Monday, November 20, 2006

What Best Practices really are. -- CIO Article

Of all the places I expected to find an article supporting the fact that Best Practices is nothing more than a square on someone's buzz-word bingo card, CIO wasn't it. The highlights are these...
Using celebs for endorsements has become such best practice that everyone does it. So what is best practice about it? Nothing. The phrase is simply a demonstration of how cliched business language dresses up the concept of copying something someone else has done. And when lots of companies copy the copier, it becomes dull, intellectually stagnant and offers no competitive advantage. It's just a me-too strategy executed by the cynical, the lazy, or the lazy cynics.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Happy About Global Software Test Automation

I just posted this review for Hung Nguyen's new book on Amazon. All you testers and test managers out there, slip this book under your boss's door when they aren't looking and watch how quickly the company starts embracing and respecting software testing!


Happy About Global Software Test Automation: A Discussion of Software Testing for Executives is an absolute must read for any executive in a company that develops, customizes or implements software.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Modeling Application Usage Visually, Google Tech Talk

Some folks have said that I should get this on my blog, so here it is. If you like it, rate it... if you don't... umm... well... let your conscious be your guide. ;)

Modeling Application Usage Visually

Play Video

Description: Google TechTalks April 24, 2006 Scott Barber is the CTO of PerfTestPlus, Inc. and Co-Founder of the Workshop on Performance and Reliability (WOPR). Scott's particular specialties are testing and analyzing performance for complex systems, developing customized testing methodologies, group facilitation and authoring instructional materials.

Astract Modeling application usage is more than just parsing log files and calculating page frequencies. Whether we are analyzing navigation path effectiveness, planning for scenario testing, documenting performance test workload models or mapping services or objects to user activity having a single, intuitive picture to reference makes the job easier. In this session, we'll explore a highly adaptable method for visualizing application usage and how to use this model to improve cross-functional team communication without requiring team members to invest time learning some new fad of a modeling language that they'll probably never use again. This method references UCML™ which has been described as "what collaboration diagrams should have been."

Wednesday, November 8, 2006

4-Second Rule?

 It looks like Juniper Research has finally done away with the 8-second rule in favor of a 4-second rule. I want to point something out right up front... This new "rule" is based on a survey that asks the question...
Question: Typically, how long are you willing to wait for a single Web page to load before leaving the Web site? (Select one.)
A. More than 6 seconds.
B. 5-6 seconds.
C. 3-4 seconds.
D. 1-2 seconds.
E. Less than 1 second.
Sorry Juniper - I promise that if we sat down with your respondents and asked them to identify how many seconds various pages took to load that MOST of them would not get it right and that MOST of the wrong ones *think* a page takes longer to load than it actually does. Reviewing the report for yourself here:
Scott Barber
Chief Technologist, PerfTestPlus, Inc.

Co-Author, Performance Testing Guidance for Web Applications
Author, Web Load Testing for Dummies
Contributing Author, Beautiful Testing, and How To Reduce the Cost of Testing

"If you can see it in your mind...
     you will find it in your life."

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

How to Ask (and Not Ask) for Free Consulting

James Bach has posted a great blog about how to and how not to ask industry leaders for assistance.

This rang true with me and my experiences, but some folks seemed to find his perspective to be arrogant or rude. Below I've copied a representative quote and my response.

But the way he handled it, and because I know that James Bach is a very experienced person in answering forum like questions, it looks as if Bach planed it all and maneuvered the poor guy to this corner, maybe to show him how he should behave. The way Bach handled it is IMHO was one of the worse that I have seen. Instead of getting healthy results (the guy understands his mistake, apologizes and learns from it) it looks like Bach did what ever he could to insult the guy in order to get that kind of reaction. I can learn a lot from James Bach but I am not going to take this approach as a good example to learn from. As Linda said, it doe’s him no credit. 

I have to disagree. I admit that I consider Jim to be a close personal friend. I further admit that my first impression of James Bach was that he was a pompous ass. It was only after meeting him that I came to absolutely adore conversing with him for all the reasons that can be taken as "pompous ass" to anyone who approaches him with defensiveness and self-righteousness.

Friday, October 6, 2006

Thoughts on Certification

 I got an email asking a question about certification that I thought others might find interesting.


I'm new to the QA arena, and haven't found a mentor yet, beyond the publications of those like yourselves. So far, I don't see that there is one internationally accepted certification for QA in general. I know there is the CSTE, and the ISTQB , which at least one of you worked on. My perception is that CSTE is a bit more accepted (when I search for both acronyms, I get a few more for CSTE, but still not many), but otherwise it's certification specific to tools like WinRunner or languages.

