Chris Mcmahon once (I think after reading this post) described me and my test role at MS as being like a “tenured professor” – that I have the freedom to choose what I do and choose how I go about it (as long as I show value). I enjoy this role, and think I’ve been able to help a lot of my team members  become better testers.

But sometimes, even tenured professors are drawn by the lure of an insanely hard challenge. If bigger challenges weren’t available, I suppose tenured professors would stay in their jobs for decades (and I know that many of them do). However, I know of several of my own former professors who found new roles lured entirely by the challenge of the unknown. Even if Indiana Jones would have been tenured, I’d bet he’d have left his position if he had the opportunity for the right archaeological challenge.

So – even though I’ve only spent a relatively small amount of time with the Lync team at Microsoft, the lure of the insanely hard problem has pulled me away. About a week ago, I began a new position on the Xbox team where I will work on some of the interesting challenges in testing the xbox platform, including a deep-dive into testing the Kinect device.

The Lync team was (and still is) awesome, and will always be one of my best memories of Microsoft. They will continue to be wildly successful without me (and to tell you the truth, the Xbox team would be successful without me too), but it’s the right move for me to make right now.

Along with my new job, I have a new office, a new desk, a new computer, and a new Xbox – and testing challenges I have no idea how to solve…yet. And I’m pretty excited about all of it.

More to come.


  1. Great stuff Alan. Keep us posted as the challenges of testing in the gaming environment.

  2. Sounds really exciting! I hope it’ll bring about many new blog posts from your new learning 🙂

  3. Nice! Congrats on the move! I’m sure the Lync team will miss you but that is an awesome opportunity for you. I am excited to hear about some of the challenges you run into and how you tackle them, especially with kinect.


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