About Philip Lew

XBOSoft CEO and founder Philip Lew leads the company's strategy, operations and business development. A thought leader in software development and QA and frequent speaker at trade and academic conferences, Phil has worked with hundreds of organizations to assess the quality of their software and improve software quality and processes using systematic methods.

According to IDC Big Data market is projected to be a $50 billion industry by 2019.

Big Data is big and will continue to become bigger. Bigger in the sense of size as more data sources come to fruition as sensors and other applications come online. More importantly, Big Data will become “bigger” in terms of importance due to the insights that can be gained. These insights can provide great value to a company trying to understand its users or customers better and to optimize their service and product offerings in a personalized manner. Yet the old caveat “garbage in garbage out” applies more than ever to Big Data. That’s where Big Data Testing comes in. If the data is not validated, it can lead analysts astray leading to information and insights that are not only inaccurate but perhaps in the opposite direction. Don’t make the mistake of assuming your data is valid and accurate. Let XBOSoft support your Big Data initiatives with our Big Data testing services.

By |August 3rd, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

Evaluating Test Automation Tools – What Should I Consider?

One of the first steps in software test automation is to evaluate test automation tools. Many organizations key considerations in evaluating test automation tools is cost. Not us. We believe that one of the most critical criteria is the ability to recognize objects. The table below is an excerpt of one evaluation we did for a desktop and web-based software application. That's right, 'for a desktop and web-based software application'. Evaluating and selecting the testing automation tool that is best for you depends on the software that is under test. Let’s talk more about evaluating test automation tools for Object Recognition for web applications...  

Driving Client Satisfaction – A Company Culture That Works

In XBOSoft's first 11 years, we've had our trials and tribulations in learning how to be great software testers. Not that anyone or anybody can be a great software tester. But it takes a lot more than great software testing to make our clients happy. In this blog, CEO, Philip Lew, discussing driving client satisfaction and what it means at XBOSoft.  

Oct 3, 2017
Agile Remote Teams – Overcoming Agile Virtual Team Challenges

Working with Agile Remote Teams - Overcoming Virtual Team Challenges

Heidi Araya, our guest speaker with over 20 years of experience in working with Agile teams, joined XBOSoft CEO Philip Lew for a discussion of challenges in working with remote agile teams and methods and tools you can use to alleviate these challenges. Starting with where these challenges arise, Araya and Lew discussed,  among other aspects...  View this XBOSoft webinar to learn more >      

Highly Effective Testing Habit #4: Be Agile First

As software engineers and testers, we are so deep into this “Agile” transformation movement, but often forget that Agile is also an adjective. Habit #4 is understanding that you must change parts of your "being" to implement Agile effectively.    

Comparing Education Systems — How XBOSoft Finds Testers

The philosopher Seneca said, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” And I think that’s what happened when I founded XBOSoft in 2006 in China. I have a habit of questioning how things are done, and love coming up with solutions. And I seek out software testers with a similar mindset.

XBOSoft employees are a creative bunch!

XBOSoft employees are a creative bunch!

Shift Left – SofTec 2017 Highlights

It’s a long plane ride to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. That’s where SofTec Asia 2017 was held the first few days of August. SofTec Asia 2017But, with all that I learned — both through formal presentations and informal discussions with fellow presenters — it was well worth the trip.

Highly Effective Agile Testing Habit #3: Sustainability

In this post, we’ll cover Habit #3: Sustain an Improvement Frame of Mind. At XBOSoft, we use these 7 “habits” to guide our everyday work. They’re all important, but I think Habit #3 is all encompassing of the others.

Habit #3: Keeping pace is key to sustaining improvement practices.

Keeping pace is key to sustaining improvement practices.

The key word here is “maintain.” One of the key tenets of agile is sustainability. If you can’t sustain an effort with a constant pace, then you’ll soon fall behind and lose the race. And what better way to understand your pace than metrics?  

Testing Accounting Software – Account Reconciliation

XBOSoft Testing Accounting Software - Account ReconciliationThe complexity of account reconciliation software places special demands on the testers of account reconciliation software. The primary challenge: There are two types of accounts to be reconciled, each with its own unique characteristics.

