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Showing posts from 2016

The Domain Is The Thing!

“Time is a game played beautifully by children.”
― Heraclitus, Fragments
I had an interesting experience this weekend. A friend of mine contacted me and asked for some ideas to help her daughter learn about testing video games.

Think about that for a minute. I've had a lot of kids, including my oldest nephew ask about game design and creating video games, but my friend mentioned testing. Testing as a career. Testing as something that happens with a technology genre most kids are introduced to first.

Games and tech have had a long marriage and they have shepherded many a child into the tech industry with ideas of creating or designing games for the next generation of kids.

This isn't a new thing either. A friend of mine from my second grade class showed me game designs he had created on paper after I had shown him some of the stuff I was writing. We were 9 years old. Personal computers were barely an idea then. I know he was talking about the Atari or ar…

Test Bash Philly 99 Second Talk - Leap, Don't Look

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Leap, Don't Look  Superheroes have to start somewhere.
They learn over time. They have complex stories. They do things at times we all wonder about. They do things we wish we could do ourselves.
A short time ago,  I wished I could write more,  I wished I could speak more,  I wished I could learn and grow my skills.
I did a lot of wishing. 
I wished for people to understand my viewpoint,  or at least give me credit for the good ideas along with the dumb ones.
I wished my life was more interesting than it was.
I wished.
One day, I stopped wishing and I did.
It was a small step.  Just a tiny one. 
I wrote an essay for a contest about how much I loved Ministry of Testing and Test Bash.
In two years, I've gone from wishing to doing.  I've traveled more,  I write more,  I've learned more and continue to do so.
So Leap, don't look. Do, don't wait. Don't let fear of failure and what if's stop you.
Be your own superhero.
Testers thrive on doing the impossible,  …

Mel's Rant: Non-technical Testing Is An Oxymoron

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"The true delight is in the finding out rather than in the knowing." - Isaac Asimov

Somewhere in the the distant past, like a decade ago, manual testing wasn't considered non-technical. It was actually considered to be a very technical job in which someone doing the testing had to understand computers, operating systems, command line syntax to access everything from the directory to error logs, and a million other things that started appearing in the computing ecosystem.

Fast forward to present day, manual testers everywhere are being called non-technical because they don't practice automation on a regular basis. 
When did understanding computers become a non-technical thing? 
We don't call business analysts non-technical. They produce technical writing and information necessary for developers and testers to understand how code is supposed to be created and work. 
We don't call customer service reps non-technical. They deal with customers that are even less t…

Surviving A Change In Your Work Status

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Don't Panic! If you are reading this not long after the event of your layoff or firing, don't worry, you aren't alone. Also, it's not the end of the world either. Sometimes the worst things that happen are a huge chance to re-evaluate everything and make bold decisions.

I was recently laid off. It's not a happy situation for anyone. Some may revel in escorting people out the door, but for the most part, everybody is uncomfortable with it.

There is a lot of anger and resentment that can come up. Feelings of rejection or remorse. Those are all very common. If you are on the other side of the coin, where suddenly you feel like a weight is lifted, life seems a little easier, or just more bearable, maybe you knew you should have, could have, left that place a long time ago. But some sense of duty or sheer will to prove that you could offer value and help make things better kept you there longer than you should have. It's alright. Either way, you are free to go off…

Evolution Is Hard - Testing Is Evolving

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"Are you ready for the next evolution?!"- Master Chief, G.I. Jane
I think it's finally time for me to put some thoughts out there about this "Death" of QA, of the Tester role, of Testing. 
Testing is and always shall be part of everything a human does. That's simple freaking science. We test. We explore. We question. We gather information. We record data. That will never change, ever. Whether a group of people or one person does it, that question is a moot point as well. If you look at any time in history when leaps of logic, science, the arts and even industry happen, there are any number of people involved. There is always at least one. There will always be someone testing whatever there is to test however it fancies them. 
Quality and the level of how well something is done will always be a concern at some level. And depending on whether it's burritos or rockets, there's a level of tolerance which everyone agrees to. When my burrito falls apart, …

My November Goal: "And Now For The Rest Of The Story"

My personal goal for November is to answer a question first and then ask if the person wants more of a story or explanation of why I gave the answer I did. This is my personal goal based on feedback. I was made aware of the round about way I approach my answers, thinking I have to give an explanation up front for everything I'm going to say when a person doesn't have context.

So for you reader, you have a choice. You could leave with my stated goal, and maybe point out to me when I ramble on too much or don't get to the point. Or you can read...

"The Rest of the Story" If you grew up in a rural area, you probably know about Paul Harvey and the "Rest of the Story." They were usually fifteen minute segments which were often played mornings and weekends on many a rural radio station. Harvey would speak to his audiences with a lilting voice and an emotional tone that came through the radio.  Sometimes the stories were funny, sad, or taught a lesson, but they…

Geek Mental Health: Therapy & the Art of Learning No

“You treat a disease, you win, you lose. You treat a person, I guarantee you, you’ll win, no matter what the outcome.” - Robin Williams
Where to begin a story with such a heavy title is always a little daunting. I thought for a long time about publishing this in a more private space, but I feel it's necessary to do it here, where people can read and identify with my struggle and their struggles as well.

I can't say that I've been successful over the years dealing with emotional issues and relationships with coworkers. They have been some of the hardest relationships to deal with all throughout my professional career. A lot of this has to do with upbringing, schooling, and my own personal baggage about what I perceived about myself and what I perceived the other person thought about me.

Life has not been easy. I don't say that to garner sympathy. I say it simply to set my perspective. I know, rationally, others have suffered much more than I have. I know rationally that I …

The NeverEnding Story & Why I Don't Always Do What I'm Told

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I'm not typical rebel. I don't purposefully set out to piss people off. However, I've lived most of my life with people telling me or commenting to me in one form or another that I can't do this, or I'm not capable of doing that because of something they see, or perceive, that I refuse to acknowledge as a limitation.

We all have an inner strength that can propel us forward to do some pretty amazing things if we can wade through an amazing amount of bullshit first.

It's the equivalent of trudging through the Swamp of Eternal Sadness. The first 100 or a 1000 steps can be OK, but there is some point that one of those steps breaks you down where you nearly give up until a version of your Luck Dragon saves your ass.

Going to work everyday can turn into your own Swamp of Eternal Sadness, or worse, the Nothing, with the wolf chasing you. I've lived through different managers from different careers telling me I'm too opinionated, too loud, too angry, too someth…

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

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"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?

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"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

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   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…