Category Archives: Presentations

This Category contains all forms of presentation session.

Testing Mastermind

In 2006, not fully understanding how difficult it had been successfully to run a game show, live, Geoff (Thompson) and I thought that we would give it another go. However we had to change the format, and do something new.

We had a think and came up with Testing Mastermind. Only this time, we would run the game from one PC, and network in the presenters PC.  A simple architecture, fraught with many dangers. Plus we had a Black Chair.

It wasn’t until we were actually at Manchester that we got the game controller and quiz masters PCs talking to each other.   When we tested this out on the conference stage, surprise, surprise, it didn’t work. Overnight the stage hands had to take up the floor and run a network cable from the pedestal to the desk.

It wasn’t until the morning of the day that we found out that our network arrangement actually worked.

Testing Mastermind EuroSTAR 2006, Manchester

Testing Mastermind EuroSTAR 2006, Manchester

The game itself was cracking fun.  It is amazing the power that the Mastermind Black Chair has over people. With the contestants struggling to answer even simple questions when put under an admittedly a very bright spotlight.

Fran O’hara was the eventual winner after a tight battle with Tim Koomen.  Thanks also go to Neil Thompson and Paul Gerrard for being brave enough to take part. And €500 was donated by the organisers to a charity of the winners choosing.

Geoff and I vowed not to do another quiz.

Presented at:

1. EuroSTAR 2006, Manchester, Dec 2006.

Aligning Development And Testing Lifecycles


The first objective of a test strategy is to align the testing activities with the development activities. It’s obvious really, but sometimes hard to do. In fact, it seems to be getting much harder recently with the advent of iterative and agile development lifecycles – hasn’t it?

Developers change their development approach in order to be more efficient and effective (and ‘up-to-date’). But testers and their approach haven’t kept pace. While the developers have changed their methods, by adopting an iterative or agile approach for example, the test team will probably be used to a more traditional, structured, V-Model approach.

It’s no surprise that testing and development activities aren’t aligned.

This session will take a look at traditional (structured), iterative (RAD) and agile (incremental) development lifecycles and their associated testing lifecycle counterparts.


PowerPoint  (Animated)    PowerPoint Print  (Animated)

Presented at:

1. TMF, London – July 2006     (Preparatory discussion group)
2. SSQC 2007, London – Oct 2006
3. EuroSTAR, Manchester – Dec 2006

The Weakest Testing Link

In 2005 I was having a discussion at the UK Testing Retreat asking why it would not be possible to run a Weakest Link Quiz at the EuroSTAR conference.  A fun session with an edge.  We could get Testing ‘Experts‘ from across Europe and pit them against each other, answering ‘testing‘ questions, with the prize of giving money to charity.

The only taker that I had from the discussion was my good friend Geoff Thompson.  We wrote an abstract, and when accepted, started our preparation to host the game show.

We thought that this would be run in a back room somewhere, a little bit of fun. By the time we arrived in Copenhagen we found out that we would be on the main stage, giving the closing ‘fun‘ keynote on the Wednesday evening.

Undeterred, even by the fact that many testing ‘experts’ turned down the offer to appear live in the quiz, we gave it a go. And the rest is history . . . . . .


The photo doesn’t quite show how bright the stage lights were in the auditorium.  We could not see into the audience at all. When the contestants all got their easy introduction question wrong, and the place was totally silent, Geoff and I thought it was going to be a difficult evening!

Finally someone got a question right, and 500+ people applauded. 40 fun filled minutes later, like when the panel voted off Geoff, the Question Master,  Dot Graham won the quiz becoming the Testing ‘Strongest‘ Link. The prize money went to the DEC in aid of the 2004 Asian Tsunami victims.

(Geoff and I would like to thank Paul, Erkki, Mark, Dot, Tim and Stuart for taking part.)

Presented at:

1. EuroSTAR 2005, Copenhagen, Dec 2005.

7 Key Measures For Software Testing


I recently came across the worst example of software test measurement that I had seen in over 20 years experience of IT!

Part of the problem comes from the fact that there isn’t a standard set of measures, so should we actually get upset when software testers measure the wrong thing, in the wrong way, and then report it badly? Actually no! Not until there is a standard definition for software test measurement and reporting.

So there is the challenge for this presentation. To present a standard set of measures, metrics and reports for software testing so that there can no longer be any excuse.

This presentation proposes 7 key measures across the software testing lifecycle, covering; Planning, Risk, Test Preparation, Test Execution and Defect analysis. The presentation will also identify effective ways to present the 7 key measures in the form of a practical model.


PowerPoint      Excel

Presented at:

1. ICS Test UK, London – Sep 2005
2. UKSMA, London – Oct 2005
3. BCS SIGiST, London Jul 2006     Gold Star  Best Presentation Award 2006

A Practical Model For Program Test Management


After you have been working successfully for a while as a test manager the next challenge that you are asked to take on is the role of Program Test Manager. Quickly you begin to realise that programs of work are different from projects. Programs are larger, involving multiple streams of work, some of which contain many individual projects. There are more people involved, developers and testers, each with differing objectives, and different ways of working. The teams are often global, the budgets large, $100m+, and the pressures larger.