July 11, 2017
Software Testing Cognitive Biases – How Did I Miss That Bug?

Software Testing Cognitive Biases - Do You Know Why You Missed That Defect?

Software Testing Cognitive Biases with Gerie Owen Gerie Owen, our guest speaker with over 25 years of experience in software testing, joined XBOSoft CEO Philip Lew for a discussion of challenges recognizing our cognitive biases and how they affect our software testing thinking and process. Starting with explaining how the brain creates and implements these biases.  Owen and Lew discussed,  among other aspects... View this XBOSoft webinar to learn more >

How Cognitive Biases Affect Our Testing Work

Philipl Lew XBOSoft CEOIf we really want to increase our testing capabilities, then we should be analyzing our ways of thinking, and identifying the strengths and weaknesses in our thinking. We all have cognitive biases we’re not consciously aware of. Why do you find certain types of defects and not others? Why are your estimates always low, and therefore forcing you to work overtime? How do our biases take shape in the agile testing process? Is it different from what happens in more traditional processes?

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Agile Testing

7 Habits of Highly Effective Agile Testing audienceI read Stephen Covey’s famous book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People when it first came out in 1989, almost 30 years ago. I was just starting my career then and was able to apply many of the principles to not just my work life, but life in general. When I was invited to give the closing keynote at TestIstanbul, in Istanbul, Turkey, on April 25, I knew giving a tailored version of my 7 Habits of Highly Effective Agile Testers talk would work well for this audience.

April 20, 2017
In Turkey, software testing takes center stage

Philip Lew delivers a keynote address in Istanbul on his agile software testing process. Will Turkey be the next wellspring of quality assurance innovation? Istanbul is home to TestIstanbul, an international tech conference that focuses on quality assurance and testing. TestInstanbul attracts entrepreneurs and engineers from around the world to share what they have learned about agile software testing practices. Philip Lew, XBOSoft founder and CEO, delivered the closing keynote presentation for the 2017 conference. A packed audience heard Lew’s signature speech: “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Agile Testing.” Lew has been influenced in his career and [...]

April 20, 2017
XBOSoft Experts Explore Healthcare Software Testing Challenges

“Since we began working with XBOSoft as our quality-assurance partner five years ago, our entire process of developing and releasing new software has become much smoother and more efficient,” Mobile MedSoft CEO Duke Yetter said.

Managing Agile Risk with AQAA in Atlanta

Last week, I presented at the Atlanta Quality Assurance AssociationAQAA — on “Managing Agile Software Projects Under Uncertainty.” In the beginning of the talk, we covered the reasons for agile project failure and took a vote as to why people thought or had the experience of failure in agile. The results were quite interesting... understanding why software projects succeed or fail

Understanding Risks in Managing Agile Software Projects

Have you ever needed to complete a software project, but kept running into issues or hitting walls so you couldn't move forward? Later this evening, our very own CEO Philip Lew is presenting to the Atlanta Quality Assurance Association (AQAA) on managing agile software projects. Managing Agile Software Projects Under Uncertainty: applying the right thinking and techniques to understand and curtail risk.

Steep challenges in IoT software testing

Improving load testing performance In the April 3 webinar "Top IoT Testing Challenges," XBOSoft had the opportunity to host Jon Hagar, one of the leading experts in IoT software testing and author of the book "Software Test Attacks to Break Mobile and Embedded Devices." The webinar covered a variety of subjects, including testing combinations as well as security and privacy issues. Philip Lew, founder, and CEO of XBOSoft, said the webinar boiled down to three major points:  

April 3, 2017
Top QA/ Testing Challenges in the Mobile IoT Era

What Does IOT Mean for Software Testers?

