Steve Rowe's Blog

Ruminations on Computing - Programming, Test Development, Management and More

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  • Steve Rowe's Blog

    The Data Driven Quality Mindset

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    "Success is not delivering a feature; success is learning how to solve the customer's problem." - Mark Cook, VP of Products at Kodak I've talked recently about the 4th wave of testing called Data Driven Quality (DDQ). I also elucidated what...
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    10 Years of Blogging

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    I'm a little late, but it's time to celebrate anyway. Ten years ago, in March of 2004, I began blogging here. Hello World was, of course, my first post. You have embraced and sometimes challenged my words. Thank you for continuing to read and to engage...
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    Try.Fail.Learn.Improve

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    Try.Fail.Learn.Improve. That has been the signature on my e-mail for the past few months. It is intended to be both enlightening and provocative. It emphasizes that we won't get things right the first time. That it is okay to fail as long as we don't...
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    Prerequisites to Data Driven Quality

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    A previous post introduced the concept of data driven quality. Moving from traditional, up-front testing to data driven quality is not easy. It is not possible to take just any product and start utilizing this method. In addition to cultural changes,...
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    Perceived vs. Objective Quality

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    I recently heard this story, but I can't recall who told it to me. I don’t have proof of its veracity so it might be apocryphal. Nevertheless, it illustrates an important point that I believe to be true independent of the truth of this story. As the story...
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    Data Driven Quality

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    My last three posts have explained how test lost its way. It evolved from advocates of the user to a highly efficient machine for producing test results, verifying correctness as determined by a specification. Today, test can find itself drowning in a...
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    Halt and Catch Fire

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    I just finished watching the first episode of the new AMC show called Halt and Catch Fire.  The name comes from an old computer instruction which would stop the machine immediately.  The show follows a small Texas company trying to build IBM...
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    Test Has Lost Its Way

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    In a blog post , Brent Jensen relays a conversation he had with an executive mentor. In this conversation, his mentor told him that, "Test doesn't understand the customer." When I read this, my initial reaction was the same as Brent's: "No...
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    A Brief History of Test

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    In the exploration of quality, it is important to understand where software testing came from, where it is today, and where it is heading. We can then compare this trajectory to the goal of ensuring quality and see whether a correction is necessary or...
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    What is Quality?

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    Most of my career so far has focused on software testing in one form or another. What is testing if not verifying the quality of the object under test? But what does the word quality really mean? It is hard to define quality, but I will argue that a good...
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    How to answer a programming interview question

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    I spent a few hours on Friday doing mock interviews for CS undergrads.  The idea was to help them experience the interview process without the pressure of having a job on the line.  The session was interactive with lots of stopping for advice...
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    Jack Tramiel, founder of Commodore, dies at age 83

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    Jack Tramiel was the founder of Commodore International which produced the Commodore 64 and the Amiga computers. It was also the company that made the once ubiquitous 6502 processor which powered the Apple // and the Commodore 64. The Commodore 64 was...
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    Behind the Scenes of Windows 8

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    Larry Osterman returns with another installment of his Behind the Scenes... series. This time with Windows 8. Larry is a developer for the team I work on. If you haven't caught it yet, take the time to read how the team developing Windows Runtime experienced...
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    Successfully Interviewing for a Developer Job

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    Having recently completed another round of campus campus interviews, several things stand out as advice that could be useful to those of you aspiring to get jobs in the software industry as a Developer or Test Developer. Always describe what you are doing...
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    If you ever wondered why Vim uses hjkl for arrow keys...

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    I tend to use Vim as my editor of choice. Even when using Visual Studio, I do so with the ViEmu plugin. I have always wondered why the directional keys were hjkl instead of jkl;. The latter are the home keys for the right hand. The former are not and...
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    How to Write Your First Developer Resume

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    I am returning from a recruiting trip to interview students on campus.  Because of this trip, I had a chance to read a good number of resumes.  Some were well done, many, however, were not.  They contained irrelevant information or were...
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    Steve Jobs on the Value of Saying No

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    I ran across a great segment of Steve Jobs talking at the WWDC in 1997 just after he returned to Apple. Similar to my post about pruning the decision tree , he speaks about the power of saying no to the bad ideas. "Focusing is about saying no," he says...
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    How much did Steve Jobs Mean To the Tech Industry?

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    This picture says it all. The front page of Hacker News is completely dominated by the news of Steve's death. Even as someone who never owned an Apple product, he had a huge influence and raised the bar. Not just once, but at least 5 major products from...
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    Pruning the Decision Tree in Test

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    Yesterday I wrote about the need to reduce the number of things a project attempted to do in order to deliver a great product.  Too many seemingly good ideas can make a product late or fragmented or both.  The same is true of testing a product...
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    Pruning the Decision Tree

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    A great post by Marc Randolph got me thinking.  He tackles the question of why Netflix made the moves they made recently.  Specifically, why did they spin off their DVD option as a company called Qwixter?  The answer: focus. What separates...
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    Follow my adventures at //build/

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    This week I'm attending the //build/ conference where Microsoft is revealing many of the details about Windows 8. If you want to see what is going on, follow my Twitter feed at http://twitter.com/steverowe , I'm posting some pictures, linking to summaries...
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    Listening to the team

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    There is an old saying in software that goes something like this, “ Scope, Timeframe, and Budget: Pick two. ” Being a tester, I would rephrase this a little as, “Features, Timeframe, Budget, and Quality; Pick three”. It’s...
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    The Sidebar is Back!

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    I'm apparently in the minority, but I really liked the sidebar in Windows Vista. On a widescreen monitor, there is horizontal space to waste and it was really convenient to have all of my gadgets showing over on the right-hand side. In Windows 7, the...
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    Netcast List April 2010

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    It’s been a long time since I updated my netcast list, but my habits have changed a bit.  Here is what I currently listen to regularly: This Week in Tech – Weekly Tech News Roundup GeekBrief – Daily snippet of gadget news Games with Garfield – Monthly...
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    Resume Advice: List Your Classes and Projects

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    It is campus hiring season and I have been reading a lot of college resumes lately.  One thing I have noticed on many resumes is that they do not list what I consider to be some of the most relevant information.  As important as it is that someone...
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