I have found also that CompTIA ( suggests these:

CompTIA A+
CompTIA e-Biz+
CompTIA i-Net+
CompTIA Server+
Certiport's Internet & Computing Core Certification - IC³

But no one else inside QA seems to have heard of them. Are they helpful, or is CompTIA just trying to earn money? Are there general certs that help QA?

Thanks for any insight you can offer! Keep up the great QA work!

and my response...

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

HP to buy Mercury Interactive

On Tuesday 7/25/2006, (along with *many* others) broke the news that the rumored HP/Mercury deal is really happening. A summary and my reaction is below. See the entire release here and draw your own conclusions.
July 26 2006: 9:22 AM EDT
NEW YORK (Reuters) -- Hewlett-Packard agreed on Tuesday to buy Mercury Interactive for about $4.5 billion in stock, or $52 per share, in a bid to expand the computer maker's business software operations.
The deal, which sent shares of the No. 2 personal computer maker down 4 percent, should help boost sales of HP's (Charts) OpenView systems management software, which makes it easier for far-flung businesses to monitor the hardware, software and networks running throughout their organizations.
The purchase of the former star Israeli technology company also puts HP in closer competition with other major systems management software providers, including IBM's Tivoli unit, CA Inc.'s UniCenter and BMC Software.
Since last year, a number of top Mercury executive have left amid a regulatory probe into its stock option granting practices. The financial scandal drove Mercury, once a top performing stock, to delist from the Nasdaq market.
Folks, you may not realize it, but this is major. Until about a year ago, over 75% (up to 90% depending on which year and which report you read) of the total revenue in the test automation and test management tools market went to Mercury, Rational and Segue since the beginning of the "Dot-Com Era". Over the last 13 months this seemingly consistent market has been turned on it's head:

Friday, July 14, 2006

Choosing Performance Testing with Scott Barber (Stickyminds interview reprint)

A Word with the Wise:
Choosing Performance Testing with Scott Barber
by Joseph McAllister

Every kid eventually puts some thought into the question "What do you want to be when you grow up?" For PerfTestPlus CTO Scott Barber, who specializes in context-driven performance testing and analysis for distributed multi-user systems, the answer was not "performance tester." He planned to follow in the footsteps of his father, an industrial arts teacher, and sought an ROTC-scholarship-funded degree in civil engineering. In his junior year of college, though, Scott learned that his first years with the Army Corps of Engineers would involve digging foxholes for infantry rather than building bridges with the Seabees.

"I decided that if I was going to be crossing the front lines, I'd much rather be carrying heavy weaponry than heavy shovels," he says.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Paint the room heuristic

The other day, my wife asked me if I could finish painting the bedroom before my conference call in 90 minutes. Naturally, I said that I could and like a good husband, I immediately got started. It wasn't until my phone rang that I realized that I hadn't made it in time. Luckily enough, it was no problem to delay the call by 30 minutes.

While I was finishing up, I realized what had happened. When my wife asked me if I could accomplish the painting in a certain amount of time, my thought process was...
  1. If I do it now, it will make her happy.
  2. If it takes a little too long, the worst that will happen is that she'll be a little grumpy until I finish, but once I'm done she'll be happy.
  3. Once I start, no one is actually going to make me stop before I'm finished... I mean, who wants a mostly painted room?!?
  4. I completely overlooked the fact that delaying the phone call could be problematic.

Sunday, April 9, 2006

Tester thinking...

Say you were given the following requirements...

  •   Users shall be able to enter any of nine predefined data objects
  •   User interface shall consist of nine blocks of three rows and three columns
  •   Each row, column and/or block shall accept only one member of each data object

What am I describing?

Sunday, April 2, 2006

Why all the hype about SOA & Testing?

I've been working on a Webinar and article about testing SOA... because I've been asked to... because SOA is all the rage or something. So what's the big deal?!? Objects that are based on a business process is called a Service... Ok. There are competing "standards" for communication protocols for services... Ok. There are SOA Management Software packages that do what middleware has always done... Ok. Services are assumed to be remote and developed by someone else... Ok. And?

What's the new part? What *haven't* we had to deal with before? What *haven't* we had to deal with in combinations before?

Am I just WAAAAAAAAAY out of the loop, or this 90% hype and 10% pushing problems we've been dealing with for *at least* 6 years working their way into new places?

O-well, back to the article... maybe I'll come up with something more useful to say in it.

Scott Barber
President & Chief Technologist, PerfTestPlus, Inc.

Co-Author, Performance Testing Guidance for Web Applications
Author, Web Load Testing for Dummies
Contributing Author, Beautiful Testing, & How To Reduce the Cost of Testing

"If you can see it in your mind...
you will find it in your life."