November 2008
In This Issue
E-Learning Courses
Free Preview of E-Learning Course
ISTQB Certified Tester Training
Other Public Courses
A Story about User Stories and Test-Driven Development
Advanced Certification Book
2009 Courses at 2008 Prices
November "Rexisms"
ISTQB Grants More than 100,000 Certifications
Great Scores!
RBCS Goes Green

Quick Links
Featured Partner 
Typically, we feature partners who collaborate with us on software quality assurance projects.  This month, in recognition of the debut our evolving "Green Policy", we feature BeGreen, a company that is supporting our efforts to offset carbon emissions.  Effective immediately, all of our clients will have the option, with each consulting or onsite training engagement, to purchase carbon offsets. 
BeGreen provides high quality carbon offsets to companies looking to "go green" and neutralize their impact on global warming.  Carbon offsets are an easy way to invest in eco-friendly projects like reforestation, renewable energy, and methane capture, which help balance out the environmental impact of your business.  RBCS has just begun an exciting new partnership with BeGreen to offset the carbon dioxide emissions from corporate air travel to client sites.  BeGreen offers a wide range of carbon offset services, including corporate carbon footprint calculation, green ticketing for events, and a full online eco-product store. 
E-Learning Courses 
ISTQB Test Engineering Foundation 
US$ 999
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, 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 Training 

December 8-12, 2008
Atlanta, GA
ISTQB Advanced Test Manager

January 26-30, 2009
Denver, CO
ISTQB Advanced Test Manager

February 9-13, 2009
San Francisco, CA
ISTQB Advanced Test Analyst

February 23-26, 2009
Austin, TX
Test Engineering Foundation Level
March 9-13, 2009
Toronto, Canada
ISTQB Advanced Test Analyst 

April 13-17, 2009
Atlanta, GA
ISTQB Advanced Test Analyst

April 20-24, 2009
Toronto, Canada
ISTQB Advanced Test Manager

May 11-15, 2009
San Diego, CA
ISTQB Advanced Test Manager

June 15-18, 2009
Washington DC
Test Engineer Foundation Level 

Other Public Courses
April 15-17
San Francisco, CA
Business Analysis Foundation
May 12-14, 2009
San Francisco, CA
Managing the Testing Process
Dear Reader,
Welcome to the November newsletter.  Once again, we have a jam-packed grab-bag of stuff for you.  First off, a guest article, written by Jim Coplien, Gertrud Bjornvig, and Neil Harrison.
I first met Jim Coplien when I was doing a lot of consulting work in Israel about five years ago. He and I shared some clients, and so we got a chance to know each other. Jim is one of the smartest software engineering guys I've met.
We've stayed in touch over the years, and not long ago he asked me to review an article he'd co-written about user stories and test-driven development. It's brilliant. Now, thanks to Jim and his co-authors, we can bring this article to you. If you're working in an Agile world, or if your company is considering Agile development, you'll want to read this article.
What else is there?  A lot.  How about another new book? My sixth book, Advanced Software Testing: Volume 2, is out in December.
What else?  How about an environmental policy?  We have been saving water, energy and trees for years, and we're now making it a company policy.  You can support us in this effort: test smarter and get greener at the same time. 
What else? How about yet another client getting 100% pass rates on an ISTQB exam?  What else?  How about another year of great training opportunities on tap for you in 2009, without any onerous, ill-timed price increases?  What else?  How about 100,000 ISTQB certifications? 

I could go on, but instead, I'll leave it to you to read on... 

Rex Black, President
A Story about User Stories and Test-Driven Development
by Gertrud Bj¯rnvig, James O. Coplien, and Neil Harrison
[Note: To help give you a sense of the overall article, I've edited the introductory text below to fit this space.  The full, unedited version is on our site.]

Welcome to TDD

Test-Driven Development, or TDD, is a term used for a popular collection of development techniques in wide use in the Agile community. While testing is part of its name, and though it includes tests, and though it fits in that part of the life cycle usually ascribed to unit testing activity, TDD pundits universally insist that it is not a testing technique, but rather a technique that helps one focus one's design thinking. The idea is that you write your tests first, and your code second. In this article, we explore some subtle pitfalls of TDD that have come out of our experience, our consultancy on real projects (all of the conjectured problems are things we have actually seen in practice), and a bit of that rare commodity called common sense....
Once upon a time, software development was doing more or less O.K. when it employed Use Cases to help bridge the connection between developers and end users...  However, some organizations used Use Cases in the worst possible way, specifying details of program task sequencing instead of sticking to requirements....  On the other hand, the Extreme Programming (XP) people, wanting to take things to the opposite extreme, turned the knob up to 10 on simplicity. Use Cases gave way to Alistair's User Stories about 5 on the knob which were further pared down to feature lists all the way up to 10....

