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2013 Issue #4

Do you want to be a happier, more productive software tester? Then read more below about infusing quality into the application lifecycle.

Also in this issue, take a fun quiz about the experts who can boost your career.

Articles in this issue:

Take the Quiz: The Experts Who Can Boost Your Career

Be Happier and More Productive: Infusing Quality into the Application Lifecycle

Your ISTQB Certification Benefits Keep Growing

Gain Recognition for Your Company

News and Offers from ASTQB Accredited Course Providers

Upskilling for Career Advancement


Take the Quiz: The Experts Who Can Boost Your Career

Look at the photos below and try to guess:

  • Which of these software testing experts are from Ireland? Finland? France? Belgium? Italy? Estonia? Israel? The United Kingdom? The US?
  • Have earned the prestigious ISTQB Certified Tester Expert Level (CTEL) designation?
  • Work in the video gaming industry?
  • Are experts on agile testing?
  • Are experts on testing in the cloud?
  • Have written books?
  • Are university professors? (Hint: One of them should be easy to guess based on the photos!)
These software testing experts are the speakers at the ASTQB Conference. Join us in San Francisco this March, and by the end of the ASTQB Conference, you'll know all of these experts and their best software testing tips. Even better, you will consider them part of your professional network.

That is what makes the ASTQB Conference unique: It's intimate format will build not only your skills but your contacts in the software testing industry. This will help your career now, and for years to come.

Learn more about these software testing experts and see if you guessed correctly!

Learn more about improving your testing and your career by downloading the ASTQB Conference brochure. Register today and save up to $200. Make the professional contacts that will improve your testing now, and your career for years to come, by joining us at the ASTQB Conference.


Be Happier and More Productive:
Infusing Quality into the Application Lifecycle

By Andrew Pollner

Where does quality start, and where does it end? These are questions we should all be asking ourselves as we test our software and strive to produce quality products and services based on software and systems.

These days, not a week goes by when headlines talk about “glitches” that occurred in one system or another. These “glitches” may inconvenience users. Far worse, they can prevent users from accomplishing a desired task and often can exact a financial toll to the organization whose systems were unprepared.

Part of the problem is recognizing what’s at work here. The use of vernacular such as “glitches” only provides greater confusion as to what is really going on. Thankfully, among the many missions of ISTQB is the standardization of test terminology used in describing software problems. Since “glitch” is not a technical term, let’s instead use defect. From the ISTQB Glossary, we know that a defect is "a flaw in a component or system that can cause the component or system to fail to perform its required function, e.g. an incorrect statement or data definition. A defect, if encountered during execution, may cause a failure of the component or system." Now at least we begin to better understand the problem at hand.

So it’s not just a matter of getting the journalists to explain things correctly. This has to begin within your company. And not just in the testing group. If the whole organization—or at least those involved to any degree in the application lifecycle—understands the basic concepts of quality and how to communicate this information between and amongst groups, this goes a long way towards working together in defect prevention. As Capers Jones noted in "Software Defect Origins and Removal Methods," "a synergistic combination of defect prevention, pre-test defect removal, and formal testing by certified personnel can top 99% in defect removal efficiency while simultaneously lowering costs and shortening schedules.”

Rarely is just one person involved in that “synergistic combination”—it is a team effort. Therefore, to really understand how we can achieve greater defect prevention requires every individual in his/her role to examine not only what’s required within that role (e.g. Tester, Developer, Manger, etc.) but also what’s required, and expected, from the other roles. Organizations do not work in a linear manner with activities occurring serially. Being effective at building quality into software and systems requires a lot of communication and sharing of information. So no one is to be exempt from the discussion of quality.

The traditional model of discussing quality begins with the necessary concepts around requirements and design. These still need to be done, but we also need to address that with every new system comes change. And humans aren’t always embracing of change, and often rebel at its onset.

Much has been written about organizational change, so it would do us good to take a page from the existing literature even if not directed at software systems. One key tenet from these practices is that we need to be aware of how people embrace change, and related to that, how they learn.

A simple experiment will quickly determine an individual’s behavior and how they learn, and by extension how they communicate. Ask an individual to describe something in one of 3 ways:

  • Write the concept on a whiteboard
  • Draw the concept on a whiteboard
  • Talk about the concept

This simple exercise is a key to helping understand and improve communications in your team, and by extension a start to greater quality within your organization.

Addressing behaviors, understanding the mindset (including values, beliefs, thoughts and emotions), and the company’s and individual’s culture help complement the knowledge and understanding of systems. This is what Dean and Linda Ackerman Anderson explain as “the conscious change leader accountability model” which constitute core drivers of change.

So let’s get back to the initial premise about quality: where does it start, and where does it end?

It starts at the human, personal level. We each need to feel connected, empowered, as contributors towards the cause. We also need to show empathy towards others whom we depend on or who depend on us. It ends with the final deliverable meeting or exceeding all expectations. Winston Churchill famously said, “To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.” Keep this in mind along with the rich body of knowledge the ISTQB provides and you’ll be not only happier, but more productive too. Guaranteed.

