The Colorful and Gray World of Engineering Management
Embark with me on my journey through the colorful situations & challenges and the (gray) ambiguity of management in the software industry.
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The Colorful and Gray World of Engineering Management
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Stop Hoping for Quality and Just Test It!
As I continue to apply more engineering rigor to the release process in my team, I hear statements referring to engineers being hopeful and hoping things will go well. Hoping is not the correct way to ship software. I also hear a lot of statements like “we are confident this will work”. Confidence...
19 Nov 2015
6 Ways for Engineers to Connect with Their Customers
Satya Nadella's strategy for Microsoft is "Mobile First Cloud First". That's helped keep teams inside the company stay focused on the right objectives, but it only describes the "what" and not the "how". For the how, we should think "Quality First Customer First". Quality can mean a lot of things and...
8 Nov 2015
Whether you are a developer, a tester, or in a combined Software Engineering role, understanding the fundamental thinking behind testing your own code is of significant importance to producing solid, quality services for our customers. Due to this, I'd like to spend some time directing you to some of...
20 Oct 2015
Sprint to the Finish!
A sprint team that starts together, ends together. That seems like a fairly simple principle to follow. Yet for teams that are transitioning from a waterfall methodology to an agile one, following this in a practical sense is much more difficult. These teams are used to a milestone based approach to...
23 Mar 2015
DevOps, The Art of Walking in Someone Else's Shoes
All engineering teams are set up differently. In the Microsoft IT department, we have a set of Software Engineers that work on designing, implementing, and testing the software solutions needed to run the company. We help deploy our builds, but most of the work of getting our new bits out to production...
26 Feb 2015
Don't Call My Baby Ugly
A big change is happening in the engineering teams across Microsoft IT. We are combining developers and testers into one role we are calling Software Engineer. This new role owns coding and testing equally, and specifically feature design and coding, unit and functional testing, and system level testing...
29 Jan 2015
Don't Fall Asleep with Geckos
A few years ago, I had the great opportunity to take a 2 month sabbatical fully-paid by Microsoft. For this time off, I absolutely did not want to just sit around at home. I arranged one month for my family to "live" in Hawaii. It was awesome and something the whole family will always remember. Although...
18 Jan 2014
Fixing What's Not Broken
Many engineering teams look at change as a bad thing, something that will disrupt their work. And granted, changing for the wrong reasons, or making changes for the right reasons but too many of them too quickly, can be disruptive and affect productivity. But you should also be careful about being too...
14 Jan 2013
The toughest question you can ask, isn't tough enough
One skill all engineers need to have in order to ship high quality software is the ability to ask hard questions. No matter if you are a developer, a tester, or a project manager, you need to look at each situation, line of code, architecture/design, or user scenario and determine if you and your project...
28 Nov 2012
What are Testers Thankful For?
When I think about all the issues my QA team has to deal with to ship projects, I wonder as we get closer to Thanksgiving what they are thankful for. What makes their jobs easier or fun? Two things come to mind. Testers are thankful when their developers produce quality builds. Getting a build that...
10 Nov 2011
17 on 17
On October 17th, I celebrate my 17th anniversary at Microsoft. If someone told me on my first day at work that I would be here for 17 years, I wouldn't have believed them. Besides marriage and family, there's not a lot else that has consistently been in my life for that long. I have new hobbies, live...
16 Oct 2011
QA or Test - does the name really matter?
I've been the manager for many different teams. Some call themselves Test and some call themselves QA. Personally, I've found it easier to just use those terms interchangeably. But for many, there are two very distinct schools of thought about what a Test team is and what a QA team is. Maybe at some...
5 Apr 2011
This is what I aim for in my teams - no surprises. That means my team members do their best to not surprise me and I also aim to not surprise them. Surprises are great when it comes to birthdays at home with family and friends. But in corporate life, there's just no room for surprises. Even something...
19 Jan 2011
There's No Room For Watermelons
I have noticed a problem lately that needs some focus. I heard a statement that sums it up nicely. "Don't be green on the outside and red on the inside." Now if this was a joke (What's green on the outside and red on the inside?") I can think of a few answers like a frog, an alien (of course, maybe they...
6 Dec 2010
Play with fire, but don't get burned
Instrumenting your product's source code to get an indication of how much of the code was covered during testing is a really, really smart measurement to get. If you aren't at least measuring this number, you should be. Visual Studio provides features that continue to make this easier. What does this...
4 Dec 2009
Do Whatever It Takes!
I had a test lead years ago that did a great job at setting expectations for his people. But for himself, his main goal was always stated as "do whatever it takes to ship the product". This was really difficult to measure him against. But the concept is an interesting one. Many teams fall somewhere in...
10 Oct 2009
Automation Maturity - What Should an Engineering Manager Focus On?
Automation is frequently a passionate debate, usually around how much and whether it is effective. But are engineering managers prepared for the effects of automation as it grows? Instead of focusing on whether or not to automate or by how much, let's focus on what having automation on an engineering...
29 Mar 2009
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