2003/2004 Event Details

The following is a listing of the events for the 2003/2004 season including presentation abstracts and speaker biographies. Please see the 2003/2004 Season page for the details on the schedule, location and sponsor(s).

Season Events by Month
September 2003
September 10, 2003
Selling QA/QC to Management: It's a Business Value Activity
Bryan Schultz, Brycol Consulting Ltd.

Having problems "selling" software QA/QC to your organization? Do people not understand the true value of QA/QC? If you say yes to these questions then you should attend this presentation. This presentation will show:

  • What is Business Value from a Business Management Perspective
  • The Business Management Catalyst for the Increased Value of Software Quality
  • Selling QA/QC to Management: The Business Value of Software QA/QC

Everyone who works in the software QA/QC field should understand how QA/QC creates value and be able to communicate it. After attending this presentation you will be able to improve your ability to communicate the business value of software QA/QC to your organization.

Byran Schultz has fifteen years of experience in computer system quality assurance, project management and quality control. He is both an instructor and keynote speaker in Canada and the U.S. on the subject of software testing and quality assurance. Bryan is a Certified Quality Analyst and a Certified Software Test Engineer and he is currently writing a book on the topic of risk management.

September 24, 2003
Software Quality Management: Goals and Objectives
Marnie Shaw

The topic of Software Quality Management: Goals and Objectives, as described in the CSQE Body of Knowledge, comprises:

  1. Quality Goals and Objectives
    Describe, analyze, and evaluate quality goals and objectives for programs, projects, and products. (Evaluation)
  2. Outsourced Services
    Define, analyze, and evaluate the impact of acquisitions, subcontractor services, and other external resources on the organization's goals and objectives. (Evaluation)
  3. Planning
    Identify, apply, and evaluate scheduling and resource requirements necessary to achieve quality goals and objectives. (Evaluation)
  4. Software Quality Management (SQM) Systems Documentation
    Identify and describe various elements related to SQM system documentation. (Comprehension)
  5. Customer Requirements
    Analyze and evaluate customer requirements and their effect on programs, projects, and products. (Evaluation)
    [NOTE: Changes in requirements are covered in III.B.3. The focus in this section is to ensure that customer requirements are evaluated properly.]

Marnie Shaw holds B.Math and M.Math degrees from the University of Waterloo, majoring in computer science, and an M.B.A. from the University of Calgary.

Marnie has worked for many major corporations in Calgary, both in and out of the oil patch. She is a long-time member of CIPS, and possesses the designation of Information Systems Professional of Canada (ISP). She is on the CIPS Alberta Board of Directors until 2004.

Marnie became a member of the Quality Council of Alberta (QCA) in April 2002. She has been a member of the American Society for Quality (ASQ) since August 2002. She possesses the designation of Certified Software Quality Engineer (CSQE), granted by ASQ in December 2002.

October 2003
October 8, 2003
Visioning the Perfect Software QA Environment
Reg Jacklin

We all joke and complain a lot about what's wrong with our SQA environments. But what if you could set up a SQA environment any way you liked? What if you could design your own management structure, procedures, standards, physical environment, equipment setup, etc. any way you wanted without regard to cost, office politics, or any other factor?

We have so little encouragement to dream in this culture that most of us have forgotten how. As you ponder that perfect SQA environment, notice how often the "committee in your head" uses barrier words like "not, but, kind of, sort of, more of, less of, better, etc.". How often do we speak of what we don't want rather than what we do want? Hey, this is a vision - spell it out exactly the way you want it. For instance, in the perfect vision, we don't just get "less obscure" or "better" feedback from testers, we always get "timely, crystal clear reports."

As the quote below suggests, when you have a clear vision of where you want to go, it is much easier to get there. It's hard to believe until you've been there, but once we get a vision clear, it often seems to come true all by itself. We'll be taking a look at the mechanics behind that apparent magic.

This session will be highly interactive, so come prepared to participate in some fun and games with the serious goal of moving us all closer to that perfect SQA environment.

"You've got to have a dream. If you don't have a dream, how you going to have a dream come true?" - Song from South Pacific.

Reg Jacklin, E.E.T., a former IBMer, has been full time in IT since the mid sixties. A software developer and an educator, Reg runs a successful software consulting business specializing in scientific and engineering software. He sees "education as the growth industry of the 21st century" and has switched his focus to education. A long-time instructor at the University of Calgary, he teaches advanced courses in Visual Basic and Visual Basic.Net, Real World Software Development, and Programming Essentials for Web Authors. At the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, he teaches a GIS software course. With a keen interest in distance education, Reg has spent the bulk of the past two years developing a low-cost, high-quality distance learning and conferencing package, RCJ Enlightener.

