Five for Friday – June 22, 2018

Once again, here are five things I found interesting this week.

Five for Friday – May 11, 2018

It’s time for the weekly visit inside things going through my head (and browser) this week. A bit of self-promotion in the last two bullets, but I hope you find these interesting anyway.

  • I’ve been thinking a lot lately (on many fronts) about change – and resistance to change, and I’m reminded of this quote by Arnold Bennett:
    Any change, even a change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts. “
  • I liked this article by Jurgen Appelo on The Sense and Nonsense Of Empowerment. For those of you who are managers, I’m curious to hear what you think.
  • There are really only two (four if you count Windows on my home PC, and my Xbox One) Microsoft products I use much anymore. One is Excel – but only when I need to do analysis or create visuals that Google Slides can’t handle.
    But Visual Studio Code has become my favorite code editor – and it keeps getting better. They release monthly, and every release has multiple valuable features and fixes. To be fair, I don’t write much code these days, but when I do, I’ve been turning to Code every time.
  • I was honored and happy to be included in Abstracta’s list of the 75 Best Software Testing Blogs. I was impressed that they actually poked around and found out what Angry Weasel means to me, and the list includes a lot of great resources.
  • In the I think this is really cool category, Ministry of Testing made a poster (and an accompanying article) of the Modern Testing Principles. Print it and post it (and forward me the feedback :}).

Five for Friday – May 4, 2018

It’s Star Wars Day! Here’s what I found interesting this week.

  • Quote I’m pondering (or quote within a quote, as it’s the authors of The Coaching Habit who are quoting Bernard Shaw):
    “Bernard Shaw put it succinctly when he said, “The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
  • Book I’m reading now: Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams
  • I’m big on learning from failure – but I found this article on Blind Spots in Learning and Inference has a lot of interesting points on blind spots often made when looking at failures (focusing on two widely famous failures).
  • Are you kidding me? More CPU Flaws?
  • I taught a workshop earlier this week on web testing tools. We spent a chunk of time on Postman, but I wanted to give credit to Danny Dainton, as I borrowed from (and referenced) his github repository on All Things Postman. Thanks Danny.

Five for Friday – April 27, 2018

Here are five of the things I found interesting this week.

  • It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of Patrick Lencioni – this quote from him still makes me chuckle…and also wonder a bit about what happens when I’m not around.
    As a leader, you’re probably not doing a good job unless your employees can do a good impression of you when you’re not around.”
  • I’ve mentioned (or think I have) that I’m not afraid of working myself out of a job (or role). I ponder this a lot, and came across this (not new) article on Working Yourself our of a Job to Accelerate your Career.
  • I enjoyed this article on how important it is to stratify data in order to get accurate analysis.
  • Jesper Ottosen ponders, Could Modern Testing Work in the Enterprise?
  • Most importantly, I have a new dog. Meet Terra!

Five for Friday – April 20, 2018

  • I’ve been thinking a lot about leadership lately, and this quote from The 5 Levels of Leadership (John Maxwell) rings true in so many of my thoughts and reflections.
    “If you think you’re leading but no one is following, then you are only taking a walk.”
  • I’ve mentioned my love of personal kanban here before, but I have a thing for productivity in general. I read this article on time blocking which reflects a lot of the things I’ve figured out on my own over the last decade or more.
  • Within time blocks, when I really need to focus, I do two things. First is that I listen to orchestral music. Jazz and music with lyrics both are distractions to me. Some people swear by pomodoro but when I was writing HWTSaM, I fell in love with (10+2)*5 – which is simply 10 solid minutes of focus, followed by a 2 minute break, repeated 5 times – followed by a longer break. At one point in writing that book, I was so far behind that I took a week of vacation to catch up (which is a little ridiculous for a book where I received 0% of the sales) – but I would crank out 3 sets of 10+2*5 every morning, then another every afternoon, and I was cranking out pages.
  • To help, I even wrote a Windows Vista gadget (anyone remember those?) app for this technique (link if you’re massively curious). It’s odd that I procrastinated on writing the book to write an app to help with procrastination – but that’s me!
  • Finally, this is mine (and Brent’s) but worth another share. Our Modern Testing principles (listen to the podcast for a whole bunch more background) can be found by going to moderntesting.org

