You Won’t See It Until You Believe It

Not too long ago, I updated my copy of Quicken. I hesitate to say upgrade. I’ve been using Quicken for years, despite the fact that the user interface has never been wonderful and has consistently declined a little in each version. One of these days, I’ll do a 90-minute session and record some observations about the product. But for now, here’s one. The default sort order for transactions in an … Read more

Why Do Some Testers Find The Critical Problems?

Today, someone on Twitter pointed to an interesting blog post by Alan Page of Microsoft. He says: “How do testers determine if a bug is a bug anyone would care about vs. a bug that directly impacts quality (or the customers perception of quality)? (or something in between?) Of course, testers should report anything that may annoy a user, but learning to differentiate between an ‘it could be better’ bug … Read more

Project Estimation and Black Swans (Part 5): Test Estimation

In this series of blog posts, I’ve been talking about project estimation. But I’m a tester, and if you’re reading this blog, presumably you’re a tester too, or at least you’re interested in testing. So, all this has might have been interesting for project estimation in general, but what are the implications for test project estimation? Let’s start with the tester’s approach: question the question. Is there ever such a … Read more

Project Estimation and Black Swans (Part 4)

Over the last few posts, exploratory automation has suggested some interesting things about project dynamics and estimation. What might we learn from these little mathematical experiments? The first thing we need to do is to emphasize the fact that we’re playing with numbers here. This exercise can’t offer any real construct validity, since an arbitrary chunk of time combined with a roll of the dice doesn’t match software development in … Read more

Challenges and Legibility

Lately, James Bach and I have been issuing challenges to some of our colleagues on Twitter, typically based on something they’ve said or observed. I think James would agree that the results have been very exciting. In our community, people build credibility by responding to challenges and probing the issues more deeply, and it’s been tremendous to see how some of them have risen to the challenge. For me, recent … 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