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Moving my QA blogging to Software Quality Insights February 4, 2010

Posted by yvettefrancino in QA.
3 comments

Here I am, a working woman again! I started my new job at TechTarget as Site Editor for searchsoftwarequality.com. I have gotten so many wonderful notes of congratulations from many of you.  And truly, if it weren’t for you, I never would have gotten the new job. I’d always hoped that somehow my blog would lead me to a job and that’s exactly what happened. It’s amazing how we can put our message out to the world and somehow the right people find us!

But, alas, now I’m moving on and must say Goodbye to this particular blog. The good news is, I’m still going to be blogging about QA, I’m just moving to a new address in the blogosphere!  I’m also still hosting Beyond Certification as well so I suspect and hope that I will still be connecting with many of you for years to come.  Here’s where you can find me:

Blogging about QA

On the Search Quality Insights blog  (By the way, this blog currently doesn’t appear to get very many comments, so it would be great if some of you got over there and started some discussions!)

Beyond Certification is the network I started to help people get distributed agile experience.  Even if you’re not interested in distributed agile, I’m hoping to help people find jobs for telecommuting or freelance testing at some point, so if you’re interested in that, come join.

Blogging about Social Media

I don’t know how much I’ll be able to keep up with my social media blog, but I hope once I get in the groove of my new job, I’ll still have time to coach people on the use of social media (and continue to use it myself!) I really think social media is a tremendous way to network and find just the right people to connect with. My blog is Who Gives a Twit?

Blogging about Relationships / The Laptop Dancer Diaries

My final blog is one that I didn’t advertise too much while I was in “job-search” mode, but I have a blog about being a single Mom and a book coming out at the end of this month called The Laptop Dancer Diaries. It’s a rather embarrassing year-long diary about looking for adventures and love at an older age. It has nothing to do with QA, but if you’re interested, come join the FaceBook Fan Page and you’ll find out more.

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I Got the Perfect Job -Thanks to YOU! January 15, 2010

Posted by yvettefrancino in QA.
15 comments

YOU are Jan Stafford, of TechTarget, willing to take a chance on a candidate without a journalism background, offering me an opportunity at SSQ which would allow me to pursue my passions: writing, social media, and  software dev & QA. What could be more perfect than that?

YOU are Matthew Heusser, a recognized QA leader who took enough interest in my blog and my background to recommend me for this job. Without that generosity, I never would have known about this opportunity.

YOU are the many industry professionals that blog and write and share your knowledge freely with people like me.  You never judge me for asking questions and regardless of your status or importance, you treat me as an equal.  Because of you, I had the knowledge and confidence I needed to get this job.

YOU are the people who take the time to write comments, ReTweet, engage, and encourage me as I’ve been on this journey to learn and grow.  It’s because of you that I became somewhat obsessive about social media! (OK, maybe not ALWAYS a good thing!)

YOU are my fellow job-seekers…always ready to share leads and advice and stay positive, no matter what disappointments or fears you were facing yourself. It was in talking to you that I learned the value of community. Your strength inspires me.

YOU are my friends who never gave up on me. You continued to treat me with as much respect and confidence in my skills as you always have, regardless of my unemployment status. You treated me to lunches, listened to my ideas, and supported my efforts. You made me feel valued.

YOU are my neighbors who so generously gave frequent flyer miles so that my son and I could fly to  Sacramento to be with my father as he was undergoing life-threatening cancer surgery.  Because of you, I was able to focus on the people who matter most to me.

YOU are my family who listened and always had faith in me. Whatever problem I’m dealing with, you are there.

YOU are my son who instead of complaining about what we could no longer afford, offered to help pay for expenses with your own hard-earned money.  Even though you are only 15 years old, you are the person who I most admire in the entire world.  You motivated me to find a job that would allow me to work from home so that I could be there for you in these last few years before you fly the coup.