Five for Friday – April 6, 2018

  • Quote I’m pondering – “When there is trust, conflict becomes nothing but the pursuit of truth, an attempt to find the best possible answer.”
    I’ve been re-reading (in pieces), The Advantage by Patrick Lencioni. I love all of his writing, but this (his only non-fiction book) has so much great information on organizational health that I find gold every time I read it.
  • I started re-reading The Advantage after thinking of it in this post: Culture is the Behavior you Reward and Punish.
  • I spent a bit of time with Docker this week. I would have spent more, but I figured out how to build a container running a web server (nginx), tweaked the configs as needed, and pushed a repo so the container could be re-created on demand in about 45 minutes. I honestly think everyone working on any sort of web tech should know the basics of docker at a minimum. It makes me want to be a new tester again so I don’t have the problems of 1994.
  • I work with people across 7 timezones. I’m good at timezone math, but not that good. This week, a co-worker pointed me to Figure it Out, and my brain is now free for other tasks
  • At Microsoft, execs often “pursue outside interests” – which in micro-speak means they were fired. Last week, I heard that Terry Myerson (former Windows exec) is pursuing outside interests. I only bring it up because my impressions of Terry while in Windows (the stupid project I worked on to make android apps run on Windows phone was technically part of Windows) were pretty low, and I think the move is good for msft (although a little slow on the action).

Five for Friday – March 30, 2018

Some of these links are worth full on blog posts, but I’ll try to keep this short.

  • This quote re-popped on my radar this week while thinking about leading change. “What looks like resistance is often a lack of clarity.”
    It’s from the Heath brothers book, Switch. While many of us may complain about why change can be so hard, it’s often because the message of what we want to do isn’t clear. The harder challenge, frequently, is making our message clear.
  • This is a few weeks old, but Katrina Clokie’s talk on Testing in DevOps is worth watching.
  • Cindy Sridharan is back with another wonderful post on Testing in Production, the safe way. It’s long, but worth reading
  • I read books on defensive programming well before I was a very good programmer. I have a huge soft spot for developers who promote methods of preventing bad code from ever being written. Adam Boro wrote a nice article on the subject – Become a Better Programmer by Making It Hard to Write Bad Code
  • Last, but not least, Jeff Nyman wrote a fantastic blog post this week that is absolutely worth reading – Let’s Broaden Our Testing Wisdom

Five for Friday – March 23, 2018

I skipped last week while I was at Testbash, but back again to share a few things of interest to me this week.

  • What I’m reading: Practical Monitoring. I’ve been thinking a lot lately how I take teams who are not used to using monitoring extensively, and get them ramped up, and this book has been excellent for me getting my thoughts organized.
  • Quote from the above book that reminds me a lot of Modern Testing is:
    “Monitoring is not a job — it’s a skill, and it’s a skill everyone on your team should have to some degree.
  • One thing I thought was really fantastic about Testbash was that Rosie (until recently, Bossboss of Ministry of Test) brought her new baby with her, and Bossbaby was accepted and embraced by all.
  • An important point to remember when it comes to culture: Culture is the Behavior You Reward and Punish
  • Finally, interesting information about Slack and the privacy of direct messages.

Five for Friday – March 9, 2018

  • Two quotes I’m pondering from Peter Drucker (both appear in Stephen Denning’s The Age of Agile)
    • There is only one valid definition of business purpose: to create a customer.”
    • It is the customer who determines what a business is.
  • I thought yesterday’s post from Unity on International Woman’s Day was really well done.
  • While I realized this fully during my time at Microsoft, it’s official; research says that the Peter Principle is a full on truth.
  • I enjoy the concept of the “Manager Readme” – Michael Lopp (aka Rands), posted his version this week: How to Rands. I have a much less well written readme of my own on our internal wiki.
  • I’ve mentioned before that I think Kanban is wonderful. Like most wonderful things, if people do it wrong, it’s less wonderful. That’s why the first quote of this article made me want to read the rest.
    If you ask 100 people “What is Kanban” probably 50 (or more) will answer “A white board with sticky notes on it” or should we say a “Kanban wall”.

Five for Friday – March 2, 2018

  • Quote I’m Pondering is an old one from Elisabeth Hendrickson, but I seem to find a need to pull it out in a conversation almost every week when discussing how “agile” a team is.
    A team is agile if it delivers business value frequently, at a sustainable pace.
  • Book I’m Reading – The Age of Agile, by Stephen Denning
  • My latest webinar is posted – a panel discussion on the Future of Test Automation
  • I ditched cable TV a month or two back, and so far have been pretty happy with rabbit ears and Youtube TV (and, of course, netflix). There are some drawbacks, but nothing so severe that I regret saving a hundred bucks a month.
  • Most people wouldn’t dream of spending $400-500 on a coffee maker. But nine years ago, I bought a DeLonghi Magnifica, and it has held strong, and made wonderful coffee to help fuel my day that entire time (ok – it did need service for the grinder once). For those with a similar model, I typically brew with the two cup button, with level and strength set to 10 and 2 respectively.