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Quality, per J.M. Juran, is fitness for use. The presence of attributes and features that will satisfy customers, users, and other stakeholders, as well as the absence of attributes (e.g., bugs) that will dissatisfy them.
Testing is an excellent means to build confidence in the quality of software before it’s deployed in a data center or released to customers. It’s good to have confidence before you turn an application loose on the users, but why wait until the end of the project? The most efficient form of quality assurance is building software the right way, right from the start. What can software testing, software quality, and software engineering professionals do, starting with the first day of the project, to deliver quality applications?
I suspect that, in the near future, many types of software will become commoditized, just as many types of computer hardware have. The open-source phenomenon is leading the way, with Linux and Apache ascendant on the Internet. Regardless of the motives of the partisans of open-source software, the motives of the important business users of these open-source applications are clear: They want cheap software with the same quality levels as the commercial alternatives.
Testing can be considered an investment. A software organization—whether an in-house IT shop, market-driven shrink-wrap software vendor, or Internet ASP— chooses to forego spending money on new projects or additional features to fund the test team. What’s the return on that investment (ROI)? Cost of quality analysis provides one way to quantify ROI.
Information appliances, which provide simplified, easy access to specific information such as e-mail and Web sites, promise to bring the benefits of computing to a wide customer base, including some computer-averse people who have hitherto avoided buying a computer. Internet appliances are evolving from personal computers, game stations, digital mobile phones, and server technologies. While this allows us to apply well-known quality assurance techniques, including testing techniques, the software quality professional must remember that the risks to product quality are different; the quality bar is higher, especially in terms of usability, robustness, and harmonizing the appliance with the dynamic Internet. Customers will assess the quality of information appliances by the degree to which the appliance reliably, quickly, transparently, and intuitively provides them with access to the desired information, and we expect them to be much less understanding of glitches than the current PC user. Information appliances are gaining wide acceptance—millions will hit the market in the next few years—so many of us who practice software quality professions will spend time working on projects to develop them. Indeed, we expect that information appliances will present tremendous opportunities to those who seek to bring quality to software in the new millennium. This paper presents the test team’s findings on one such project.
[How can dumb monkeys built from free tools help you? Give this article a read to see a case study. Originally published in Software Testing Professional magazine in 2008, these ideas and techniques are still relevant to SDETs, Technical Test Engineers, and Technical Test Analysts looking to build their own automation solutions using open-source components.]
Arrowhead Electronic Healthcare has been creating eDiarys on handheld devices since 1999. Arrowhead helps pharmaceutical research and marketing organizations document important information about how their products are being used in patients’ homes.
ePRO-LOG is Arrowhead’s third generation eDiary product. The primary design goal of ePRO-LOG is to be able to rapidly deploy diaries used for data collection in clinical trails and disease management programs.
A typical diary may include 100 forms translated in 15 or more languages, and used in several locales. This results in a large number of software builds and configurations. As a result, we needed an automated test tool to address potential risks and to automate common tasks.
The most important quality risks we wanted to address were:
We needed an automated test tool with the following capabilities and features:
This is a case study in how we reduced our risks and achieved our test automation objectives in just a few months on a total tools outlay of $0.
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Length: 1h 20m 47s
As we all know, quality does not happen by accident. And it certainly doesn’t happen by trying to test out bugs at the end of the lifecycle. So, how can we manage quality from start to finish? If we start with a focus on good requirements on the first day of the project, how will that affect the system testing at the end of the project? In this talk, Rex Black will talk about lessons he’s learned in over 25 years of software engineering, across the entire software lifecycle.
Length: 1h 32m 42s
In a perfect world, we would have boundless time and resources to deliver systems with plentiful features, each feature having perfect quality. In the real world, we must balance schedule, budget, features, and quality. When schedule, budget, and features get all of the attention, we have a quality quandary. In this webinar, Rex will discuss ways that test professionals can help their project teams resolve that quandary. First, it’s important to recognize the trade-offs being made, and then test professionals can promote the five elements of making successful trade-offs: shared vision; disciplined management; quality in, and bugs out, throughout; focused testing; and, sending the right message. Rex will illustrate these five elements with a variety of case studies and examples.
