July 2009
In This Issue
Free Webinars
Other Webinars
E-Learning Courses
Free Preview of E-Learning Course
ISTQB Certified Tester Courses
Other Public Courses
How Outsourcing Affects Testing
Managing the Testing Process, 3ed.
New and Improved ISTQB Foundation Level Course
RBCS Featured in SA Business Journal
ISTQB and ASTQB Resources
July "Rexisms"
The State of Testing

Quick Links
Free Webinars
 ISTQB Advanced Certification
August 6, 2009
Five Testing Best Practices
September 3, 2009
The Future of Test Management 
October 8, 2009
Test Reporting for Impact
November 23, 2009

Achieving Realistic, Truthful, Actionable Schedules
December 17, 2009
  Other Webinars 
The Great Agile Debate
Rex Black vs. Bob Galen 
In partnership with Software Test & Performance  
August 6, 2009 
 E-Learning Courses 
ISTQB Test Engineering Foundation 
US$ 899
ISTQB Advanced Test Analyst
US$ 999
Managing the Testing Process 
US$ 999
Software Test Estimation
US$ 499
Assessing Your Test Team
US$ 499
ISTQB Advanced Test Manager
US$ 999  
Each course includes three months of on-line access, notesets where applicable, exercises and either sample exam questions (for ISTQB course) or knowledge-check questions (for other courses). ISTQB courses are written against the latest ISTQB Foundation and Advanced syllabi released in 2007.  Prices shown are for asynchronous courses (pure e-learning).  Blended courses (with a facilitator) and custom training packages are also available. 
Preview the Foundation Level E-Learning Course for Free
If you would like to try the first two chapters of our Test Engineering Foundation course without obligation and for free,
click here to access it.
ISTQB Certified Tester
Test Engineering Foundation Level Training

September 21-25, 2009
Baltimore, MD
November 2-5, 2009 
Madison, WI
December 1-4, 2009
Atlanta, GA

Advanced Test Manager Training
August 24-28, 2009
Seattle, WA
October 19-23, 2009
  San Jose, CA
November 9-13, 2009
 Toronto, Canada
November 9-13, 2009
 McLean, VA

Advanced Test Analyst Training
September 14-18, 2009
 Toronto, Canada 
October 5-9, 2009  Falls Church, VA
November 2-6, 2009
Dallas, TX 
Other Public Courses 
Managing the Testing Process 
September 8-10, 2009 Boston, MA
Requirements Engineering Foundation 
September 15-17, 2009 San Jose, CA
   October 27-29, 2009 
 Seattle, WA
Green Tip 
recycle globe
How many phone books do you need? Stop getting those bulky throwbacks by contacting the manufacturer (their contact information is usually listed on the phone book's inside cover) and asking to be taken off their mailing list. Use online phonebooks or search the web to find what you need instead.   

Tip provided by our partner BeGreen www.BeGreennow.com.   
Dear Reader,
Recently, I finished work on Managing the Testing Process, the third edition.  There's a lot of new material in the book, including a completely updated chapter on distributed testing.  Distributed testing includes outsourcing, so I've included an excerpt from the new material in this newsletter.  I hope you find it interesting and--if you're involved in outsourcing on either side of the relationship--useful.

We also recently made major improvements to our online Test Engineering Foundation course, an ISTQB-accredited course designed especially for Foundation exam candidates and other people interested in learning about testing best practices.  Not only is the course better, it's also greener and cheaper.  More information is found below, along with some information about great resources available from the ASTQB.

Of course, there's the usual news about what's going on at RBCS and what I've been up to, which is quite a bit lately.  For example, check out the updated schedule of free Webinars, now complete through the end of 2009.  I hope you find this newsletter an interesting and informative resource.
Rex Black, President 
How Outsourcing Affects Testing
by Rex Black 
This article is excerpted from Chapter 10 of Rex Black's upcoming book Managing the Testing Process, 3e.

Over the last twenty years, outsource development of one or more key components in the system has come to dominate software and hardware systems engineering. The trend started in hardware in the 1990s. RBCS clients like Dell, Hitachi, Hewlett Packard, and other computer systems vendors took advantage of cheap yet educated labor overseas to compete effectively in an increasingly commoditized market.

Outsourcing spread slowly into software in the 1990s.  However, in 2000, a series of events unfolded that accelerated the inevitable.  The near-simultaneous bursting of the telecom and dot-com bubbles in 2000 combined with the Y2K and Euro-conversion wind-downs, making the software industry and its customers more conservative and price-conscious.  This already-unsettled situation then collided with the ferocious 2001/2002 global recession. By the end of 2002, three years into a spectacular IT downturn that saw computer science enrollments in the United States fall to less than half of their 1999 levels, price had become the primary determinant in most IT project decisions.  Mass outsourcing of software projects took hold, and it continues unabated to this day... 

I believe in the use of outsourced teams to provide key components and services as part of a project. If I didn't, RBCS would not provide outsource testing services. However, some RBCS clients have made the mistake of assuming that they could outsource without any risk, without any management or oversight, without any implications to their practices and processes. I have seen more than one manager, beguiled by clever marketing and sales presentations, impressive client lists, or low hourly rates, who then lost control of key risks to the project. Risks to system quality are among them. How do you manage testing when a constraint is outsourcing of some of the testing, all of the testing, and perhaps even the entire development effort?

