March 2011
In This Issue
Free Webinars
E-Learning Courses
Free Preview of E-Learning Course
Certification Public Courses
Other Public Courses
Green Tip
Metrics for Software Testing
Free Webinars
Recent Blog Posts
OnTarget Quality
Great Lakes Software Excellence Conference
Contact Us

Quick Links


Free Webinars



ISTQB:  Certification the Standard for Tester Professionalism
March 16, 2011
and March 17 2011
 Earn 1.5 PDUs for this course

Advanced Software Testing:  Static Code Analysis 
April 12, 2011


Testing Metrics: Project, Process and Product 
May 26, 2011
 Earn 1.5 PDUs for this course


ISTQB  Advanced Technical Test  Analyst 
June 28, 2011


The Psychopolitics of Test Management 
July 7, 2011
 Earn 1.5 PDUs for this course
Advanced Software Testing: Code Coverage 
August 2, 2011

Get more information and register today!

E-Learning Courses 

Assessing Your Test Team
US$ 499 

ISTQB Test Engineering Foundation 
Earn 22.5 PDUs for this course
 US$ 899 
ISTQB Advanced Test Analyst
 US$ 999  
ISTQB Advanced Technical Test Analyst 
US$ 999
ISTQB Advanced Test Manager

Earn 32.5 PDUs for this course 
 US$ 999 
ISTQB Advanced Level - FULL 
US$ 2,697

Managing the Testing Process
US$ 499 
Pragmatic Software Testing
US$ 449
Requirements Engineering Foundation

Earn 18 CDUs for this course US$ 799
Risk Based Testing
US$ 449



Software Test Estimation
US$ 499

Each course includes three months of on-line access, notesets and text books where applicable, exercises and either sample exam questions (for ISTQB courses) or knowledge-check questions (for other courses). ISTQB courses are written against the latest ISTQB Foundation syllabus released in 2010 and Advanced syllabi released in 2007.  Prices shown are for asynchronous courses (pure e-learning).  Blended courses (with a facilitator) and custom training packages are also available. 

For more information and to purchase today click here!


Preview the Foundation Level E-Learning Course for Free
 If you would like to try the first two chapters of our Test Engineering Foundation e-learning course for free and without obligation click here to access it.
Certification Public Courses  

Test Engineering Foundation Level  
 Earn 22.5 PDUs for this course
May 2-5, 2011

San Jose, CA 



Advanced Test Manager 

Earn 32.5 PDUs for this course

     April 4-8, 2011 

 Toronto, Canada

May 16-20, 2011
Atlanta, GA  

Advanced Test Analyst

May 2-6, 2011
Washington, DC
Advanced Technical Test Analyst 

May 23-27, 2011
Newark, NJ


June 20-24, 2011
Toronto, Canada 

Requirements Engineering Foundation (an IREB and IIBA course) 
Earn 18 CDUs for this course
April 18-20, 2011

Other Public Courses 

Managing the Testing Process 
 June 7-9, 2011
 Chicago, IL

Get more information and register today!

Green Tip 

recycle globe
Plant an Organic Vegetable Garden. Growing your own organic vegetables isn't just good for you, it's also good for the environment. Most conventional produce is grown hundreds or even thousands of miles away and requires significant energy to ship to you. Plus, you avoid consuming pesticides typically used to grow non-organic produce.

Tip provided by our partner BeGreen www.BeGreennow.com 



Welcome to the March newsletter.  First, a personal note.  Laurel and I have a number of friends and colleagues in Japan, and just last October we spent time there.  Our hearts go out to them and their fellow Japanese in this dark hour, and we mourn the immense loss of life that has occurred.  Recent events have shown us how our common humanity and common aspirations unite us around the globe; in this tragedy, we must unite to aid our Japanese brothers and sisters who are suffering. We are sending help, and have included a link to help you do so if you choose.


Our featured article this month is on metrics.  As you know, I'm a big believer in using metrics to understand processes, products, and projects.  In this article, I start a series that will help you see how I do that.


We also have some information on our webinars, including how to access recorded webinars.  And our webinars are just one way to engage directly with me (during the Q&A sessions).  In addition, the RBCS blog is heating up, attracting lots of interest and comments.  Join in, and feel free to suggest topics.


Finally, we have some information on a featured conference and a featured partner. If you are a regular reader of this newsletter somewhere outside North America, our partner program is a great way to get access to RBCS training without flying long distances.


We have some new formatting in this newsletter, and some new features.  I hope you find the new look as useful as before.  Let us know how you like it.



Rex Black, President




Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami
Find us on FacebookYouTubeFollow us on TwitterRBCS Podcast





Metrics for Software Testing: Managing with Facts:

Part 1: The Why and How of Metrics


by Rex Black    


At RBCS, a growing part of our consulting business is helping clients with metrics programs.   We're always happy to help with such engagements, and I usually try to do the work personally, because I find it so rewarding. What's so great about metrics?  Well, when you use metrics to track, control, and manage your testing and quality efforts, you can be confident that you are managing with facts and reality, not opinions and guesswork.


When clients want to get started with metrics, they often have questions. How can we use metrics to manage testing? What metrics can we use to measure the test process?  What metrics can we use to measure our progress in testing a project?  What do metrics tell us about the quality of the product? We work with clients to answer these questions all the time. In this article, and the next three articles in this series, I'll show you some of the answers.


Why Should We Have Metrics?

Sometime I hear people asking why metrics are necessary, or worse yet disparaging metrics with smug comments like: "Not everything that you can measure matters, and not everything that matters can be measured." To me, such remarks are like questioning the value of literacy, or saying that reading is unimportant because you don't need to read to appreciate good art. 

