notes and rants

My new blog is at http://www.angryweasel.com/blog

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  • Blog Post: PNSQC Slides

    Thanks to everyone who attended my talk today. Feel free to fire more questions here if you have them. Slides are available here .
  • Blog Post: Words and Status (and rants!)

    Words are funny things. We use them to convey meaning - but there's more to words than that. We also use words to try to change the way people view things. In real estate advertisements, for example, you see words like "rustic" used instead of "old", or describe a home as "having character" when it really...
  • Blog Post: Terms and other things we can’t agree on

    I was in a meeting last week where we had a long drawn out discussion of some terms around scenarios, use cases, and design. I knew the ambiguity was there, but watching the conversation unfold reminded me how important a common understanding of terminology is in order to have a conversation that goes...
  • Blog Post: Metrics at STAR Conference

    I think I forgot to mention that I'll be speaking at STAR this spring. You'd think I'd be pimping hwtsam , but instead I'm speaking about something barely mentioned in the book at all - metrics . Software metrics are an old passion of mine - something I used to be heavily involved with, but much less...
  • Blog Post: DRE

    I know I'm overdue for a post when Bj starts lapping me on posts. This week, I've been finishing up my presentations for STAR and PSQT (for those who haven't presented at a conference before, presenters are expected to have their presentation complete 2-3 months before the conference date). The two conference...
  • Blog Post: Exploring Exploratory Testing

    Exploratory testing seems to be the “it” word of software testing these days. Everyone from high profile consultants to newbie testers are talking about exploratory testing. My nature (similar to that of many testers) is to be a bit of a naysayer, and because of that, I’ve often tried to find holes in...
  • Blog Post: SDETs at Microsoft

    Some time ago, MS began hiring primarily people with a programming background (industry or educational background) for test positions. As far as I know, there was no press announcement, but the idea seems to have worked its way into the overall global test community. Of course, anyone not close to information...
  • Blog Post: The happy path should always pass

    I was in a discussion with some other test architects at work today. We were talking about challenges in testing, and at one point in our discussion someone mentioned his frustration in finding bugs in the basic functionality of an application or interface. Many, many years ago, I thought it was cool...
  • Blog Post: About Certifications

    I was listening to talk radio on the way home from work last night, and the topic of discussion was the recent crane accident a few miles from Microsoft in Bellevue. The focus of the discussion was on the capability of the crane operator, and one of the hosts kept asking if the operator was "certified...
  • Blog Post: Thoughts from the week

    I'll post this tomorrow, but currently I'm somewhere over the northern US or southern Canada returning from a week in the Boston area. I spent the last week talking to testers from Groove and Softricity. Technically, I was delivering training, but all I really did was talk about testing all week. I don...
  • Blog Post: Where do they get this stuff?

    In the "if it's on the internet, it must be true?" category is this article and quote from it-director.com ( Malik Arjun originally brought the article to my attention) The ratio of testers to programmers is now 3:1 . This has given Microsoft another headache as they try and recruit good testers with...
  • Blog Post: Building better software with the NM model

    In the course I teach for senior testers, we spend a few hours talking about different approaches to software development (waterfall, agile, v, w, rup, etc.). At the end of the discussion I, of course, tell them which approach is best. Of course, I'm kidding - I hope anyone reading this realizes that...
  • Blog Post: Testing for correctness?

    This morning I watched a short video where the presenters looked at a UI element and asked questions on determining if it was "correct". It's a short (six minute) video, so please take a minute to view it for context. The overall theme is that rather than focus on whether something is correct, testers...
  • Blog Post: Debugging 100

    Universities typically title their introductory courses XYZ 101: Introduction to XYZ. Often, the 101 courses require that students have some basis of knowledge in the area (e.g. pre-algebra for a math 101 course, or some level of writing skills for an English 101 course). Where I went to school, these...
  • Blog Post: Kaner's five year plan

    I usually don't write commentary about other peoples blogs, but Cem Kaner had an interesting post a few weeks ago that I wanted to talk about. The first thing that jumped out at me was this quote: I think there are a lot of good, diligent, motivated black-box testers who want to learn how to...
  • Blog Post: The pitfalls of multitasking

    Short story is that computers do it (relatively) well, and people don't. Last year, there was a bit of controversy raised when a King's College psychiatric study showed that multitasking caused a larger drop in IQ than getting stoned (one article mentioning the study is here . You've heard my rants about...
  • Blog Post: Functional testing on a budget?

    Most everyone knows that these days, most Microsoft testers can write code. Let me rephrase that (for clarity - not because my backspace key is broken). Most software testers at MS write code at least as well as their development counterparts. I could tell a long story explaining why we're structured...
  • Blog Post: Another test pattern template

    I’ve been toying with the idea of a simpler pattern for test case design. My goal in this thought process is to find a way for good testers to formalize the techniques they use as test patterns in a manner that allows them to quickly document a pattern while maintaining some formality in the definition...
  • Blog Post: Patterns for Test

    I want to get back to my thoughts on patterns as a test design technique. There’s a lot to be learned conceptually from the design pattern world. The design pattern template as defined by “the gang of four” in Design Patterns includes the following criteria: Pattern Name (scope, purpose) ...
  • Blog Post: Test case design using patterns

    I’m still thinking about test case design, and I am liking the idea of test patterns more and more. Most of the functional techniques we commonly think of (like equivalence class partitioning / BVA or combinatorial analysis) can be thought of as test patterns. In fact, Binders Category-Partition example...
  • Blog Post: Designing Tests

    I’ve been thinking a lot recently about test case design. How can we, as professional testers, write the minimum amount of tests to generate the maximum amount of product verification and defect detection? When both flow control and input parameters (data) are taken into account, even a moderately sized...
  • Blog Post: Testing != Bug finding

    It’s probably been close to five years since I was in a room filled with twenty or so test leads and blurted out “it’s not the job of test to find bugs”. On that particular day, you could have heard a pin drop, but over time, that team – as well as other teams I’ve worked with are realizing this more...
  • Blog Post: More on testing for testers

    I meant to follow up right away on the last post…but life and work got in the way. I wanted to explain a bit more about why I think testers writing unit testing is a good idea, but to get there, you’ll have to get through a few paragraphs – sorry. The first thing I wanted to mention is that I know...
  • Blog Post: Unit Testing and Testers

    Don’t think for a second that I’m going to recommend that testers write unit tests for someone else’s code. Everyone knows that unit tests are best written by the author of the code – a point which I agree with 100%. Instead, I want to ask a question about unit testing test code. If you are a tester...
  • Blog Post: “Big names” in software testing (ummm… I mean consulting)?

    Recently, I was talking to one of Microsoft’s Technical Fellows about senior engineering roles. He talked about the fact that senior engineers should know of the “big names” of the industry in their field, and that he knew of (or directly knew) the most senior developers at Oracle, IBM, and other big...
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