Monthly Archives: May 2010

What a way to punch up test results

Let’s face it, test data can be some of the dullest reading around.  Communicating test results with impact  can be difficult.  The simplest way is to add color. The Red/Yellow/Green color palette works particularly well.

When you are one of the richest companies in the world, you can afford to do just a wee bit more. Here is an outstanding example of a performance report by our friends at Google.

It’s usually an “and”, not necessarily an “or”

Many times at work, we have discussions and debates whether to do one thing or another. One classic debate is between hiring testers or  quality engineers. Whether its better to perform manual tests or create automated tests. Or, my favorite, whether we need to “follow process” or “deliver on time”.

I remember one of these debates, the topic was testing verses quality engineering.  One one side, we had passionate defenders of testers who worked tirelessly and helped us deliver a much better product than we would have otherwise. On the other side, the thinking was that its much better to prevent problems in the first place, and to automate the testing so our precious time could be spent on more and more productive activities. Who is right?  Well, they both are.

No amount of prevention activities will replace having a real human using the system like our customers will.  The human brain and eyes are the best testing tools ever created, especially when paired with domain knowledge, customer empathy, and the knack of testing.  At the same time, it is much better to prevent problems before they happen. Second best is to find the problems right at the point of injection. Also, repeating the same mundane tasks over and over again is a good use of automation. The classic quality engineering functions.

The answer is almost always “both” when there is a debate over doing one thing or another.  We have to apply quality engineering skills and great testing skills; automation and manual testing; follow “process” and deliver on time.

Starting again…

It’s been a long time since I’ve contributed to this blog.  My initial plan was to blog about fly fishing and software quality.  I ended up getting more into the fly fishing side, so I just went with it on my other site, Whiskey Creek Flies.

I’ve been writing about software quality, but in blogs and email distribution lists at work.  Now it’s time to revive this side of my blogging life.  So, drop in occasionally, I’ll be writing about software quality and testing from the perspective that I’ve built over the past few years.

Tight Lines…