October 22, 2003
Why Organizations Pursue Automated Software Testing
Neil Kosman, Mercury Interactive

Mercury Interactive will review and discuss why many organizations (30,000 customers worldwide, and over 100 customers in Western Canada) have adopted automated software testing as a way to:

  • improve the quality of their software applications
  • reduce the number of defects identified
  • increase the probability of success

Neil Kosman is a Senior Systems Engineer for Mercury Interactive, based in Calgary. Over the past 2 years, he has worked with organizations throughout Canada in their quest to improve software quality. He is a Certified Product Consultant (CPC) for TestSuite and LoadRunner.

November 2003
November 5, 2003
Managing Agile Projects
Mike Griffiths, Quadrus Development Inc

Agile development techniques and their benefits have been widely publicized in the software development world in the last 18 months. Many organizations are now looking at agile approaches, drawn by the claims of improved productivity, higher quality, better ROI and greater customer satisfaction. However many of the "emergent", "light-weight" techniques advocated in agile methods appear contrary to the traditional "plan-based" project management best practices.

Mike Griffiths will provide an overview of agile development techniques from a project management perspective and examine the project circumstances that favour an agile approach. The presentation will make the case that many types of software development projects are sufficiently different from physical engineering based projects that construction inspired project controls are not the most appropriate means for management. Mike will then compare and contrasts elements of the PMBOK against the principles of agile development and suggests alternatives to the traditional project planning, execution and tracking techniques. The explanation of these approaches will be backed up by accounts of their practical use on software development projects and will form the basis for discussion items.

Mike Griffiths is a full time project manager and trainer at Quadrus Development Inc who specializes in appropriate methods. Before joining Quadrus in 2001, Mike worked for IBM Global Services, England and in 1994 was involved in the development of the agile methodology called DSDM. Since then Mike has continued to be active in the agile development community and co-authored the DSDM White Paper "Combining Agile Techniques with Formal Project Management". Mike holds PRINCE2 and PMP project management certifications along with DSDM and Scrum agile certifications.

November 19, 2003
Adapting Agile to the 'BUY' Scenario
Bob Faught, Encana Corporation

Agile methods have been typically associated with software development. However, considerable growth and maturity of the commercial application marketplace has prompted many organizations to adopt the policy of "package first, custom development second" in fulfilling business application needs. Fitting these commercial systems to customer requirements remains problematic.

Bob Faught will provide an overview of a case study whereby Agile techniques were adapted for package selection and integration of a mission critical system involving multiple business units and stakeholders. The end result was delivery of a quality product that met customer expectations using the values of the Agile Manifesto:

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  • Responding to change over following a plan

In this presentation we will explore how the basic elements of Agile methods were adapted to the application solution decision process. We will examine how Agile techniques were applied to discovery, evaluation, selection, configuration and pilot testing.

As we move forward in the commercial software arena with the evolution of component-based software engineering, Agile methods will play an increasing role in selection and adoption of solutions that fit customer use patterns.

Bob Faught Bob is a full time group leader in the Upstream IT Solutions department at EnCana. Prior to joining EnCana in June of this year, Bob has had various assignments spanning 21 years that involved project management and service delivery. He has delivered successful projects and services involving strategic planning, software development, package implementation and infrastructure support for a number of clients in the energy sector in Calgary.

December 2003
December 3, 2003
Fifth Annual SQDG Soiree
Open to All Participants

What a great opportunity to meet with fellow quality practitioners to partake of some fine vituals, hoist a few and talk about software quality, amongst other things, I'm certain.

We're meeting at the Auburn Saloon this year, a slight change in ambience from our previous outings. This is the new location of the Auburn, on the south side of 9th Avenue, on the west side of the Palliser Square office tower, directly across from the Glenbow Museum.

As always, this is an informal affair. We can start congregating around 5:30 pm and wrap up any time we want. Hors d'oeuvres will be served starting shortly after 6:00.

