Conference Presentations

Test Planning: Defining Boundaries and Setting Expectations

Is testing often the last thing considered in your projects? Does your test team always seem out of the loop? Then, Jane Fraser can help you. She describes a process in which testers focus on reaching consensus with the whole project team. With Jane's approach, you work through the requirements and design to document what you plan to test, how you plan to test, and a most important element-what you are NOT going to test. Learn how to reach agreement among developers, product owners, and testers about how the project will be tested before coding starts. In her work, Jane has found that defining the boundaries of the testing upfront has brought the development group closer to the testing group and improved communications about changes and risks. Join Jane to review sample test plans that help improve projects by setting the expectations early.

Jane Fraser, Electronic Arts
Managing a Globally Distributed Test Organization

Although many businesses have successfully outsourced software development and testing activities, managing a truly globally distributed test organization comes with a unique set of challenges. Traditional test processes often break down under the pressure of multiple time zones, varying cultures, and numerous technology issues. Communicating standard test procedures, managing exit criteria, and determining release readiness are all more difficult. Anu Kak provides insight into the practices he has employed in his professional career to manage multi-country, distributed test organizations. These practices range from a one-stop portal for communicating goals and status for all phases of development and testing to opportunities for cross-global teams to collaborate on solving test, development, and automation issues.

Anu Kak, PayPal
Virtualization: The Path to Multiple Efficiencies

Many teams test software on a wide variety of operating system and hardware environment configurations. Traditionally, they use dozens-sometimes hundreds-of machines in their offices and test labs to get the job done. The cost of maintenance of the machines, electrical costs (including power and cooling), and the physical space occupied by the machines all contribute to a budget that can quickly head into the stratosphere. Alan Page describes how leveraging multiple virtual machines on a single host machine will mitigate these budget issues. He shares case studies that show how teams at Microsoft use virtualization to reduce maintenance costs, electrical costs, and machine usage. Alan describes other distinct advantages of virtualization they have discovered, including automatic setup of network topologies. Take back proven tips on when virtualization can benefit you-and, as importantly, when it won't help at all.

Alan Page, Microsoft
The Journey From Chaos to Credibility

Many test organizations believe a new methodology or test automation architecture is necessary to fix problems and make significant improvements in how the business values testing. Molly Mahai proves this assumption wrong as she describes one test team's journey from chaos to credibility. She describes how they overcame the challenges of mistrust between development and test, and management’s skepticism and distrust. By using the techniques of empowerment, coaching, delegation, and some creative group activities, Molly illustrates how small changes-implemented over time-resulted in dramatic improvements for the test team and the overall organization. These changes helped foster an environment where developers and testers work together and management trusts the test group’s work and their assessments. These techniques are easy to apply and require neither more budget nor management approval.

Molly Mahai, Arizona State Retirement System
Effective and Efficient Testing: Reality or Myth?

To management, testing often never formally finishes-it just stops. And even before testing stops, we are asked to ensure that our efforts are providing maximum value. However, can we ever really have both efficient and effective testing? More importantly, can we accurately measure effectiveness and efficiency? In the current economic climate, when many test managers have been told to do even more testing with the same or fewer people and resources, the answer to this question is even more important. Lloyd Roden uncovers ways to measure test effectiveness and efficiency and to report these measures to stakeholders with the power, certainty, and confidence that demonstrate the true value testing has within your organization. 

Lloyd Roden, Grove Consultants
STARWEST 2009: The Irrational Tester

As a tester or test manager, you probably have wondered just how important reasoning and rational thinking actually are in many management decisions. It seems that many decisions are influenced by far more-or far less-than thoughtful analysis. Surprise! Testers make decisions every day that are just as irrational as those made by the managers about whom they complain. James Lyndsay presents his view of tester bias—why we so often labor under the illusion of control, how we lock onto the behaviors we're looking for, and how two testers can use the same evidence to support opposing positions. Using demonstrations and entertaining real-life stories, James helps you understand how biases can affect our everyday testing activities. Gain a new perspective on why timeboxes work and why independence really matters.

James Lyndsay, Workroom Productions, Ltd.
The Strategic Alignment of Testing and Development

Strategic alignment between testing and development is vital for successful systems development. Missing, however, have been actionable, how-to approaches for assessing and enhancing this alignment. Jasbir Dhaliwal and Dave Miller present STREAM, the Software Testing Reassessment and Alignment Methodology, a systematic approach used to achieve this alignment at both strategy and execution levels. STREAM incorporates a step-by-step procedure that can be used to: 1) identify symptoms of developer-tester misalignment, 2) analyze and understand the misalignment, and 3) formulate action-plans for fostering stronger developer-tester alignment. In addition, Jasbir and Dave identify specific mechanisms and tools for ensuring that the execution capabilities of testing groups are aligned with their stated strategies. This represents a natural pre-requisite for successful developer-tester alignment.

Jasbir Dhaliwal, FedEx Institute of Technology at the University of Memphis
A Pragmatic Approach to Improving Your Testing Process

Although most test managers know they need to improve their processes, many don't know how to go about it. How do you understand the effectiveness of your current test process and then move forward for quick wins and long-term gains? Clive Bates presents a step-by-step approach to gather information on the existing process using special questionnaires and interviews that help you compare your organization with others and identify short and long-term improvement activities. Find out how to package these improvement activities and present them to management and gain their commitment. Once changes start to happen, learn to monitor your testing to determine the impact of your actions and how to properly guide improvement activities. Learn how to conduct project retrospectives, identify what metrics to gather before and after the improvements, and report your successes.

Clive Bates, Grove Consultants
STAREAST 2009: Testing Dialogues - Management Issues

What is the biggest management problem you are facing in 2009? Doing more with less? Demonstrating the value of testing to your company? Improving your team's skills while keeping up with projects? Automating more tests? Testing Dialogues is a unique platform for you to learn from experienced test managers around the world and share your ideas and experiences at the same time. Facilitated by Rob Sabourin and Lee Copeland, this double session focuses on test management issues that you face every day. You'll share your expertise and successes and learn from others' challenges and lessons learned. Lee and Rob will help participants generate topics in real-time and structure discussions in a framework so that everyone will receive a summary of the work product after the conference. Many past participants in Management Dialogues have rated it session their best experience at the STAR conference.

Rob Sabourin, AmiBug.com
STAREAST 2009: Test Estimation: Painful or Painless?

As an experienced test manager, Lloyd Roden believes that test estimation is one of the most difficult aspects of test management. You must deal with many unknowns, including dependencies on development activities and the variable quality of the software you test. Lloyd presents seven proven methods he has used to estimate test effort. Some are easy and quick but prone to abuse; others are more detailed and complex but may be more accurate. Lloyd discusses FIA (finger in the air), formula/percentage, historical reference, Parkinson's Law vs. pricing, work breakdown structures, estimation models, and assessment estimation. He shares spreadsheet templates and utilities that you can use and take back to help you improve your estimations. By the end of this session, you might just be thinking that the once painful experience of test estimation can, in fact, be painless.

Lloyd Roden, Grove Consultants

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