Better Software Magazine Archive:

May/June 1999

IN THIS ISSUE

Don't Use Bug Counts to Measure Testers
By Cem Kaner

Cem Kaner tells us why we should not use bug counts to measure testers. Using examples, he illustrates two problems: 1) bug counts are poor measures of individual performance; and 2) the side effects of using bug counts as a measure are serious.

A Study in Failures
By Brian Marick

Examples of mistakes, manifestations, and problems help us understand all parts of the software. Brian Marick suggests Web resources that examine software failures.

A Look at PREfix by Intrinsa
By Rodney Wilson

PREfix provides a source code simulation tool that is able to perform automatic review for a wide range of programming defects that lead to program crashes. Defects reported by PREfix include de-referencing NULL pointers, using uninitialized memory, leaking memory or resources, or using illegal values. Here is an analysis of the product.

Nightly Builds: A Tester's Early Warning System
By Carla Oexmann

We're all looking for an effective "Distant Early Warning" line of testing: a procedure that will minimize integration bugs, reduce the risk of low quality by allowing bugs to be caught early, make it easier to debug, and improve the visibility of the status of the system under test. One practice that meets those needs is the "nightly"—essentially a daily build and sanity test of the product.

The Bug You're Most Likely to Miss
By Bob Stahl

We all miss some bugs, but the bug you're most likely to miss is one that gives wrong results that might look right. Let's look at a famous and costly example, then we'll see what we can do during testing to avoid a similar disaster.

Getting the Most Out of Conferences
By Alyn Wambeke

Will the benefits of attending, learning, and networking at a conference outweigh the costs of travel, time, and energy? Here are some tips on how to get the most out of conferences.

Quality Assurance and Testing
By Brian Marick

Brian Marick argues for using testers at the requirements analysis stage of a project. He says, "While QA is primarily about process, testing—my specialty—is about product. Whatever else a tester might do, she certainly eventually exercises the product with the aim of discovering problems a user might encounter. This essay is about that 'whatever else' the tester does."

Making the Right Choice: The Features You Need in a GUI Test Automation Tool
By Elisabeth Hendrickson

GUI (graphical user interface) tools can boast a lot of capabilities. Approaching GUI test automation as a programming project, you'll need a tool appropriate to the size of your project. Here's a rundown of the key features you'll need in the GUI test automation product you buy.

How to Ensure that Your Configuration Management System will Function Fully and Correctly
By Bob Johnson

No matter what the origin of your CM software, improper installation, poor training, and program defects can lead to disaster. This article discusses how to make the most of your current CM tools, and how to ensure that your CM system will do what it's supposed to do.

Software Measurement Programs
By Norman Fenton

A metrics program is any planned activity in which you use measurement to meet some specific goal. If you do not have a clear technical goal for a metrics program, then you are almost certainly not ready for such a program. Here's how to design a measurement program that leads to decisions and actions.

Anticipating Human Error
By Ramon M. Felciano

This article makes three points. First, errors happen. Second, systems can encourage errors. Third, a basic understanding of the kinds of errors humans make can help us design better systems. Here are some suggestions to help avert trouble.
 

Quality Meets the CEO
By Jeffery Payne

Management and testers may not often speak the same language. This article takes an unvarnished look at the communication gap between quality advocates and management and offers ways to open a dialogue and gain credibility.

On-Track Requirements: How to Evaluate Requirements for Testability
By Rodger Drabick

Prior to using the requirements to develop the Test Plan, an analysis should be performed to evaluate the testability of the requirements. This article suggests a proven method used on a recent project that accomplishes such an evaluation.

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