Jon Hagar, an early explorer of the perils and opportunities for testers in the Mobile IoT era, joined XBOSoft CEO Philip Lew for a discussion of challenges of Mobile IoT. There's been plenty of hype about mobile IoT. There are challenges, to be sure, for testers as the IoT market reveals its full potential. But these are really opportunities for testers who decide to get engaged in the IoT market.  Hagar and Lew discussed,  among other aspects... View this XBOSoft webinar to learn more >

Benbria: XBOSoft’s Software Testing Team Scales as Our Team Grows

Customer satisfaction ranks as perhaps XBOSoft’s top internal priority. In our 10 years of providing quality software testing services, we have cultivated long-term relationships with our customers. To make sure we’re meeting expectations, we regularly reach out to our customers for honest, no-holds-barred feedback. While we love praise, hearing what we can do better is even more important. That’s how we get better. We asked Daryna Bronnykova, director of engineering for Benbria, to assess our software testing services. Benbria, based in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, makes software that targets the restaurant and hospitality industries. It has been an XBOSoft client since 2010.

April 3, 2017
U.S. Tech Owner Speaks Out on Perils of Trade Barriers with China

San Francisco, CA (PRWeb) April 3, 2017  With an historic meet-up scheduled for later this week between U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping, companies with Chinese operations are anxiously awaiting developments in trade policies between the two nations. The new U.S. president vowed to tighten restrictions and add tariffs on imports from China. Exactly how Trump's strategy unfolds could directly affect U.S. business owners such as Philip Lew, founder and CEO of XBOSoft, a software testing firm. Many of XBOSoft’s engineers and support staff work out of the company’s Beijing office. Lew says altered trade policies could [...]

Exploding IoT market could drive opportunities for software testers

We asked Jon Hagar, our guest on Monday’s webinar, to give us a preview of his remarks. Here’s what he had to say. Jon: There is much hype, and there may even be quite a bit of money, around the IoT market.  IoT merges several technology lines, such as Mobile, Cloud, Communication, Big Data, and Embedded software.  Many aspects of IoT will be familiar. There are challenges, to be sure, for testers as the IoT market reveals its full potential. But these are really opportunities for testers who decide to get engaged in the IoT market.  These include:

March 27, 2017
Coaching Agile Journeys Webinar w/ Phil Lew: Testing Agile

Do you really need a test plan?

testing agile - webinar with coaching agile journeys Your team might excel at taking orders, but they also might be more dysfunctional than you’re aware. Without healthy organizational habits and proper planning, your Agile efforts are useless and "Testing Agile" will never work. If you’re wondering how you can optimize your agile testing process, Phil will share his insights Agile Testing in the trenches. View this XBOSoft webinar to learn more >

Karaoke adventure turns into ThinkTech interview for CEO Lew

This article was written in China by CEO Philip Lew during a recent visit to the XBOSoft facilities there. I was out for a fun evening with friends and co-workers for some karaoke and a traditional Chinese meal of pizza and beer in Beijing the other night. Just a group of us winding down after a hard day. But like many things, it turned into something else: a serious discussion of trade policies. We ran into a university professor, Russell Leu, who also is part of a digital media company, ThinkTech. The program focuses on technology issues related to Hawaii. [...]

Avoiding the Pitfalls of Automated Performance and Load Testing

Only when apps and sites run slowly or freeze do we really notice the importance of how well they function. Applications and networks that support these services are under extreme pressure to perform flawlessly.

Building a Software Quality Center of Excellence

Many companies talk and write about the concept of a software quality center of excellence. At XBOSoft, over the last 10 years, we've satisfied one client at a time as we have continued to build up our expertise. Having just celebrated our 10 year anniversary, I believe that XBOSoft’s software quality center of excellence resides in our team.

XBOSoft Software Quality Center of Excellence - Our People

Creating a Software Quality Center of Excellence through great people.

I'm writing about this because I must say that I was extremely proud of our team today. I did a routine check up call with two of our clients. I usually start the call off with, "I just wanted to check in with you to make sure everything is going ok and that our team is doing a good job for you. I want to make sure that if you have a complaint or an area that you think we can improve, that you have a number you can call and a person who will listen."

In both of my calls I listened as our clients discussed that they were more than satisfied with our services. It made me realize how easy my job is because our team is so strong.

February 08, 2017
XBOSoft marks its 10th anniversary

San Francisco, CA (PRWEB) February 8, 2017

XBOSoft will mark its Tenth Anniversary at the DeveloperWeek trade show in San Francisco. Founder and CEO Philip Lew and marketing vice president Steve Gorhes will be at booth 241 for two full days (Feb. 14-15) during the run of the show, Feb. 11-16. 

