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Preview: A QA Guy's Radio Weblog

A QA Guy's Radio Weblog

Thoughts from Dave Liebreich

Last Build Date: Tue, 28 Jan 2003 21:48:58 GMT

Copyright: Copyright 2003 Dave Liebreich

Tue, 28 Jan 2003 21:48:57 GMT

Heading on out

I've accepted a job in Colorado, and will be driving out there next week.

Mon, 13 Jan 2003 04:05:47 GMT

Foster's Law. "The only people who find what they are looking for in life are the fault finders." [Quotes of the Day]

Sat, 28 Dec 2002 18:17:05 GMT

No Blog?

Between holidays and job search, I've not had much time nor inclination to blog. I have been writing, but not stuff to post in public.

I have started to help with a sourceforge project, and I'm reading the QSM series, so I'm keeping busy.

Here's to a new year, complete with maybe one or two posts.

Mon, 18 Nov 2002 18:08:56 GMT

Back, and looking elsewhere

The AYE Conference was a blast. I met a lot of good people, co-presented a BoF session with Jerry Weinberg (ask me about it :-), and I'm now ready to turn all this newly-gained knowledge loose on some lucky company :-) I'm expanding my job search to include the Pacific NorthWest, Colorado, and Atlanta. (If you know of jobs or contacts there for software testing, please send me mail (image) )

Mon, 11 Nov 2002 21:18:26 GMT

New Stuff

I've updated my home page - please email me your impressions and/or suggestions.

Thu, 24 Oct 2002 15:56:21 GMT

Freudian Homonyms

Seen on, from someone who is not impressed with a particular certification course:

If one of my staff uses the term 'psycholomatic complexity', I'll sack them on the spot.

I like it better than 'cyclomatic complexity', don't you?

Fri, 18 Oct 2002 21:48:08 GMT

A New Disclaimer

Seen on a newsletter posting, paraphrased by me, original author unknown:
All opinions are mine and are not necessarily shared by my employer, but they should be.

Thu, 17 Oct 2002 02:20:06 GMT


I'm going to the AYE Conference in Phoenix this year, on my own dime. Whether I find myself eventually engaged as a QA/Test Architect or as a manager, I feel the techniques I can learn and the contacts I can make at this conference are well worth my time and money.

Wed, 09 Oct 2002 06:08:44 GMT

Another Code Coverage Measurement Have you caused the system under test to emit every possible error message?

Sat, 05 Oct 2002 17:30:49 GMT

I'll be moving some posts around today - please stay tuned.

Sun, 22 Sep 2002 03:17:11 GMT

Back on the Street So to speak. I'm back to looking for gainful employment. Hopefully I will have time during this job search to finish a number of articles I've been not working on for a while.

Tue, 10 Sep 2002 22:26:15 GMT

Kathy Iberle, paraphrasing a paper by Mary Shaw:
The Romans built lots of bridges without even having the number zero to work with - they had collected a set of successful patterns for bridges and when a situation came up that didn't fit one of the patterns, they put in a ferry instead.

Mon, 09 Sep 2002 05:00:42 GMT

I'm Jealous

Well, I thought I'd get time to work on my project...

Not this weekend either.  I'm off to Albuquerque (is that how you spell it??) to attend the very last Problem Solving Leadership workshop.

More when I get back...

[ronpih I guess...]
I made it up to #9 on the waiting list. Sigh. Have fun, Ron.

Wed, 28 Aug 2002 06:56:49 GMT

Writer's Tip When writing for a publication, don't write for the other authors. I've discouraged myself many times from writing an article because I felt the other authors already knew the topic, maybe better than I did. Now I think of how I would explain the issue to someone in a different field.

Tue, 27 Aug 2002 06:49:46 GMT

Jury Duty I've been called for jury duty this week, so posts and work are on hold. Posts, of course, won't notice the difference :-)

Sun, 25 Aug 2002 15:25:56 GMT

UI Test Automation Under Windows

Today I started working on an MSAA (Microsoft Active Accessibility)-based .NET component to drive Windows UI with the aim of using it to do automated testing (among other things).  After playing around with a few different approches I have settled on this one:


It turns out that the needs of people making accessibility aids and the needs of people trying to implement automated testing tools are quite similar so this technology can be used to implement automated UI testing on Windows.

If you want to explore these two UI technologies there are tools that you can use to browse them.  On the Win32 side you can use Spy++ (this tool ships with Visual Studio).  The MSAA hierarchy can be looked at using the MSAA tools (available here).

