Five for Friday – February 23, 2018

I’m sitting in a Starbucks in Squamish, BC while my car charges. But still inspired as much (or more so) than ever.

  • I spent the week skiing in Whistler. I come here every year (sometimes more than once), and I fall in love with the place a bit more each time I visit.
  • It’s vacation, so after I (finally) finished Dan Pink’s When, I read the latest Jack Reacher novel. Don’t judge me, but I’ve read them all, and while some are better than others, (and none are literary greatness), the books are engaging, fun, and a great escape. BTW – if you’ve read these, I’m sure you’ll agree that Tom Cruise is the absolute worst choice to play Jack Reacher in the movie adaptations.
  • I unintentionally ramped up my conference speaking this year. I love the conferences, but often don’t anticipate the time investment – especially months in advance. I’m working harder at saying “no” more often. I (now) try to consider whether I’d say yes if the conference was next week. If the answer to that question is no, I lean heavily towards no for the conference months from now.
  • Danny Faught had a wonderful post this week on his work on wikipedia. It’s inspired me to try and get more involved myself.
  • Quote I’m pondering: ” “Earn your leadership every day.” – Michael Jordan

Five for Friday – February 16, 2018

  • Quote of the week: “All good work is done in defiance of management.”—Bob Woodward
    Every time I read that, I ponder and reflect on the wonderful truth in the statement. Take some time to do so yourself.
  • No big surprises here, but always good to see when research lines up with my anecdotal experiences. Big Companies Are Embracing Analytics, But Most Still Don’t Have a Data-Driven Culture.
  • As far as Test Automation goes, I frequently say, “You should automate 100% of the tests that should be automated“. For a better, more pragmatic answer, read this article from Katrina Clokie (whom I still owe a proper review of her book).
  • I gave a talk this week on the (AB)use and Misuse of Test Automation. If you missed it, watch it here.
  • I’m giving a talk on February 27th (a panel discussion) on the future of test automation as well. Sign up and check it out.

Five for Friday – February 9, 2018

  • While recording the upcoming (episode 75) AB Testing podcast, Brent reminded me of The Starfish and the Spider – and pointed out that my personal mission right now involves me transitioning my org from a spider to a starfish.
  • try to read one book at a time. I also try to not buy books I don’t plan to read in the short term future. I succeed at this more than I used to, but it’s still a growth area for me. There’s a Japanese word for this, “Tsundoku” that really needs an English equivalent
  • Maaret Pyhäjärvi is one of the best, and most prolific software bloggers I know. Her latest post is worth a read.
  • My favorite quote of the week is from Daniel Pink’s When (I’m still working through it). In the book, he discusses the benefits of the 20-25 minute power nap, and how the value is intensified by drinking caffeine just before the nap (caffeine takes 20-25 minutes to hit the blood stream. “The most efficient nap is the nappuccino.” (Unity needs nap rooms)
  • Finally, we saw a machine learning breakthrough </sarcasm> last month that I find worth sharing. The world needs more Nicholas Cage.


My one-year-anniversary-of-leaving-Microsoft post (link) blew up quite a bit more than I expected. It was a reflection – and while it called out some all-too-true stories of bad management and shitty leadership, a few things I called out in the post just didn’t shout out enough over the stories. I received a lot of comments – public and private, of people sharing their own similar stories. I was sad to see those – I was sympathetic to the sender, but I also didn’t want people to feel like things were so bad for me that I had to quit.

I left Teams on good terms (which probably aren’t such good terms after that post), but those stories are important to tell for those who may need encouragement to do something about their own tales of workplace toxicity. Teams, by no means, isn’t the only Microsoft organization with leadership and management issues. It’s not even the only organization with a culture that drives negative behavior. Some people thrive “playing the game” – but I had just had enough.

I followed my own advice – Never go from a job – always go to a job. I felt good about Unity from the moment I decided to work there, and it’s been a dream job for me. In a way, my experience on Teams  was the kick in the ass I needed in order to leave familiarity and comfort behind, and put myself in a much better situation to grow and learn. It was a risk, of course, but I got lucky and found a product to work on with people that I respect, like, and admire.

In The Advantage, Pat Lencioni lays out strong information supporting the fact that organizational health is strongly correlated to product quality (regardless of the product). Quality – along with a strong and clear vision are important to me, and a healthy culture centered on those things allows me to do my best work.

My one year anniversary at Unity was just a few days ago (Jan 30), and I’m looking forward to what happens between now and anniversary number two.

Five for Friday – February 2, 2018

Early edition this week, as I’m about to board a flight from Heathrow back to Seattle after a few days of discussion on quality leadership. I’m cheating slightly on counting to five this week, because the first three are really one extended trinity that captures a lot of my views on leadership.

  • Quote I’m Pondering : “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”  – Simon Sinek
  • I read, and really enjoyed this article on Servant Leadership by Christina Ohnanian, because…
  • It reminded me to mention (yet another) wonderful book from SInek (which is where the quote above comes from) – Leaders Eat Last
  • I had a discussion at breakfast this morning about mobile data rates (I discovered they’re dirt cheap in Europe compared to the US). I dug up this article from 2013, but my guess is that it’s an even larger disparity now. I’ve made a mental note to seek out why.
  • One of my team members asked a question this week that is so oddly profound that I can’t get it out of my head. I’ll leave you with this: “Is a Soy Vanilla Latte a three-bean soup?”

