A Time to Give: Learn how your registration will support 1 of 3 amazing non-profits.

written by: Admin on November 3rd, 2014


ASPE Training is proud to announce some big changes to our annual Charitable Giving Event. Each year we donate a significant sum to a charity chosen by the ASPE, Inc. board members. But this year, we’re letting you choose!

For every course registration made between November 1st, 2014 and December 31st, 2014 we will be donating $5 to one of the three charities. After registering, simply respond to your email from customerservice@aspeinc.com and choose the charity you would like to contribute to.

It’s the giving season! Which charity will you choose to support?

The V Foundation for Cancer Research
After being diagnosed with cancer at the young age of 46, Jim Valvano dreamed of finding the cure. Passionate and committed, Jim and ESPN formed the V Foundation for Cancer Research. As a former coach, he began to recruit his team of family and friends to lead The Foundation in his quest to eradicate the disease.

Although Jim lost his battle with cancer less than two months after delivering his world famous ESPY speech, his dream to find cures lives on through research grants bestowed in his name. The V Foundation has awarded more than $130 million to more than 120 facilities nationwide and proudly awards 100% of direct cash donations to cancer research and related programs.

Jim’s dream of finding cures for cancer is shared by millions. Although we have not yet achieved this goal, every day we get a little bit closer and continue to honor his inspiring words, “Don’t Give Up . . . Don’t Ever Give Up!”

Wounded Warrior Project
The Wounded Warrior Project is a veterans service organization that offers a variety of programs, service and events for wounded veterans of the military actions following the events of September 11, 2001. It’s mission is to “Honor and Empower Wounded Warriors” of the United States Armed Forces, as well as provide services and programs for the family members of registered veterans.

Wounded Warrior Project’s vision is to “foster the most successful, well-adjusted generation of wounded service members in our nation’s history” as it works to raise awareness and enlist the public’s aid for the needs of severely injured service members, help severely injured service members aid and assist each other, and provide unique, direct programs and services to meet their needs.

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
founded in 1962, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is a pediatric treatment and research facility focused on children’s catastrophic diseases. It is located in Memphis, Tennessee, and is a nonprofit medical corporation. Although it was named a patron saint, St. Jude is not a Catholic hospital and not affiliated with any religious organization.

St. Jude was founded by entertainer Danny Thomas on the premise that “no child should die in the dawn of life”. The Misson of St. Jude Research Hospital is to advance cures, and means of prevention, for pediatric catastrophic diseases through research and treatment. Consistent with the vision of our founder Danny Thomas, no child is denied treatment based on race, religion or a family’s ability to pay. Click to continue »


How a Context Diagram Could Have Saved Big $$$

written by: Mary Repetto on December 16th, 2014


What is a context diagram?  Well, it is the coolest tool in the toolkit and it can save you from making some big mistakes if you use it in the beginning of your projects. It starts with a big circle that represents the scope of your project/system. Then we draw little boxes outside that big circle that show the people or things that interact with that system. We draw arrows from the boxes to the circle showing data that comes in and data that flows out. So, what’s the big deal? Well, when I worked for a big corporation we implemented a system and spent major dollars only to find out that it really couldn’t talk with some of our legacy systems. Bummer, the monies were already spent, so now what? Had we drawn this simple little diagram, we would have discovered right up front what interfaces we would need to ensure. Amazing how not doing your proper prep and using some key tools can make a difference….we lost hundreds of thousands on that one!


Do I Really Need to Model This Process?

written by: Mary Repetto on December 15th, 2014

It’s easy to get lazy and not feel like drawing things out, creating process maps or creating other diagrams.  However, think about what the real role of a business analyst is…to act as a liaison between the business and IT, which means we need excellent communications skills.  And, what better way to communicate than through visuals?!  As YOUR stakeholder, the business, I can read pages of tedious documentation or I can walk, with you, through a process flow where you describe to me not only “what is” but also “what will be”.  I can pick out the flaws with you, make suggestions, ask questions… with the end result being a collaborative solution to the business problem.  You now have my attention, understanding and complete support.  What could be better?



Web Seminar Recap: From Use Cases to Test Cases

written by: Tegan Smith on December 11th, 2014

Use cases and their agile brethren, user stories, are popular forms for documenting functional requirements. Nearly every requirements document, functional specification, or design document contains some form of use cases.