January 2004
January 14, 2004
Software Estimation - Putting Some Science Behind It
Peter McCurdy, Nortel Networks

The success of any software project starts with a sound plan. The software industry has a long history of late delivery and overspent projects. Interestingly enough, very few companies keep this history in a retrievable form. As a result, each project starts without the learnings of the previous. This presentation will first outline the benefit of having history information available for project estimation, describe the inherent complexity of estimating medium to large software projects and then demonstrate a tool that assists in developing estimates. At the conclusion of this presentation, the attendees will discover that software projects are really similar in nature and that a little math with some industry history information can go a long way to developing credible defensible estimates.

Peter McCurdy has been in the software development industry for over 20 years. His experience ranges from Defense software to Telecom development as weel as providing project management support to commercial development. In the area of software quality, he has lead a company to achieveing SEI CMM level certification, and was part of the team at Nortel Networks that lead the organization to achieving TL9000 certification. Peter has a very strong interest in project management and in particular project planning, requirements engineering and testing.

January 28, 2004
February 2004
February 11, 2004
Future of the Industry
Pete McBreen, Software Craftsmanship Inc.

Although new tools, technologies, ideas and practices continue to advance the state of the art, the big question for all practitioners is which of these advances will actually turn out to be useful. Sure, some like Extreme Programming style unit testing seem to have a secure future, but so did cleanroom software development. The future of code walkthroughs and design reviews seemed certain, but they never became a mainstream practice.

So what makes some advances stick and makes others disappear seemingly without trace? How we can influence the advances that survive? Are there any obvious things that we are missing? What advances should we be promoting? What should software quality look like in 10 years time? How about in 20 years time?

Pete McBreen is the author of Software Craftsmanship and Questioning Extreme Programming. He is an independent consultant who actually enjoys writing and delivering software. Despite spending a lot of time writing, teaching and mentoring, he goes out of his way to ensure that he does hands-on coding on a live project every year.

February 25, 2004
Introduction to Software Testing
Sherry Heinze

The topic of Software Testing, as described in the CSQE Body of Knowledge, comprises:

  1. Test planning and design
    • Types of tests
      Select, apply, and develop various types of test, including functional, performance, regression, certification, environmental load, stress, worst case, perfective, exploratory, etc. (Synthesis)
    • Test tools
      Define and describe the application and capabilities of commonly used test tools such as acceptance test suites, utilities (for memory, screen capture, string-finding, file viewer, file comparison, etc.), and diagnostics (for hardware, software, configuration, etc.). (Comprehension)
    • Test strategies
      Identify, analyze, and apply various test strategies, including top-down, bottom-up, black-box, white-box, simulation, automation, etc. (Synthesis)
    • Test design
      Identify, describe, and apply various types of test design including fault insertion, fault-error handling, equivalence class partitioning, boundary value, etc. (Application)
    • Test coverage of specifications
      Identify, apply, and develop various test coverage specifications, including functions, states, data and time domains, etc. (Synthesis)
    • Test environments
      Identify various environments and use tools such as test libraries, drivers, stubs, harnesses, etc., in those environments, and describe how simulations can be used in test environments. (Synthesis)
    • Supplier components and products
      Identify the common risks and benefits of incorporating purchased software into other software products. Use various methods to test supplier components and products in the larger system. (Application)
    • Test plans
      Identify, describe, and apply methods for creating and evaluating test plans including system, acceptance, validation, etc., to determine whether project objectives are being met. (Application)
  2. Test execution and evaluation
    • Test implementation
      Define, describe, and use various implementation elements, including scheduling, freezing, dependencies, V-model, error repair models, acceptance testing, etc. (Application)
    • Test documentation
      Define, describe, and use various documentation procedures, including defect recording and tracking, test report completion metrics, trouble reports, input/output specifications, etc. (Application)
    • Test Reviews
      Describe, develop, and analyze various methods of reviewing test efforts, including technical accomplishments, future planning, risk management, etc. (Synthesis)
    • Code coverage metrics
      Define and apply various metrics including branch-to-branch, condition, domain, McCabe's cyclomatic complexity, boundary, etc. (Application)
    • Customer deliverables
      Identify and select various methods for testing the accuracy of customer deliverables, including packaged or downloaded products, license keys, user documentation, marketing and training materials, etc. (Synthesis)
    • Severity of anomalies
      Identify and select various methods for evaluating severity of anomalies in software operations. (Evaluation)

This will be a facilitated discussion instead of a straight-up presentation. Come prepared to participate, contribute and learn.

Sherry Heinze has twenty-one years of information technology experience as a Tester, Trainer, Analyst and Technical Writer. She has a broad background in design, testing, implementation, training, documentation and user support. Sherry has worked for large corporations with detailed standards and guidelines for development projects, and for small organizations without either. Sherry is an ASQ member and an ASQ Certified Software Quality Engineer.

