Better Software Magazine Archive:

July/Aug 2002


Value without Numbers
By James Bach

Justifying the role of testing and measuring the value of testers' performance are problems that many of us struggle with. James Bach offers some things he finds helpful when he has to give a quantitative answer to the question, "What is your group saving the company?"

The Art of Influence
By Elisabeth Hendrickson

Abby is a tester who can't seem to make herself heard. She feels invisible in design meetings, and feels like she lacks credibility with the developers on the team. But she learns a few simple changes in her communication approach that improve her chances of being listened to. Elisabeth Hendrickson talks about how testers can learn the art of influence.

A Look at the Build Tool Ant
By Greg Kubaczkowski

Tool selection is an important choice in the development process. For any project that relies heavily on Java technology, Ant is a valuable tool for the build process. It is portable, packed with features, and is open source. Moreover, since it is easily extensible, a growing number of additional tasks are available on the Internet.

All Hands on Deck
By Geordie Keitt

The challenge: With one week to go before release, the product still needs to be put through its paces. The test team: A few developers, a network engineer, a receptionist, an office manager, and a CTO. In this real-life story, Geordie Keitt explains how one dot-com employed some nontraditional testers to uncover the bugs in their new system.

Tracking Wild Pointers
By Ibrahim K. El-Far

Tracking down wild pointer bugs is not easy; the wacky symptoms that result are inconsistent and confusing. Pointers are arguably the most difficult class of bugs to handle. Ibrahim El-Far and Herbert Thompson give some examples of tracking down wild pointers and tips on how to tame them.

Hung Nguyen on Testing Web Applications
By Hung Nguyen

Here is a list of sources on Web testing, with descriptions, that Hung Nguyen has collected over the years. While most of these resources are on the Internet in the form of useful links and articles, some are training courses and books that Mr. Nguyen finds helpful.

A Defining Moment
By Esther Derby

People use the word "accountable" a lot lately. But what do they mean? Sometimes "You're accountable" really means "You're to blame for this!" Technical Editor Esther Derby takes a look at what's often the coded meaning behind the word "accountable."

A Blueprint for Success: Implementing an Architectural Review Process
By Daniel Starr

The most costly product defects are often a problem of software architecture. Testing your architecture is a crucial, but often overlooked, step in product development. Learn how to create apply a Systems Architecture Review Board for your own architectural review process.

Mission Made Possible: Harnessing Tools and Procedures to Test a Complex, Distributed System
By Greg Kubaczkowski
Rex Black

Automating unit, component, and integration testing can sometimes seem like an impossible mission. Read how one team of programmers combined the right tools and processes to make their test mission not just possible, but successful.

Adopting XP
By C. Keith Ray

Extreme Programming (XP) takes practices that are known to be good and combines and applies them in a revolutionary way. Before you turn your team on to XP, check out the steps to take, and pitfalls to avoid, to make your project an "Xtreme" success.

Focused Improvement
By Karen King

Improving processes takes planning, time, and effort. A formal improvement project that applies the best practices of development to process improvement can help focus your team and effect real and lasting change.

Preparing to Choose a CM Tool
By William Rinko-Gay

Do your homework when shopping for a CM tool. This article teaches you how to bypass the marketing hype to select the tool that will work best with your company's processes and tasks.

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