At about the same time, the Smalltalk community found that it was weak on testing [which] gave birth to a testing methodology using a testing framework. As the XP world moved away from Smalltalk and towards Java, the approach spawned a tool called JUnit.... System testing never was a big part of the [XP] culture, and in general it became difficult to sell testing to the XP constituency.  Testing was usually left to second-class citizens or was outsourced and, as such, was never a revenue-generating business. It didn't help that testing wasn't "fun," and that "fun" is a core value of XP. The TDD advocates motivate its value by telling us that TDD is fun not so much for its value, but for novelty for its own sake. The testing framework and JUnit weren't garnering consulting gigs any more....

Click here to read the rest of the article. The original two-part version of this article was published in Better Software magazine.  Click here to read the first part and click here for the second part.

Advanced Software Testing - Volume 2 to be Released in December 
The second in the series of guides to the ISTQB Advanced Level certification is due to be released in December, 2008. Advanced Software Testing - Volume 2: Guide to the ISTQB Advanced Certification as an Advanced Test Manager. Pre-order today! Expected ship date is December 30, 2008. This book teaches test managers what they need to know to achieve advanced skills in test estimation, risk-based testing, test planning, results reporting, and test team management. 
As a side note, both Advanced Software Testing - Volume 1 and Advanced Software Testing - Volume 2 are currently undergoing translation for publication in Japanese!

Advanced Software Testing Vol2Advanced Software Testing - Volume 2:  Guide to the ISTQB Advanced Certification as an Advanced Test Manager 

by Rex Black

Pre-order your copy today for $49.95.  Expected ship date is December 30, 2008.
2009 Courses at 2008 Prices! 
This newsletter debuts our 2009 public course schedule.  The 2009 schedule includes a new course, Business Analysis Foundation, a classic course, Managing the Testing Process, and ISTQB certification courses. In consideration of our commitment to continuing education and the troubled economic times that we all face, we have decided not to increase tuition prices for any of our courses.  In addition, we will continue to offer our bring-a-buddy 10% discount for two or more enrollments in a single course.  Email us or call us at +1-830-438-4830 to take advantage of this offer. Take a look at our schedule and visit our training page for more in depth information. 
November "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.
  • "Until software test professionals can consistently help management to make rational economic choices about quality, testing will remain marginalized and underfunded."
  • "Most test execution efforts that go over budget and beyond schedule were pecked to death by ducks.  In other words, it's usually not one big problem or catastrophic event that results in the budget-busting delay, but rather a series of small incidents like test environment problems and late test releases.  The smart test manager knows how to count the ducks."
This month, we couldn't resist. Dena Pauletti, our Technical Adminstrator, coined a useful phrase during a high stress moment.  We like to call it a "Denaism".
  • "If there is an end to your to-do list, there is a problem."
 The ISTQB Grants More Than 100,000 Certifications World-wide  
The International Software Testing Qualifications Board (ISTQB) announced that, through their National Boards and Exam Boards, they have granted more than 100,000 certifications at the ISTQB Certified Tester Foundation Level (CTFL) and ISTQB Certified Tester Advanced Level (CTAL). "ISTQB software tester certification is by far the most widely recognized and fastest-growing software tester certification in the world," said Rex Black, CTAL, president of ISTQB. "Reaching the 100,000 certification milestone validates ISTQB's leadership in helping software testers to demonstrate their knowledge, skill and professionalism." Click here to read the complete press release.
Great Scores, Again!
Hot on the heels of the July 2008 course, RBCS again delivered its Test Engineering Foundation course to Intel, this time for a class of 30 people.  Once again, we're proud to say that every attendee passed the exam.  Rex Black, RBCS President, said, "We are very pleased to see that we have established a pattern of perfect pass rates at Intel.  This is quite exceptional, and speaks volumes about the intelligence and diligence of the Intel attendees.  We are also proud that our skilled and experienced instructor, Jamie Mitchell, and our materials supported such a great outcome again."
Ryan Hoppes, Manager of the Intel Mobile Wireless Group's Product Validation organization, said, "We just completed the second session of the ISTQB course and I am very proud to say that once again our organization received a 100% certification/pass rate, validating the competitive advantage we bring Intel in terms of product level validation.  This is an extraordinary achievement, and we are all very proud.  As an organization we are now in the process of taking improvement initiatives learned through this training and applying it to our day to day work.  We are all very excited to see continued improvements in our coverage, repeatability, effectiveness, and efficiency of our test practices."

RBCS is Going Green! 

We are "going green" but we need your help.  We have always made efforts to reduce, reuse and recycle. We recognize our responsibility in reducing our impact on the environment and are taking our efforts one step further.  Now, all of our clients will have the option, with each consulting or onsite training engagement, to purchase carbon offsets. Carbon offsets support using clean technologies like renewable energy, carbon sequestration or energy efficiency improvements to help drive reductions in carbon emissions elsewhere. Purchase a few trees with each engagement! We are also aggressively researching the options to provide, on client request, electronic rather than paper versions of our training materials. 
In addition, we will continue our other environmental efforts that are already in place, such as using partially-recycled water on our landscape, employing only US Energy Star-rated servers, desktops, laptops, and printers in our offices, and reusing and recycling all of our packing and shipping material (and encouraging our clients to do so, too).