new project using TBTM. It was a smaller … Continue reading

Regression Testing – Strategic and Risk-driven, Can You Afford Not To?

Planning your testing effort for the next project: How much time do you have?  How many people do you have?  _How_ big was that scope again? As testing is virtually always constrained with not enough time, not enough people, not … Continue reading

Click OK to Crash

I – of course – use a risk-based approach in my testing, meaning that checking the exact phrasing of error messages is very far down on my prioritised list of test tasks. As long as the message is relevant and … Continue reading

Physicists – Testers in Disguise?

My background is in science. I have spent 11 years (a third of my life, believe it or not) studying mathematics, statistics and most importantly – physics, experimental astroparticle physics to be specific. I have been trained to be sceptical … Continue reading

Spinning Threads Into Yarn

Recently the approach I have had to my testing has been heavily influenced by session-based test management. I have made a test plan consisting of a high-level list of test tasks. The testing has been exploratory, performed in sessions on … Continue reading

Picking Up a New Thread

I have just spent the weekend at a very inspiring peer conference on exploratory testing (Swedish Workshop on Exploratory Testing, SWET1) in Stockholm. There were many interesting presentations and discussions, but what is on my mind right now is James … Continue reading

Play Me a Song

My sister was visiting us a few weeks ago so that she might meet her new niece in person. She lives about 1500km away from us, so it’s just far enough away to make these sorts of visits infrequent. I … Continue reading

Survey Report – Project Success & Test Outsourcing

This summer, we put out a quick 10-question survey regarding software development and outsourcing or contracting of testing services. The intention of the survey was to use the responses to paint a picture of the attitude or approach towards outsourcing … Continue reading

Using Agile Principles to Get an “A” With the Customer Every Time

Agile is a frequent topic in process improvement discussions and networking events alike – some going for Agile all the way and others rejecting it as something that won’t work for their projects or customers. In general, I have found … Continue reading

Why Estimate Testing If You Are Just Given A Box To Work Within?

Sharing an answer to a couple of recent customer queries in hopes that it is generally useful as well: Often in discussing the value of estimating test efforts, a comment is made by someone that there is no point in … Continue reading

Designing an Effective (Agile) Smoke Test

Sharing an answer to a couple of recent customer queries in hopes that it is generally useful as well: The ability to give early feedback during testing is a cornerstone to providing value on a software project. A well designed … Continue reading

Test Automation – Building Your Business Case

I presented “Test Automation – Building Your Business Case” to VANQ.org, the Vancouver Software Quality Assurance User Group. Subsequently I presented it to the Southern Idaho Society for Software Quality Assurance and UBC Continuing Studies (Tech.UBC.ca), and I wanted to … Continue reading

Successfully Integrating Test Automation and Agile Projects

On Oct. 7, 2009, I presented “Successfully Integrating Test Automation and Agile Projects” to Annex Consulting Group CIO Breakfast, and I wanted to share that material with you. To accelerate your project and specifically the testing of your releases, test … Continue reading

Involve Testing Throughout the SDLC

Too often a test team is employed only towards the end of a project cycle. This means the test team is not as fully leveraged as they could be and therefore the project is not reaching as high a quality … Continue reading

Visibility of Value – Testing Within the Organization

Consider the last time the testing group was involved from the beginning of a project, had an influential voice in the development of the project plan, was able to hire for test planning, and was treated as a strategic competitive … Continue reading

Metrics – Thinking In N-Dimensions

I presented “Metrics – Thinking in N-Dimensions” to VANQ.org, the Vancouver Software Quality Assurance User Group, and I wanted to share that material with you. The biggest challenge in establishing an effective metrics programme is not the formulas, statistics, and … Continue reading

User Acceptance Testing – Finally, Some Validation?

User acceptance testing (UAT) is the one form of acceptance testing that must involve stakeholders outside of the project team; the users. UAT provides a formal means for validating that a new system actually meets the necessary user requirements from … Continue reading

Communicating Requirements To Testing – You’re Going To Be In Pictures!

How do you know what a system is supposed to do and what it is not supposed to do? Formal requirements are intended to create an easily validated, maintainable and comprehensive set of documents communicating the system’s planned functional scope … Continue reading

Capturing Wild Requirements for Testing

I presented “Capturing Wild Requirements – For Testing” to VANQ.org, the Vancouver Software Quality Assurance User Group, and I wanted to share that material with you. Later, I developed this material into a 1-day workshop “Requirements Ghostwriting: Filling in the … Continue reading

Estimating Test Effort – From Billiard Balls to Electron Clouds

Each of us has very likely had to do an estimate in the past, whether it was for a set of assigned tasks, for a project, or for the budget of an entire organization. As a tester, the question is … Continue reading

Increasing Test Effort Estimation Effectiveness

On May 29, 2008, I presented “Increasing Test Effort Estimation Effectiveness” to VANQ.org, the Vancouver Software Quality Assurance User Group, and I wanted to share that material with you. Estimates Provide Visibility to Stakeholders To know how much we will … Continue reading

Why Pay High Prices for Defect Management

This article was published in Volume 2 Issue 10 of Software Test and Performance, www.stpmag.com If you want quality costs to stop guzzling money, the most effective thing you can do is optimize your project’s defect life cycle. Here’s how. … Continue reading

Optimizing the Defect Lifecycle – with Resolution

I presented “Optimizing the Defect Lifecycle – with Resolution” to VANQ.org, the Vancouver Software Quality Assurance User Group. Subsequently I presented it to the Southern Idaho Society for Software Quality Assurance and UBC Continuing Studies (Tech.UBC.ca), and I wanted to … Continue reading

