paul gerrard's blog

26th Test Management Forum - 28 July 2010

The 26th Test Management Forum took place on Wednesday 28 July 2010

Many, many thanks to the facilitators, delegates, the sponsors SQS UK, Original Software and Tricentis Technology & Consulting and of course our venue Balls's Brothers, Minster Pavement. for making the latest Forum a big success.

User Acceptance Testing - A Practical Approach

James Windle has published the second edition of his book, "Acceptance Testing - A Practical Approach". Last week James asked me to give the book a plug at the Forum, but I didn't have time. So here's a plug on a TMF site instead :-)

From the back cover:
"This book is a step-by-step distillation of James's experiences of Acceptance Testing in a variety of industry sectors. The second edition has been fully revised in the light of feedback from readers, clients and industry leaders."

Click on the image to visit the book's website where you'll find full details of how to buy.

April Test Management Forum

My Blog is moving to

I haven't blogged for a while because I have been working on my new website. It has just gone live at

Like this site, it uses Drupal as a platform. My blog is moving to the new site. I'll continue to post blogs on the site, but only to make announcements regarding the Test Management Forums and Summit.

So here are the new blog and blog feed details:

Paul Gerrard's Blog

Paul Gerrard's Blog RSS feed

Please change your news reader accordingly :-)

The website will take this feed and display my posts here. I'll be copying some, but probably not all, of the old posts to the new site. I've got lots of stuff I'd like to talk about queued up - watch this space.

Check it out!

Testing Tags: 

Free Windows Azure Assessment Survey

A friend of mine (Michael van Noorden of DotNet Solutions) asked me to forward an interesting offer they are making. There's a brief white paper What is the Azure Services Platform? that gives some background. Perhaps you could pass this onto your technical architect to see if he's interested? Ask him to take you along perhaps - it could be an interesting and informative session. See below...

2010 Test Management Summit Topic Survey - RESULTS

Results of the Survey

The results of the Topic Popularity Survey are listed below. 61 people responded and their names have been entered into a draw for a free Summit Place.

Test Management Summit Topic Survey

Which topics are most popular?

The survey can be found here

The 2010 test Management Summit will take place on Wednesday 27th January 2010 at the Institute of Directors. We are planning to add a WORKSHOP DAY to the Summit on Tuesday 26th January and will comprise a series of half-day workshops on topics chosen by YOU. Day 2 workshops will cost delegates only UKP 95 plus VAT for the full DAY. More details will follow as we get further into the planning.

We need to start planning for the Summit now, so we are asking you, as a member of the test management community, to indicate your preferences for sessions (Summit Sessions or Post-Summit Workshops).

This is the SECOND survey to identify the most popular topics.

As your incentive to contribute, one FREE Summit place will be given to a randomly picked responder each month.

We have also secured a number of “Helicopter Rides over London” worth UKP 100 for our prize draw to be made at the Summit itself. All survey responders will be entered into the draw to win one of the places at the Summit itself. (But you must attend the summit to collect the prize).

The survey can be found here

Please take a few minutes to help us to make the 2010 Summit the best ever. Thank-you and good luck!

October Test Management Forum


The 24th Test Management forum will take place on Wednesday 28th OCTOBER at the conference centre at Balls's Brothers, Minster Pavement.

The meeting is sponsored by our patrons: HP, SOGETI and SQS UK and as usual, is FREE to attend. We are most grateful to our generous patrons.


Rank Topic
1 Agile Test Management
2 Agile Testing - how to adopt a successful process
3 Measuring the performance of our testers and team – how?
4 What's new in Test Automation?
5 Pitching Senior Management on Quality
6 Successful Agile Testing - How did you make this work?
7 Establishing an effective automated regression pack
8 Innovative Testing Practices
9 Introducing automated testing effectively
10 How to sell your testing methods
11 Agile and Offshore - oil and water ?
1.30pm Tea/Coffee/Registration
2.00pm Introductions
2.15pm Tony Simms, Test Manager at the NSPCC: "Oooo those graphs look pretty!" How to manage performance testing when you are not a technical specialist.

Tony is very much a non-technical test manager and was faced with having to scope, procure and manage performance testing for a new multi-channel voice and web-enabled counselling service for children and young people. This session will briefly set out the issues he faced and the course he took before opening up to the floor for discussion.

Susan Windsor, WMHL Consulting Limited

We “battle” to get our message across. We continue to improve our communications skills. We obtain certification for greater credibility. We strive for earlier exposure to stakeholders and management. TESTING is considered a major area for improvement in many organisations, but why is testing still undervalued?

Management's widely held perception is still, "Testing just slows my project down, costs too much money and we still have faults in production!"

Where did this perception and (and others like it) come from? If we can understand that, maybe we’ll be able to better tailor our messages and demonstrate our value.

Julian Brook, SQS. Code Quality – Who’s responsible?

Code Quality Management, sometimes known as static analysis, differs from traditional testing by assessing (static) source code rather than (dynamic) running software. Historically, this has been the province of developer peer reviews and inspections. Today, there are sophisticated objective measures of code quality available. If the Test Manager’s responsibilities are largely the process of testing running software and the quality assurance processes concerning the creation of that software, where exactly does the issue of code quality lie? Is it helpful or even meaningful to assess the quality of source code independently of assessing the running software? What tools and techniques can we use to measure code quality, and by what criteria? How reliable is code quality measurement as an indicator of overall system quality?
3.30pm Tea/Coffee
4.00pm Mike Bartley, Test and Verification Solutions: Improving Time-to-Market Through Software Test Automation
Getting test results sooner - how test automation can reduce time to market. A test team should always keep in mind their contribution to the business, and in this session Mike will concentrate on improving time to market through test automation.
Paul Gerrard, Gerrard Consulting: What are you doing? Why are you doing it?

What is testing really about? This session is a workshop that asks you to use critical thinking to reassess the purpose, meaning and consequences of some testing concepts. Three topics will be considered in this session: test design techniques (test models), exit criteria and independence. Are they gospel, flawed, fake or folklore? Bring your own sacred cows for the slaughter.
Biraj Nakarja, Sogeti: Testing Challenges in an Agile Environment

An Agile environment poses many challenges to a testing function compared to the traditional Waterfall model. Biraj Nakarja would like explore this further with particular focus on; The Characteristics of an Agile Tester - does the 'traditional' tester become less influential in Agile?, Agile Testing using Off-Shore Capabilities - does off-shoring in Agile actually save you money in the long run?, Merging Waterfall with Agile on the same project - can this work, or is it a train crash waiting to happen? Biraj would like share his experiences, and find out more about yours, to help answer these Agile questions.
5.15pm Drinks Reception

Crowdsourcing and Testing: Can it work?

Crowdsourcing is a buzzword increasingly being bandied about nowadays and the 'crowd' is a new paradigm for resourcing some activities. Is testing one of them?

This post was inspired by a discussion topic on the TMF group on LinkedIn posted by William Montague of Intechnica: Some companies test applications from home PCs located at the end of ADSL lines. Is this form of testing valid?. The post sets a technical question and doesn't mention crowdsourcing, but it seems to me that there's a practical management and commercial challenge related to crowdsourcing to explore too.

I don't think that many companies are yet using a 'crowd' to test. appear to be the foremost promoters of this approach in the US. It hasn't penetrated the UK testing market much - yet. There are some informal arrangements in place at one or two companies I've met, but using the crowd is one of those notions that seems to have great promise - at first glance.

This post explores the options for crowdsourcing testing and isn't obvious to me how it can work.