March 2004
March 10, 2004
Application Performance Management — Concepts and Solutions
Christopher King, Compuware Corporation

As applications have become a more crucial and integral part of everyday business, it has also become more important for these applications to perform at the utmost optimization and economic value.

Applications are also becoming more and more complex and complicated to maintain. IT organizations are being asked to manage these applications, implement solutions, and in some cases develop and customize them. With the mounting pressure and expectations being placed on IT departments to deliver these applications they are often facing shrinking budgets, cuts in human and physical resources.

So how does a Company accomplish this daunting task with increased limitations? The season?s new buzzwords appear. Proactive monitoring, SLA's, baselines, trend analysis, more with less. In the IT world, Application Performance Management is the new black.

Christopher King has been working and evolving in the ever changing IT field for over 15 years. With his diverse background in hardware configuration and design, software integration and network infrastructure management, his move to application performance monitoring over 5 years ago was a logical one. During that time he has enabled cutting- edge service providers, fortune 500 companies and governments utilize the potential of their applications, implement best practices for application delivery, and empowering them to initiate proactive and preventative solutions to service management.

Chris will be speaking on the subject of Application Performance Management, and specifically how an application?s performance can affect the business. Chris will share some ideas on how organizations across Canada are focusing their efforts on driving costs out of their business, improving customer satisfaction and even increasing revenues by effectively tuning applications to be sure they are delivering value to the business.

March 24, 2004
Crossing the Bridge between Development and Quality Assurance
Christopher Strand, Compuware Corporation

As applications and development architectures become more distributed and extensive, there has been a growing need to ensure quality checks are put into process in the early stages of software development. This is no easy task.

Historically the quality process has begun much later in the software development lifecycle. Part of the problem has emerged due to the fact that within most application project guidelines, the development phase has rarely been given much project budget and time to spend on the importance of testing the applications unit functions. Furthermore, the tasks associated within the development and code creation stage are not normally structured to fit well within the quality team?s objective of ensuring proper test coverage. The answer to this problem is that development teams need a solution that does not impede the application creating time, but is integrated into the development cycle to facilitate quality.

Chris will discuss key concepts that assist in integrating the quality process into the development life cycle and provide development and quality teams the ability to ensure the highest level of software test coverage. Some of the areas to be addressed include:

  • Software quality from the development perspective
  • Considerations of when to start testing
  • Techniques and tools for testing within the development environment
  • The developers roles in testing
  • Facilitating communication between testing and development teams
  • Code coverage — achieving 100%, is it possible and how can I tell?
  • Application performance — where to start measuring and collection metrics

Christopher Strand has spent the last 12 years in the IT industry with an intense focus on implementing quality assurance and development tool solutions. Currently he holds a position within Compuware Corporation were he assists a large variety of high profile corporations close the gap between their software quality and development efforts. Chris has been chiefly involved in evangelizing the concept of quality in development by participating in many keynote addresses and seminars with some of the most powerful corporations in the software industry today. His most recent address was with the Microsoft Dev Days Better Basic Canadian Tour.

April 2004
April 7, 2004
The Importance of IT Controls to Sarbanes-Oxley Compliance
Barry Millward, Deloitte

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 was created to restore investor confidence in the public markets. The Act requires management to establish and maintain internal control - and requires the independent auditors to evaluate.

Preparing for compliance is a significant task. Processes need to be identified and controls need to be documented/tested. Current auditor rules require consideration of "IT". Auditors and management are required to document and assess the effectiveness of IT controls over the financial reporting process.

With the dependence on IT for reliable financial reporting processes, IT plays a key role in compliance with Sarbanes-Oxley. Companies should ensure IT has an active role in compliance efforts.

Barry Millward has a UK accounting designation and over 20 years internationally based experience, primarily in the financial service industry. He has worked in senior roles in both Finance and Technology for the Bank of Nova Scotia, Merrill Lynch and the Royal Bank of Scotland. Currently he is employed by Deloitte as a consultant specializing in the implementation of control frameworks for SOX 404 compliance in the Technology area.

April 21, 2004
Privacy Pays: Developing a Secure Foundation
Sharon Polsky, Project Scope Solutions Group

This presentation will explore how privacy laws affect the Canadian software industry.