Group photo shows the XBOSoft team knows how to party!

The XBOSoft team celebrating 10 years together.

The company celebrated the milestone in January with XBOSoft’s employees in Beijing, China, who perform most of the software testing and software QA consulting.

Collaborative Testing at Work

When XBOSoft founder and CEO Philip Lew talks about the importance of collaborative testing with the company’s clients, he’s speaking not only about testing, but also about something that he practices outside the business arena.

One powerful example: His volunteer work with the Pacific Northwest Software Quality Conference. Known by its members as PNSQC, the organization has been hosting conferences devoted to quality and testing since 1983. Phil has been among its most active volunteers in recent years.

Phil Lew has served on the board and the social media committee, made presentations, and identified keynote speakers to support the program committee’s efforts. He’s made videos and done webinars to promote the conference, among his many other activities to support PNSQC.

agile teammates

Agile Partners - Melissa, Phil and Drake

Usability and UX in Everyday Life

While waiting in the airport, I stopped at the terminal's Starbucks only to find this menu on the wall. I immediately went into usability mode, thinking how can they do that? To me, the poor contrast of white letters on a red background really made it hard for me to see the menu items from a distance. Of course, it's the Christmas season and we all want to be festive – we’ve all heard of function over form but what about function over festivity? One of the most fun parts of my Better Software Con session, in which I covered How to Improve the Mobile User Experience (UX), is the application of usability and UX in everyday life. The same principles that we use in designing good, high-quality software can be utilized in our lives and vice versa.

Software Quality Challenges in the Internet of Things Era

How many of you know what the "blue screen" is? Or Ctrl-alt-delete? We used to test functionality ("Does it work as intended?"), but as software has become more complex and distributed, we're faced with different software quality challenges. This is getting even more complicated with what's now called The Internet of Things, or IoT. With IoT, software and hardware work together more than ever. How do you diagnose the problem? Where is it? In my recent keynote in San Diego at the Practical Software Testing Conference, I had the opportunity to present some of the most critical challenges facing us as software engineers.

Software Measurement and Lord Kelvin

I've been to numerous talks on software measurement and metrics, and it seems inevitable that the instructor quotes this guy named "Lord Kelvin." I finally decided to figure out who this guy is and see how he is related to software measurement. I found out that Lord Kelvin was a physicist named William Thomson. According to the Wikipedia, "He was ennobled in 1892 for his achievements in thermodynamics, and of his opposition to Irish Home Rule and became Baron Kelvin of Largs in the County of Ayr. He was the first British scientist to be elevated to the House of Lords, and Kelvin refers to the River Kelvin that flows close to his laboratory at the University of Glasgow." Being in the House of Lords + Baron Kelvin = Lord Kelvin. With his scientific research in the laws of thermodynamics, absolute temperatures are stated in units of kelvin in his honor. Although the existence of a lower limit to temperature (absolute zero) was known prior to his work, Lord Kelvin is widely known for determining its correct value as approximately −273.15 degrees Celsius (-457 Fahrenheit). 

So why is this guy in the teachings of software measurement and metrics? Well, he did make a lot of very relatable quotes in scientific journals and as a professor.

By |October 25th, 2016|Categories: Metrics|Tags: |0 Comments

Agile Team Characteristics

I had the pleasure of attending the keynote talk of my colleague and friend, Michael Mah, at the recent PSQT conference in San Diego in August. Michael, as usual, was very entertaining and passionate about his ideas and research. In his talk, he discussed a case study in which one of his clients has achieved and continues to achieve great results in implementing XP. He also drew an analogy of their Agile team characteristics as compared to other high performing teams. No, he wasn't talking about the Golden State Warriors. Michael's passion is saving the oceans, so he was sharing his experience in working with the Sea Shepherds. The Sea Shepherds work together with passion and purpose and Michael's story could motivate anyone to stop going to SeaWorld and join the fight in saving the oceans and the life within them. 