More on my UI navigation approach next time...

[ronpih I guess...]

Fri, 16 Aug 2002 21:53:08 GMT

A Great Image What do you call it when you take a fundamentally weak and/or unstable architecture, and shore it up to fix each flaw (aka bug) that is discovered? Where some of the fixes push the core over in other areas, creating new bugs? Jello, with scaffolding. :-)

Wed, 14 Aug 2002 07:37:23 GMT

A Book? My wife says I should write a book about my experiences leading test groups. The title she suggested? "Improvisational Management" Gotta love her.

Fri, 09 Aug 2002 06:30:22 GMT

Oh yeah? Well, then I'll test THIS! Attended a handoff meeting today, where a project was formally moved from Research to Development. I asked for ongoing guidance on the target market, basically stating that I saw large areas of the problem space that would likely require major changes to the proposed solution architecture. You know, the whole "find the really really ugly bugs as early as possible" thing. These, um, er, uh, "trade-offs" in architecture design would be acceptible if we are not planning to sell into the bad-bug areas. And, of course, if our decisions along those lines do not change. And let's be honest. I have yet to meet a successful tester/qa person who does not take just a little too much pleasure when the team starts to squirm when they hear how you are going to test.

Tue, 06 Aug 2002 05:33:55 GMT

Box? What box?

Today, a co-worker complemented my group for creative testing and finding important but not-necessarily obvious bugs in a recent release candidate. He said that they really "thought outside of the box."

My reply? "That's because I didn't give them one to start with." Working with a group of junior folks can be fun.

Sun, 28 Jul 2002 23:24:15 GMT

Start of a Thought? I need to flesh this out more, but . . . Are there some basic incompatibilities between testing and managing? As a tester, you go right for the weakest areas, trying to determine defects and faults. As a manager, you find out what each person is capable of, and build on strengths. You most certainly do not keep poking at the weak spots of your staff. How much of a problem is this dichotomy?

Fri, 26 Jul 2002 05:52:18 GMT

2002 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest Winners Announced. This year's winners of the annual Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest have been announced. What makes this contest unique is that the objective is to produce bad fiction, with humorous results. []

Mon, 22 Jul 2002 04:57:01 GMT

I Lied Well, maybe "lied" is too strong a word. If Linda is on the ball, she'll tell me that the customer for our software (COTS, embedded systems, OEM stuff, etc) is the product manager. He or she is the middleman, or reseller, who is paying us to develop the software in the believe that he or she can sell it to others and recoup that cost. Therefore, the PM's requirements are the parameters that should drive testing. In some companies, the PM role is split across sales, marketing, and engineering. In other companies, the role is more formalized.

Sun, 21 Jul 2002 21:51:03 GMT

IT Blinders In response to this StickyMinds article, I wrote
Linda, While I believe your analysis holds true for software developed in-house or on-contract for a business customer, I don't think it's a good approach for other testing situations. Yes, testing against requirements (and testing the requirements) are part of customer-acceptance testing (or customer-acceptance testing by proxy, as would be the case for COTS, some OEM deals, and some embedded systems). But there is more to the testing (or QC) part of our jobs that relates directly to the process improvement (QA) part. Testing is a measurement activity. We should strive to know as much as possible, in quantifiable ways, about the software under test. These numbers can then be used for risk assessment and management (a project-wide activity), and as feedback for process improvement (more in line with QA). So *I* would want to hear you saying, "The cost of development of this product includes the cost of determining a risk profile, as well as the cost for us to measure our performance so that we can improve our efficiency on future projects." For projects with only one customer, the risk profile takes the form of the assurance you mentioned; for projects with many customers, it can take the form of a sales and profit projection (is it good enough so that we can see them at that price, and not lose our shirts of maintenance and support).
I hope it is not rejected by the editors.

Sun, 21 Jul 2002 07:00:21 GMT

Nothing wrong with eating dessert first So, the test plan is a living document, but you have to have the basics of a test plan complete before you start in on test cases, right? Nope. The only document you need first is the test strategy. And that doc can read: 1. perform a number of tests, and write them up as test cases 2. figure out ways to group test cases together 3. write up the test plan based on how the test cases can be grouped. 4. repeat. I wouldn't go too long without a test plan, as it provides an overview that can be reviewed for holes, duplication of efforts, etc.