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  • Blog Post: CASTing About

    Last week found me at CAST thanks to Jeff Atwood on behalf of Stack Exchange ( now with a tester-centric site !). Thanks, Jeff! You might remember I went to CAST last year and came back way impressed; this year's CAST managed to actually surpass my expectations! And it failed to meet them as well...
  • Blog Post: CAST Away

    Last week found me braving the Grand Rapids, Michigan summer (heat! humidity! sun! loved it!) to attend my first CAST. While I propped it a couple years ago , I didn't actually make it until now. The short version: CAST is awesome, conference proceedings will soon be up at http://www.cast2010.org...
  • Blog Post: Talking Clocks

    We have a set of clocks counting down the time until our next big milestone, one where all the testers are, one by the devs, and one by PM. I just noticed that they tell a story: PM reaches the end of the milestone first; Dev reaches it next; And Test reaches it last Isn't that how...
  • Blog Post: Book Review: Mistress of Molecules

    Last fall Jerry Weinberg sent me a review copy of his scifi novel Mistress of Molecules . I pretty much read it straight through, and then didn't blog for six months so never posted my review. So here goes: I enjoyed it! Although I guessed the major plot points and some of the details well ahead of...
  • Blog Post: Reliable Intent

    I've been super busy talking with as many testers and leads on my team as I can, gathering data on what is and is not working for them. I'm completely unsurprised to learn that, as with many other teams I've talked with, they're having problems understanding what tests mean to test, finding and using...
  • Blog Post: Stressing The Matrix

    Recently I saw a way to describe any particular stress test that I liked: First, define the sets of qualities you care about: Input Execution entry point Resources Validation for example. Next, define the qualities within each set you are interested in; maybe: Input ...
  • Blog Post: How We Test Software At Microsoft (Sometimes, Somewhens)

    Some time back, Alan Page sent me a review copy of How We Test Software At Microsoft (HWTSAM), which he, Bj Rollison , and Ken Johnston published late last year. I was curious to read this and discover whether their view of testing matches mine. Now that I have finished HWTSAM I can say it more or less...
  • Blog Post: Baskets Of Bugs

    My life of late seems to be one bug after another. It all starts with my product: Live Mesh for Mac. I have set some setting on my Mactop that prevents our Mac client from running on it. No one else has reported this issue, and I cannot reproduce it on any other machine, so it is unlikely to ever be...
  • Blog Post: Banking Expectations

    For weeks now I have been seeing ads for a local bank. These ads consist of a vast expanse of white space disturbed only by the phrase "(This space intentionally left blank)". These ads baffled me. Yesterday, however, I realized that the last word in these advertisements was not "blank" - it was "bank...
  • Blog Post: Testing Curiosity

    What drew you to testing? What keeps you here? What would cause you to leave? I fell into testing by accident. Autodesk needed testers for a new version of AutoCAD, I had registered copies of AutoCAD, they asked if I was interested, I said "Oh yeah!", they sent me test builds, I sent them bugs. I...
  • Blog Post: Falsely Responsible

    Newbie testers often believe they can actually stop their product from shipping. Product teams often foster this belief by forcing their testers to sign off on their product before shipping it. Can you imagine the result if we decided to exercise our alleged power and elected to not sign off? CEO...
  • Blog Post: Heuristical Madness

    Recently I was thinking about the plethora of Test Heuristics floating about the blogosphere. HICCUPPS , CRUSSPIC STMPL , FCC CUTS VIDS , and on and on and on. Eventually I became overloaded and started searching for a heuristic to help me sort through and remember all of these heuristics! Then I...
  • Blog Post: Story Time

    How many different stories do you know about your product? Do you know the stories your best customer tells? The ones your worst customer tells? Your management? Help Desk? How much of your time do you spend inventing new stories, versus discovering stories of which you had not previously been aware...
  • Blog Post: Eavesdropping On Testing

    On the bus the other day I overheard a woman discussing her upcoming nuptials. She was quite the modern girl, it seems, and was not going for any of the traditional ceremonial wedding stuff. Well, maybe a small wedding party, like three bridesmaids and three groomsmen, definitely no more than that! And...
  • Blog Post: K-Based Testing

    I was reading Keith Braithwaite's website recently in preparation for asking him Five Questions . One paper in particular caught my eye, wherein Keith describes several case studies where formally specifying a part of a system was difficult or impossible, whereas listing out a bunch of examples of how...
  • Blog Post: Games Testers Play

    What are you favorite testing games? I learned Headline News from Elisabeth Hendrickson many years ago, and it has since become one of my favorite games. The idea is to dream up headlines involving your application or feature which you really do not want to ever see, the more dramatic the better....
  • Blog Post: Tester Center Tester Spotlight: Ivo Manolov

    I have another Tester Spotlight posted! Pop over to Tester Center - via Channel 9 - to see my interview with Ivo Manolov , Test Manager for the Windows Presentation Foundation team.
  • Blog Post: Nike Testing

    When I started writing this blog I had no idea what I was going to write about. I don't remember that ever happening before - usually I know exactly what I want to talk about and more-or-less how I want to say it. When I test, however, I find myself in a similar situation all the time: I sit down...
  • Blog Post: Tester Spotlight: Bryan Lipscy

    I have another Tester Spotlight posted over on Tester Center ! This time I talked with Bryan Lipscy, who tests all of the help in Windows XP, Windows Vista, and the not-yet-released Windows 7. Watch my interview with Bryan to learn why he is excited to be testing help!
  • Blog Post: Why Why Why Why Why?

    "Why did you miss that?" I imagine you have heard that question more than once, regardless of whether you test, write code, manage a project, or run a company. Something unexpected happens and now the powers-that-be want to know how you could possibly not find so obvious a bug, or forget to handle...
  • Blog Post: Tester Center Tester Spotlight: Rob Straavaldson

    Check out my Tester Spotlight interview with Rob Straavaldson over on Tester Center !
  • Blog Post: Mission Control

    Do you know what your mission is? Some of you may be saying "To boundary test Feature X". Some may be describing what you came into this lifetime to do. Others of you may be immersed in the process of defining your mission. And yet others may believe you do not have a mission at all. For a long...
  • Blog Post: CASTing For Participants, Part 2

    Some months ago I posted about CAST 2008, how it's not your typical conference, how gobs of Smart Testers will be attending, and how you probably should attend too. The program is up now, and it's a doozy! Jerry Weinberg is presenting the opening keynote and also an all-day tutorial on communication...
  • Blog Post: Campy Conclusion

    These, then, are the five parallels I see between drawing and testing: Work what you see, not what you know. Copying and deconstructing the work of people you admire can help you identify the works’ parts and understand how they fit together, at which point you can fit them together...
  • Blog Post: Shifting Subjects

    I mentioned earlier that I started learning to draw so that I could sketch houses I saw in my head. When I went out sketching I noticed all sorts of interesting people whom I sketched as well, and I found these subjects to be a fascinating challenge. Now I draw everything! Similarly, although I started...
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