Better Software Magazine Archive: Mar/April 1999

IN THIS ISSUE

Finding Patterns in Software
By Brian Marick

"Patterns" have caught on among software designers, especially those working on object-oriented systems. More recently, patterns have been applied to organizational behavior, including patterns for organizing independent test groups. Brian Marick provides Web resources on the study of patterns.

A Look at Rational SQA Robot
By Noel Nyman

Noel Nyman continues sharing his experiences of working in the Microsoft WindowsNT Group, where he evaluated several automation tools for the Applications Test team. This is the second installment in a series.

What's in a Name?
By Brian Marick

Technical Editor Brian Marick outlines a goal for the magazine and its readers: gradual process improvement, driven by immediate needs.

How to Survive the Software Swamp
By Michael Deck

For a project to make long-term progress, it must build a platform of basic engineering practices. On this platform are set the ladders of advanced techniques that you select using risk analysis. Properly managed, these processes help you avoid falling back into the swamp whenever the project is under pressure.

Managers Are Just for Budget Cutting, Right?
By Luisa Consolini

Luisa Consolini tells us why the managerial side of quality is as important as the technical side. The precepts she imparts are: 1) there is something as bad as not doing testing—not managing it; 2) if you don't manage quality, you won't improve it just by applying some fancy quality techniques; and 3) people are not second to quality.

The Ariane 5: A Smashing Success
By Les Hatton

On June 4, 1996, the maiden flight of the Ariane 5 satellite launcher ended spectacularly after only forty seconds, with bits of the $67 billion vehicle and its payload spread over a fairly large part of French Guiana. The report issued July 19 by the International Inquiry Board noted that the fiery crash was due to a "chain of technical events." The details of that particular chain of events are reviewed here.

Interviewing Your Interviewer
By Joe Yakich

Job interviews are stressful. Often, people are so eager to impress the interviewer that they don't find out critical information about the company and the position. But it's just as important for you to be convinced of the position's suitability for you as it is for the company to be convinced of your suitability for the position. If you ask the right questions, interviews can be much more productive at helping you avoid poorly managed, unhappy projects and zero in on well-run, professional projects.

Heuristic Test Oracles
By Douglas Hoffman

For automated testing, expected results are generated using a test oracle. Here is a look at how heuristic oracles can strike a balance between exhaustive comparison and no comparison at all.

Tracking Severity: Assessing and Classifying the Impact of Issues (a.k.a. Defects)
By Tim Dyes

How does one categorize Severity? Should you use numbers like 1, 2, 3; generic names like High, Medium, Low; or more specific names? A telephone switching system, for example, might use industry-specific categories such as "system issue," "line issue," or "call issue." Other environments, as we'll see in this article, tailor classification terms to meet their own functional needs.

Packaged-Software Indigestion
By Eileen M. Strider

Vendor reviews are a wonderful technique to taste before you swallow commercial, off-the-shelf software. They're also a great way to build a partnership with your business decision-makers on packaged-software projects, instead of being brought in late or left out completely. Here are some important things to consider when conducting a vendor review.

Extreme Testing
By Ronald E. Jeffries

Rapid application development means you have to accept that the things you build will need to change. Approach development in a way that makes it easy to transform yesterday’s code into what you need tomorrow. This article explains how testing works in the world of Extreme Programming.

Testing E-Commerce
By Rhonda Dibachi

The nature of the Internet poses unique challenges to testers. The challenges and risks are compounded in e-commerce environments. You may not know who your customers are, and you have no control over their browsing environments. How do you prepare for delivery and security issues? This article discusses how to reduce your company's risk of doing business on the Web.

Testing in the Dark
By Brian Lawrence
Johanna Rothman

How can you test software without knowing what it should do? Here is a step-by-step approach to overcoming undocumented requirements, including how to discover the requirements, how to define "quality" for the project, and how to create a test plan including release criteria.

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