September 2008
In This Issue
E-Learning Courses
Free Preview of E-Learning Course
ISTQB Certified Tester Training
Other Public Courses
Component Outsourcing
Advanced Certification Book Release
How the ISTQB Syllabus Works for You
September "Rexisms"
Two Weeks to Better Testing
Great Scores!
Software Test and Performance Conference
Improving Software Quality Worldwide

Quick Links
Featured Partner 

Our featured partner this month is Test4pro. Test4pro is a leading testing consulting service and ISTQB certification provider in Scandinavia. Test4pro was founded by Steen Lerche-Jensen, a member of the ISTQB. Their partnership with RBCS Inc. enables them to offer both in house and public software testing certification courses.


In the near future, Test4pro will offer complete TMMI assessments for test organizations. TMMI is a method of monitoring a test organization and suggesting test process improvements. This will be an exciting addition to Test4pro's services!

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 
September 22- September 26
Las Vegas, NV
Advanced Test Analyst
September 29-October 3
NYC Area, New York
Advanced Test Manager
October 20-October 24
Toronto, Canada
Advanced Test Analyst
November 10-November 14
Washington DC
Advanced Test Manager
December 1-December 5
Ontario, CA
Advanced Test Manager
December 8-December 12
Atlanta, GA
Advanced Test Manager
Other Public Courses
October 21-23
Austin, TX
Performance Testing Immersion Workshop
Dear Reader,
It's time again for a grab-bag of testing ideas.  If you, like many people these days, work on projects where some of the development is outsourced, you'll want to read the article on the effect of component outsourcing on quality risks and testing.  If you are looking to strengthen your testing, we have a brief article with three suggestions for you that will take no more than two weeks to put into action.  If you are interested in the new ISTQB Advanced syllabus and how it can help make you or your testing team better, you can come see me speak on this topic at the Fourth World Congress on Software Quality, or, if you can't make that, you can read my presentation below. 
Speaking of the ISTQB Advanced syllabus, I have a new book coming out this month, which I'll introduce in this newsletter.  And speaking of interesting conferences, don't forget about the Software Test and Performance conference, which happens later this month. 
For those of you in Northern Europe, we have a new partner to introduce to you, Test4pro.  If you're interested in ISTQB certification courses and want to enjoy the comprehensive quality of our RBCS Foundation and Advanced courses in Scandinavia, Test4pro can help with that.  How good are those courses, you might ask?  Well, see below for some recent results.
I hope you find this latest newsletter a useful read.
Rex Black, President
Component Outsourcing, Quality Risks, and Testing:
Factors and Strategies for Project Managers
by Rex Black

More and more projects involve integration of custom developed or commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) components, rather than in-house development or enhancement of software.  In effect, these two approaches constitute direct or indirect outsourcing of some or all of the development work for a system, respectively. 

While some project managers see such outsourcing of development as reducing the overall risk, each integrated component can bring with it significantly increased risks to system quality.   In this article, I'll explain the factors that lead to these risks, and then strategies you can use to manage them. 

I'll illustrate the factors and the strategies with a hypothetical project.  In this project, assume you are the project manager for a bank that is creating a Web application that allows homeowners to apply for a home equity loan on the Internet.  You have two component vendors.  You buy a COTS database management system from one vendor.  You hire an outsourced custom development organization to develop the Web pages, the business logic on the servers, and the database schemas and commands to manage the data.  Let's see how you can recognize the factors that create quality risks, and the strategies you can use to manage those risks. 
Click here to see the rest of this article in its entirety.
If you're pressed for time and would like to read a condensed version of this article, click here to read the edited version that appeared originally in Software Test and Performance magazine. 
Advanced Software Testing Volume 1: Guide to the ISTQB Advanced Certification as an Advanced Test Analyst.
by Rex Black
Release Date: Sept 15, 2008 
This book is written for the test analyst who wants to achieve advanced skills in test analysis, design, and execution. With a hands-on, exercise-rich approach, this book teaches you how to define and carry out the tasks required to put a test strategy into action. Learn how to analyze the system, taking into account the user's quality expectations. Additionally, learn how to evaluate system requirements as part of formal and informal reviews, using an understanding of the business domain to determine requirement validity. You will find new ways to analyze, design, implement, and execute tests, using risk to determine the appropriate effort and priority for tests. You will see how to report on testing progress and provide necessary evidence to support your evaluations of system quality.
How the ISTQB Advanced Level Syllabus Works for You 
The International Software Testing Qualification Board (ISTQB) has already effected profound change in the software testing field, with almost 100,000 people having attained Foundation certification. But a Foundation certification is just that: only a Foundation. With the release of the new Advanced syllabus in October 2007, the ISTQB has expanded and improved the next rung on the ladder of test professionalism. In September, Rex Black, President of the ISTQB, is giving two tutorials to show how the ISTQB Advanced syllabus can guide you, your testing colleagues, and your organization toward better testing, reduced risk, and higher quality. The first will occur in Seoul, Korea, in partnership with STEN. The second will occur in Bethesda, Maryland, at the Fourth World Congress for Software Quality. If you can't attend, you can click here to read the slides from this tutorial.

September "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.
  • "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."
  • "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 of metrics, have plenty of metrics, but no insight."
  • "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." 
Two Weeks to Better Testing! 
Got two weeks?  Get better at testing!  Check out three fast, high-value, low-pain ways you can improve your testing operation in Rex's article, "Two Weeks to Better Testing this Summer," in the latest edition of Testing Experience magazine.  Click here to read.
Great Scores!
Attendees of our ISTQB Certified Tester courses have had such great scores recently that we thought it was worth mentioning here!
In two of our Test Engineering Foundation Courses that were run in July, one in a pubic venue and another onsite for our client, CA, one well-prepared attendee in each course scored the elusive perfect grade, 100%.  Laurel Becker, RBCS Vice President, said, "A score of 100% is spectacular, not to mention rare!  It's another nice plus that we had a 100% pass rate in our public course." 
RBCS recently delivered its ISTQB-accredited Test Engineering Foundation course for a class of 21 people at Intel in the United States.  We're proud to say that every attendee passed the exam.  Rex Black, RBCS President, said, "RBCS has been teaching ISTQB Foundation courses for about five years now, and we've had literally thousands of people around the world take our course.  While our pass rates are usually better-than-average, it's quite gratifying to have a 100% pass rate in a class of this size, particularly since the exam difficulty was increased in January 2008.  We at RBCS are proud that our fine instructor, Judy McKay, and our materials proved helpful to these dedicated Intel employees in reaching this milestone." 
 Software Test and Performance Conference
September 24-26
Boston, MA
Join hundreds of other software developers, development managers, test/QA managers and senior test professionals at the Fall 2008 Software Test & Performance Conference! This year, the conference is taking place September 24-26 at the Marriott Boston Copley in Boston, MA. More than 70 classes and full day tutorials will cover software test/QA and performance issues across the entire application life cycle. Register online today! 
Improving Software Quality Worldwide 
Presided over by Rex Black, ISTQB President, the International Software Testing Qualifications Board meeting in Sofia, Bulgaria in July was attended by many of the delegates from the National Boards.  As always, the meeting resulted in significant progress in enhancing the ISTQB Certified Tester programs.