The Ultimate Desktop Reference

I have a library of books and white papers on software testing, engineering processes and management, and software development that I have read and reference quite often. For new testers I generally recommend A Practitioner’s Guide to Software Test Design by Lee Copeland, and How to Break Software: A Practical Guide to Testing by James…


Prescriptive vs. Descriptive ‘scripted’ tests

Something that raises red flags in my brain is hard-coded strings or test data in either a manual test or an automated test. Yes, I know that sometimes there are times when a test must be very prescriptive and use specific data and follow specific procedures, but I am absolutely amazed how often I see…


How We Test Software At Microsoft

This past year has been quite busy for me. Too busy. Besides trying to keep up with my busy teaching schedule, driving some key initiatives and collaborating on others, planning new course development for SDETS, I presented at 11 conferences around the world, wrote a few magazine articles, and developed a new software test automation…


Temporary test files

There are occasionally times during an automated test needs to create a temporary file during the execution of that test. The problem is that often this file is left behind on the system, or even worse stored in some obscure directory on a server. I say worse because those files will be discovered by someone…


Training is Controversial…Really?

I just returned from a business trip to Israel. I was a long time on the road (a week at EuroStar followed by a trip to Israel to teach at our 2 R&D centers there). So, I really lucked out because I got the opportunity to go sailing this past Saturday and unwind a bit….


Boundary testing isn’t guessing at numbers!

At a recent conference a speaker posed a problem in which a field accepted a string of characters with a maximum of 32,768 bytes, then asked the audience what values they would use for boundary testing. Immediately some of the attendees unleashed a flurry of silly wild ass guesses (SWAG) such as “32,000,” “64,000,” and,…


Thoughts on leadership

Last week I was at the Test2008 conference in India. The organizers from PureTesting planned a grand event with workshops in Hyderabad, Delhi, Bangalore, and Pune. Then the main conference was then held outside of New Delhi. When I arrived in Delhi at the conference I was told I would be on a discussion panel….


Thoughts on Professionalism

As a young lad growing up on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay I would often spend part of my summer vacation from grade school helping my grandfather work the crab pots on the north shore. Now, don’t think “Dangerous Catch,” crabbing in the Chesapeake is much different than crabbing in Alaskan waters, although we…


Equivalence class partitioning: is it real or is it a figment in our imagination?

Last week I attended the Software Testing and Performance conference in Boston. I presented a workshop on Systematic Testing Techniques, as well as a talk on random test data generation, and combinatorial analysis. One way I continue to learn about our profession and increase my own knowledge is by going to conferences to hear different…


Think before re-inventing the wheel

There are rare occasions when an exceptionally bright and innovative person comes along and actually builds a better ‘mousetrap.’  My friend Ken Smith is one such person. Ken is the inventor of SmartPlug. Anyone with a boat that connects to shore power has experienced the aggravation of lining up the 3 keyed prongs in the dark,…