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Life Lessons From Space Camp

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In 1986, the Challenger disaster was fresh on everyone's mind. Six months later, SpaceCamp opened to audiences that weren't sure they wanted to see a movie about a shuttle and near disaster. For me, it was a defining moment in my childhood.

Space had always held a fascination for me from a very, very young age. I would look up at the stars and wonder who and what could be out there. I give Star Trek the credit for most of that wonder, but the Space Program and the Space Shuttle seemed like the human dream of roaming the stars was heading towards reality.

In 1986, I was still a kid full of wonder and possibility. I wanted to be an astronaut so badly, I wrote an essay to try to win a scholarship to Space Camp. I never had the chance to attend, but to this day, I still hold a very wild, wide eye dream of "going up".

The movie, which I was obsessed with for most of my young life, well, still obsessed with actually, gave me a bunch of life lessons I still …

Searching For Answers And Clairty With Perspective & Feedback

Sometimes when I've been working in a situation for too long and I don't understand why things are behaving the way they are, getting someone else to come and sit in on the situation can give you a whole new perspective around what's happening, whether you are crazy, or if you've really not lost your mind, but you've somehow become dragged down with everything else happening around you.

When you throw in the towel from frustration and realize you are demoralized because those around you are demoralized, it's hard to gain perspective again. You need a coach or someone to come in and observe, with clarity, with detachment, with objectivity, what's happening around you to give you some much needed confirmation that you are not crazy, that maybe you are not screwing up, but only need help and encouragement.

I try to do this for people all the time, but I also forget to do this for myself. I need that small amount of feedback to let me know how I can change thin…

Podcast Review: AB Testing #86 - Not the Customer's Champion

"Your most unhappy customers are your  greatest source of learning - Bill Gates"

Here are a few ideas and things I've been thinking about since I listened to AB Testing podcast #86.

It's always fun to listen to Alan and Brent chat about testing, and their brain-child Modern Testing Principles. In this podcast, they review the fifth principle, which states:

"FIVE - We believe that the customer is the only one capable to judge and evaluate the quality of our product."

(Check out the complete list here!)
I generally like the points these guys are making about testers not being the customer, or pretending to be the customer.

It's the idea that we need to go deeper than that and ask questions about what exactly it is that we are trying to make. This seems to head a tad bit into business analyst territory, but that's OK. Testers are analysts too, and business oriented folks can't think of everything. Often, testers pairing with business analysts or pro…

A Vigilante For Quality vs Bridging The Us VS Them Gap

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Earlier in my career, when I first started working with tech, I always wondered how developers solved problems. My first jobs in tech were customer service related. I took phone calls. I wrote up issues with products. I reported my own investigations. That's as far as I was allowed to go.

Then, a few years later, I was offered the opportunity to do something more around development. This was exciting to me because I found I had a passion for good working software, not because the company needed to have good working software, but because the poor customer service folks who had to explain poor working software to people that would call to ask for directions or who would find defects and report them. That was where my passion was when I first started in software development as a tester.
The Vigilante For Quality My first year was akin to any superhero's first year. You think you are doing the right thing by taking names (aka finding bugs) and then finding the culprit. I hunted do…

TestBash Philly 2017 - The Lost 99 Second Talk

Honestly, I didn't really lose it, it was buried with all my other writing notes. I wanted to post this today as a reminder that if you work in the tech industry, you are not non-technical. I'm sure someone out there will disagree with that statement, but I feel like it's important to keep saying it. Inclusion vs exclusion. You may not be as technically skilled as someone else, but that doesn't mean you are non-technical. 

This is the full text of the planned 99 second talk I gave at TestBash Philly 2017 (I omitted some things for time, but wanted to post the original here).

Recognizing Your Technical Might
Who has a computer or smart phone?

As owners of these things…have you called yourself Non-technical?

Yes - Me Too!

 It’s Bullshit!

How many you have been free IT service for your relatives?

Me too.

We tell our devices all kinds of things everyday. We give our devices instructions, and those instructions trigger other instructions.

We have become so clever in disguising the t…

Coaching & Mentoring: Sometimes It's About The Pebbles

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I've had the very cool, very humbling opportunities of mentoring and coaching other IT folks over the last two years or so. The topics are varied but mostly I try to encourage the people I've spoken with or understand what they are struggling with and see if we can solution something out between the two of us. It's been pretty exciting for me to give back to the IT community in this way.

When I was starting in IT, I had a lot of coaches, managers, and mentors who did various things to encourage me and help me deal with some tough situations. Working as a woman in tech can get very discouraging at times and many folks were there to help me through situations and roadblocks which might have resulted in me quitting IT all together. Without mentors and coaches, many of us wouldn't be were we are today.

I was recently discussing with a mentee some difficulties they were having trying to find a way to be valuable on a team. There were large problems that we both identified …

Mob Testing A Mobile App

"We should seek the greatest value of our action."-Stephen Hawking 
I've only done mob "anything" at conferences. It's a skill I've learned and I've been itching to try out for a while and have never found a good opportunity to try it. I recently got my chance to facilitate a mob testing session after I proposed the idea to my team. 
Currently we are working on a mobile application. We had a few days left in our sprint and a couple of stories which needed to be tested. I suggested we do a mob testing session so we could work through the last few stories together as a team. The team liked the idea! I was ecstatic, and then quickly had to figure out how I wanted the session to proceed. 
Assumptions I though the best way to get my team members to think about what they knew and communicate those thoughts to the other team members, was to write down assumptions we had about the application. I stole this idea from a recent twitter thread where several folk…