Three of the most intriguing STPCon classes

Registration is now open for STPCon Spring 2008. When I look through the class schedule, the Software Test & Performance Conference keeps getting better. A big shout-out for Edward Correia, who spearheaded the effort!

Of the more than 70 technical sessions, three of the jumped out at me, mainly because of their great titles. However, they demonstrate the breadth and depth at STPCon, which will be April 15-17 in San Mateo, Calif.

Wednesday, April 16, 11:15 am – 12:15 pm
Class #203: So You’re Doomed: How to Deliver a Six-Week Project in Two
By Matt Heusser

If you’ve been in software development for long, you’ve probably seen this scenario: The development team needs six more weeks, the project is due in two, and the unhappy customer “needs” three more features before he’ll sign off.

This is not a presentation on what you should have done six months ago, or how agile techniques would un-doom you if you were only doing all of them right now. This is a directed discussion of practical things to do now to revive the project, de-stress your life, and please even your management.

Leave with specific techniques to use for:
• Understanding — and Enforcing — Risk Management
• Overall Project Schedules
• Defeating Test Estimation Games
• Communicating and Clarifying Project Requirements
• Setting Reasonable Boundaries

Wednesday, April 16, 3:45 pm – 4:45 pm
Class #405: Performance-Testing ‘Obnoxious’ Protocols
By Mark Lustig

While performance-testing tools and techniques have reached a relative state of maturity, dealing with non-standard, complex and emerging protocols is beginning to demand evasive action. Not all systems are developed using Web HTTP-based protocols, including J2EE and .NET. In Web-based UIs, challenges abound to accurately simulate obnoxious protocols such as compressed XML, Java Swing, Flash and AJAX.

You’ll learn about specific techniques and a mature methodology for working with challenging protocols. Specific topics discussed will include performance-testing tool add-ins and integration points, and custom load generation suites. We’ll also address complementary techniques for workload characterization, data generation and test data management.

Thursday, April 17, 3:30 pm – 4:30 pm
Class #909: Bugs on Bugs! What Looney Tunes Taught Me About Testing
By Robert Sabourin

Characters from the Looney Tunes gang — Bugs Bunny, Road Runner, Foghorn Leghorn, Porky Pig, Daffy Duck, Michigan J. Frog, and others — provide wonderful metaphors for the challenges of testing. From Bugs we learn about personas and the risks of taking the wrong turn in Albuquerque. Michigan J. Frog teaches valuable lessons about bug isolation and how ambiguous pronouns can dramatically change the meaning of our requirements. The Tasmanian Devil not only teaches us about the risks of following standard procedures but also shows us practical approaches to stress and robustness testing. And, of course, we learn about boundary conditions and challenging physics from Yosemite Sam.

Bugs teach lessons for the young at heart — novice and experienced alike. Robert shares some powerful heuristic models that you can apply right away.

• The value of modeling personas for test design
• How metaphors can help us understand and communicate
• Heuristic models are not only useful — they’re fun

It’s going to be a wonderful conference. I hope you can make it!

Z Trek Copyright (c) Alan Zeichick