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When Should a Test Be Automated?

The question is how to make a rational decision about which tests to automate. When I take a job as a contract tester, I typically design a series of tests for some product feature. For each of them, I need to decide whether that particular test should be automated. This paper describes how I think about the tradeoffs.

Brian Marick
Teamwork Does Work: Testing and Quality in Large Development Projects

In 1993, we at USA Group chartered a project to replace its 15-year old student loan guarantee system. The new system was named EAGLE II and recently entered production. USA Group is driven by its software systems. As a consequence, software development is strategic to the company's success. We've had significant experience in creating and maintaining large systems. However, our experience in creating those previous systems left us looking for a better way.

TechWell Contributor's picture TechWell Contributor
T-shirts Are Not Enough

Watching the recent Olympic teams in their matching uniforms reinforced the value of connecting with your team. What other gear might your team need? I'm not sure where we got the idea that T-shirts were enough. Are we too arrogant to admit that sometimes a bulletproof vest would be handy?

Eileen Strider
Who Needs Management?!

I have heard testers lament about being managed by non-technical people who cannot tell the difference between a PC and a microwave oven (they both have windows, don't they?)! Managers believe in management, and we technical people believe in subtler, sophisticated, deep technology. The concept is simple. Then I was subjected to a harsh reality!

TechWell Contributor's picture TechWell Contributor
How to Plan the Perfect 'T' Party

Software professionals have long engaged in debate over software development processes. Much has been written about how to improve those processes-resulting in better-quality, faster-to-market products. Often neglected are the people who implement the processes. Developers and testers frequently seem to have adversarial relationships, although they share the same goal: high-quality software. No matter how good they are, the processes are unlikely to succeed if the participants fail to get along.

TechWell Contributor's picture TechWell Contributor
Implementing a Software Testing Methodology

Many of us are taking part or will take part in the process of implementing a software testing methodology or process at our organization. The size of the organization notwithstanding, the success of this type of implementation depends largely on management and enterprise support. U.S. Bancorp, Minneapolis, MN, is currently involved in implementing a new software testing methodology throughout the enterprise. My role, as the methodology project lead, is to help existing testing groups conceptualize how the methodology should be applied to their existing work. This effort is accomplished through both training and hands-on mentoring. There are valuable lessons that I have learned about choosing a testing methodology and the training efforts that follow such an endeavor. I would like to share them with you.

Erin Pierce
Running Down Assumptions

Do you think the assumptions you make about your software project are important? I do. One of the biggest sources of software project failure is hidden assumptions, especially about your requirements. These assumptions have a way of coming out of the woodwork–usually at the worst possible moment–to foil your projects. But there are ways to track down and expose assumptions.

Brian Lawrence
Shhhhhh! You Can't Say That!

Treating symptoms instead of the root cause of symptoms is a mistake that dates back millennia (just ask Socrates). The current-day workplace is no different. In Johanna Rothman's column, we get a glimpse at what happens when a company doesn't value its people.

Johanna Rothman's picture Johanna Rothman
The Science and Art of Web Site Load Testing

Web site load testing is very different from traditional load testing and requires new tools and new approaches. Most Web site load tests are wildly inaccurate and unrealistic and consequently useless or dangerously misleading. Useful load testing requires loading a Web site with different scenarios, at different load points, and monitoring all the key components. Approach Web site load testing as 80% science and 20% art.

Alberto Savoia
The Indispensable Test Team

Quite often in the world of software engineering, testers and Quality Assurance (QA) managers find themselves to be the "last hired" and the "first fired." In some IT shops, QA does not exist at all. In spite of this, recent years have brought major breakthroughs in the areas of software testing and quality assurance.

Terrye Ashby


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