PraxIS July 2008

08-07 Contents: Software Testing, Spreadsheet Testing, Eusprig 2008

ISSN 1649-2374 This issue online at   [Previous] [Index] [Next]

Systems Modelling Ltd.: Managing reality in Information Systems - strategies for success  


1) Risk & Security
     What to do if you suspect or discover fraud
2) Quality
     Presentations available on Software Testing
3) Spreadsheets
     Eusprig 2008
     XLTest: A New Addin for Spreadsheet Checking
4) Off Topic
     Don't blame me, I voted ...
5 Web links in this newsletter
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Welcome to PraxIS

At Eusprig 2008 I'll be announcing my new XLTest add-in for auditing spreadsheets and looking for beta testers.

Patrick O'Beirne

_______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________

1)  IT Risk

What to do if you suspect or discover fraud

The following was posted by Peter Mellor to the Risks Digest. It is a link to document NIM39140 - National Insurance Numbers (NINOs): Format and Security: What to do if you suspect or discover fraud. (For non-UK readers, the NI number is the UK equivalent of the US Social Security number.)

(Sorry, this was just too funny to overlook!)


2) Quality

SoftTest Ireland event presentations available

Testing in an Agile Environment by James Lyndsay

James Lyndsay is a test strategist, based in London. Using real-life examples, this gives a flavour of what it is like to bring a test perspective into an agile project - and what it is like to be on an agile project that has a sudden need for testing skills. The talk will help testers recognise where they are bringing friction to an agile environment, help agile team members recognise where they may be incurring a 'testing debt' and identifies ways that testers can facilitate learning and bring value to an agile project.

Competency Based Tester Qualifications: The Next Step for the Testing Profession? by Susan Windsor

Susan Windsor is the Managing Director of WMHL Consulting Ltd. in the UK, which specialises in the delivery of strategic testing consulting services. Although the existing certification schemes (ISEB/ISTQB, CSQE etc.) go some way to providing a measure of a tester's knowledge, examinations tend to be multiple choice and 'correct' answers are derived from what is written in the syllabus. As a consequence, questions and answers in these exams can't take much account of context or the experience of the candidate. To many people, this implies the schemes and certificates awarded are practically useless. We'll provide a suggested framework that may help structure the measurement of competencies for different roles within testing and some ideas on how this measurement could take place.


3) Spreadsheets

Eusprig 2008

Once again I shall be off to Greenwich next week to present at Eusprig July 10-11 2008 on 'Information and Data Quality in spreadsheets'.  The programme shows that Ireland is sending the most speakers!

Keynote: Spreadsheet Safe; Cleere, G  Q-Validus
Croll, G.J. In Pursuit of Spreadsheet Excellence; EuSpRIG
EUC in AIB Capital Markets: A Management Summary; McGeady, A. AIB Cap Markets
Reducing Spreadsheet Risk with Evaluation of Voice Navigation of Spreadsheets; Flood, D.; McDaid, K.; Bishop, B. Dundalk Institute of Technology (DKIT)
FormulaDataSleuth(TM); Bekenn, W; Hooper, R.Fairway Associates Ltd.
Spreadsheet Applications-Rules of Engagement; Moffat, R. Personal Logic Assoc. Inc.
Metrics-Based Spreadsheet Visualization; Hodnigg, K., Mittermeir, R. Univ of Klagenfurt
Self-checks in spreadsheets: a survey of current practice; Colver, D Operis Ltd
Modeling combinatorial problems: vendor selection; Ipsilandis, P. TEI Larissa, Greece
Automating Spreadsheet Discovery & Risk Assessment; Perry, E. Prodiance
Spreadsheet Components For All; Paine, J. Ireson-Paine SH Parts Repository
An Overview of Spreadsheet Analytics; Grossman, T. University of San Fransico
EU Behaviour Debugging Tool Design and Evaluation; Bishop & McDaid, DKIT
Controlling EUC Applications – a case study; Chambers, J. Chambers Consulting
Excel and the Accounting and Finance Professional; Brown P, Alliy Microsoft
Information and Data Quality in Spreadsheets; O’Beirne, P. Systems Modelling
Overview & Results of DidaTab project; Blondel, F.; Bruillard, E., Tort, F. UMR STEF – INRP – ENS Cachan, UniverSud, France
Taxonomy of errors revisited; Panko, R. University of Hawaii
EuSpRIG and Education and Training; Chadwick, D. University of Greenwich


XLTest: A New Addin for Spreadsheet Checking

You may already know of ScanXLS, my software tool for automated discovery and analysis of spreadsheets

At Eusprig 2008 I shall be announcing a new addin. It is intended to save the time of the everyday spreadsheet user, to efficiently review the quality of spreadsheets. My book on 'Spreadsheet Check and Control' shows how to check spreadsheets using the Excel interface. This accelerates the process, using the ability of the human eye to quickly spot differences in patterns. It also provides documentation on the spreadsheet especially those aspects that are not easily visible such as range names, conditional formats, and data validation.

It currently has the codename XLTEST. It has these essential features:

Colours cells by data type only
Colours cells by data type and input/output type
Colours cells by distinct formula
Remove interior fill colours of all cells in sheet
Colour by Precedents count
Colour by Dependents count
Colour by Conditional Format Formulas
Colour by Data Validation Formulas
Inspect every cell in the sheet for errors and warnings
Remove protection of sheet contents
Keeps an info window open on current selection
Create sheet to document application settings
Create sheet for Workbook and sheets documentation
Create Readme sheet checklist for review
Create Colors sheet to check workbook colour settings

Spreadsheet Check and Control: 47 best practices to detect and prevent errors Available worldwide from Amazon.  Our offer - free shipping to EU .




Simply send your comments to FEEDBACK (at) SYSMOD (dot) COM

Thank you! Patrick O'Beirne, Editor

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4) Off Topic

Don't blame me, I voted Yes

A popular bumper sticker after an election that brought about a result that disappointed many.

I am referring to the rejection of the EU Lisbon Treaty on June 13 by a referendum in Ireland. It has now given encouragement for other countries or leaders to dither.

To those who say "What part of 'No' don't you understand" I would say "The part that said 'I don't know'". The subsequent Eurobarometer no. 245 showed that the most common reason given was that people did not fully understand the issues. People don't trust politicians, they distrusted the non-specific posters that simply said Lisbon is a "good thing", didn't listen to detailed debates, and enough decided that "If you don't know, vote No" to swing it over. The government had run a late campaign - earlier the change of leadership meant they were too busy doing laps of honour to pay attention. The Labour Party ran posters that only showed party candidates as if an election was being run. The word 'Yes' may have been buried somewhere in the red background but it was not obvious seen from a car.

It might have been better to survey opinion *beforehand*. Funny how in politics as in IT, there is never enough time or money to do things properly the first time but always enough to do it over again. Actually to some extent the problem had flagged beforehand -  in January 2008: "Images of the EU are also affected by people’s knowledge of European issues. Eurobarometer 68.1 asked respondents three true or false questions on the EU’s institutional workings.  The decisive factor appears to be whether an individual knows anything or knows nothing."  Ironically our Prime Minister Brian Cowen had also (as then foreign minister) had to bring the bad news of the 2001 Nice treaty rejection to the EU Council of Ministers, and he had asserted that he did not want to do it again.

Gerry McGovern, the expert on customer-centric websites, has commented on the same issue of the loss of trust:


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