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Process Improvement

Keynotes

K2 Lightning Strikes the Keynotes
Lee Copeland, Software Quality Engineering
Wed, 04/10/2013 - 3:15pm

Throughout the years, Lightning Talks have been a popular part of the STAR conferences. If you’re not familiar with the concept, Lightning Talks consists of a series of five-minute talks by different speakers within one presentation period. Lightning Talks are the opportunity for speakers to deliver their single biggest bang-for-the-buck idea in a rapid-fire presentation. And now, lightning has struck the STAR keynotes.

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Tutorials

TD Planning Your Agile Testing: A Practical Guide
Janet Gregory, DragonFire, Inc.
Tue, 04/09/2013 - 8:30am

Traditional test plans are incompatible with agile software development because we don't know all the details about all the requirements up front. However, in an agile software release, you still must decide what types of testing activities will be required—and when you need to schedule them. Janet Gregory explains how to use the Agile Testing Quadrants, a model identifying the different purposes of testing, to help your team understand your testing needs as you plan the next release.

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TE Essential Test Management
Rick Craig, Software Quality Engineering
Tue, 04/09/2013 - 8:30am

The key to successful testing is effective and timely planning. Rick Craig introduces proven test planning methods and techniques, including the Master Test Plan and level-specific test plans for acceptance, system, integration, and unit testing. Rick explains how to customize an IEEE-829-style test plan and test summary report to fit your organization’s needs. Learn how to manage test activities, estimate test efforts, and achieve buy-in. Discover a practical risk analysis technique to prioritize your testing and become more effective with limited resources.

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TG SOLD OUT! Testing Metrics: Project, Product, Process
Rex Black, RBCS, Inc.
Tue, 04/09/2013 - 1:00pm

One of the most challenging problems that test managers face involves implementing effective, meaningful, and insightful test metrics. Data and measures are the foundation of true understanding, but the misuse of metrics causes confusion, bad decisions, and demotivation. Rex Black shares how to avoid these unfortunate situations by using metrics properly as part of your test management process. How can we measure our progress in testing a project? What can metrics tell us about the quality of the product? How can we measure the quality of the test process itself?

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TI SOLD OUT! Acceptance Test-driven Development: Mastering Agile Testing
Nate Oster, CodeSquads, LLC
Tue, 04/09/2013 - 1:00pm

On agile teams, testers can struggle to “keep up” with the pace of development if they continue employing a waterfall-based verification process—finding bugs after development. Nate Oster challenges you to question waterfall assumptions and replace this legacy verification testing with Acceptance Test-driven Development (ATDD). With ATDD, you “test first” by writing executable specifications for a new feature before development begins.

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Concurrent Sessions

W4 Usability Testing: Personas, Scenarios, Use Cases, and Test Cases
Koray Yitmen, UXservices
Wed, 04/10/2013 - 10:30am

To create better test cases, Koray Yitmen says you must know your users. And the path to better test case creation in usability testing starts with the segmentation and definition of users, a concept known as personas. Contrary to common market-wise segmentation that focuses on users' demographic information, personas focus on users’ behavioral characteristics, animating them in the minds of designers, developers, and testers. Put these personas “on stage” and let them play their roles in user scenarios.

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W6 Concurrent Testing Games: Developers and Testers Working Together
Nate Oster, CodeSquads, LLC
Wed, 04/10/2013 - 12:45pm

The best software development teams find ways for programmers and testers to work closely together. These teams recognize that programmers and testers each bring their own unique strengths and perspectives to the project. However, working in agile teams requires us to unlearn many of the patterns that traditional development taught us.

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W8 Build Your Own Performance Test Lab in the Cloud
Leslie Segal, Testware Associates, Inc.
Wed, 04/10/2013 - 12:45pm

Many cloud-based performance and load testing tools claim to offer “cost-effective, flexible, pay-as-you-go pricing.” However, the reality is often neither cost-effective nor flexible. With many vendors, you will be charged whether or not you use the time (not cost effective), and you must pre-schedule test time (not always when you want and not always flexible). In addition, many roadblocks are thrown up—from locked-down environments that make it impossible to load test anything other than straight-forward applications, to firewall, security, and IP spoofing issues.

