| Considered a software quality expert, Ross typically serves as a trusted advisor to senior management or as a supportive coach to test teams. He succeeds when his clients succeed.
He has been called a “Jedi master” by the founding President of the Association for Software Testing. Other prominent testers have said he is an “intellectual thought leader” with a “great wealth of knowledge”.
He estimates his work has helped his clients and society to save $billions.
System Functional, Performance and Robustness Testing
Ross tests system performance and load and stress behavior, including related areas like bottleneck analysis, performance engineering and design for testability. Examples:
- For HP, he helped improve their practices for testing the endurance, robustness and scalability of the HP Unix system and new operating systems.
- For a large London-based bank, helped develop enterprise-wide performance testing, operational monitoring and capacity planning guidelines.
- For an automated test tool vendor, designed simulators to train testers in tool use.
System and Database Quality Improvement
Ross works at the forefront of test strategy and design, test automation, risk assessment and quality metrics. Examples:
- In a 10-week bug hunt for a large retailer in crisis, he was able to resolve ordering and pricing problems that almost certainly would have bankrupted the firm.
- For the President of Bell Labs, Ross developed courseware and trained-the-trainers for a major up-skilling. 2,500 test engineers received 8 days of training in software testing.
- After years of inspired, uncoordinated system patches at a major manufacturer, untangled the connectivity of complex, error prone business-critical systems. Outlined a remediation plan; estimated the costs, risks and benefits of a clean-up.
- Assessed and improved practices for complexity analysis and test coverage, quality metrics, test estimation and defect prediction. Developed quality gateway criteria for agile and SDLC methods.
- Helped initiate test centers of excellence and build software quality cultures.
Strategy, Software Development and High-Tech Start-Ups
While he specializes in hands-on software testing, assignments outside this area have enabled Ross to build a broad, deep understanding of business and technology. For top management of large enterprises, these assignments included strategic planning for information technology, assessing the effectiveness of a 10,000-person IT subsidiary, and outlining how to re-structure that subsidiary. He also led an innovative, high visibility software development project, with a staff of 50+ professionals, for 2 years on behalf of Deloitte & Touche.
Ross helped found high-tech firms in addition to his own consulting firm, with products ranging from power regulation to next-generation magnets to cloud security software. He served as an active board member for start-ups. In one case, he helped produce a return of $46,000 for each $1 originally invested. (Continued on next page.)
Ross’s clients have included leaders in several fields. In technology: ADP, Alcatel, Apple, AT&T, Cisco, Computer Associates, Dell, eBay, EDS, Google, Hewlett-Packard, Hughes Aircraft, IBM, Intel, Intuit, Microsoft, Motorola, Nortel, Novell, Qualcom, SIAC, Siemens, Verizon and WebMD.
In financial services: American Express, Bank of America, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Citibank, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Progressive, Prudential and State Farm.
Clients in other fields include: Anheuser-Busch, Exxon, Ford, General Dynamics, General Electric, GM, Merck, Novartis and Procter & Gamble.
Government clients include: the CIA, Federal Reserve Bank, NASA, Social Security Administration, SPAWAR (Space Warfare Command), State of California and U.S. Air Force.
Ross has a BE in Electrical Engineering from the University of Auckland and an MS in Computer Science from the California Institute of Technology, graduating from both schools in half the usual time. He also completed 85% of the requirements for an MBA from Stanford.
He paid his college expenses through scholarships, coaching and dirty but high paying jobs in slaughterhouses. As a coach, Ross specialized in helping students who were failing math and physics. Most later became successful: an MD anesthesiologist, professor of dentistry, etc.
Speaking and Writing
Ross taught software testing and quality as an adjunct professor for several years each at Harvard and UC Berkeley, and lectured at over 20 other high caliber universities such as NYU, George Washington and Singapore Inst. of Management. He published articles in journals from CEO Magazine to IEEE Software and has written 30 books on software testing.
He has been a keynote speaker at about 25 major software conferences. A popular teacher known for the clarity and extensive depth of his class notes, Ross has trained about 15,000 software professionals and managers in over 1,000 classes. Using his courseware, 25 instructors have trained another 100,000 people in software testing.
Community Building Activities
Ross founded the Workshop on Performance and Reliability. WOPR conducts non-profit, invitation-only conferences on advanced topics, and currently is planning its 17th conference.
He served as sponsorship chair for the first two CAST conferences in 2006 and 2007, raising over $50,000. He organized the 2009-2010 Executive Leadership Summits for senior managers in software quality. (These are part of STAR, the largest testing conferences in the world.)
Ross was one of three finalists for Software Test Luminary of 2011. Software Test Professional magazine awards this annual honor.