Making software visible

I was reading Jerry Weinberg’s book, Quality Software Management: Vol. 2, First-Order Measurement, and came across the following:

Software’s nature is to be invisible, unless we work to make it visible…. During a construction project, we can see the building rising; but during a software project, all we may be able to see is a programmer staring at a screen.

This got me to thinking, as Jerry’s writing generally does. Read More

Time flies like an arrow…

… and fruit flies like a banana. It’s amazing to me that it’s been three weeks since my last post. Sometimes real life has a way of consuming the time, leaving little left for philosophizing.

During this time, Brian Marick has been stirring things up at the Agile Alliance. I’ve joined in the discussion of his observations and proposals only a little. Brian’s turned over a lot of stones at once, and it takes me awhile to examine all the things that have been living under them. Being a Myers-Briggs introvert, I tend to discuss these things in my own head before displaying them to the world. Here, though, I’m just thinking out loud and I haven’t come to any conclusion. Read More


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Making TDD and Java Swing behave

Recently, I wrote about using the JfcUnit and Abbot frameworks to test-drive the creation of a Java Swing GUI. Since then, a post by Liz Keogh on the ExtremeProgramming yahoogroup led me to another option. It a wrapper around Swing written in conjunction with JBehave, but as Liz points out, it’s not dependent on the framework and can happily be used with JUnit, also. I like the fact that it’s really lightweight and fast. Read More

TDD and Java Swing

It’s been awhile since I’ve written any Java Swing code, and doing so now is making me feel a little stupid. Test Driving the development of Swing hasn’t improved much since the last time I did this.

Back in 2003, Jeff Waltzer and I decided to experiment with TDDing a Swing application to see if GUIs could be test-driven. It wasn’t always easy, but we convinced ourselves that they could. We started out rolling our own Swing test framework, but soon found ourselves immersed in AWT threading issues and Swing peculiarities. So, since we seemed to be headed down the road of reimplementing JfcUnit, we decided to switch and use the real thing. Read More

Amplifying Your Effectiveness

Johanna Rothman’s recent post on the AYE Conference prompted this unsolicited testimonial.

If you’re a techie working with people, you can learn loads about being more effective by attending this conference.  This is no sit-in-a-room-and-listen sort of thing.  You’ll get involved and learn lessons you’ll never forget.

I’m an independent consultant and pay for my own training.  This conference is one I won’t skip.  It’s well worth the cost.

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Categories: Uncategorized


TDD and Exploratory Testing

I’ve often found that Developers and Testers misunderstand each other, even when they have a congenial relationship. (And in some shops, the relationship is anything but congenial.) Developers often don’t see the value of the Testers, or get annoyed that the Testers find issues that weren’t mentioned in the requirements. Testers often think Developers only consider the nominal cases, and don’t give enough attention to the edge conditions. Often, neither understands the others point of view. Michael Bolton, on the agile-testing list, said, Read More


Categories: Working Software

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The Case of the Recalcitrant Customer

Over on the ScrumDevelopment yahoo group, a ScrumMaster reported problems getting the Product Owner fully involved in the development process. Part of the problem is that the Product Owner isn’t co-located with the development team. The physical distance will certainly make participation more difficult, and less sure. That’s something to work on.

The Product Owner is not following the “rules” of Scrum, and this is frustrating the ScrumMaster. He’s likely right that playing the game by the rules will benefit everyone. He asks for advice on how to handle the situation. Read More

Just one of those things

I’ve been neglecting this blog, lately, partly because I’ve been busy working on a software development process assessment for a client. In doing this, one of the meetings I observed was a post mortem of a release failure. The developers involved noted that they’d seen some connection drops by the webserver on the integration environment. The developers, however, didn’t trust that the integration environment adequately represented the production environment. They’d seen a similar problem some months prior, and didn’t know if anyone had fixed it. Therefore they didn’t know whether these problems were the result of the code they were deploying, or, as one developer put it, “just one of those things.” Read More


Categories: Working Software