To read the rest of this article, click here to download it from the RBCS library.  This article also appeared in the latest issue of Quality Matters magazine, which you can find here. 
Managing the Testing Process 3ed. to be Published July 27, 2009 
On the tenth anniversary of the first publication of Managing the Testing Process, Wiley publishes the third edition of one of the most influential books on managing software and hardware testing

In this new edition of his top-selling book, Rex Black walks you through the steps necessary to manage rigorous testing programs of hardware and software. The preeminent expert in his field, Mr. Black draws upon years of experience as president of both the International and American Software Testing Qualifications boards to offer this extensive resource of all the standards, methods, and tools you'll need.

The book covers core testing concepts and thoroughly examines the best test management practices and tools of leading hardware and software vendors. Step-by-step guidelines and real-world scenarios help you follow all necessary processes and avoid mistakes.
Pre-order your copy today at our store for 10% off of the list price! Offer good until August 15, 2009.

New, Improved and "Green" ISTQB Foundation Level E-learning Course

New and improved with more information than ever before but more affordable! In order to support our Green Initiative, this course is completely electronic unless the consumer opts to purchase hard copies.

The course includes:
  • embedded exercises with complete solutions for almost all sections in each chapter,
  • a section-by-section review of the syllabus, learning objectives, and glossary terms,
  • an end-of-chapter review including a discussion of the major points in the chapter,
  • some 5-20 additional sample exam questions as part of the end-of-chapter review,
  • attached soft copy (PDF) of all six chapters of Foundations of Software Testing,
  • an additional mock exam (for a total of three mock exams in the course),
  • about 300 sample exam questions or mock exam questions in total, providing comprehensive coverage for the exam,
  • enhanced audio quality, including professional re-mastering.
Priced at US$ 899.  Previously priced at US$ 999. The fee includes three months of unlimited access to the online course.  Hardcopy notesets and the supplemental textbook (supplied in electronic format with the course) can be purchased for an additional fee. All of our ISTQB Certified Tester courses will take on this format in the near future.
Bulk discounts available.
Buy 2 - 9 get 10% off
Buy 10 - 19 get 25% off
Buy 20 - 100 get $549.00 off 
For more information email us at info@rbcs-us.com, call us at +1 (830) 438-4830, or visit our store to purchase today! 

RBCS Featured in the San Antonio Business Journal 
RBCS is featured in the July 17, 2009 issue of the San Antonio Business Journal.  RBCS President, Rex Black, discusses the history of RBCS and the keys to success in the current economy.  "Keeping our fixed costs low and conserving cash has allowed RBCS to weather downturns before," says Black "and is working for us even in this tough economic situation."  Roy Belovoskey, Test and Release Manager at Clear Channel attributes RBCS to leading a transformation across the country and "bringing testing into the architecture design stage that has resulted in higher quality code and fewer bugs to work with." Click here for the article in the San Antonio Bsiness Journal or click here for the pdf version.
Helpful ISTQB and ASTQB Resources 
As part of our commitment to ISTQB Certification we like to keep you informed on relevant policy changes and helpful resources.  Please note that this information can change and up to the minute information can be found through your National Board. 
Recently the American Software Testing Qualifications Board (ASTQB) released information that is useful to all certification candidates:
  • Two sets of 40-question sample exam question sets can be accessed through the quick links and exam information pages on the ASTQB website.
  • The Advanced Level exams are now 65 multiple-choice
    questions with a 65% pass rate required, and three hours allowed to complete the exam.
  • The ASTQB hopes to offer its Advanced Level exams in much the same way as they do the Foundation Level exams now, electronically at select test centers. They are working on preparing the final version of those exams for that purpose and hope to have them available by the fall of 2009.
  • ISTQB policy requires that the ASTQB allow extra exam completion time for non-English-speaking examinees if requested. The ASTQB will allow the use of a paper translation dictionary. (ISTQB allows only a paper translation dictionary, which much be examined by the Proctor.)

Contact the ASTQB directly at +1 (813) 319-0890 or visit their website at www.astqb.org should you have any questions regarding these policies.

July "Rexisms"
Some of you may have heard Rex's sayings over the years. We decided to coin them "Rexisms" for your reading pleasure. So here they are to ponder - some useful aphorisms to help you plan, prepare, perform, and perfect your testing activities, compiled from over a quarter-century of software and systems engineering experience.  
  • "It's fair to say that the more we test, the more we learn, but testing needs to focus on learning (and telling people about) the important aspects of the system.  Not all questions deserve answers."
  • "If a test team finds 90% of the defects during test execution, many testers would call that a success.  Unfortunately, some people would call anything less than 100% defect detection effectiveness--which is
    impossible--a failure.  This example shows that, in order for a test team to succeed, we need stakeholder agreement not only on key objectives, but on measurable targets for those objectives."
  • "It's an interesting time to be a test manager.  We have both a skills glut at the entry level and a skills shortage among senior testers.  Successful test managers will find ways to bridge this gap. "
Rex Black on the State of Testing
Rex Black shares his thoughts on the state of testing.  Rex Black was recently interviewed by Software Test and Performance for its online publication. He was asked about a wide range of issues, from agile testing to automation to training. You can read the article here.
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