This talk proposes a practical model for program test management, based on experience gained from working as a Program Test Manager on two programs, in the financial sector handling card authorisation and in service delivery, addressing global customer service management.

The talk is focussed on how to bring together the disparate streams of development and testing across large programs so that they can work together successfully and drive the program forward. It also addresses how to control quality when, as a program test manager, you no longer carry out development or testing activities. This is presented in the form of a practical model working step-by-step through the development lifecycle.


PowerPoint      MindMap

(Mind Map courtesy of Paul Gerrard and the TMF)

Presented at:

1. UK TMF, London – April 2004      (Preparatory discussion group)
2. EuroSTAR, Cologne – Dec 2004
3. BCS SIGiST, London – Mar 2005

Testing as a Driver for Development Change


You know the feeling, you’ve been working as a testing manager for several years, you and your team have established a testing process, and then worked on improving and refining it, but you’ve reached the point where you can’t achieve any more. It is not that your processes are perfect, they aren’t, but you realise that to make further improvements in the testing process you have to change the way development works, and that is a far harder task.

So how do you go about changing the development lifecycle? Key areas to address to make progress with testing are; documentation, volume of change, design for testing, quality assurance/quality control and project management. Then you have the traditional problems of the relationship between the developers and the testers, organisational priorities assigned to testing, and the commercial realities of a software house.

This presentation uses as a case study the work carried out by Graham over the last year, starting with identification of the problems, kicking-off a change program, and then details the initiatives that have resulted, including the definition of a test friendly development lifecycle. To add to the complexity the development group have been investigating agile methodologies such as XP.


PowerPoint      pdf

Presented at:

1. BCS SIGiST, London – May 2002
2. EuroSTAR, Edinburgh – Dec 2002

Non-Functional Testing Standards – Workshop


An introduction (by Graham, in his role as Secretary) to the BCS SIGiST Standards Working Party, giving the history of the group and details of the current work (2001) on non-functional testing techniques.

This is followed by a two interactive exercises looking at standards options for non-functional testing techniques in the areas of Procedure Testing and Performance Testing.


Animated .ppt

Presented at:

1. EuroSTAR, Stockholm – Dec 2001

When to Compromise on Testing


Several times over the last few years of working as a tester, I have found myself making compromises on the way that I have been testing, and generally felt very uncomfortable about doing so. Everyone will tell you that compromise in testing is inevitable, but that never makes it any easier. It is never possible to get the perfect mix of resources, skilled testers, equipment to test upon, enough time to plan and prepare for testing, or even to run all of the test scripts, let alone re-test all of the software fixes.

Managers are forever telling you that when they used to write and test software they did it this way, or that way, someone else will suggest that you aren’t using the right toolset, and even your own testing team may disagree with the general direction or method. Notwithstanding all of that, and the fact that developers don’t make mistakes do they, the users will then blame you personally for every bug that they find!

This talk does not offer a silver bullet solution, but will take you through the testing lifecycle, identifying the areas where compromise is most commonly called for, and show you the techniques that I have found successful in managing and controlling that compromise without losing integrity. And also a few of the pitfalls!



Presented at:

1. BCS SIGiST, London – Sep 2000
2. EuroSTAR, Copenhagen – Dec 2000

System Testing In A Hurry


What would you do if you were given this challenge?

Hi Graham, we have a project which finished development last Friday and starts system testing today (Monday). Unfortunately all of our testers are preoccupied with Year 2000 projects and we can’t spare them, so we thought that we would ask the development team to carry out the system testing. Can you talk to the team for a couple of hours and tell them everything they need to do ‘System Testing In A Hurry’? . . . .How long do you need to prepare? . . . .You have one day!

This talk will focus on the presentation made to the development team that Tuesday, covering the essentials; planning, resources, testing approach, testing techniques, test preparation, test execution, fault management and progress reporting, detailing what to do, and more importantly, what not to do.

Additionally the talk includes feedback from the development team, a report on how the testing progressed and a rather surprising outcome!



Presented at:

1. BCS SIGiST, London – Dec 1999

Time-Boxed Testing


There is great pressure upon developers today to improve productivity and effectiveness. To achieve this there is a move away from the traditional structured methodologies towards more dynamic, iterative and RAD approaches.

This is being combined with Object and Component based techniques, and delivered with a new generation of IDE’s, to produce thin client, web based, voice and data products.


PowerPoint      Film      Film      Film      Film
yes, 4 animations

Presented at:

1. BCS SIGiST, London – July 1998


When this presentation was first given back in 1998, the conference world was in transition from overhead foils to laptops and projectors. The presentation software of the time, in this case Powerpoint, struggled with the most basic of embedded objects. That is why the supporting animations are presented separately.
It is worth noting that although the abstract is quite brief, this presentation covered a large amount of conceptual ground, supported by real life experience.