Showing posts from August, 2016

That's No Game! It's a Project Management Trainer!

"A strong woman looks a challenge dead in the eye and gives it a wink" - Gina Carey
About a week ago, I bought a game called Planetbase. It was part of a Humble BundleI purchased with several other games that hopefully I'll get around to, but right now, for a lot of reasons, I'm really digging this game.

It's based on colonization and sending a bunch of people to a barren planet to set up a base camp. They have different planet types that you can unlock once you reach a certain amount of successes on the previous planet type. You have a crew and starting resources, but you have to get to the survival stage and then self-sustaining fairly quickly or the crew starts having problems, you start running low on all kinds of things like spare parts and bots and sometimes even people. 
The opening mission is on a Mars type planet. You can pick anywhere on the planet to start your base and the idea is expansion for as far and long as you have resources, colonists and room …

#ChangeTheRatio - More Voices In STEM

"Remember Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies." - Andy Dufresne, Shawshank Redemption

Not so long ago, I jumped out of my comfort zone and into a group of lady developers, developers-to-be, and even a few testers, like me, in that group of women at a meetup, all hoping to make a difference in the day-to-day practices of software development. 

That group was Women Who Code. I also have to acknowledge that I wouldn't have thought to do that without the stalwart support Ministry of Testing, another group, run and promoted by a woman named Rosie Sherry. That group is constantly pushing forward creating a presence and acceptance of the testing profession as something valid in the software development world, and they are huge advocates of inclusion of women into the testing/development arena.

I'm on a Skype channel which has voices and new ideas from a wonderful group of ladies every day. They are from all walks of life, all over th…

Are You Thinking About Attending a Conference?

"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."  - Maya Angelou

I've been extremely lucky in the experiences I've had at conferences. The last two years have been wonderful in the quality of topics, an excellent environment of learning, and the peer relationships I have built with those who attended.
TestBash NYC was a one day conference put on by the Ministry of Testing. I had the opportunity to go via a contest, where I wrote an essay which won me a ticket. It was eight hours of topics presented by wonderful people, many of whom I still have contact with today. {Here is a link to the essay I wrote about the conference itself.}
I also met other people who are industry leaders, thought leaders and testers, and had great discussions about topics, all relating to testing. The overwhelming feeling of community stayed with me long after I went home. I still talk about that expe…

Finding Allies in Testing

   It can be a lot to take in when you first move into a new environment, with a new job, and new applications to learn. Some of the basics are the same, but the little things, the details that matter, that do trip up users, are the issues that you need to learn quickly to make headway on any project with longevity.

Maybe you aren't the best tester for that particular product, with a lack of knowledge, but you want to be. How do you get to that point? Reading documentation can get you part of the way, but that can be time consuming and often out-of-date.

How can you get the latest and greatest info, and understand some of the pain-points your app users are going through without necessarily doing an intensive week long training pouring over every inch of GUI and code available? Well, if you have other testers on your team, that could be as easy as doing some pair testing sessions with them to get up-to-speed. If you don't, where could you go then?

Customer Service Reps are an a…

The First Full Hour - An Experience in Public Speaking

"No plan survives first contact with the enemy" Nineteenth-century Prussian military commander Helmuth van Moltke
I prepped for a month an a half. I initially thought about all the ways to help the developer group I was speaking to understand that testing would be good for them to get a handle on. I had a lot of starts and stops. Different slide views. Different ideas even. And what came out in the end was more of a "Let's talk mindset and how I think about testing and what you can do." rather than a "Let me preach the word of testing!!"

I read my notes. Spoke them out loud. Modified for context. Modified for approach. Paced the floor of my office. Mumbled to myself until my dogs looked worried about me and hoped that it was enough to explain to the group and have the group understand what I was trying to get across to them.

Talking for a whole freaking hour is really, really hard! I didn't appreciate how hard it was until I was standing at the f…

Mel's Take-Aways: #30daysoftesting

"Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort."  - Franklin D. Roosevelt
I found the exercise of #30daysoftesting a great way to think of other day-to-day things that I know I automatically apply my testing process to. While I wasn't successful at completing all of the challenges, I did a large number of them. A few I posted out on twitter and some I kept to myself or took notes of for future reference. 
Here are some of the highlights from the #30daysoftesting I enjoyed:
#2 - Take a picture of something you are doing at work - This was probably pretty creative for many of us that have NDA agreements. Mine was happenstance since I was installing SQL manager on Windows 10. I had a lot of woes that day, but I worked them out. 
#7 - Find an accessibility bug - While I didn't find a bug exactly, this was the inspiration, along with the movie Finding Dory to write something more about accessibility problems and issues with software and how t…