11 Fundamental Truths about Requirements

A compass needle pointing to Truth instead of Lies.

The need for good requirements in our projects is essential, and there seems to be some misunderstanding about why. Although the Business Analyst (BA) elicits the requirements for our projects, I am including it in the Quality Assurance (QA) section because we work very close together in this space. And getting good requirements is critically important to achieving good testing.

In fact, it was so important to me that I decided to read the book, Mastering the Requirements Process: Getting Requirements Right 3rd Edition in order to better understand the requirement-gathering process. The first chapter was so captivating that Continue reading

Introducing QA Part 4: How Can QA Help You?

Welcome to the final article of the Introducing QA series. If you read the preceding articles in this series, and I hope you did, you know that QA has to do with improving processes and testing. And you know that quality is a moving target. Our intention is to improve the quality of your next project.

In part 1 of this series, we mentioned how the Project Management Office (PMO) is focusing on ways to provide more value to projects within ITS. So if you are considering a new project, you may be thinking, “what can the PMO do for us?” The PMO as a whole has a lot to offer, and I can assure you that the whole is greater than the sum of our parts. But for the purpose of this article, I will focus mostly on the QA part. (Although, it is sometimes difficult to separate.)

We have been using Software as a Service (SaaS) more and more in our projects at UConn lately. That means the quality of the software itself is somewhat out of our hands. We are depending on the supplier of that software to have very good QA practices. This also changes the way testing Continue reading

Introducing QA Part 3: What is Testing?


Anonymous quote: "If you don't like testing your product, most likely you customers won't like it either"

The essential mission of testing is always the same; to answer this question…

Are there problems that threaten the on-time, successful completion of our project?

There have been thousands of books written about testing over the years, and I could list over 100 types of testing that are described in those books. But that is not going to help you understand testing, at least not at this point. The most important thing to understand about testing here at UConn is the concept (or concepts) of testing, and how it all relates to QA.

In the last two posts of this series, we have taken a close look at both Quality Assurance (QA) and Quality itself. And we came up with the following definitions as a baseline.

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Introducing QA Part 2: What is Quality?

“Quality is free, but only to those who are willing to pay heavily for it.”
– T. DeMarco and T. Lister

In part 1 of this series, What is QA?, we talked about Quality Assurance (QA) and how it means different things to different people. Other factors for these different meanings are the many definitions surrounding the word “quality” by itself. We all know quality is important, and we all have an idea of what it means. But it’s not that easy to define in terms of a project. For some, it means reliability and efficiency. To others, it means fitness of purpose, or usability. As an example, here are just some of the definitions you can find online.

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Introducing QA Part 1: What is QA?

What is QA?

“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of meeting the schedule has been forgotten.”  -Anonymous

Hello! My name is Mick Stevens and I am the Quality Assurance (QA) person in the Project Management Office (PMO). The PMO is currently focusing on ways to provide more value to projects within ITS. We have a lot to offer to both new and existing projects so we are conducting a series of short presentations to introduce ourselves to small groups within ITS. These presentations intend to show how we can offer value and support in the areas of:

  • Project Management (PM)
  • Business Analysis (BA)
  • Quality Assurance (QA)
  • and Training.

I was very excited to kick off our first of many presentations by talking about QA. I was excited because there are so many differing views on what QA, Quality, and Testing is… how it should be done, and what it should (or should not) do. This could be an opportunity to provide some clarity for these topics as they relate to the projects at UConn. Or so I thought. Continue reading

Reflections from My First Testing Conference

And what I really learned…

On August 14th and 15th, I attended my first testing conference, ever. Even though testing has always been part of my 30+ year career, I have never had an official testers role. I never even thought of myself as a tester until now. I went to this conference with the intention of getting some ideas on a quality process that could be used for the various projects here at UConn. I dream of the day when all employees are thinking about quality and have a quality mindset.

I was initially a little wary about meeting a bunch of seasoned software testers because I had found the role almost by accident, and I still didn’t really feel like a tester. Even though I have been studying testing strategies for the last three years, I still felt like a newbie. I am happy to say, though, that my fears were completely unfounded. Everyone at the conference was super helpful and encouraging. And as I talked to more people, I found that almost no one started out their career as a software tester. Either they fell into the role by accident, or they were assigned the role on a temporary basis and then fell in love with it.

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We Have Moved

Welcome to the QA Blog!

We have moved our Quality Assurance blog from the QA website to the new PMO website as part of ITS!

The QA group is now a member of the ITS – Project Management Office (PMO), and is dedicated to providing testing services for all software projects within the (PMO). Among other things, these testing services include test planning, determining test strategies, exploring the user’s needs, and reporting issues effectively.

Everyone has heard of Quality Assurance, but there are many differing opinions on what it really is. And just as many questions; such as…

  • What is Quality Assurance?
  • Why do we need it?
  • Can we really assure the quality of anything?

Continue reading

Application of Project Management in Higher Education

This month’s post is a deep dive into the opportunities and challenges of project management (and establishing PMO’s) in HEI’s (Higher Education Institutions). Based on a study held at Drexel University, this paper by Chanelle Austin and Winifred Browne uncovers some insights about the adoption value and strategic application of project management at Universities. It also discusses some specific issues higher ed institutions face when implementing project management versus other industries.


Key takeaways include:

  • How higher education institutions can benefit from having formal project management methodology or a central PMO
  • PMO’s contribution to the organizational performance can be seen as the result of multiple coexisting values within an organization
  • Project Management may be viewed as “too corporate” of a way to make decisions, yet this is changing within higher education due to the need to be more effective
  • Project management can help Universities increase efficiency in increasingly competitive environments


The full paper is available to read online or you can download it here in PDF format.