Last week found me braving the Grand Rapids, Michigan summer (heat! humidity! sun! loved it!) to attend my first CAST. While I propped it a couple years ago, I didn’t actually make it until now. The short version: CAST is awesome, conference proceedings will soon be up at so you can see what you missed,…


Book Review: Mistress of Molecules

Last fall Jerry Weinberg sent me a review copy of his scifi novel Mistress of Molecules. I pretty much read it straight through, and then didn’t blog for six months so never posted my review. So here goes: I enjoyed it! Although I guessed the major plot points and some of the details well ahead…


How To Increase Your Chances Of Surviving A Microsoft Interview

I’ve talked with several people recently about how they can increase their chances of making it through their upcoming interviews at Microsoft. After noticing definite patterns in their questions, and in my answers, I decided to record them here where they may help a broader audience. I’m so nervous! Yep! In my ten-plus years here…


How We Test Software At Microsoft (Sometimes, Somewhens)

Some time back, Alan Page sent me a review copy of How We Test Software At Microsoft (HWTSAM), which he, Bj Rollison, and Ken Johnston published late last year. I was curious to read this and discover whether their view of testing matches mine. Now that I have finished HWTSAM I can say it more…


Banking Expectations

For weeks now I have been seeing ads for a local bank. These ads consist of a vast expanse of white space disturbed only by the phrase “(This space intentionally left blank)”. These ads baffled me. Yesterday, however, I realized that the last word in these advertisements was not “blank” – it was “bank”! Now…


Testing Curiosity

What drew you to testing? What keeps you here? What would cause you to leave? I fell into testing by accident. Autodesk needed testers for a new version of AutoCAD, I had registered copies of AutoCAD, they asked if I was interested, I said “Oh yeah!”, they sent me test builds, I sent them bugs….


Falsely Responsible

Newbie testers often believe they can actually stop their product from shipping. Product teams often foster this belief by forcing their testers to sign off on their product before shipping it. Can you imagine the result if we decided to exercise our alleged power and elected to not sign off? CEO: Why haven’t we shipped…


Heuristical Madness

Recently I was thinking about the plethora of Test Heuristics floating about the blogosphere. HICCUPPS, CRUSSPIC STMPL, FCC CUTS VIDS, and on and on and on. Eventually I became overloaded and started searching for a heuristic to help me sort through and remember all of these heuristics! Then I realized I already had a sorting…


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…


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…