What do I mean by colorful and gray?


Testing is a very colorful discipline to be in, and Test Management is even more colorful.  I find every day to be eventful and filled with variety, therefore “colorful” is a great way to sum it up.  Where else can you have the freedom to learn new technologies and use the latest hardware to break what others have spent so long to create?…and get paid for it!!  For Test Management, beyond the technology, there’s a large variety of people from many different backgrounds, many of them on your own team!  I’ve managed many with engineering degrees from BS degrees to PhDs but I’ve also managed people who were cooks, majored in dance, or just got interested in computer hardware or software and pursued their dreams.  Many of my team members are right out of college, and many have kids who are in college.  Some are from the US and some from other places in the world.  You put all those diverse people onto a team with one direction in mind, and it makes everyday a new experience with interesting and sometimes surprising challenges. 


 


But there is a gray part of Test Management as well in the realization that there is no right or wrong way to test (nothing is simply black or white).  What may work in one team for testing one feature may be totally wrong in another team for a different feature.  So there aren’t any rules, only a spectrum of choices and the challenge is determining what is right for your specific situation.  Many people choose to align with one school of thought around a topic.  Challenge yourself to be open-minded to opposite ways of thinking and you may just find the solution you are looking for, although maybe with a more unconventional approach than expected.


 


What I hope to accomplish in my blog is to give opinions and advice on Test Management and general management topics and to pose questions on topics where I haven’t yet formed any strong opinions because I know different solutions work in different situations.  I will expose some of the challenges I have faced as a Test Manager at Microsoft and share both the successes and failures in order to help others grow and gain knowledge from my experience.  I have been a Test Manager at Microsoft for over 10 years.  You could say that I “grew up” at Microsoft.  I first started my career right out of college at a different company that was not in the software industry.  After 3 years there, I became a tester at Microsoft.  I moved from SDET to Test Lead and after a few years I moved to Test Manager.  I’ve enjoyed the work and the opportunities to grow my career in this direction.  I have worked on multiple different products such as Outlook, Visual C++, Windows (multiple versions), Windows Media Player, and currently I am managing the test team responsible for the www.microsoft.com site including the download center, and a few other various customer-facing websites as well as the infrastructure behind these high-volume sites such as the content management system, web services, and business intelligence data collection.  It’s been a fun ride so far!!!


Happy Pi Day to all!


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