Length: 1h 33m 1s
Are test management and quality management the same? Are they different? How are they related? Many people are confused about these questions, and that confusion results in many problems for test teams around the world. Rex Black has seen that confusion first-hand, and has helped clients resolve the problems that confusion can cause. In this talk, Rex will provide five key lessons in how to recognize the confusion and resolve problems, illustrated with case studies throughout. You will leave this session ready to provide clear leadership in test management and quality management, and to help your organization achieve successful testing and quality.
Length: 1h 3m 5s
Software quality in general is pretty bad. If you’re a professional tester, that statement is no surprise. What does surprise people, even testers, is how much damage a single bug can do. In this free webinar, Rex will examine case studies of ten bugs that caused at least $1,000,000 in damage, the death of at least one person, or both. Beyond just recounting the bug and its damage, we’ll look at how—or even whether—better software testing could have detected the bug before it did its dirty work.
Length: 1h 14m 28s
The software profession is evolving rapidly, and software testing is also evolving. Some people talk about software and software testing as a “craft,” but are we doomed to remain in such a primitive state, like medieval swordsmith’s guilds? Or, as the phrases “software engineering” and “test engineer” have long implied, can we advance to a true engineering profession. What is the history? What can other engineering professions teach us? What do other engineering professions have, and how can we go about creating analogous resources for software engineering? What will a true software engineering profession mean for testing? Join Rex for this imaginative trip into one possible future, based on science and engineering facts.
Length: 1h 31m 42s
What would John Connor, son of Sarah Connor, hero of the resistance in the “Terminator” movie series, say about the Internet of things, the ubiquity of mobile devices, the fact that we almost ran out of IP addresses, software that updates itself, and other signs of the coming computer apocalypse? He’d probably tell us to pull the plug, quickly! Beyond the nightmare scenario of the “Terminator” films, what are the implications of quality, and lack of quality, for the now-real situation that everything is connected to everything else? Will it be Neuromancer, “Terminator,” androids dreaming of electric sheep, or something more benign? Join us for some fun and interesting speculation and prediction on the future of limitless connectivity.
Length: 4h 20m 0s
Software quality, for the most part, sucks. It still sucks, seventy-five years since the advent of the programmable computer. Software bugs are a constant fact of life, thanks to the ubiquity of software and the ubiquity of software bugs. Sometimes the bugs costs millions of dollars or kill people. Why is the reaction so muted? Rather than just accept software bugs as unavoidable, let’s ask the obvious question: Given that manufacturing is able to achieve six sigma levels of quality—i.e., only three defective items per million manufactured—why does software quality still suck? In this webinar, Rex will address some of the real barriers to achieving six sigma quality in software, while at the same time holding software engineering as a profession accountable for not doing nearly as much as we can.
Length: 1h 30m 0s
Let’s suppose you bought a car. Six days later, someone from the dealership let himself into your garage, removed the tires on the car, installed some “updated” tires that actually had holes in them, and then left. In the morning, your car was there in the garage, all sad and undriveable on its flat, flabby tires. That’s clearly unacceptable, in fact even criminal, but we allow the same thing to happen all the time with software. Why? In this webinar, Rex will catalog infamous automated software updates, released without sufficient testing to wreak havoc, or at least inconvenience. He’ll then give a detailed roadmap for reducing your chances of being part of the problem.
Some people use the terms “verification” and “validation” interchangeably, but there are significant differences between them. Some people disparage verification, or deny that it’s even involved in testing. However, you can’t adequately build confidence and reduce risk in the software you test without using the proper mix of both. In this webinar, Rex will clarify the meaning of these two terms, give examples, and explain why both are essential to proper software testing.
Length: 1h 20m 50s
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 this webinar, Rex 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 co
The Advanced Security Tester Boot Camp course, created by Rex Black, past President of the International Software Testing Qualifications Board (ISTQB), past President of the American Software Testing Qualifications Board (ASTQB) and co-author of a number of International Software Testing Qualifications Board syllabi, is ideal for testers and test teams preparing for certification in a short timeframe with time and money constraints.
The Advanced Test Automation Engineer Boot Camp, created by Rex Black, past President of the International Software Testing Qualifications Board (ISTQB), past President of the American Software Testing Qualifications Board (ASTQB) and co-author of a number of International Software Testing Qualifications Board syllabi, is ideal for testers and test teams preparing for certification in a short timeframe with time and money constraints.