Conference Presentations

The Estimate Is Nothing, The Estimating Is Everything

In many software projects, estimation is consistently troublesome, contentious, and unreliable. A big part of the problem is that we fantasize that estimates tell us about the future; and so management wants "accurate" estimates that we can "commit" to. In fact, estimates tell you nothing about the future. Estimates are entirely about the present. Estimates express our expectations, based on what we believed when we made the estimate. Dale Emery invites you to explore a gold mine of information left untapped by most estimation processes–the extensive range of knowledge, assumptions, risks, and unknowns that influence our estimates and are often unexpressed and forgotten. Making this information explicit and visible can outweigh the value of the estimate itself.

Dale Emery, DHE
Top Testing Challenges We Face Today

Some people thrive on challenges; others struggle daily to deal with them. Handled well, challenges can make us stronger, more passionate, and more determined to succeed. Lloyd Roden describes the top software testing challenges facing many of us today and explores how we can respond in a positive, constructive way. One challenge Lloyd often sees is identifying and eliminating metrics that deceive. While we (hopefully) do not set out to lie with our metrics, we must endeavor to employ metrics that have significance, integrity, and operational value. Another challenge test leaders face is providing reports that are clear, accurate, relevant and tailored to the recipient. A third challenge is convincing test managers to actually test regularly to attain credibility and respect with the team they are leading.

Lloyd Roden, Grove Consultants
Developing a Testing Center of Excellence

In spite of well-established testing processes, many organizations still are struggling to achieve consistent, reliable testing results. Are testing deliverables completed incorrectly? Is your organization slow to react to change? A Testing Center of Excellence (TCOE) provides oversight of the testing efforts across the enterprise to help provide the best testing services possible and adapt more rapidly to innovations and challenges. Mona Lane shares the strategy Aetna followed to build a successful TCOE. Originally focused on one specific area-test tools-it evolved and continues to expand to encompass all aspects of testing. She shares the checklists they've developed to review testing artifacts for consistency and how these reviews are helping Aetna improve quality.

Mona Lane, Aetna
Grassroots Quality: Changing the Organization One Person at a Time

Throughout its history, SAS has valued innovation and agility over formal processes. Attempts to impose corporate-wide policies have been viewed with suspicion and skepticism. For quality analysts and test groups with a quality mission, the challenge is to marry innovation with the structures expected from a quality-managed development process. Frank Lassiter shares the experiences of his group’s working within the corporate culture rather than struggling against it. He describes the services his group provides to individual contributors-mentoring, facilitating meetings, exploring best practices, and technical writing support. With a reputation for adding real, immediate value to the daily tasks of individuals on R&D teams, Frank’s group is enthusiastically invited into projects.

Frank Lassiter, SAS Institute Inc
Don't Be the Quality Gatekeeper: Just Hold Up the Mirror

One of the greatest temptations of test managers and their teams is to be the quality gatekeeper-the ones who raise the gate when testing reveals little and keep it closed when they believe that defects (found and unfound) risk the project. Invariably, this role creates an expectation from stakeholders that if the release fails or a major flaw occurs in production, the test team is at fault. Based on his sometimes-painful experiences, Mfundo Nkosi shares his insights on how testing teams can maintain credibility and increase their influence by holding a mirror up to the project rather than becoming the quality police. Mfundo describes the process of maintaining a risks and issues log, writing an informative test closure report, and clearly communicating status-the good and the bad-in a non-threatening way.

Mfundo Nkosi, Micro to Mainframe
Taking Your Testing Team Global

With pressure to downsize local teams in favor of offshore or outsourced testing, you may be faced with taking your team global. Jane Fraser discusses the good, the bad, and the ugly of having to outsource or offshore testing. She talks about the pitfalls of hiring across cultures, such as when “Yes” means “We don't understand, but we'll try.” Jane shares ways to maintain your team processes and standards with a distributed team. She examines the issues and benefits of insourcing and outsourcing-and the difference between the two. Using her experience setting up insourced offices in China and India, and outsourced offices in Argentina, Vietnam, India, and China, Jane shares her transition plan to move 70% of her main development studio to five countries around the world. Whether you decide to offshore testing or it's decided for you, join Jane to discover how to successfully transfer some or all of your testing to a remote team.

Jane Fraser, Electronic Arts
STARWEST 2010: Quality Metrics for Testers: Evaluating Our Products, Evaluating Ourselves

Finally, most businesses realize that a final system testing "phase" in the project cannot be used as the catch-all for software quality problems. Many organizations are changing development methodologies or creating organization-wide initiatives that drive quality techniques into all aspects of development. So, how do you know that a quality initiative is working or where the most improvement effort is needed? Adrian O’Leary shares examples of quality improvement programs he has observed and illustrates how they are using defect data from various test phases to guide their efforts. See how measurements of defect leakage help these organizations gauge the efficiency and effectiveness of all development activities. Adrian identifies key "quick hit" recommendations for defect containment, including the use of static testing, traceability, and more.

Lee Copeland, Software Quality Engineering
Focusing with Clear Test Objectives

Frustrated with your team’s testing results-sometimes great, sometimes lacking? Do you consistently over promise and under deliver? If these situations sound familiar, you may be suffering from the ills of UCT (Unclear Test Objectives). Clearly defining test objectives is vital to your project’s success; it’s also seriously hard to get right. Test objectives are often driven by habit-“Let’s copy and paste the last set of objectives”; by lack of understanding-“Let’s use whatever the requirements say”; or by outside forces-“Let’s just do what the user wants.” Sharon Robson shares the structured approach she uses to define test objectives, including key test drivers, approaches, processes, test levels, test types, focus, techniques, teams, environments, and tools. Sharon illustrates how to measure, evaluate, compare, and balance these often conflicting factors to ensure that you have the right objectives for your test project.

Sharon Robson, Software Education
Take a Chance-Testing Lessons Learned from the Game of MONOPOLY®

For years, MONOPOLY® has entertained countless people with the fictional thrill of what it might be like to make a killing in real estate-or to lose your shirt. As Rob Sabourin explains, the board game is similar to the real-world experience of running a software test project. Rob guides you through some of MONOPOLY's powerful lessons and strategies relating to test planning, risk management, technical debt, context-driven test strategies, contingencies, and decision making. In MONOPOLY, winning players consistently select, adapt, and apply strategies. Skilled testers adapt on the fly to their discoveries, applying heuristics and risk models to consistently deliver value. Winning at MONOPOLY, just like successful testing, is all about people: relationships, negotiation, and communication. To succeed in testing or MONOPOLY, you've got to be ready for whatever drawbacks or opportunities Chance happens to throw your way.

Rob Sabourin, AmiBug.com
The Power of Risk

Erik Boelen starts his risk-based testing where most others stop. Too often, risk-based test strategies are defined in the initial test plan and are never looked at or used again. Erik explores how a dynamic, living risk-based testing strategy gives testers a vital tool to manage and control testing activities and identify the infrastructure they need to perform these activities. Find out how to use your risk-based testing strategy as a tool for negotiations among the different stakeholders. Take on the important role of risk mediator for all of the parties in the project. The risk-based test strategy is a tool you can use to defend testing’s need for time and resources, especially when late delivery is possible. Use your risk-based strategy to drive and manage exploratory testing sessions.

Erik Boelen, QA Consult Services

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