Andrew L. Pollner is President and CEO of ALP International Corporation, a leading organization in the area of test process improvement and in the use of test automation tools to bring efficiency and effectiveness to the testing process. As an early adopter of test automation and quality assurance tools, Mr. Pollner has built a consulting and training practice serving major financial, insurance, healthcare, telecommunications companies and government agencies to ensure their successful implementation of software testing and surrounding processes. Mr. Pollner has published articles on software testing and automation and regularly speaks at major national and international testing conferences, including: STAR (Software Testing Analysis & Review), EuroSTAR, Verify, and the National Capital Area Software Testing Forum which he created and chairs. Mr. Pollner is the Vice President of the American Software Testing Qualifications Board (ASTQB) standardizing tester certifications in the U.S. and chairs the Expert Level Test Automation Working Party for the International Software Testing Qualifications Board (ISTQB) worldwide tester certification body.


Your ISTQB Certification Benefits Keep Growing

Last month, the number of ISTQB Certified software testers in the U.S. passed the 15,000 mark! The rapid growth of ISTQB Certification is not surprising, as the benefits of ISTQB Certification are well known. For software testers, it demonstrates your knowledge, provides a professional pathway, and makes you global-ready. For companies and test managers, it can help to build efficiency, reduce your costs, and speed delivery.

However, the benefits of ISTQB Certification don't stop there, especially when you receive your certification through ASTQB:

Congratulations on making the brilliant choice to become ISTQB Certified! It keeps getting better every day.


Gain Recognition for Your Company

Join companies such as Platinum Partner Blizzard Entertainment in the the ISTQB Partner Program. The ISTQB Partner Program recognizes organizations around the world that have supported the professional development of their software testing staff through ISTQB certification. The Program comprises four levels of partnership (Silver, Gold, Platinum and Global) and the partnership level of an organization is determined through the number of certification points it has accumulated, which relate to the ISTQB Certificates held by staff.

The major benefits of the ISTQB Partner Program include:

  • Permission to use the ISTQB Partnership Program logo (and other permitted marketing material) on your organization's website
  • Recognition of your organization's testing professionalism, both in the local and international market
  • Official Recognition Letter, indicating identity/location, validity and level
  • Listing of your organization on ISTQB website
  • Listing of your organization on the ASTQB website
  • Special privileges in relation to ISTQB related events and conferences
  • Eligibility to receive the alpha version of new ISTQB Syllabi with the opportunity to contribute to their review
  • Honorary membership of the exclusive "ISTQB Partner Forum" which will allow Partners to receive news on the ISTQB Roadmap.

Learn more and apply for the ISTQB Partner Program today.

ISTQB Platinum Partner Blizzard Entertainment
blew in to the ASTQB booth at StarWest in
the form of Chris Clark and Nate Shapiro


News and Offers from ASTQB Accredited Course Providers

ALP International (ALPI): Exclusive offer to ASTQB Newsletter readers: Sign-up THREE (3) for ALPI’s ISTQB Foundation Level Certification Training class, February 24-26, 2014, and the 4th comes FREE! All 4 participants also receive a 20% discount toward any HP Test Tools class (QTP, UFT, Quality Center, LoadRunner). NEW for 2014: ISTQB Advanced Level Certification Training (Test Manager, Test Analyst, Technical Test Analyst). Contact our Training & Education team at or 301-654-9200 ext. 403.

RBCS: RBCS' ISTQB Advanced Level Training Week! Attending the ASTQB Conference in San Francisco March 24-26, 2014? Come a few days early and become ISTQB Advanced Level Test Manager (March 17-21) or Advanced Level Technical Test Analyst (March 19-21) certified while you are there. Learn more about RBCS' Advanced Level Test Manager and Advanced Level Technical Test Analyst certification courses and register today! Enter the code ADVCERTWEEK13 in the promo code field in your cart and receive a 15% discount (expires April 30, 2014).

Rice Consulting Services: Rice Consulting Services is offering $100 off the normal $995 individual rate for the e-learning course for the ISTQB Advanced Test Analyst certification. Use code ASTQB12A at at checkout. Team discounts are also available. Register 5 people and get the sixth person at no additional cost. (Use code ASTQB12B) Both offers include the cost of the exam. This offer expires on January 31, 2014.

SQE Training: Our Gift to You This Holiday Season - Register for our eSoftware Tester Certification-Foundation Level Course, and get the $250 exam for FREE! New registrations only, cannot combine discount with other offers. Looking for classroom instruction?


Upskilling for Career Advancement

Editor's Note: While many companies pay for ISTQB Certification training and exams, many individuals are proactively funding their own professional development. The reason is simple: It makes them more valuable to their companies. This isn't just something we are seeing at ASTQB. Below is an interesting excerpt and link to an article from IEEE that discusses this growing trend. This is probably a good time to consider taking the next step to the ISTQB Advanced Level or Expert Level Certification.

Technology professionals have embraced training and development as the best way to improve their careers. The workforce industry has a buzzword for this self-improvement trend: upskilling. According to the 2013 Kelly Global Workforce Index, more and more technology employees today are looking at training and education as a pathway to career advancement. And in a major shift from just a few years ago, the study found that employees are proactively seeking out training opportunities and not relying on their employers to provide them. "It is absolutely different from five or ten years ago," says Tim McAward of Kelly Services, Inc., which conducted the study. He blames the shift in no small part on the economy. "There are more individuals thinking they need to be responsible for their own upskilling so they can be more employable, either at their current companies or elsewhere." Read the full article on the IEEE website.


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