Story Time

How many different stories do you know about your product? Do you know the stories your best customer tells? The ones your worst customer tells? Your management? Help Desk? How much of your time do you spend inventing new stories, versus discovering stories of which you had not previously been aware, versus rereading and retelling…


Testing Reality

A few years ago I began questioning everything I thought I knew: what I did, why I did it, how I did it. Central to my progress through these questions and the learnings they have precipitated and are still precipitating? Learning to ground – which is to say, connect to the world – and learning…


So You Want To Work For Microsoft…

Several people have emailed me recently asking for tips on getting through their upcoming interviews at Microsoft. My advice: Be Yourself. I believe this is the most important tip I can give you. I find that how someone fits (or does not fit) with my team is much more important than what they profess to…


What I Will Do

Commitments – “This is what I plan to do the next year and how you will know whether I am doing it” – are a vital part of the career development process here at Microsoft. Annual reviews and promotions are largely based on one’s execution against one’s commitments as well. Theoretically some or all of…


Eavesdropping On Testing

On the bus the other day I overheard a woman discussing her upcoming nuptials. She was quite the modern girl, it seems, and was not going for any of the traditional ceremonial wedding stuff. Well, maybe a small wedding party, like three bridesmaids and three groomsmen, definitely no more than that! And certainly no flowers,…


A Medley Of Tools

[To the tunes of various winter holiday carols] Here I go a-wandering among ideas so brightHere I go a-wandering to keep from clamping tightDown on i-dea the firstWhich I often find is worstSo hoo-ray for that nifty tool The Rule Of ThreeYes hooray for that nifty Rule Of Three Take heed ye merry editor, let…


What Do You Do?

Do you know the unique value you add to your team? I used to think I did, until a series of unfortunate events showed me that I did not. That set me off on a splurge of introspection regarding what I do and why I do it. Now I believe I really do understand the…


K-Based Testing

I was reading Keith Braithwaite’s website recently in preparation for asking him Five Questions. One paper in particular caught my eye, wherein Keith describes several case studies where formally specifying a part of a system was difficult or impossible, whereas listing out a bunch of examples of how the feature should work was straightforward. I like…


Games Testers Play

What are you favorite testing games? I learned Headline News from Elisabeth Hendrickson many years ago, and it has since become one of my favorite games. The idea is to dream up headlines involving your application or feature which you really do not want to ever see, the more dramatic the better. For example: Chief…