Mobile Device Proliferation Continues

I recently read this article that the Xperia Z3 won't get upgraded with Nougat, and although I don't have either, I'm not surprised. The fact that the Z3 won't be updated to the latest version of Android is pretty sad. Not even two years old and Sony is just moving on and without providing the update. For the mobile phone and Android market in general, that spells more mobile device proliferation and increased difficulty from a software developer perspective. According to the report by Perfecto, titled "Digital Test Coverage Index," indicating the top mobile platforms used by country, the list of essential, enhanced and extended platforms changes every year. This is good for those who want to sell handsets, but for developers, you've got to be on top of not only your software and if it works, but also on top of the user experience on each platform.

Software Testing Best Practices – Huh?

Recently, one of our clients asked me to come and give a talk on software testing trends. They wanted to know 'best practices' but of course we all know there is no such thing. Despite that, I whipped up a presentation on what I thought were 'directions to go' in terms of where software testing is headed and the direction that companies should move. As I put together the talk, I started to think about how the boundaries between hardware and software are falling. Whatever you chose to call this disruption, the Internet of Things, the connected world, etc., it means that products are more complicated. So although software is simplifying our lives, it also takes more connectivity and integration to make them work. In my recent keynote at PSQT, I discussed how the Internet of Things was impacting QA and how we, as testers, needed to adapt. Extracting some of the key points, software testing trends are mostly pointing in these directions:

  1. Software is everywhere. It's working its way into almost all industries. What was once a hardware or embedded software company such as a speaker, garage door opener, refrigerator, now has a software component and that software continues to evolve with more functionality. Most of that additional functionality is tied to other products in an ecosystem whether it be home automation, security, or for life's conveniences. This means software engineers need to have much broader understanding and skills to think of how the products they develop will work not only by themselves but mostly with others (and some you don't know). Since a large part of the value of the product will be how it integrates with other products, ensuring that integration is seamless will require new knowledge and skills.

Agile Organizational Risk – Agile Sustainability

A few short weeks ago at the PSQT conference, I had the fortune of sitting in on Tom Cagley's session, titled Impact of Risk Management on Software Quality. One of the components that Tom mentioned as part of the Agile Risk Taxonomy is Agile Organizational Risk or People Risk. He describes it as the "impact of an environment populated by people." Some may think that this is the most nebulous risk, when compared to business or technical risk. I think it's probably one of the most important but, unfortunately, it's often swept under the rug.

Enhance User Experience With Color

In my last keynote at the Practical Software Quality and Testing Conference in San Diego, I gave a talk on IOT and Quality Challenges. One of the metaphors that I used was how the Cambrian Period compared to the today's era with IOT. During the Cambrian period, there was an explosion of various life forms. And with IOT, I think the same is happening as well, with the right conditions for IOT including power, processors, networking technologies and cloud storage, the conditions are perfect to spawn an explosion of life. In my tutorial the following day after the keynote, I presented: Mobile UX, The New Storefront. One section of the tutorial was focused on how you can enhance User Experience through choice of color. We discussed that the choice of colors can be very strategic.

How to Enhance User Experience Via Color

Contrast - Who's your favorite football team? Look at their uniforms. Some that come to mind are the Minnesota Vikings and Denver Broncos, or my favorite, The Washington Redskins. Notice their use of contrast via colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel. This makes it easy to pick them out on the field and pleasing to the eye. But for your website or company's mobile app, it means visibility and reducing errors. If your users can see buttons and icons more easily, they're less prone to make mistakes. Color Wheel and UX

Agile Risk Management

Risk is a weird entity. Many equate risk with uncertainty but it's not. We are uncertain about many things but they are not necessarily risks. Risks come about when you have an negative outcome with a probability greater than zero. But there are many types of negative outcomes and corresponding risks.


Evaluating Agile Teams – Team and Individual Performance

In sports, everyone plays different positions and makes different salaries based on their position and skills. A quarterback generally makes more than a linebacker. Likewise, Tom Brady makes more money than Michael Vick. Everyone knows it and they accept it. His numbers are better and his team wins. His teammates also know he makes more money than they do. However, for some reason, when it comes to evaluating Agile teams, I tend to hear only about measuring the team's overall success. Well, how do you put together a good team without knowing the true value of highly performing individuals like Tom Brady? 

