Something to Write Home About

I've written a few books, and each one has its challenges and high points. However, this month offered an interesting milestone. This month, I'm in the final days of submitting two books to the publisher, and both will be undergoing final edits by the end of November. One book, Expert Test Manager, is for senior test managers and directors, especially--but not only--those looking to achieve ISTQB Expert Test Manager certification. The other, Agile Testing Foundations, is for testers, test managers, SDETs, product owners, and developers in Agile teams, especially--but again not only--those looking to achieve ISTQB Agile Tester Foundation certification.

For those of you who have purchased and benefited from my books in the past, thanks for your support. I hope you find these two a worthy addition to your collection of software testing books.

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Two Numbers You Should Know--But Probably Don't

Know the cost of a bug during testing. Know the cost of a bug in production. If you know these things, you'll know how much money testing saves the company and how to decide when enough testing has occurred. Both numbers are easy to calculate, using cost of quality, but very few testers, test managers, SDETs, project managers, product managers, and product owners have done so.

P.S.  A colleague, Ed Weller, added the following anecdote about another number testers should know: "What is the cost of the failure to your customer of a failure in production? I was on the short end of a discussion where our customer...lost 1 million per hour in manufacturing capacity is our mainframes were down. Now that is serious money..."

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Great Feedback on PNSQC Keynote

Last month, I gave a keynote speech on stupid metrics tricks and how to avoid them at the PNSQC. You can check out the video on YouTube; it will be posted on our own YouTube channel shortly. Why give it a watch? Well, check out the great feedback from attendees:

"I loved the Red Bean experiment recreation!"  "The presentation provided many great illustrations of the challenges we face when using metrics and what can be done to address them." "Good talk." "This was a very relevant and useful topic.  I really enjoyed the exercise with audience members.  It was great seeing Rex Black in person.  Thank you!"  "Relevant content with great advice on how to avoid stupid metric"  "The material was great." "Good points, fun demo, relatable content."  "Interesting concepts and useful info." "Well knowledgeable speaker that injects humor to keep audience attention.  Thought provoking slides."  "Loved the presentation."  "The presentation was interesting with regard to discussing about metrics and the effects of implementing them." "Fun and informative!  Good audience participation."  "Excellent presentation, good thoughts...demo...was fun."  "I had heard about the red bead experiment but never seen it demonstrated. It was illuminating."  "Professional quality."  "Entertaining speaker!"  "Enjoyed his dry presentation style. Good mix of instruction, exhortation, stories and hands-on experimentation that gets the point across."  "Fun demo."  "Informative and entertaining talk. Very good topic for this conference."  "Really liked the bead demo and the clear analogy."  "Entertaining...brought to life some common myths and mistakes with metrics."  "The Deming's Red Bead Experiment was a fun example..."  "Rex is a a good speaker! He made great arguments for why metrics are useful as well as great examples of how metrics can be misused and miscommunicated."  "Good takeaways"  "Good pace - relevant"  "Great talk and demo!!!"  "Good to see the Deming experiment"

Thanks for the kind words, everyone.  Why not invest 90 minutes of your time? You'll leave a lot less likely to do stupid metrics tricks. Of course, if you need help setting up or improving your metrics program, let us know.

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Ask Not What You Can Do for the ISTQB; Tell the ISTQB What It Can Do for You

Professional testers, SDETs, and unit-testing developers, help the ISTQB help you improve what software testing is all about.  The ISTQB is looking for your feedback on how to improve and further develop its product portfolio. In just 10 minutes, you can give the ISTQB your feedback about where software testing needs to go.  The last time ISTQB conducted this survey, they got very useful feedback which guided development of a number of new initiatives.  This year's survey is based on the previous one, but especially looks to explore current trends.  Take the survey now at:  After you complete the survey, please pass the link on to fellow testing professionals. Working with the ISTQB, let's guide the software testing profession onward and upward.

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Insight or Just Numbers?

To paraphrase Lord Kelvin, a test team has little insight if they have no metrics. However, there are plenty of test teams who, through the wrong choice or improper use of metrics, have plenty of metrics, but no insight. To learn more about common metrics mistakes, click here to listen to my keynote speech at PNSQC earlier this month.

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RBCS Mobile Class Reveals Bugs in Delta App

RBCS business partner Gary Rueda Sandoval applied techniques described in the RBCS Mobile Tester Foundation course. He found bugs, as you can see in this video. He wrote:  

Hola Hermano,

I just tried 5 minutes in Delta App and found some Bugs:

1) Functionality

   1.1 Localization: After Installation the app did not notice where I am located and neither changed into Spanish.

   1.2 Localization: Not possible to change the language

   1.3 Localization: It is not possible to change the currency into another currency that we use here. We use 2 currencies. USD and BOB

   1.4 It shows me the price flights in BOB, and I cannot see the change rate.

   1.5 Layout Bug (See Video)

etc.... there are some more bugs.... ;)

Saludos!      Gary.

Nice work, Gary!

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Twitter as a Security Improvement Tool

So, on two different days, I noticed a server-room door propped open with a pillow as shown here. Both times I notified staff. First time apparently didn't get the right degree of attention. Second time included the photo and Twitter post shown in the link. I had a discussion with the head of security about 10 minutes after posting that Tweet. The moral of this story: Social media is a good way to escalate bad software, hardware, and physical security and quality problems. ;-)

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Testing with Purpose and Direction

Do your testing efforts feel aimless or vague in terms of what your test team's work actually contributes to the organization? Or do you feel unclear about how exactly to achieve your objectives, or just unsure that the strategies you use are the right ones? If so, we are offering a series of one-day workshops in Australia in December that can solve that problem.  Register at:

Not in Australia? No worries, mate! We can offer these as a one-day on-site training/consulting service, too. Just contact us to get a quote.

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Games People Play with Shy Bugs

Just because a failure is irreproducible does not mean the bug is not worth fixing.  It is a bug triage worst practice to use the difficulty of reproducing the failure as an excuse to defer fixing a bug with intermittent symptoms.

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Free Webinar Yields Yet Another E-learning Winner

Another webinar, another winner. Congratulations to Kimberly Bronson for winning this month's free e-learning drawing. Wanna win next month? Just register and attend next month's free webinar. Start by visiting for details about the date, times, and topic. Heck, at the very least you'll learn something, and it won't cost you a dime!

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