Copyright 2006, Rice Consulting Services, Inc.

November 2006

Featured Article

Are We Really Ready for Voting Machines?

By Randall W. Rice, CSTE, CSQA, CTFL

Realizing that the audience for this newsletter is international in scope, this month I'm going to focus on a topic of concern to those of us living in the United States of America.

Those of us that work in the field of software quality have probably been keeping up with some of the discussions about the security and correctness of electronic voting machines. Certainly, we all remember the controversy of the 2000 election and the problems with the Florida voting procedures. Who can forget the "hanging chad" disputes?

With a major national election just a couple of weeks away I am growing very concerned about the use of electronic voting machines based on some of the recent testing information being published. As a disclaimer, I have not worked directly with any of these machines or their manufacturers. This is not a partisan political issue for me, but rather a matter of constitutional integrity. Voting machines that can be manipulated, or have software flaws could result in the election of people against the will of the electorate. This is the 21st century equivalent of stuffing the ballot box. [Read more here]

Need CPE Credits?

I just received my notice that I need to submit recertification documents for my CSQA and CSTE certifications. If you need those additional training hours for 2006, don't panic. My e-learning can be just the answer. You can receive this training anytime, anyplace. Our participants consistently give our e-learning courses high reviews and you get exactly the same content as in a "live" class. All of these courses are narrated by yours truly, Randy Rice, and have interactive quizzes and exercises. We have courses on Basic Training in Software Testing, User Acceptance Testing, Gathering, Documenting and Testing User Requirements, Deliverable Reviews, and Unit Testing.  We have multi-person discounts for teams. I'm working on others soon to be announced!

My goal is to make it as easy as possible to get the training you need!

I know that my training qualifies for QAI Continual Professional Education credits. If you have a certification from another organization, be sure to check with them to make sure they will accept my e-learning courses for CPE credit.

Upcoming Events

On Friday, November 17th, 2006, I'll be delivering a keynote address at QAI's International Software Testing Conference in Orlando, Fl.  The topic will be "Credibility - A Tester's Key to Success." You can learn more and register at

I'll also be at EuroStar 2006 in Manchester, U.K. the week of December 4th - 7th, 2006.  I'll be presenting a half-day tutorial on "Becoming an Influential Test Team Leader" and a track session on "Developing Efficient Test Cases Using Orthogonal Arrays and Use Case Scenarios."

I hope to see you at one of these events!

Listen to Podcasts about Software Quality

You can now download mp3 audio programs at  Whether you listen on your computer or on your iPod, you can learn more about testing and software quality. In fact, I think this is the first podcast devoted to the topic of software testing and software quality.'s totally free!  Click here to go to the podcast page. 

What's New on  

We are pleased to announce that we are now offering the online course: Applying IEEE Standard 12207 For Software Life Cycles! 

End - of - Year special ! We are now offering a 25% discount off any online class through December 31st!  

We know there are times when you and your team would like to receive training but because of time, budget and travel restrictions, you just can't receive the training in person. For those reasons, we developed these online training courses.

Our Online Training is almost like having Randy training you at your desk!

You can now experience these courses wherever you have an Internet connection, whenever you want to view them.

Don't forget about our new course IEEE 12207 and the 25% discount offered on every class until the end of the year!!!!

For more details, visit our e-Learning center.


"You've got to say, I think that if I keep working at this and want it badly enough I can have it. 
It's called perseverance." - Lee Iacocca

"My experience has shown me that the people who are exceptionally good in business arenít so because of what they know but because of their insatiable need to know more."  - Michael Gerber


Book Review

Effective Methods for Software Testing, 3rd Edition 

by William E. Perry

Product Details:

ISBN: 0764598376
Format: Hardcover, 1008pp
Pub. Date: May 2006
Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated

For several years, I have recommended Bill Perry's Effective Methods for Software Testing, 2nd Ed to people who are looking for testing processes they can customize and apply quickly. I have also included this book as a reference text in many of my testing courses. Obviously, I feel that the book is very helpful to software testers.

In the third edition, there are two fewer chapters, but the coverage of topics has been revised to include areas such as agile testing, the role of testing in software development methodologies, testing internal controls, and an expanded discussion on security testing.

The eleven-step testing process in the second edition has been streamlined to seven steps in this edition. In this process, you will find everything you need to design and customize your own testing process all the way from test planning, through the various phases of testing (static testing, unit testing, integration testing, system testing and acceptance testing), and even through post-implementation testing. The process also addresses analyzing and reporting test results, which also discusses test metrics.

The reasons I'm such a fan of the book are: 1) You get complete templates and examples, including checklists (although the CD contains PDF versions of the forms which would still need to be re-created in a word processor to be usable in electronic format). 2) The book is process-oriented as opposed to a collection of techniques. Collections are fine, but you still need a way to apply them. That's where the processes come in helpful. Also, the workbench process framework is helpful in defining your own processes. 3) These are practical and proven processes that have been used in a variety of organizations worldwide. There is very little theory and a lot of practical application as shown by the examples. 4) You don't have to be a highly mature organization to start applying these techniques. Whether you are CMMi Level 1 or 5, you can still find this information useful. 5)The book also addresses specific topics such as testing commercial-off-the-shelf software and data warehouse applications.

This is a thick book, but then again, it is not designed to be read from front to back. I use it as a desk reference and a collection of processes to help get the job of testing done. I can save hours of work in designing processes by checking here first. My attitude is to tailor the processes to meet my needs. It's also my first stop when doing research. 

Personally, I like processes because I can transfer them to others and have something tangible to study and improve. However, I will say that if you are "process averse" you will probably not find this book as helpful as someone who does process-based work. The processes described in the book are not heavy ones, though.

This is a good resource for software testers written by someone who has been writing and working in this profession for many years. 

Readability - 4
Coverage of topics - 5
Depth of coverage - 5
Credibility - 5
Accuracy - 5
Relevance to software quality - 5
Overall - 5

Reviewed by Randy Rice

                 "The three great essentials to achieve anything worth while are, first, hard work; second, stick-to-itiveness; 
third, common sense." 
- Thomas Edison

           "Success breeds complacency. Complacency breeds failure. Only the paranoid survive." - Andrew Grove

Links of interest

All of these links are very informative...check them out!

New Laws and Machines May Spell Voting Woes NY Times, Oct. 19, 2006

Go back to paper ballots, says e-voting expert - Avi Rubin, a Maryland elections judge and professor, cites security woes � Computerworld, Sept 20, 2006

E-voting Whistleblower Testimony

Princeton's Security Analysis of the Diebold AccuVote-TS Voting Machine

"People ask what gives me the authority to give advice? I say, First of all, I don't give advice. Dr. Phil gives advice. Mr. T helps people. I motivate them, I inspire them, I give them hope, and I plant the seed so they can feel good about themselves."
- Mr. T

"People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing.. that's why we recommend it daily." - Zig Ziglar


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