Philosophy of Defect Resolutions

One of the foundation processes in any company that produces software is the defect lifecycle. It is primarily this process that describes how Development and Testing interact around an issue or defect report. There is typically an emphasis on how … Continue reading

Defect Tracking – Selecting the Right Tool

Effective defect tracking is a critical activity in any software development project, and having the right tool to do the job is just as critical. A defect tracking system is a tool solution intended for: the tracking of project issues, … Continue reading

Pictures for Test Planning

In the fast-paced changing world of software product development there is a continuous challenge to document the expectations for the system and its internally and externally facing behaviours. Requirements often suffer because of the challenges of keeping up with an … Continue reading

Establishing Effective Metrics

The biggest challenge in establishing an effective metrics programme is not the formulas, statistics, and complex analysis that are often associated with metrics. Rather, the difficulty lies in determining which metrics provide valuable information to the project and/or organization, and … Continue reading

Rapid Test Case Prioritization

It is a common theme in software projects and testing in particular that there is never enough time to do all that you need to do. Given the limited time that you have available, how can you know that you … Continue reading

Evaluating UI Without Users

User involvement is one of the major factors in designing UI for software. However, as much as we would like the users to be involved, user devotion to a project is never a free or unlimited resource. To maximize the … Continue reading

New Project? Where are the Templates?

A guiding principle in the software industry, considering the wide range of project scope and constraints, is to “use the processes and tools appropriate to the size, complexity, and impact of your project”. For instance, each of the following situations … Continue reading

“Bad User” Testing

How can you be sure that an application will behave properly when users perform actions or combinations of actions that were not considered during the development of the functionality? During the testing phase, you have to plan for what is … Continue reading

Error Messages and How to Improve Them

Error messages are displayed by applications in response to unusual or exceptional conditions that can’t be rectified within the application itself. The need for “useful error messages” can be defined, in the simplistic case, to be a need for some … Continue reading

Pot-holes on the Road to Automation

Testing costs can be a significant part of the project with software project managers spending up to half of their project budget on testing. But how do you make testing more cost effective so that you are getting more done … Continue reading

Counting On Requirements

How do you know what a system is supposed to do and what it is not supposed to do? Requirements are intended to create an easily validated, maintainable and verifiable document describing a system’s planned functionality. What is lacking in … Continue reading

Estimating for Testing

Each of us has very likely had to do an estimate in the past, whether it was for a set of assigned tasks, for a project, or for an entire organization. As a tester, the question is commonly presented as, … Continue reading

Testing Without Requirements

A typical software project lifecycle includes such phases as requirements definition, design, code and fix. But, are you shipping software applications with minimal to no requirements and little time for testing because of time-to-market pressures? Build it, ship it, then … Continue reading

Create a Lightweight Testing Framework

Are you ready to take on the challenges of the new project? Are you knowledgeable of the latest in testing tools and techniques? What will be the ramification of not testing the product adequately? How will this impact your future … Continue reading

Performance Testing and the World Wide Web

Today’s client/server systems are expected to perform reliably under loads ranging from hundreds to thousands of simultaneous users. The fast growing number of mission critical applications (e-commerce, e-business, contents management, etc.) accessible through the Internet makes web site performance an … Continue reading

Continuous Quality Improvement and Outsourcing

The credit for developing the concept of Total Quality Management (TQM) is given to Dr. W. Edwards Deming, who was requested by the Japanese government of 1950 to come and assist them with turning around the public perception of the … Continue reading

COTS Tools vs. Scripting Languages for Test Automation

What is COTS? COTS stands for “Commercial Off-The-Shelf” and is often used in reference to software products or tools supplied by third-party vendors. These COTS test automation tools are created to help you in automating some or all of your … Continue reading

Risk Based Testing – Targeting the Risk

One of the obvious truths about software testing is that there will never be enough time to do all the tests. While everything should be tested, limited resources and schedule require that testing is structured whereby the most critical areas … Continue reading

Components of a Test Strategy

A Test Strategy is a documented approach to testing where the test effort, test domain, test configurations, and test tools employed to verify and validate a set of functionality are defined. It also includes information on schedules, resource allocations, and … Continue reading

Test Throughout the Development Lifecycle

There are many perceptions of what software testing is all about. Some people see software testing as something developers do as they write code. For some testing is performed all at once when the code is complete. Others believe that … Continue reading

Data-Driven Testing

One of the risks of any application is being able to do enough testing in the time available. Another common risk is getting at those critical components behind the GUI to ensure that they are as bug free as possible … Continue reading

Risk Management

Risk management can be defined as creating and maintaining plans for controlling real and perceived risks paired with monitoring the effectiveness of those plans. DO NOT wait until a risk becomes reality before deciding what to do about it. A … Continue reading

Stay on Track in Any Economy: 7 Hot Tips for Better Software Projects

I co-authored this article with Andrea McIntosh and we published it with StickyMinds.com There are some basic truths and best practices that hold firm regardless of the economic climate in which you find yourself. Tightening up software development and planning … Continue reading

What is Risk in Software Development?

Risk is often defined as the combination of the likelihood of a problem occurring and the impact of the problem if it were to occur. Risk concerns future happenings. Risk involves change in mind, opinion, actions, or places. Risk involves … Continue reading

eXtreme Testing – Ramp Up and Keep Up!

eXtreme Programming, or ‘XP’ as it is also known, is a relatively new development methodology (~4 years old), which treats software development as a ‘jigsaw’ puzzle: a product is slowly built by adding small pieces to a larger body of … Continue reading

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