All organizations in Canada, regardless of size, are subject to privacy legislation. The privacy laws in Canada (and beyond) impose significant restrictions on collecting, using, and disclosing personal information, and require that it be adequately safeguarded, including from unauthorized access within an organization. Non-compliance may result in fines of up to 100,000 per incident, lawsuits, and reputation damage.

IT systems developers, project managers, consultants and auditors now have to consider privacy implications when developing, implementing, or reviewing systems. Independent consulting developers have to be aware of how the privacy laws affect them.

This session will review the Fair Information Practices that the privacy legislation incorporates, discuss their implications for IT security and audit, and provide some practical guidelines to minimize the risk of non-compliance.

Sharon Polsky has been a business consultant, trainer, and speaker for over twenty years. But Sharon doesn't just talk about business. She is the President of Project Scope Solutions Group, a Calgary-based company that specializes in information risk management, privacy, and cyberliability. She is also one of few civilian members of the Society for the Policing of Cyberspace, and one of few non-lawyer members of the Canadian Bar Association FOIP and Privacy Section.

Sharon has been invited to speak at local, national, and international conferences about information privacy/security, cyberliability, and emerging technologies. She has developed courses and workshops on information risk management topics, and has authored many papers and articles on privacy and risk management topics.

Sharon's perspectives have been quoted and published many times, and her views have appeared in the media including The Calgary Sun, ITBusiness.ca, Business Woman Canada, The Internet Security Conference Newsletter, Calgary Magazine, and MyComputer.com. Sharon's practical business style has helped transform companies ? from startup ventures to Fortune 500 corporations ? in High Technology, Insurance, Manufacturing, Oil and Gas, Telecommunications, and the Public Sector. Her company's client list reads like an international Who's Who in business, ranging from Rubbermaid, Celanese, Peters & Co., IBM, Nortel and SAIT to the University of Calgary and the Government of British Columbia.

May 2004
May 5, 2004
Difficult-to-Test-Software War Stories
Jennitta Andrea, ClearStream Consulting Inc

Due to the nature of acceptance tests, a number of difficulties may be experienced when automating them that may not be experienced when automating unit tests for the same system.

Direct customer involvement is crucial to the acceptance testing process. It also raises the bar for the usability of automated testing frameworks to ensure the customers can read and potentially write the automated test themselves. There are additional implications for test management, including: maintaining synchronization between the customer test specifications and the automated tests, and maintaining the tests as the user interface and/or workflow evolve over time.

Poor performance of an automated acceptance test suite is often an issue because the tests typically operate on the user interface, and involve all of the application layers and other integrated components. Stubbing out a problematic component is a common solution to performance problems, but unless the application was originally designed for testability, selective stubbing is often impossible.Test data management is another area rife with difficulties.

Acceptance tests are automated to accelerate and standardize regression testing. The key to achieving reliable and repeatable regression tests is the use of unique test-specific data rather than real production data. If the application has not been designed for testability, it is often difficult to create the test data, or to control the execution environment in order to create a specific event.

This presentation will cover:

  • Overview of how a particular project overcame the above difficulties, and developed an innovative acceptance testing strategy: generating the code to automate acceptance tests that are specified in a declarative tabular format.
  • Discussion of other cases where this approach may be appropriate.
  • Discussion of other war stories about difficult-to-test situations, and solutions devised to overcome the barriers.

Jennitta Andrea has been a senior consultant with ClearStream Consulting since 1994 and has been a practitioner of XP and Scrum on over ten projects. Jennitta's professional experience spans a variety of roles: agile process coach, requirements analyst, developer, customer quality advocate, instructor, and retrospective facilitator. Jennitta has published and presented at a variety of venues, with an emphasis on process adaptation and automated acceptance testing. Jennitta is an industrial trainer (2-day Automated Testing course; 3-day Agile Requirements course/workshop), and delivers simulation-based conference tutorials (Agile Requirements; Facilitating Effective Project Retrospectives).

May 19, 2004
June 2004
June 2, 2004
Annual Planning Session

This is our annual planning session where organizers, volunteers and participants, active or otherwise, get a chance to make their mark on next years sessions. Everything is up for discussion. Bring your ideas and suggestions to make this an even better discussion group next year.

June 16, 2004
Annual Planning Session - Reprise

A reprise of our annual planning session where organizers, volunteers and participants, active or otherwise, get a chance to make their mark on next years sessions. Everything is up for discussion. Bring your ideas and suggestions to make this an even better discussion group next year.

Please note that this is a lunch meeting at the Auburn Saloon, downtown, and not the usual Devry venue or time.