Conference Presentations

Congratulations! You're the New Test Manager

When creating an entirely new QA organization, where do you start? Although establishing QA processes and standard practices is important, you must communicate with and obtain buy-in from QA staff, developers, customers, and business analysts. Walk in Karl Shearer’s footsteps as he describes the initial stages of QA's formation at Erie Insurance, the challenges and roadblocks he faced, and, ultimately, the successes he has enjoyed. From organizational issues, the mission statement, and job descriptions to selecting and hiring QA staff, you’ll take away a checklist for starting up a test group or improving your test organization. Employing a risk-based approach to define the levels of testing and a multi-pass system test strategy, Karl established basic test processes. Then, he added defect tracking, automation, and requirements management to the mix and designed templates for all QA deliverables.

Karl Shearer, Erie Insurance Group
Blind Men Meet the Quality Elephant

For many organizations, software quality is an elephant found by blind men who think they can see. People hold different opinions about quality based on their work roles and interests. If we testers focus on one definition (our own), we will not communicate well with others in the organization, and our work ultimately will not meet their expectations. However, if we examine our customers' definition of excellence, we will find better ways to measure quality and set priorities. Read this discussion about differing viewpoints of quality and how to work with your customers and users to clearly see their quality elephant as well as your own and integrate their vision into your testing activities.

Isabel Evans, Testing Solutions Group Ltd
Quality Interactions: Bulding Effective Working Relationships

As software professionals, we all care about quality. We focus our efforts on building quality into the code and testing to assess quality and find errors before our customers do. However, there is an important element of quality that comes before all that and is critical to delivering reliable software: quality working relationships and quality interactions. Esther Derby covers pragmatic strategies for building, strengthening, and maintaining working relationships with all stakeholders-managers, customers, team members, and peers. The first step is to build a foundation of trust and respect. Then, we must focus on interests rather than positions and seek joint solutions to problems. We should use the richest communication channel available for our interactions and make a generous interpretation of others’ actions.

Esther Derby, Esther Derby Associates Inc
A Systematic View of User Acceptance Testing

Acceptance testing is a vital and specific form of testing whether you are tasked with rolling out an enterprise application package, releasing a major system enhancement, or developing acceptance tests in an agile development project. In addition, acceptance tests can give some teeth to service level agreements and software acquisition contracts. However, most treat acceptance testing as the same activity as system testing-but done by different staff. That is wrong! Because acceptance testing is not about bug hunting and breaking the software, you need a different strategy. With over 25 years of experience covering acceptance testing for all types of systems from safety critical control systems to standard financial applications, Geoff Quentin shares his views on how to do acceptance testing correctly.

Geoff Quentin, QBIT Ltd
Rescuing a Runaway Test Project

As a testing consultant Geoff Horne often is called upon to help rescue runaway testing projects. In this presentation, Geoff looks at common causes of such problems, what to do to remedy them, and how to prevent their recurrence. If your testing is taking longer than planned ... or you are finding too many (or too few) defects... or your test project has simply lost its way, then this session is for you. Find out if you are operating with faulty assumptions, learn how to identify the root causes of your problems, and develop a strategy and plan to fix them. Whether your issues relate to test planning, analysis, design, execution, management, or reporting, you will take away an assortment of tools and approaches to help get your testing project back on track-and keep it there.

  • How to re-scope your test strategy and move forward
  • Stringent incident logging and management procedures
Geoff Horne, iSQA
Testing In Session: Making Exploratory Testing Accountable

Like the music in a jam session, exploratory testing is supposed to be non-scripted and spontaneous. Its unstructured nature makes it an effective test method when requirements are lacking, time is short, or other methods are not yielding important bugs. But some project managers dismiss exploratory testing because the traditional implementation does not have mechanisms to measure progress and does not meet the need for traceability back to requirements. Jon Bach, co-inventor of an exploratory testing method called Session-Based Test Management, discusses how managers can solve these problems with exploratory testing using a simple, effective test measurement technique. By measuring three basic activities of testing (setup, execution, and reporting), this session can help testers and test managers estimate their efficiency and the time it takes to explore the same features on the next release.

Jon Bach, Quardev Laboratories
Managing the Hand-off from Development

More than half the battle in testing is managing the hand-off from development into the testing workflow. New software development technologies and methods can result in more functionality, delivered faster but with decreased testability. As a test manager, you need to know how the application was built, including the use of dynamic code and third party components, to develop an effective test strategy and a meaningful schedule. Unless you set clear and specific expectations from the development team and have the ammunition to back up your testability requirements, you will find your test efforts compromised by programming shortcuts that speed development but make testing difficult, expensive, and time-consuming.

  • How the latest programming techniques and productivity tools can cripple testing
  • The minimum testability requirements for software under development
Michael Hansen, WorkSoft
Testers and Testing in the Agile Development

You have heard about agile software development techniques such as eXtreme Programming (XP), Scrum, and Agile Modeling (AM). The industry is buzzing with everything from "this is the greatest thing ever" to "it's just hacking with a fancy new name." Comments like "there is no place for testers because developers and users do the testing now" and "testers play an important role in the agile methods" are both common. Scott Ambler, an early proponent of the agile movement, explains the fundamentals, values, and principles of agile development. He describes a range of agile techniques and explores many myths and misconceptions surrounding agility. Agile software development is real, it works, and it may be an important part of your future in testing. Better testing and improved quality are critical aspects of agile software development, but the roles of traditional testers and QA professionals on agile projects remain unclear.

Scott Ambler, Ronin International, Inc.
Open Source Development Tools: Coping with Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt

Using open source tools in a development and test environment can be a big relief for your budget. However, open source remains a foreign and often frightening concept for many developers and organizations. Today, open source options are available for all types of tools used in the development process. In this session, you will gain a better understanding of the tradeoffs between choosing open source and commercial tools. In addition, you will learn about the wide variety of open source tools available for many operating environments and how to locate the most robust ones. Danny Faught, who has actively evaluated open source tools as they have evolved over the last five years, provides an honest analysis of the benefits and difficulties you may encounter using these tools for development.

  • Open source tools to consider for you and your team
Danny Faught, Tejas Software Consulting
Go on Offense: Prevent Web Application Security Breaches

You must successfully test your browser-based applications before hackers do the job for you! Whether you have to worry about critical business applications or government compliance issues like HIPPA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) or GLBA (Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999), security failures can cost your organization big dollars, unnecessary embarrassment, or both. Hackers have gone beyond simple exploits of open IP ports and standard applications such as Telnet, FTP, and Sendmail, turning their attention to commercial and custom Web applications. To thwart the hackers, test engineers must focus their efforts on common and uncommon security vulnerabilities within the application, including SQL injections, session hijacking, cross-site scripting, and more.

Dennis Hurst, SPI Dynamics Inc


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