Paul Gerrard's blog

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.

23rd Test Management Forum


The 23rd Test Management forum will take place on Wednesday 29th July
at the conference centre at Balls's Brothers, Minster Pavement.
Testing Tags: 

22nd Test Management Forum - 29 April 2009

The 23rd Test Management forum took place on Wednesday 29th
at the conference centre at Balls's Brothers, Minster Pavement.

The meeting was sponsored by our patrons:

We are most grateful to our generous patrons.


Reducing Waste in the Test cycle, Paul Rolfe, HP
An open discussion to share ideas of how to reduce waste in terms of the cost, time and effort involved in the test cycle.
Attendees are encouraged to bring along examples and ideas and the format will be informal.
Agile Development and Test in Practice, John sweet, BSkyB
At Sky Network Services agile development methodologies were introduced in January 2006 to build a new broadband provisioning system for the broadband and telephony division of Sky TV. This talk will include a brief introduction to agile methodologies, how the practises and processes were introduced at SNS and how they work today. Although introducing agile methodologies may seem like a long and painful uphill task, this talk will seek to show how, once achieved, the methods work really well to deliver good quality software to challenging timescales in a changing environment at a sustainable pace (i.e. no developer or tester burn out!)
Designing for Testability - Technical Focus, Adam Knight

Two linked sessions addressing the vital topic of designing systems and
applications to facilitate effective testing..
Managing Outsourcing - Case Study, Mike Bartley, Independent
One of the likely consequences of the current economic climate is that companies will look to reduce their fixed costs through outsourcing. This presentation considers how to set up and manage an outsourced (and offshored) software testing capability to give strategic benefits beyond cost savings.
Cost-Based Analysis and ROI of Automation, Aidus McVeigh, Sogeti

Why is it that every time Automation is implemented; whether it is using Enterprise tools, creating a Unit test Suite or an API Framework, the topic of cost-based analysis & ROI is shunned? We are expected to ‘guarantee’ that Automation will become the silver bullet of Technology and save the day. But how can we do this when so much (if not all) of the benefits are intangible? This session will look at this ongoing struggle, why it exists, how to overcome it and why ROI really is your friend.
Designing for Testability - Management Focus, Dave Evans, SQS

Session two will deal with the management, “political”, organisational and
economic dimensions.

Second-hand Books for Sale

On 7 August 2005, I sold a spare copy of Fred Brook's 'Mythical Man Month' for a few quid on Amazon. It's the only time I used the site to sell anything so naturally, I had quite forgotten that I'd done this.

Today, I received an email from Amazon saying my account was in credit and asking for bank details so they could pay me. Maybe the poor interest they are earning on my banked cash triggered their sudden efficiency. I followed the link provided and discovered that I'd sold the book long, long ago.

So now it occurs to me that I might sell a few more books.

Test Management Summit Materials

Many thanks to all the sponsors, delegates, facilitators and the IOD staff for making the 2009 Summit so enjoyable.

We've posted the programme and all facilitator materials on the permanent page for the 2009 Summit here:

One or two are late arriving - we're chasing up on those.