Five for Friday – February 8, 2019

This FfF is slightly later in the day than normal due to the Seattle snow-pocalypse.

  • I drove my daughter home from an appointment this afternoon. It was snowing, the roads were mostly wet, but it took almost 3 hours to drive twelve miles mostly because people were being stupid. Please, Seattle area readers, read this
  • Now that’s off my chest, good to see one of my former employees at Unity post this article on Building large scale cloud infrastructure using shared components
  • On the AB Testing podcast, Brent and I often talk about time as the one resource that you can’t control. I’m still re-reading High Output Management by Andy Grove, and highlighted this quote. Nobody has more time than anyone else. Time comes from decisions. “Remember too that your time is your one finite resource, and when you say “yes” to one thing you are inevitably saying “no” to another.”
  • Everything is about Docker these days, and I learned a lot from this article on Docker and Security
  • I spoke at the Heisenbug conference in December 2017. It is an extremely well-organized conference, and it was a lot of fun. Their CFP for a 2018 St Petersberg event is up here

Five for Friday, February 1, 2019

It’s the FfF travel edition In the past ten days, I’ve been in Copenhagen, Bastad (Sweden), back to Copenhagen, Montreal, and I’m currently waiting to board a flight from Minneapolis back to Seattle.

  • I’m re-reading High Output Management by Andy Grove. So far, it’s as good as I remember.
  • I sort of read a lot – so much that sometimes I forget where I read something. I’ve had a good time cross-referencing my book recollections using google Talk to Books. It’s worth bookmarking
  • We’re all busy, and we all seem to want more time. This article on time strategies is a good place to remind all of us how to put time back onto our calendar
  • A recent FfF included a video on learning Kubernetes. Now that you have the basics, here’s a list of Kubernetes failure stories
  • Last but not least, Lisa Crispin is back (in my FfF posts) with an article on ML in Testing

Five for Friday – January 25, 2019

A little late today, but still worth sharing…

Five for Friday – January 18, 2019

Here are five possibly interesting articles I read this week.

  • Other than my Xbox, the only Microsoft product I still use regularly is VS Code. While the “super secret” tips in this article aren’t necessarily that secret, they are all really cool and valuable.
  • In a similar vein, since my only console windows are Bash shells, this article on Bash commands and tips is also in now in my perma-bookmark list.
  • Well shit, this is embarrassing – my bookmarks from the week include yet another list of tips. This article on 10 Tips to Boost Developer Productivity is full of stuff that I’ve seen work.
  • A great article on Continuous Team Development
  • If you play with Docker, you’ll eventually run into Kubernetes – here’s one of the best overviews I’ve seen. Kubernetes in 5 Minutes

Five for Friday – January 11, 2019

Here are five things I found interesting this week.

Five for Friday – January 4, 2019

Happy New Year everyone. I took some time off for the holidays, and it was glorious. While I managed to stay away from my computer most of the time, I did get a reasonable amount of Xbox and Netflix time in, so I didn’t neglect the screen in any way.

But I’m back to reading stuff on the web, and here’s what I’ve found interesting recently.

Five for Friday – December 14, 2018

I am going to take the rest of the year off from bullet points (and computers as much as I can) while I catch up on rest and other odds and ends. That said, here’s the final five for 2018.

  • A huge, HUGE shoutout to heytaco – they have a fun “reward” system for slack teams, and they gave us a sweet deal on tacos for Truly a class act.
  • I never thought about what made a company a “tech company” until I read this article.
  • I gave a workshop and a keynote at the Test Leadership Congress in NYC last spring, where Anna Royzmann organized and hosted. Apparently, she has had some medical problem in Turkey – a friend of hers has started a gofundme to help with her. I/ABTesting made a donation to her cause, and I hope a few readers do too.

HWTSAM Ten Year Anniversary

What a difference a decade makes. Amazon tells me that Dec. 10, 2008, is the release day of How We Test Software at Microsoft.

Before I reflect on the content, take a look at this photo from the back cover:

Or this one from a few months later at Barnes & Noble:

I’ve aged (at least) ten years since then – but I don’t think it’s too bold of me to claim that I’ve aged better than the contents of the book. Again, this isn’t the first time I’ve stated that a lot of the material isn’t relevant anymore…but I re-skimmed the book (I still own one copy), and thought it would be fun to reflect on the book and talk about what I’d do differently if I was writing it today.

Part 1

The first three chapters – Software Engineering at Microsoft, Software Test Engineers at Microsoft, and Engineering Life Cycles don’t represent anything happening at Microsoft (or most other places) anywhere else.

At the time, Microsoft had nine-thousand testers and eventually grew to almost 10,000. Today (or at least when I left), there were almost no full-time test positions. I wrote about how a few teams at Microsoft were using Agile practices – that’s something more popular today – as it is everywhere.

A 2018 version of HWTSAM would require a absolute complete rewrite of this section of the book.

Part II

This section of the book covers test design – a bit. For a current-day rewrite, I’d probably just write a lot about test ideas and where they come from – I discovered mind-maps after writing the book, so I think they’d get a lot of attention. I’d also emphasize that these testing ideas could be developed and explored by anyone on the team (not just dedicated testers) – and I’d definitely include a huge shout out to Elisabeth Hendrickson’s Explore It! for further reading.

In hindsight, BJ’s chapters on functional and structural testing dove a bit too deep into the details, and there were other areas of test design that deserved more coverage.

Part III

This section of the book covered tools and systems. Ten years ago, it included nothing on open source tools, nothing on mobile testing, and is probably the most irrelevant of the sections in the book.

Most notably is a huge part of Chapter 9 (Managing Bugs and Test Cases) where I discussed how to write a good bug report. While still possibly relevant to some people, a discussion on the subject today would definitely include a section on zero-bug backlogs and working without a bug database.

I wrote a chapter on Customer Feedback Systems that seems to barely scratch the surface of what Microsoft (and most companies) do today.

Ken Johnston wrote the final chapter of this section, and it is probably the first chapter to lose relevance – possibly even losing relevance between the time Ken wrote the chapter, and the time the book was released. Testing services and micro-services has matured massively since 2008 – possibly enough for a whole new book on the subject while I attempt to retroactively delete this snapshot of history.

Part IV

The final section of the book was about Building The Future. At the time, I don’t think I realized exactly why this section was important. It covered Quality Culture, Quality Ownership, and the various Test Communities at Microsoft.

Readers who pay attention to my recent ranting will probably note that community is something I believe in strongly as a method for discovering new information; a place where ideas can meet; and a place to vet existing ideas. At the time, I spoke of the groups at Microsoft, but not the value of community. While none of the communities I wrote about exist anymore, I now recognize some of my earliest thoughts on the power of community.


Writing the book was fun, and I know that benefitted Microsoft a lot (recruiters handed out the book to nearly every SDET candidate). It was also a lot of hard work, and due to a long story of effects, Ken and BJ and I received exactly $0 from the sales.

Even so, I’m still glad we wrote it, and in a way, I’m actually glad that so much of it became dated so quickly.

Unless I’m still blogging for some reason ten years from now, this will probably be my last ever post about the big book about testing at Microsoft.

Five for Friday – December 7, 2018

I’m well over the one-year mark in writing these weekly posts. I’ve enjoyed doing them, but pleasantly surprised on the positive feedback.

In fact…

Monday is an important anniversary, so if I remember, I’ll post about it then. Otherwise, see you next week.

Five for Friday – November 30, 2018

Once again – here are five things I found worth sharing this week.