test assessment
test outsourcing
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May 2007
Issue: 1
Welcome to the RBCS Inc. Newsletter
Many of our customers have asked for a way to be kept informed of new classes and other company news.  We're happy to oblige and have created this newsletter to help you maximize the benefits of being a RBCS customer.  In this inaugural issue, we'll introduce the newsletter and help you understand the features each issue will have. 

To avoid inundating your inbox with e-mail, these will only come out once a month and will be very brief and to the point.  We promise that the time you invest in reading our newsletter will be well spent -- no pseudo-intellectual random musings, no sales-pitches-disguised-as-content, no bait-and-switch -- just an update on the latest in the RBCS library, "a walk through the library" which focuses on a useful tool, article, or template, information about our new or improved offerings, and recap of current RBCS news.

As always, we appreciate your business and feedback and thank you for being an RBCS customer.


Rex Black

Quality Risk Analysis
Which Quality Risks Should We Worry About?
by Rex Black

Since it is not possible to test everything, it is necessary to pick a subset of the overall set of tests to be run. Quality risks analysis can help one focus the test effort.


While the phrase quality risk analysis may sound forbidding, mystifying, and complex, the underlying ideas-and the techniques-need not be. Simply put, quality risk analysisis a process for identifying, analyzing, and prioritizing categories of potential quality problems (that is, bugs) in one's systems.


Because quality risks are potential problems-with probabilities between zero and 100 percent-one factor that influences the relative importance of a risk is the likelihood ofthe undesirable outcome. In other words, is it likely that these kinds of bugs exist in the system and is it likely that users will encounter these kinds of bugs if they exist?


Another factor that influences the relative importance of a risk is the impact of that undesirable outcome on the users, customers, or other stakeholders. In other words, if these kinds of bugs exist in the system and users encounter them, how will the symptoms of the bugs affect the users? The impact of bugs can range from trivial to catastrophic onsome systems, even deadly.


For example, suppose one is developing an online banking application. This application allows users to log into their bank accounts over the Internet. They can then pay bills,transfer funds between accounts, and download statements.


For such an application, security is clearly a major quality characteristic. In the area of security, risks to system quality include the possibility that criminal hackers gainunauthorized access to other customers' accounts or that hackers intercept account information in transit between the data center and customers' PCs.


As the steady stream of Internet hacking exploits point out, the likelihood of such problems are all too high. When they do occur, such problems have serious impacts oncustomers, businesses, and other stakeholders. Clearly, to have confidence in such a system, one would want to develop and test in such a way as to reduce these risks.


Find this article in its entirety and many other useful resources on the library page at www.rexblackconsulting.com.  If you are interested in the benefits that risk-based testing can bring to your testing process, send an e-mail to [email protected] and ask us about our quick, high-impact consulting package that will get your team doing risk-based testing within two weeks.



A Walk Through the RBCS Library 

A benefit of being an RBCS client or licensee is that you have full access to the RBCS library for use on your projects,  subject to the terms of your license, of course.  So, in this section, let's take a closer look at a tool or template that can really help you out.

A basic problem that many starting-out test teams face is, "How do we track our test cases and results?"  You could buy a test management tool, but that can be expensive and is often over-kill for smaller projects.

Instead, how about using a spreadsheet, which is a tool you already know how to use reasonably well, if you're like most IT professionals.  Take a look at one of the "Sumatra Test Tracking.xls" files in the library, specifically the "Test Case Summary" and "Test Suite Summary" worksheets. 

In the "Test Case Summary" worksheet, you see a list of test cases, grouped into suites, with detailed status information associated with each.  The "roll-up" columns at the right side serve to summarize the worksheet, and this summary information is displayed in the "Test Suite Summary" worksheet. 

If you're careful to track the planned and actual hours, you can even get earned-value information related to your progress through the tests.  This will tell you if you are on-track, ahead, or behind.  Believe me, it's a lifesaver on big projects.

There are a number of other worksheets in this spreadsheet, and I'll explain those in a subsequent newsletter.  If you can't wait, a copy of Managing the Testing Process will explain most of the worksheets, and Critical Testing Processes will explain the rest!

By the way, if you're reading this newsletter and are not a client or licensee, it's easy to become one.  We sell per-project licenses for one-project use and site licenses for indefinite use.  At $100 and $1,000 each, respectively, these licenses are a bargain.
In This Issue
Quality Risk Analysis
A Walk Through the RBCS Library
Fall 2007 ISTQB Certified Tester Training
Rex Black ISTQB President
Contact Us
Fall 2007 ISTQB Certified Tester Training Schedule

September 24-27, Houston, TX,  Test Engineering Foundation Level, $2,000 USD

October 15-17, San Jose, CA,  Functional Testing Advanced Level, $2,000 USD

November 5-8, Washington DC,  Test Management Advanced Level, $2,500 USD

November 26-28, Toronto, ON,  Functional Testing Advanced Level, $2,000 USD

Rex Black re-elected as ISTQB President 

April 26, 2007. Dusseldorf, Germany.  Rex Black was re-elected to a second two-year term as President of the ISTQB.
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Early adopters of the e-learning Test Engineering Foundation course will receive a 50% discount in exchange for helping to beta test the e-learning features of the course.  This offer is limited to the first 25 clients who respond.  Please call +1 (866) 438-4830 today!.
Offer Expires: July 1, 2007