Managing Your Management Expectations

Management: Year One Series
This is my Year One series on Management. It’s going to be ongoing, kinda like a serialized comic of sorts. I’ll tag these posts when I make them so, at some point, maybe someone who is also getting into a management role can see they are not alone. Batman wasn’t Batman in a day. Even he has a Year One, Two, and Three.
The ShiftIt’s a bit ironic to me that one of the talks I give is about finding ways to stay an individual contributor in an organization. I’ve recently found myself in a managing role however, and while my advice still stands, I know I chose to take on this role because I wanted to learn from it and gain information and experience I might not have been able to gain otherwise.

That said, I think in my research of taking on a leadership role, often, what people tell you are ways about how you can conduct and manage yourself in that role. What they don’t often tell you are the hardships and mental dilemmas that you end up taking on if you are man…

Interviewing With Empathy

Management: Year One Series
This is my Year One series on Management. It’s going to be ongoing, kinda like a serialized comic of sorts. I’ll tag these posts when I make them so, at some point, maybe someone who is also getting into a management role can see they are not alone. Batman wasn’t Batman in a day. Even he has a Year One, Two, and Three.

Talking Your Face Off I've had a lot of conversations the last few months with a lot of different people of various skill sets and talents. I've enjoyed speaking with most people and I have to tell you, dear reader, there are a lot of great people out there looking for a job. 
From time-to-time, I've encountered a few folks that I know I'm not going to be able to offer the job to, and they are looking for that first break. They have, something I'll call a spark, that tells me, if someone could point them in the right direction, share a few things, maybe they can find what they are looking for in their career. 
It's hard …

Learning From Failure: The Tricky iOS Environment

"You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone. Close the door on the past. You don't try to forget the mistakes, but you don't dwell on it. You don't let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space." 
- Johnny Cash
There are times when our work, as a team, as testers on a team can give us insight into how we can improve things for the overall success of the product. Often those things are issues or defects which can present themselves at the most inconvenient times, in the most inconsistent ways. When we can learn from them and improve things for everyone on the team, the team benefits. When the team owns the defects and the testing strategy, not only the testers, then customers benefit as well.

I was working remotely verifying a release and only had simulators and emulators to work with as I was testing mobile builds. Often folks mistrust builds which only use emulated software and not real devices for fairly good reasons. It’s usu…

"Cheating" Is Necessary

I love doing research. It's like cheating, but with permission.
Read more at:  "I love doing research, it's like cheating with permission"  - Greg Rucka

I had something happen during my talk at TestBash Essentials that I wish I had been a little quicker, maybe even a little more clever about how I responded to it. I've had a couple of days to chew on it, and realized this needed a blog.

I was walking folks through how to research their domains. The talk was going really well. I was getting a lot of focus and engagement from the crowd. I was pumped to present this information as I think it's the very key to how testers can bring more value into their work, and into the meetings we have which helps that work evolve.

The Moment Of Truth When it came time to do the first Kata/exercise of the talk, I showed examples, and said that we were going to take 30 seconds to write up a similar examples I showed based on ev…

Life Lessons From Space Camp

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. It could tell you whether you are crazy, or if you've really not lost your mind, or if you've somehow become dragged down into the muck 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…

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…