Continuous Quality – The Subscription Economy and Beyond

In the software development world, we often discuss DevOps synonymously with continuous integration and continuous releases. It seems everything is continuous these days and I’m wondering where this trend is taking us. With Agile, where “everyone is responsible for quality,” we are no longer throwing software over the wall after development to be tested. Different kinds of testing happen all the time. I call it Continuous Quality.

"Continuous" describes a movement much bigger than software, but supported mostly by technology and software. It's a movement that is founded on everything being smaller and delivered in smaller quantities (except food in restaurants, where we tend to like to supersize). Everything is moving toward smaller transactions.

Agile Goal Question Metric – Applying a Proven Approach to Agile

GQM stands for the Goal Question Metrics approach, promoted by Victor Basili from the University of Maryland. He is often given credit for the approach, after supervising a Ph.D. thesis by Dr. David M. Weiss. Weiss' work was inspired by the work of Albert Endres at IBM Germany, so I suppose that Endres, Weiss and Basili were all co-inventors of the approach and possibly others. This approach has been widely used in different industries, but often applied to software measurement. In a recent talk at the QAI Quest Software Quality Conference in Chicago, I applied GQM to Agile, calling it Agile Goal [...]

Performance Testing Considerations – Getting Started

In addition to security testing, it seems that performance testing has come to the forefront of requests from out clients. As we now go beyond basic 'it works' functionality, clients are not worried about taking it to the next level. They've come to realize that performance has become more important as expectations continue to increase from their end users. Whereas 3-4 seconds used to be 'good enough', now users expect 1-2 seconds response time and even less for frequent usage scenarios. One of our clients recently told us that they had 10000 users and they wanted to simulate all users logging in simultaneously. After convincing them that this scenario was highly unlikely, I decided to put together a list of performance testing considerations. 

IoT QA Issues – Testing Considerations

I'll also be presenting the closing keynote for this conference, titled, Quality Challenges in the Internet of Things Era. While IoT is not the storefront that mobile is, it's still all connected to the mobile storefront as most IoT devices cannot survive without the mothership! But of course there are many other elements to consider as part of the mobile infrastructure. As I review my upcoming keynote, three main issues come to mind.

Your Storefront is Your Mobile App

I'll be presenting in about a month at the Practical Software Quality and Testing Conference in San Diego this August. The title of my tutorial is "Mobile UX is the New StoreFront". As we all know the mobile storefront has replaced many brick and mortar businesses. Amazon started selling books, but were they a bookstore? They competed with bookstores, but in reality, they were and are a software company. At the time, the platforms they supported included various versions of browsers on different computer operating systems. Today, as the mobile storefront continues to mature, so does the importance of the user experience. The User Experience (UX) at one point stood for button placement and colors in help users find things and get things done. Today, those are considered givens, basic usability issues that everyone understands and has conquered. However, there is much more than meets the eye.

Performance Testing Mobile Applications – Mobile UX

Mobile User Experience (Mobile UX) is a common subject these days when it comes to discussing how to keep users coming back and how to keep them engaged. I'll be discussing Mobile User Experience in my full-day workshop, Mobile UX is The New StoreFront, at the Practical Software Quality Conference this August 19 in San Diego. What many don't realize is that mobile UX is not just about placing buttons in certain places and having good contrast so people can see (usability), but more about providing an integrated experience specific to the mobile platform and specific to the tasks your users are trying to get done. For performance testing in mobile applications, there are many acceptance criteria or measurements you should examine, but we think these two are the most critical.

Software Testing and the Hawthorne Effect

I've been to many sessions on software testing metrics where the instructor will discuss the software testing Hawthorne Effect. Often cited are lighting experiments done in the 30's where the light in a manufacturing facility was increased and decreased and its positive effect on factory workers' productivity. When applying the results of these experiments to software testing, most will then discuss testing metrics such as test cases written or defects found, and the unexpected consequences or changes in behavior that can result from using such metrics. But I think we are missing the importance and significance of the Hawthorne Effect. First, the Hawthorne Effect was based on several experiments not only in lighting but also, in many other factors such as break times, food, and payment schemes. Secondly, the interpretations of the Hawthorne experiments vary, and many researchers have derived different conclusions. Some of their conclusions, I hereby summarize as the Hawthorne Lessons:

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