Test Design

Articles

Structure Marking

Structure marking is a programming technique that defends data against damage, especially from software bugs. It adds flags to data structures and checks them at each use to detect damaged data immediately.

Tom Van Vleck
Test-Driven Project Management

While the test organization is normally considered the "Subject Matter Expert" within a software company, it is rarely charged with leading a software development effort. In fact, with the increased popularity of Extreme Programming and specifically the concept of Test-Driven Development (TDD), many testers are working to expand their skill sets so that they can adapt to a changing test culture where they will be viewed as part of the development organization. In this article, Scott Lazenby details some of the ways testers infuse the development mentality into their project management.

Scott Lazenby
Estimating Testing Time

Testers are always facing a time crunch. As part of a recent assessment, a senior manager asked, "How long should the testing really take? It takes our testers from four, five, six, to thirty (insert your number of choice here) weeks, and we need it to take less time. Why can't it take less time, and how can we tell what's going on so we know how much testing we need?" In this column, Johanna Rothman answers with a timeline. By estimating how many testing cycles will be needed, plus how long each will take, she can map out the entire testing process. From this viewpoint, she is able to pinpoint where the process can be streamlined thus reducing the time spent testing.

Johanna Rothman's picture Johanna Rothman
QA Preventing Failure Suffering for Success

One of the most valuable services a QA group provides is preventing failure. Ironically if the group succeeds at this, QA might find themselves unpopular or out of a job. Linda Hayes reveals how typical methods of measuring success can actually cause failure. Especially if success is achieved at the loser's expense.

Linda Hayes's picture Linda Hayes
TimeLine Postmortems

We should use project postmortems to improve our software process. But few teams do, and fewer teams reliably learn from project postmortems. You can introduce postmortems to your team easily with a timeline postmortem process. If you are already doing postmortems, a timeline-based approach may improve your results.
This process:

  • Takes little time (a few hours).
  • Has a high degree of software engineer acceptance.
  • Provides immediate feedback into your development process.
  • Increases team cohesion and rapport.
  • Reduces finger pointing.
Seth Morris
test automation Not Your Father's Test Automation

If you think that test automation is mostly about executing tests, then you're missing out on a big opportunity. Or rather, you're missing a lot of small opportunities adding up to a big one. Consider this: stop thinking about test automation as merely executing automated tests, stop thinking about test automation as something you need expensive tools for, and start discovering automation you can implement in a couple of days and usually with extremely inexpensive tools or tools you already have available. In this week's column, Danny Faught and James Bach suggest taking a more Agile approach to test automation.

James Bach's picture James Bach Danny R. Faught
Keeping Secrets

Test data has long been a challenge for testing; privacy legislation, identify theft, and the continued trend towards outsourcing has made it even worse. Just establishing and maintaining a comprehensive test environment can take half or more of all testing time and effort. In this column, Linda Hayes adds in the new and expanding privacy laws that inevitably limit your testing options. Yet from the quagmire of laws and company standards, better testing can emerge.

Linda Hayes's picture Linda Hayes
Bumper Stickers for Testers

Why is software testing perceived as dull? How many other jobs can list "crash," "hang," and "death march" in their daily vocabularies? In this week's column, Harry Robinson encourages testers to embrace a little pride and excitement in what they do, and Harry has just the mottos for bumper stickers that announce Tester Pride. Author's note: Feel free to add your own favorite slogan in the comment section at the end!

Harry Robinson's picture Harry Robinson
Tips and Hints for Developing Automated Test Scripts

Jose Fajardo delineates techniques for building more maintainable and robust automated test scripts. The author provides valuable insights for testers working with automated test tools and building a repository of automated test scripts for future testing efforts. A myriad of suggestions for documenting test scripts, debugging test scripts, performing peer-reviews on test scripts, and synchronizing test scripts are offered.

Jose Fajardo
This Way, Mr. Roboto

Have you ever felt like you were going in circles trying to explain programming to nontechnical people? Simply telling them what programmers do just isn't enough. In this column, Naomi Karten demystifies the programming world by showing nontechnical people how to think like programmers?on a basic level. This seemingly intricate journey starts with a few simple directions.

Naomi Karten's picture Naomi Karten

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