Friday, October 09, 2009

New EuroSTAR Community Site

EuroSTAR have recently launched a new Community Site which includes:
  • Downloadable Presentations from the past 10 EuroSTAR conferences
  • A Webinar Archive packed with webinars on various topics to listen to at your convenience
  • Testing Forum to discuss, debate and interact with testers from across the globe
  • Importantly, the new EuroSTAR blog which contains interviews with prominent testers and articles on various test related issues
You can take a look at the new community by clicking here - remember you must register first of all on the left of the page

We hope you find it to be a useful resource!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Recession-ary Testing

As we all know, the world has entered a particularly challenging time with a continuous stream of daily news on the recession, cutbacks and the credit crunch – what does this mean for Software Testers? How secure are our jobs? What effect will it have on testing as a function? I don’t have a crystal ball but I have read some interesting articles over the past few weeks and have come up with a new term – Recessionary Testing!

The Learning and Skills Council in the UK issued a 10 credit-crunch proof jobs list at the beginning of the year and Software Testing sat comfortably towards the top of the list along with Web Designers, IT Security Professionals & Viral Marketing Professionals. I found this interesting and wondered how they could formulate such a list, on what basis is testing more secure than any other profession?

Testing as a profession has grown enormously over the last decade to a point where the importance of software testing within any IT project cannot be underestimated. At EuroSTAR 2009 – attendees spoke about the future of Software Testing and during Manifesto workshops, came up with some intriguing ideas – Testing will be a university degree, we will survive every economic crisis, now and in the future and importantly, what I want to discuss – We will be Pro-Active, not Re-Active! You can view the manifesto online at http://www.softwaretestingmanifesto.org/

A Pro-Active tester can be relied upon and viewed as a real asset to a project in the current climate – software releases while always important are even more so nowadays as delays, bugs or any user issue will severely damage a company’s reputation. High standards of testing must be applied across the board to ensure that users engage with a highly polished product.

So what can testers do?

Innovate, not stagnate – get involved, interact, add value and continuously strive to improve. Get online, begin to read some test specific blogs, maybe start your own J join a local testing group (there’s lots) contribute in forums, share and receive advice and get informed as ‘Knowledge is Power’ (forgive the clich√©) don’t hide away or muddle along, engage with one another and the benefits will be far-reaching.

Recessionary Testing is all about growing the profession and not letting the recession push us backwards – nobody is quiet sure when everything will look rosy again, least of all, our so-called economic experts but we can be Pro-Active and emerge stronger than ever..

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

EuroSTAR FREE Webinar: The Surprising Right Fit For Software Testing presented by Thorkil Sonne


EuroSTAR bring world class testing to the comfort of your own desk!
Thorkil Sonne founder of the inspirational company Specialisterne, has kindly offered to present a 30 minute live webinar titled: 'A Surprising Right Fit For Software Testing'


'The Surprising Right Fit for Software Testing' is all about people. Setting the right team is important - but did you know that you may be able to find untapped talents outside your team, outside your company and even as far as at the edge of society. Hear Thorkil Sonne discuss how testing has given meaning to life for many people with autism (mostly with Aspergers Syndrome) - and discuss with Thorkil, how we can make 'Testing for Real' benefit fragile people, as well as business driven companies.

Key points:
• Adding untapped skilled resources to testing
• Inspiration on how to access untapped talent pools
• There is more to business than just business

TIME & DATE
Date: Thursday, 26th February 2009
Time: 10:00am London-Dublin / 11:00am CET
Duration: 30 minutes

Don't miss this thought-provoking presentation!
Register Now!


Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Testing Disasters

As many of you will know, potential software disasters can easily turn into reality and in the vast majority of cases, can be or could have been avoided. Testing plays a vital role in the succesful implementation/launch of software and in many of the disasters that will be outlined later in this article, a greater emphasis on testing could have prevented any problems.

There is an old motto that ‘Failing to plan is planning to fail’ and this is true in everyday tasks as well as in complex IT projects. Some of the best-known IT related disasters could have learnt from this – Microsoft’s live demo of their Voice recognition software – view video, the notorious millenium bug which netted consultants billions of dollars and more recently, the open of Heathrow’s Terminal 5.

The launch of Heathrow’s Terminal 5 was meant to be a proud day for British Airways but instead turned into an absolute PR disaster as the failure of the baggage handling systems disrupted thousands of holidaymakers plans.

On the day of opening it quickly became apparent that the new terminal was not operating smoothly, and British Airways cancelled 34 flights and was later forced to suspend baggage check-in. Over the following 10 days some 28,000 bags failed to travel with their owners, and over 500 flights were cancelled.

The difficulties were later blamed on a number of problems with the terminal's IT systems, coupled with insufficient testing and staff training and cost BA a considerable amount through a subsequent advertising campaign to assure the public that things.

Another spectacular IT failure that can be attributed to insufficient testing is the Siemens passport system fiasco. It was the summer of 1999, and half a million British citizens were less than happy to discover that their new passports couldn't be issued on time because the Passport Agency had brought in a new Siemens computer system without sufficiently testing it and training staff first.

Hundreds of people missed their holidays and the Home Office had to pay millions in compensation, staff overtime and umbrellas for the poor people queuing in the rain for passports. But why such an unexpectedly huge demand for passports? The law had recently changed to demand, for the first time, that all children under 16 had to get one if they were travelling abroad.

Tory MP Anne Widdecombe summed it up well while berating the then home secretary, Jack Straw, over the fiasco: "Common sense should have told him that to change the law on child passports at the same time as introducing a new computer system into the agency was storing up trouble for the future." (Taken from ZDNET.co.uk)

The Airbus A380 also experienced problems and delays due to a lack of testing and forward planning. This was a major European undertaking and, according to Business Week, the problem arose with communications between two organisations in the group: the French Dassault Aviation and a Hamburg factory. Put simply, the German system used an out-of-date version of CATIA and the French system used the latest version. So when Airbus was bringing together two halves of the aircraft, the different software meant that the wiring on one did not match the wiring in the other. The cables could not meet up without being changed.

The problem was eventually fixed, but only at a cost that nobody seems to want to put an absolute figure on. But all agreed it cost a lot, and put the project back a year or more.
Other notable inclusions include McDonalds plan to create an intranet so grand in scale and scope that it was quiet literally impossible - In 2001, the fast-food chain conceived a project to create an intranet connecting headquarters with far-flung restaurants that would provide operational information in real time. Under the plan, dubbed Innovate, a manager in the company's Oak Brook HQ would know instantly if sales were slowing at a franchise in Orlando, or if the grill temperature at a London restaurant wasn't hot enough. It just proved far too much to bite off (taken from Informationweek.com)

There are of course numerous other examples where a lack of testing can be attributed as a major factor in the failure or delay of major projects – so if anybody would like to add some, feel free to do so through the comments section below