Forwards and Backwards

What a year it’s been so far. I’ve been away from blogging, and I’m not quite sure if I’m back yet, but I expect so…and here’s why.

The project I’m working on at Microsoft is no longer a secret. I’ve never blogged a lot about product specifics, but since a big chunk of my work for the last year has been way off my normal path (linux, java, etc.), I just didn’t find a lot to share (not necessarily because I wanted to help keep the project under wraps, but because pushing through n00b questions on tools and language constructs probably isn’t very exciting for my typical audience).

There’s also been a lot of change – net little change in what I do day to day. For the last several years, my role (which many wouldn’t call testing) has been to figure out what’s not getting done, and make sure it gets done. With Xbox (and Lync before that), that meant helping the test team – either by coaching or mentoring, or developing strategy, or building tools, or asking questions about the product, or whatever needed to be done – by myself, or through others.

That (figuring out what needs to get done) is exactly what I do for my current team. But on this team, those holes and gaps have been mostly about improving our builds, CI, testing, and other parts of our systems that make our build->measure->learn loop more efficient and effective. I help with testing too, but in different ways than in the past.

I’m going to give a keynote at STAR Canada next month where I’ll talk a bit about what I do, and how it’s changed over the last few years. I’ll also try to dispel the silly myths  / bad interpretations that MS doesn’t do testing anymore. As I develop that talk, I expect I’ll come up with some good blog fodder to share and to help develop ideas. Crap – now that I think about it, I should have that talk a lot further along than it is right now. I better put some time on that right now.

If you haven’t already, please check out the AB Testing podcast.

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