Metrics allow us to measure attributes. Metrics allow us to understand. Metrics allow us to make enlightened decisions. Metrics allow us to know whether our decisions were the right ones, by assessing the consequences of those decisions. Metrics are rational. 

Plus, you really don't have much alternative to metrics usage.  The other option is to base your understanding, decisions, and actions on subjective, uninformed opinions.  This is not a sound basis for management.

You might be thinking; "I'm a reasonable person, and I make all sorts of smart and reasonable decisions in my everyday life without metrics."  Well, maybe.  First off, you might have grown so accustomed to all the metrics we have around us that you didn't notice them. When we drive, we refer constantly to a key metric: speed.  When we shop, we mostly use the metric of price. In many situations, when you find yourself without the usual metrics, you might feel lost.

Second, when people make decisions or reach conclusions without metrics, based on what sounds reasonable, they can be wrong. My favorite example of this comes from the Greek philosopher, Aristotle. Aristotle was a smart fellow, and he said a lot of smart things. However, he also said that heavier objects fall faster than lighter objects. 

That sounds reasonable, and anecdotal evidence like feathers and stones are all around us. Two thousand years later, though, Galileo dropped two cannonballs of very different weights from the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Both hit the ground at the same time.  Simple experiment. Simple metric. Two thousand years of misguided thought overturned with a single thud.

Visit our articles page to read more!

Free Webinars 
We realize that budget and time constraints can prevent individuals or test teams from attending training.   With that in mind, we are continuing our monthly free webinar series in 2011.  Once a month, Rex Black presents a 90 minute webinar, not once, but twice, to make sure it's convenient for all our clients and colleagues, all around the world.

Check out what you have been missing!  Take a look at our January 6, 2011 free webinar, "Six Lessons in Software Quality" 
Six Lessons in Software Quality
As an added bonus, webinar attendees are automatically entered into a drawing to win their choice of an e-learning course. Visit our training page to see a complete webinar schedule and a list of our e-learning courses! Winners can choose any one of our Green Delivery e-learning courses.  The winner then receives three months of unlimited access to online course, just like a paying customer. (The only difference is that we cannot include an exam voucher for winners who choose certification courses.) Being Green Delivery courses, they have no carbon footprint, which means no included hardcopy materials or textbooks need to be sent.  Everything is bundled in the e-learning course.  Congratulations to Ken Glen who was our randomly selected winner after the January 6, 2011 webinar, "Six Lessons in Software Quality" and Alex Martins who was our randomly selected winner after the February 9, 2011 webinar, "Ten Critical Lessons in Test Outsourcing."

So just visit our training page to see the complete webinar schedule, or just look on this email, sign up for a webinar, show up at whichever webinar session is most convenient, and--who knows--you might be the lucky winner of some valuable free training.  Either way, you're sure to learn something.


Recent Posts from the RBCS Blog
Subcribe.  Don't miss out.


03-11-2011 05:53:25 AM

In the last decade, outsourcing became a powerful force in the software industry.  Motivations behind outsourcing vary, but the reason our clients mention most is that of cost savings.  Unfortunately, all too often our clients also mention that previous attempts at outsourcing failed to deliver the desired efficiencies, or perhaps failed to deliver anything at all. So, is outsourcing some siren on...

Read Full Post
03-06-2011 05:12:17 AM

Many of us got into the computer business because we were fascinated by the prospect of using computers to build better ways to get work done.  (That and the almost magical way we could command a complex machine to do something simply through the force of words coming off our fingers, into a keyboard, and onto a screen.)  Ultimately, those of us who consider ourselves software engineers, like all...

Read Full Post


Featured Licensee:
OnTargetOnTarget Quality

RBCS, Inc boasts a lengthy list of partners around the world.  Our partners provide us with knowledge and resources which keep RBCS at the forefront of technology in order to better serve our clients' needs. 

OnTarget Quality is a division of OnTarget Communications located in Ra'anana Industrial Area in Israel.  OnTarget Quality runs a QA Tester internship program designed to produce QA professionals who will continue to contribute to meeting the demands of Israel's technological future. The internship is geared towards individuals who want to embark on a career as a QA Tester. The internship runs for four months, provides one day a week of hands-on training, and includes 80 hours/month of on-site hands-on training at some of Israel's leading hi-tech companies. The candidates not only acquire theory and tools training, but gain the critical practical experience required in order to seek employment. Using the RBCS training materials, candidates are prepared to sit for the ISTQB Certified Tester - Foundation Level (CTFL) exam.

If your company is interested in partnering with RBCS to deliver top notch services, contact us at info@rbcs-us.com today.  In the meantime, visit our website to see our constantly evolving list of international partners.

  Great Lakes Software Excellence Conference 
April 16, 2011
Prince Conference Center at Calvin College 
Grand Rapids, MI

GLSEC 2011 focuses on the theme of Competitive Innovation: come and learn from the top speakers in the midwest on all topics software, from business and hiring to test-driven development and embedded engineering.


Featured keynotes from noted consultants and authors Johanna Rothman and Rex Black.


Register today!


  How to Contact RBCS?

As a reminder, there are several ways to get in touch with RBCS, Inc. for general inquiries.  If we are not available to answer your phone call or email immediately, we are committed to responding to you within 48 hours but, usually, we will reply within the day!

phone:  +1 (830) 438-4830
email:   info@rbcs-us.com
website:  www.rbcs-us.com