Learn How to Save Millions through Software Process Improvement--for Free

When we do assessments, we always try to look at process metrics. In most cases, we can find millions of dollars in process improvement opportunities. In Friday's free webinar, I'll will show you how two very simple bug metrics, calculated using only two simple facts for each bug report using simple, free spreadsheets you can get from our website, can reveal millions and millions of dollars in potential process improvements. All the more reason to track those bugs! To paraphrase Timothy Leary: Tune in, download, and drop software costs.

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Best Practices from the V Model to Make You More Agile

Yes, you read that title right. You might be surprised how many best practices in Agile actually pre-date--in some cases by decades--the Agile Manifesto. For example, did you know that Planning Poker is actually just a slight tweak of a well-established project management best practices, the Delphic Oracle estimation technique. So, are there other best practices that we can import into Agile? You bet. In this recorded webinar, I look at how Agile teams can take ideas from the venerable V model and make them work for them.

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Measurable Results from a Day Invested in Software Testing and Quality Metrics

I ran a Testing Metrics workshop yesterday in Portland, OR for the PNSQC conference. And it was a real workshop, as you can see from the attendee work products shown in these pictures. People worked on developing real-world metrics and then helped each other improve those metrics. When we work with course attendees and clients to create metrics, we extend Basili's Goal-Question-Metric technique to add targets and traceability. Our approach ensures that each metric:

1. Directly informs the audience about status with respect to a strategic or tactical objective

2. Helps to measure effectiveness, efficiency, or satisfaction

3. Relates to some important aspect of process, project, or product management or improvement

4. Has a measurable, achievable target based on baselining, benchmarking, or both 

If you need help improving your metrics program, or starting a new metrics program, contact us. We can help via onsite or virtual metrics workshops, consulting, and expert services.

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Use the Models for the Dark Side of Testing, Luke: Becoming a Black-box Jedi

Hey, you, yeah, you! What are you doing next week? Repairing vaporizers on your uncle's desert farm? I've got a better idea for your week.

Come to San Antonio and join me for our ISTQB Advanced Test Analyst course. For four really intense, hard, in-depth days, I can be your Yoda of black-box testing, guiding you to the dark, sometimes-hidden sides of equivalence partitioning, boundary value analysis, state-based testing, decision tables, pairwise testing, use case testing, and more. Design tests with light-saber precision. Learn to fire photon torpedos that highlight ambiguity, contradictions, and gaps in user stories, use cases, requirements specifications, and other project documents. 

Sound like a plan? Register here to become a black-box testing Jedi.

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A Timely Yet Measured Response to a Request for Metrics

Are you under pressure to introduce metrics into your testing, quality, and development efforts? Did your manager put introducing metrics on your performance evaluation goals for this year? Have you heard horror stories about bad metrics programs run amok? Are you afraid that you'll be the next one to do it wrong?

We're here to help. Or, more accurately, we're in Portland, Oregon, next week, offering a metrics double-header. First, in the conference itself (on Tuesday morning), I'll give a keynote talk about stupid metrics tricks and how to avoid them. Since it's the first talk of the day, I'm gonna wake people up by including a rare public running of Deming's famous red-bead experiment. You may have seen a video of Deming's simple but profound demonstration of metrics absurdity, but I bet you've never seen it done live. Come and join the fun!

Next, on Wednesday, I'll run a one-day workshop on how to successfully develop solid metrics for your testing, quality, and development work. Do you want to set measurable objectives and learn how to evaluate how effective you are at achieving them? Check. Do you want to measure and improve efficiency? Check. Do you want to learn how to survey your stakeholders to improve the value they receive from your team? Check again! You won't just learn about good metrics, you will work with fellow workshop participants to create good metrics. You can go back to work with your metrics program in hand, and a handy e-book on testing metrics on your favorite e-reader, too.

Join me and 30 (and counting) workshop participants in Portland, Oregon next week. You'll return to your domain, the ruler of your measurement and metrics world, by any yardstick!

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An Excerpt from Koray Yitmen's Handy Reference on Business Analysis, Software Testing, and Usability

Last week, I mentioned that my colleague Koray Yitmen, head of Keytorc and the ISTQB's Turkish Testing Board, has published a useful reference for business analysts, software testing, and usability. To further whet your appetite for Koray's useful little tome, you can find an excerpt here.

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Mistake-Bug-Failure-Anomaly-Incident-False Positive-False Negative. WTF?

While I won't win any awards for artistic skills or penmanship, maybe this little doodle from today's class will help you untangle the terminology used by the ISTQB about bugs?

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Writing Technical Books Doesn't Pay (Much). Should Stealing Them Pay?

I'm in the middle of finishing my twelfth and thirteenth technical books on software testing. These books, like the eleven that came before, are mostly labors of love, not remuneration. On an hour-for-hour basis, I'd probably make more standing in a check-out aisle asking "paper or plastic" and bagging groceries. There is a small halo effect from the books, and I have gotten engagements from writing them, but those are few and far between.

So, it pains me to find pirated copies of my books on the Internet. A particular target is the book I co-wrote with Dorothy Graham and Erik van Veenendaal, Foundations of Software Testing. Usually I find these stolen copies out on some site devoted to cut-rate ISTQB exam prep, and no one is making money from it. Just some misguided individual posting a book in the belief that knowledge should be free, or something like that.

It really bothers me, though, if someone uses stolen materials to teach a course that they charge money for. That's the kind of thing that makes my thoughts turn to, oh, say, lawyers. So, I was very unhappy to find that a certain Mr. Walshe of Dublin City University had posted a copy of my book. Perhaps he has a license from the publisher to use the book in this way, and I am getting royalties, in which case that's fine. But I doubt that, because anyone (not just paying students) can download the book from that site. I know. I just did download it.

If this is what it appears to be, it's totally uncool. I thought academics had rules about plagiarism and stealing intellectual property. Disappointing.

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Yet Another ASTQB Mobile Certified Tester

Congratulations to Sana Akbar, who wrote us to talk about her ASTQB Mobile Tester Foundation exam result today: "Hi Rex! I took the exam today and passed with 90%! Thanks for the great course you taught!" Thanks, Sana. It was great to have you in our Mobile Tester Foundation course Software Test Professionals conference in Dallas.

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Templates: Great and Not So Great

Test documentation templates are great, except when they're not. They're great when they serve as a way to remind you of important considerations, questions, and decisions you must address in your test plans, test cases, test policies, and test reports. They're not great when you use them as an excuse to turn off your brain and fill in the blanks.

If you are interested in some templates and examples that might be useful to you--if you use them with your brain switch on--check out our free resources. You're welcome. :-)

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