Heuristics and Leadership

In a recent blog post, James Bach discusses the essence of heuristics. A heuristic is a fallible method for solving a problem or making a decision. When used as an adjective, “heuristic” means fallible and conducive to learning. James ends the post by introducing a number of questions in order to test whether someone is teaching you a heuristic effectively. Meeta Prakash, in the comments, remarks “Your questions sound so … Read more

Transpection Transpected

Part of the joy of producing this blog is in seeing what happens when other people pick up the ideas and run with them.  That happened when I posted a scenario on management mistakes a few weeks ago, and Markus Gärtner responded with far more energy and thought than I would have expected. Thanks, Markus. Last week I posted a transcript of a transpection session between me and James Bach.  … Read more

A Transpection Session: Inputs and Expected Results

A transpection is a dialog for learning. James Bach describes it here. Transpection is a technique we use a lot to refine ideas for presentations, for articles, for our course, or for our own understanding. Sometimes it’s all of them put together. Transpective sessions with James have led me sharpen ideas and to do work of which I’m very proud—on test coverage, for example (articles here, here, and here). Sometimes … Read more

Questions from Listeners (1): Handling Inexperienced Testers

On April 19, 2010, I was interviewed by Gil Broza.  In preparation for that interview, we solicited questions from the listeners, and I promised to answer them either in the interview or in my blog.  Here’s the first one. How to deal with un-experienced testers? is there a test approach that suits better for them? Here’s what I’d do: I’d train them. I’d pair them up with more experienced testers … Read more

Black Box Software Testing Course in Toronto, June 23-25 2010

In 1996, I was working as a program manager for Quarterdeck, which at the time produced some of the best-selling utility software on the market. I took a three-day in-house training class that quite literally changed the course of my life. That class was the Black Box Software Testing course, by Cem Kaner. Unlike anyone else that I was aware of at the time, Cem was writing and talking about … Read more

When Testers Are Asked For A Ship/No-Ship Opinion

In response to my post, Testers:  Get Out of the Quality Assurance Business, my colleague Adam White writes, I want ask for your experience when you’ve your first 3 points for managers: Provide them with the information they need to make informed decisions, and then let them make the decisions. Remain fully aware that they’re making business decisions, not just technical ones. Know that the product doesn’t necessarily have to … Read more

Testers: Get Out of the Quality Assurance Business

The other day on Twitter, Cory Foy tweeted a challenge: “Having a QA department is a sign of incompetency in your Development department. Discuss.” Here’s what I think: I’m a tester, and it’s time for our craft to grow up. Whatever the organizational structure of our development shops, it’s time for us testers to get out of the Quality Assurance business. In the fall of 2008, I was at the … Read more

Why We Do Scenario Testing

Last night I booked a hotel room using a Web-based discount travel service. The service’s particular shtick is that, in exchange for a heavy discount, you don’t get to know the name of the airline, hotel, or car company until you pay for the reservation. (Apparently the vendors are loath to admit that they’re offering these huge discounts—until they’ve received the cash; then they’re okay with the secret getting out.) … Read more