Because they describe behavior and distinct outcomes, use cases can be the foundation for test cases. This presentation will show simple and sophisticated techniques for transforming use cases into effective test cases.

Start with techniques for organizing systems into processes and activities. Learn how to define the behavior of these processes and activities in use cases. See how to define distinct scenarios, to partition inputs into different characteristic values, and to relate those scenarios and inputs to expected results. Finally, construct executable test cases from those scenarios, inputs, and results.

Attendees will learn how to easily produce a good set of test cases – exhaustive enough to give software a good workout, but intelligent enough not to waste time and effort. This one hour seminar, From Use Cases to Test Cases, was presented on December 8th, 2014 by Marc Balcer. If you missed out and want to catch up download the slides and recording here!


Web Seminar Recap: Tying Agile Development to Fast & Stable Deployment

written by: Tegan Smith on December 8th, 2014

It’s been exciting over the past year to watch as big products become available that really give development teams the tools they need to perform agile software engineering (we’re thinking of Microsoft Team Foundation Server in particular, but the story is bigger than that).

With tools like TFS and a host of others, development teams can track and store all their code, automate their releases, control versioning, automate testing, collaborate across the team and much more. But how much are these tools doing to bridge the infamous gap between development of the product and the production environment into which it is released? For years we have heard about breakdowns between agile developers, release teams, and operations staff who have to maintain system stability and keep customer-facing software stable. We wanted to talk to a real-world expert about how newer tools and techniques are being used to break down walls between agile development and release engineering.

This one hour Q & A session with our resident Agile Engineering guru and TFS expert, Bryon Brewer, was held on December 5th, 2014 at Noon EST. It was an unscripted conversation about how teams are using these tools, and how real-world IT shops can use agile practices and have stable deployments too.

Missed this seminar? Download the slides and recording here.


Using Boto to Interface with Amazon Web Services from Python

written by: Damian Herrick on December 1st, 2014

Thanks to the ability to utilize services like Amazon Web Services (AWS), developers, entrepreneurs, and businesses of all types have on-demand access to powerful, scalable computing as never before. Everyone from a single developer testing a minimum viable product to Netflix has access to the same infrastructure. Using AWS, businesses have reduced their costs by purchasing only to computing power they need at a given time. If your web application sees greater demand, you can scale up servers automatically; when the traffic drops, those servers can be taken offline – lowering costs. In the past, companies had to purchase hardware planning for peak capacity, which often only happens a small percentage of the time.

This post isn’t about the power of AWS – though hopefully that is apparent. Instead, I’d like to discuss how to manage your Amazon cloud from code – specifically Python. Python is a very powerful language that has many available packages. This makes it useful to a data scientist, as there are plenty of packages for things like data analysis, data gathering, and visualization. Additionally, via tools such as the iPython notebook, data scientists can create interactive, reproducible workbooks similar to tools like Matlab. Python provides several web development frameworks, and allows for easy interaction with the operating system.

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Web Seminar Recap: Proving Use Cases Correct

written by: Jennifer Johnson on November 26th, 2014

Requirements defects are the greatest source of error, and loss of quality. For projects that are complex or require high quality results, such as in the financial, health, and astronautical fields, the requirements should be validated before coding. This presentation showed a clean method of eliciting requirements from the sponsor mission statement to use cases. It showed how to make use cases comply with the IEEE standard for requirements specifications, and then explained how to rigorously validate the use cases to be provably correct. The best news is that this process takes less time per use case than guess-and-check coding, even in agile environments.

This web seminar was presented by Al Cline on November 20, 2014. Missed it? You can find the slides and recording here!


Agile Engineering for Dummies (and not so dummies)

written by: Tegan Smith on November 25th, 2014

Being new to the Agile world, sometimes I have a hard time wrapping my mind around the intricacies of Agile Engineering. Figuring there are individuals like myself, just starting their journey to fully understanding Agile, I thought I could do some research and do my best to break down the Agile Methods of Work. Of course while conducting said research, I was confronted with many opinions about how harmful these practices can be and all the flack about why programmers shouldn’t even use them.  All in all, software engineering is an art. Yes, this art does need discipline and structure to be successful but it is up to you programmers to decide what type of tool you want to use to craft your software art, whether they are right or wrong.

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