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W9 Collaboration without Chaos
Griffin Jones, Congruent Compliance
Wed, 04/10/2013 - 2:00pm

Sometimes software testers overvalue the adherence to the collective wisdom embodied in organizational processes and the mechanical execution of tasks. Overly directive procedures work—to a point—projecting an impression of firm, clear control. But do they generate test results that are valuable to our stakeholders? Is there a way to orchestrate everyone’s creative contributions without inviting disorganized confusion? Is there a model that leverages the knowledge and creativity of the people doing the work, yet exerts reliable control in a non-directive way?

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T1 Maybe We Don’t Have to Test It
Eric Jacobson, Turner Broadcasting, Inc.
Thu, 04/11/2013 - 10:30am

Testers have been taught they are responsible for all testing. Some even say “It’s not tested until I run the product myself.” Eric Jacobson thinks this old school way of thinking can hurt a tester’s reputation and—even worse—may threaten team success. Learning to recognize opportunities where you may NOT have to test can eliminate bottlenecks and make you everyone’s favorite tester. Eric shares eight patterns from his personal experiences where not testing was the best approach.

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T4 Bad Testing Metrics—and What To Do About Them
Paul Holland, Testing Thoughts
Thu, 04/11/2013 - 10:30am

Many organizations use software testing metrics extensively to determine the status of their projects and whether or not their products are ready to ship. Unfortunately most, if not all, of the metrics in use are so flawed that they are not only useless but possibly dangerous—misleading decision makers, inadvertently encouraging unwanted behavior, or providing overly simplistic summaries out of context. Paul Holland reviews Goodhart’s Law and its applicability to software testing metrics.

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T5 Snappy Visualizations for Test Communications
Thomas Vaniotis, Liquidnet
Thu, 04/11/2013 - 12:45pm

Do you struggle to find the best way to explain your testing status and coverage to your stakeholders? Do numbers and metrics make your stakeholders’ eyes glaze over, or, even worse, do you feel dirty giving metrics that you know are going to be abused? Do you have challenges explaining your strategy to fellow testers and developers? Visualizations are a great way to turn raw data into powerful communications. Thomas Vaniotis presents eleven powerful visual tools that can be created easily with simple materials around the office—sticky notes, graph paper, markers, and whiteboards.

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T6 Using Mindmaps to Develop a Test Strategy
Fiona Charles, Quality Intelligence
Thu, 04/11/2013 - 12:45pm

Your test strategy is the design behind your plan—the set of big-picture ideas that embodies the overarching direction of your test effort. It captures the stakeholders’ values that will inspire, influence, and ultimately drive your testing. It guides your overall decisions about the ways and means of delivering on those values. The weighty test strategy template mandated in many organizations is not conducive to thinking through the important elements of a test strategy and then communicating its essentials to your stakeholders.

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T13 Changing the Testing Conversation from Cost to Value
Iain McCowatt, CGI
Thu, 04/11/2013 - 3:15pm

The software testing business is in the grip of a commoditization trend in which enterprises routinely flip flop between vendors—vendors who are engaged in a race to the bottom on price. This trend introduces perverse incentives for service providers, undervalues skill, and places excessive emphasis on processes, tools, and methods. The result is a dumbing down of testing and the creation of testing services that are little more than placebos.

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T2 Whiteboarding—for Testers, Developers, and Customers, Too
Rob Sabourin, AmiBug.com
Thu, 04/11/2013 - 10:30am

How can testers spend more time doing productive testing and waste less time preparing "useless" project documentation? Rob Sabourin employs whiteboarding techniques to enable faster, easier, and more powerful communication and collaboration—without all the paperwork. Rob uses whiteboarding to help identify technical risks, understand user needs, and focus testing on what really matters to business stakeholders. Whiteboard block diagrams visualize technical risk to stakeholders. Whiteboard fault models highlight failure modes to developers and testers.

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