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Using plan-do-study-act to improve testing

Testers and developers can use the Deming Cycle to improve the quality of their testing. The Deming Cycle was initially used in the manufacture of telephones and has had a big influence on software development. The cycle has four steps: The cycle should be repeated with the knowledge accumulated.  The Deming Cycle can be described …

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How to create a simple performance test with Puppeteer

Creating your first performance test can seem daunting, but it need not be so. This blog post is a guide to resources that you can use to create a simple automated performance test. A good tool to use to create a performance test is Puppeteer. Puppeteer is a node.js library that can be used to …

Lessons Learned from being Programme Secretary of a testing conference

I have just been the Programme Secretary for BCS SIGiST’s conference “Testing, Diversity, AI”, and it seems useful to share some of my thoughts on organising the conference. Firstly it was a rewarding thing to do. I have worked in testing for twenty years and it was good to give something back to the testing …

We need to remove barriers to good work

If we want to make good quality software we need to remove barriers to good work. Dr Deming‘s 14 Points for management were the basis for lessons for top management in Japan. Dr Deming said that “the 14 Points apply anywhere, to small organisations as well as to large organisations[1]”. Point 12  is to “remove …

Using Ishikawa diagrams to improve quality

Cause-effect diagrams are a useful technique that can be used to improve quality.  Glenford J. Myers wrote that “a weakness of boundary value analysis and equivalence partitions is that they do not explore combinations of input circumstances”[1]. A technique that can be used to explore and describe combinations of inputs to an issue is a …

How to deal with a complaint about quality

How a company responds to a complaint about quality needs careful consideration. A model that we can use to explore this issue is Dr Deming’s Red Beads Experiment. We can extend the Red Beads Experiment to include a complaint from customers. I explored the Red Beads Experiment in a previous blog post The blog post …

Using the Five Whys to improve quality

The Five Whys is a technique for finding the root cause of a problem. Toyota developed this technique and it is now widely used, including in software development. I was introduced to the Five Whys by Tom Gilb as part of a course he ran on Lean QA and have used the Five Whys in …

Testing needs to include the needs of internal and external customers

When we test we think about the users of the functionality and we include their needs in our testing. Creating categories of customers, such as internal and external, can help us understand our customers’ uses of the functionality.  Dr Joseph Juran advocated viewing customers as either internal or external customers. Juran was born in Romania …

Should we practice continuous learning?

I enjoy working in an organisation where we are learning from the work we do. An example of this would be using retrospectives to enable the team to learn from their work and taking this knowledge forward to help the team.  Until recently I have called this approach continuous learning. It sounded right, as it …

I am learning about systems thinking to help me test

I want to improve my understanding of systems thinking as this will help my testing. My friend John Holmstrom recommended the work of Peter Senge and so I have just read “The Fifth Discipline” by Peter Senge. The book contains many useful insights about system thinking, learning and leadership. Some of the points about systems …

Being the Programme Secretary for a testing conference is an exciting experience

I have always gained a lot from attending conferences, and it has now been over two years since I attended a conference in person. I am now enjoying being Programme Secretary for BCS SIGiST’s Testing, Diversity, AI Conference.  Over the last two and a bit years I have attended, spoken at and organised virtual events. …

How have approaches to quality changed over the past 20 years?

We can all learn a great deal from people who have influenced our industry. BCS SIGiST recently hosted a discussion with Mary and Tom Poppendieck about “How have approaches to quality changed over the past 20 years?”. Mary Poppendieck wrote books with her husband Tom about Lean Software Development based on her experience of applying …

How can we communicate what agile testers do?

A tester’s job is to test, well that is what our job title says, however, we add value in a number of ways to features that we work on.  We need to be able to communicate how we add value. Some time ago we had some new managers where I was working and I wanted …

Don’t ask “Why did the tester miss that bug?”

“Why did the tester miss that bug?” is a question I have heard in many places but it is the wrong question. W. Edwards Deming’s philosophy shows that if something has gone wrong we need to look at the process and not blame the individual. A tester can be working in a system that the …

State transition diagrams help to define tests

Identifying what states exist in functionality and how changes in state take place enables testers to identify tests that should be executed. State transition diagrams provide simple notation for summarising states and how changes in states take place. I recently used a state transition diagram on a project and it helped me identify the tests …