Five for Friday – January 26, 2018

  • Quote I’m pondering “Asking “Why?” can lead to understanding. Asking “Why not?” can lead to breakthroughs.” – Daniel Pink
  • I’m a big Dan Pink fan (my favorite is still “A Whole New Mind“), but I’m currently reading “When
  • As much as I rant about the pitfalls of UI / Web automation, I don’t discount it entirely. I spent a little time this week writing some automation with testcafe, and I’ve found it to be a really nice framework.
  • A month or so ago, I spun up – currently it just redirects to, but may make something out of it this year.
  • I’m giving a test automation webinar in Feb. Registration link is in the description.

Five for Friday – January 19, 2018

  • Quote I’ve been pondering: “An expert is not someone that gives you the answer, it is someone that asks you the right question.” —Eli Goldratt
  • I’ve been thinking about the new-employee experience recently, and recalled this article about starting new employees on Friday. It’s something I want to try.
  • I’m traveling this week, and wanted to give a shoutout to the Osprey Ozone 46. I never check a bag, and this bag holds everything I need for a week, along with my electronics, etc. If not fully packed, I can shove it under a seat, but my assumption is that since it’s a backpack, I’ll never be asked to gate check it.
  • Yet-another-article-on-microservices worth reading.
  • I may have mentioned before my admiration for Simon Sinek. I don’t normally like “fluffy” books, but I just gave my leads at Unity a copy of Better Together, as I’ve found so many great quotes and so much inspiration from this little book.

Five for Friday – January 12, 2018

  • I’m finally reading Pat Lencioni’s latest book on Ideal Teams. I’m a huge fan of Pat Lencioni’s business novels, and enjoying this one just as much as the others.
  • You’ve probably already seen this article on testing microservices. I shared it with my team this week, and think it’s a good read.
  • All About Lean has an article on The Toyota Employee Evaluation System. Some good stuff there, and some stuff to ignore. As an aside, I so do not miss the msft annual review process.
  • A few months ago, I mentioned the neuroma in my left foot. To give my foot an even better chance of lasting longer running distances, I recently switched to Altra running shoes. Altra’s have two unique features: a wide toe box (to give my toes more room to spread out and not pinch the nerve; and a “zero drop” – meaning that the heel and toe are at the same level. So far, they’ve been fantastic.
  • The 2018 State of Testing survey is out. While I’m not often a fan of these surveys (too much room for bias in the interpretation for me), this one is the best one, and the only one I take and read about. If you haven’t filled it out already, go ahead and give it a shot.

Five for Friday – January 5, 2018

I’ve missed doing these, but glad to get started again.

  • “The world doesn’t reward perfection. It rewards productivity.” – 18 Minutes by Peter Bregman
  • I’ve been working my way through Tribe of Mentors by Tim Ferris and finding a lot of ideas and a lot of inspiration.
  • While on the subject of Tim, I also recommend his recent podcast where he “interviews” Terry Crews (I use quotes because Terry really interviews himself).
  • Speaking of books, I just bought the Humble Bundle Python pack – if you’re not aware of Humble Bundle, they sell packages of books, games, comics and more on a scaled pay-what-you-will basis…with proceeds going to charity. I bought their Data Science bundle a few months back as well.
  • Camille Fournier (author of The Manager’s Path) recently posted about her (self) Yearly Review. I value (and use) self-reflection a lot, but have never applied it on a full year. I’m working through the list myself and finding it valuable.


Five for Friday – December 15

I’ve enjoyed my string of FfF posts as an easy way to share stuff I like with little need to elaborate. It *will* continue, but I’m going to take a break for the last two weeks of the year. FfF will be back on January 5, 2018.

  • I recently read Ray Dalio’s, Principles. In the preface, he has a line that rings true (I think) to all of us who suffer from impostor’s syndrome.
    Before I begin telling you what I think, I want to establish that I’m a “dumb shit” who doesn’t know much relative to what I need to know.” That give me reason enough to keep on reading and learning more about what makes Ray tick.
  • On my last team at Microsoft, the team started using Git, and became over-excited about Gitflow – which I often describe as source control for those who like to add extra layers of confusion to their source control and release. We eventually treated ‘master’ as a release tag, and were (I think) close to working out of a single trunk. Now, Trunk-Based Development is a thing, and I think it’s a good thing.
  • I’m a huge believer in 20% time (invented by GM, and popularized by google as a way to give people a chance to self-direct and learn). I recently discovered that schools are using the concept to give students alternate opportunities to learn and grow.
  • A rare shot at cross-promotion. The year-ending episode of AB Testing will be out Monday. I’m really happy with how the podcast has developed and matured over the last few years.
  • Brent Jensen and I often discuss Modern Testing – but I recently discovered that Modern Agile is also a thing.

See you in 2018.