Mobile Devices and Apps Shift IT--and IT Quality

In San Antonio? Join me tomorrow at the AITP SA meeting for my presentation on the how mobile apps are shifting the IT world.

Topic: The More Things Change (Location), the More They Stay the Same

In just a few years, mobile devices and the applications on them have upended the way people use computers. People spend more time than ever on their PCs, but people spend even more time on their mobile devices. Obviously, mobile devices and apps have important differences from their PC counterparts. It’s not just a smaller screen! However, does that mean that all proven best practices for testing and quality go out the window when dealing with mobile apps? In this talk, Rex will explain what changes, and what doesn’t change, when you move into the mobile world.

BIO: With over 30 years of software and systems engineering experience, Rex Black is President of RBCS (, a testing leader, providing consulting, training, and expert services. RBCS has over 100 clients on six continents, spanning all areas of software and system development, from embedded systems to gaming software to banking and insurance to defense systems. Rex is the most prolific author practicing in the field of software testing today, having written thirteen books (and counting). He is past President of the ISTQB and of the ASTQB, a co-author of many of the ISTQB syllabi, and Chair of the Agile Working Group.

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Think Fast!

Quick: Give me the elevator speech on why what you do for your organization matters. Now, take a look at your company's strategic objectives. If your elevator speech doesn't have clear traceability to each one of those objectives, your elevator speech let you out a few floors shy of the C-suite.

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ISTQB Agile Working Group Gets to Work

Building on the success of the Foundation Agile Extension syllabus, we're back together again to build the Advanced Agile Technical syllabus. Here's a picture of the team right before kicking off the ISTQB - International Software Testing Qualifications Board Agile Working Group meeting in New York City. One (very productive) day completed as of now, and another cued up for tomorrow.

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Paging Dr. Timberlake!

2016 was a tough year to be an expert, at least on TV, because it seems like everything those experts on TV said turned out the opposite. To help make things even, we're making 2017 the Year of the Expert. The Expert Test Manager, that is! Join us. We'll start on January 19, with the first-ever in the world Expert Test Manager Strategic Module boot camp. You can register for that boot camp today at More boot camps will follow, as well as live, instructor-lead classes. Hey, if Justin Timberlake could bring sexy back in 2007, we can bring expertise back in 2017, at least for test managers. Contact us for more information.

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Stop Throwing that Stinky Fish Around

As a tester, tester manager, or SDET, your job occasionally involves delivering bad news. It's like you are carrying a stinky dead fish into the project status meeting or daily stand-up. Sometimes, test professionals make the mistake of simply throwing that dead fish down. In this brief video, Phil Lew and I encourage you to adopt a different, more-effective approach to delivering bad news.

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A Thousand Subscribers; 188,471 Views

We got notification this morning that we had reached 1,000 subscribers to our YouTube channel, and, by this evening, it had reached 1,006. Even better, we have had over 188,000 views on our videos.

So why is our YouTube channel so popular? Because it's the best place on YouTube to start learning how to improve your software testing practices! For no charge (just help us keep the lights on by watching the ads, please), you get access to over 100 hours of free resources that can get you started on your path to better testing--and better software. Literally years of recorded webinars, presentations, and more are all yours. You're welcome.

Need more help? Contact us to get a quote on our consulting, training, and expert services.

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Gives Us 20 Minutes, We'll Give You One Key Idea

Give us 20 minutes or less, and we'll give you one key idea. This series will deliver one relevant, timely technique, skill, or insight, every other month, as part of the RBCS free webinar program. Join us to learn one key idea. If you are a tester, test manager, SDET, or programmer who tests, you need these key ideas. RBCS delivers--again.

We'll start with an eminently useful technique, pairwise testing, and show how to do it using ACTS. If you’ve been testing for any length of time, you know that the number of possible test cases is enormous if you try to test all possible combinations of inputs, configuration values, types of data, and so forth. It’s like the mythical monster, the many-headed Hydra, which would sprout two or more new heads for each head that was cut off. Two simple approaches to dealing with combinatorial explosions such as this are equivalence partitioning and boundary value analysis, but those techniques don’t check for interactions between factors. A reasonable, manageable way to test combinations is called pairwise testing, but to do it you’ll need a tool. 

In this inaugural One Key Idea session, Rex will demonstrate the use of a free tool, ACTS, built by the US NIST and available for download worldwide. We can’t promise to turn you into Hercules, but you will definitely walk away able to slay the combinatorial Hydra. Sign up now.

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Your Test Process Improved: Now on Your Budget and Schedule

As you can read here, we now have new remote and scalable options for our quality and test assessment services. With software companies searching for higher productivity and effectiveness, they have begun to realize that sometimes they need a coach and sometimes an outside opinion to help them take advantage of their strengths while identifying their weaknesses and putting them on the path to improvement.

These days, people want to optimize not just their costs, but their time. So, we’ve decided to offer our assessments remotely.

RBCS has performed assessments, carried out consulting engagements, defined testing metrics, and delivered training to over 200 clients, small, medium, and large, on six continents around the world. Typically assessments are one week to two weeks in length and involve interviews with the entire test team and management and an evaluation of the test environment. The resulting product includes a delivery of a thorough 100-page report complete with valuable suggestions and detailed instructions.

While we will still deliver the standard assessment, we will broaden the range of test assessment services in 2017, including helping smaller teams via a focused assessment with as little as a day or even just a few hours.

In every assessment I've ever done for a client, I've found savings that vastly exceed the time and money investment associated with the assessment. In some organizations, I've found millions of dollars in annual savings. If you want to save time, save money, and become more effective, contact us today for more information on our assessment services.

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Beam Up Huge Savings

Start the year off right, with some big savings on training that'll really Klingon to your company's bottom line. Our enterprise licenses, available for both live and e-learning courses, will allow you run unlimited classes for your employees. Yep, that's right, the licenses are perpetual and unlimited. Spock would call such a business offer hardly logical on our part, but you can live long and prosper on our training, years after you've paid the invoice.

How much is that invoice, you ask? About the price of two or three on-site training courses. Imagine that: for the same money that would allow you to train 20 or 30 people, you can instead provide training to hundreds of people. Even better, while maintenance is available at a low annual fee, it is also entirely optional.

We're so confident that our enterprise licenses are a crazy-good value, we guarantee there is no better deal on software training available from any of our competitors. If you find a better price on a comparable package, we'll match it. Period.

Want more details? See our website or just contact us. Don't spend another latinum, darsek, dirak, frang, lita, quatloo, renn, or credit until you do.

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Sharpen the Saw to Tackle 2017's Challenges

While it's useful for testers to have broad interests, remember that there is a fine line between a Renaissance man (or woman) and a dilettante. Start the year by asking yourself some pointed questions:

  • What skills in the area of testing, user knowledge, and technology are important for the applications I test?
  • How well do I understand my applications' user community, their needs, their expectations, and their personas?
  • Do I know how to effectively participate in test automation? If the answer is "no," how sure am I that's not an impediment to my career?
  • Can I read and understand (and maybe even write) code and scripts in the languages used for my applications? If the answer is "no," how sure am I that's not an impediment to my career?
  • Which of my skills gaps have the greatest impact on my effectiveness, efficiency, and job marketability? What skills growth goals for 2017 follow from that answer?

Whatever your most important skills gaps, we can help you address them. If you are a test manager or test director, we can help you assess your team and create a solid skills growth and training plan to significantly increase your team's effectiveness and efficiency. Contact us today for more information.

As President Lincoln once said, "If I had six hours to cut down a tree, I'd spend the first four hours sharpening my saw." Think of RBCS as your one-stop, saw-sharpening shop!

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