Walls on the Soapbox

I chair an advisory council for a community of senior testers at Microsoft. We have a variety of events ranging from talking heads to open space events to panels to whatever type of event we think is the most different than the previous one.

Yesterday, we had our fifth annual “soapbox” event, a lightning talk-ish event where speakers are encouraged to share a rant or opinion with the rest of the community (five minute limit). Because I’ve been thinking so much about my Tear Down the Wall post, I decided to give the five minute version for my peers.

imageI began with the story of Lloyd Frink (from this post), and  compared the world of technology in 1979 to the world today. I talked about how “walls” get in the way, and how boxing people into roles (especially roles of gatekeeper and fake-customer) are fruitless at best. I closed by sharing Trish Khoo’s quote from her take on all of this:

It would be somewhat revolutionary, if it weren’t already happening.

This was a point I really wanted to drive home. Many of the senior testers at Microsoft have only been at Microsoft, and few pay any attention to software development outside the Borg, and I think there’s a lot to learn from companies and teams that have successfully blurred and erased lines and boxes from their development teams.

As of today, I’m still employed, so I’ll keep ranting and see what happens.

For MS folks, you can find the talk on //resnet (search for soapbox). The whole event is good, but my talk starts about 19:30 in.


  1. If you plan any events to mix borg and non-borg testers together, please let us know on your blog. As an ex-borg tester who’s been on the outside for years I can imagine benefits that could flow in both directions. And I’d be happy to attend and/or contribute.

  2. I will definitely let you know. I will try to do a webinar this summer, and I’ll be at STAR West in September.

    I may also do a mini-test workshop sometime this summer time-pending.

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