YOU are God, who answered my prayers. Even though I know there are a lot of more serious problems out there for You to deal with, You gave me exactly what I asked for.

~~~~

I start a job at TechTarget as an editor for SearchSoftwareQuality on Monday.  I couldn’t be more thrilled.   All is right with the YOUniverse!

Thank YOU!

Experiencing Agile January 13, 2010

Posted by yvettefrancino in QA.
3 comments

Lisa CrispinI feel just like a cheesy tabloid posting this out-of-focus candid photo I took of QA-celebrity, Lisa Crispin, at the SQuAD meeting last night.  I just had my iPhone with me and I’m not a great photographer regardless of the camera, so I apologize for the poor quality. (Oh dear… poor quality on a site about quality!  One of my pet peeves!)

However, despite the bad photo, I did want to show off that I was able to make it to both my Scrum Master class and the SQuAD meeting last night — both giving me the opportunity to get some hands-on experience with Agile concepts!  (I had to skip the last hour of Scrum Master class and the first hour of SQuAD, but class instructor, Jean Tabaka, was supportive and asked me to send her ‘hello’s’ to colleague, Lisa Crispin.)

I’m really enjoying the Scrum Master class.  Even though it’s review of concepts I’ve already read about, it’s all been book study, and in the class, we have been actually able to “experience” a “59 Minute Scrum” with the goal of developing a marketing brochure.  The exercise included a 15 minute Sprint Planning Meeting, 2 10 minute Sprints (representing 2 days), a 3 minute Daily Standup Meeting, a 12-minute Sprint Review and Demo, and a 9-minute Debrief.  I got to play “Scrum Master” for my group during this exercise.  There was also a Product Owner and 4 team members who represented the dev team.

It was an interesting exercise and gave me some ideas of how I might do some similar things in the Beyond Certification group.  I’m still trying to figure out effective ways for members to gain real experience, but maybe we start with exercises such as this one.

At the SQuAD meeting, we didn’t get to “sprints,” but split up into groups and used some brainstorming techniques to come up with agenda topics for 2010.  This would be similar to working with the Product Owner to come up with prioritized backlog items.

Overall, the agile approach is one that really emphasizes collaboration.  The skills of the Scrum Master are very similar to the skills I was taught when going through coaching certification. The idea is not to solve the problem, but to facilitate, remove obstacles, listen, and ask the probing questions to help the team come to consensus and achieve their goals.

I’m glad I was able to make it to both events and to meet Agile Queen, Lisa Crispin, at last. I really admire that woman…  Despite how busy she is, she takes the time to come to these events and teach and mentor others.

Another perk of making it to the meeting was that I was able to meet someone else I admire: Jim Hazen! Jim was one of the first who commented on my blog and he has been so supportive in my job search. I have a special place in my heart for those who go out of their way to help others…especially people they don’t even know.  And when you’ve only spoken with a person “virtually” it’s great to finally meet them in person.  For Jim and others that have encouraged me during this job search, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.  I’ve had some great leads and I’m feeling very good about opportunities that are coming my way, thanks to the support and help from others.

And now it’s time to get going to my second day of Scrum Master training and get certified at last!

//

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Agile Tuesday January 11, 2010

Posted by yvettefrancino in QA.
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Tomorrow is going to be a very Agile Day! For me, this presents both good news and bad news.

The good news is I’m finally going to get my ScrumMaster certification through AgileUniversity / RallySoftware.  I’ve been trying to get in this class for months, but I’ve needed to go through a lot of paperwork “stuff” to get it approved through the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) program.

The bad news is that I’ll have to miss tomorrow’s SQuAD meeting which will be demonstrating Agile using a Scrum methodology to determine the group’s agenda for 2010. This looks like a really interesting meeting with presenters: Frank Vega – Agile Coach; Lisa Crispin & Charity Stoner – Scrum Masters.

I’ve seen Lisa online (not to mention on the bookshelves at Borders) and I’ve really wanted to meet her!  Quite the bummer that I’ll have to miss this one. Unfortunately, the Agile class ends at 5pm in Boulder and the SQuAD meeting runs 4-6pm in Denver, and with rush-hour traffic, there’s no way I’d be able to do both.  C’est la vie.  I’m going to see if I can set up a call with Lisa so I might be able to pick her brain and maybe get a podcast for the blog.  If any of you are attending tomorrow’s SQuAD session, be sure and report back about what you learned!

LOLSpeak January 8, 2010

Posted by yvettefrancino in QA.
5 comments

I’ll admit it, I’m a bit of a word freak.  I love the English language. I subscribe to the word-of-the-day and love word games of all types. I’m intrigued by foreign languages, even the “made up” variety like pig latin and Klingon. (Check out my Crapola Translater post.)

Today over on the writing-about-testing site there was a post about this LOLSpeak site and I guess I’m getting old because my snob-meter came out and I felt like screaming, “NO! Stopz teh Madddnez!” How will kids ever figure out how to spell things right if we not only allow for all these crazy variations on words, but actually encourage it?

I  accept NetLingo as a part of our culture, though I’ve never liked the ubiquitous LOL.  That acronym should truly be reserved for those times when you are really, truly, laughing out loud, and not for those times you are trying to tell your reader that your kidding.  In my opinion, smiley faces and the various emoticons are a much more acceptable method of relaying your smile.  (OK, I overuse those, along with exclamation points. :-)) People that overuse LOL lose all credibility with me about their facial expressions or the level of hilarity they’re actually experiencing. And don’t even get me started on LMAO.

All this ranting on my part, however, does have a point…other than me just being a snob about spelling.  Some of the “professional” papers I’ve been downloading and reading lately have really made me cringe due to their lack of professionalism.  I’m talking poor grammar, poor word choice, poor formatting…  stuff that really needs an editor! Now, I know I’m not perfect.  I know I make mistakes all the time on this blog and in all my writing.  We all do!  (On a different blog, I once noted my intolerance for misspellings and got three emails about misspellings I’d made on old postings…  At least it got people to read my blog!)  And depending on your mode of communication and your style of writing, certain errors are expected…maybe even done purposely…such as that dreadful LOLSpeak site.

But, if you are trying to sell something….especially related to quality, take the time to do some quality-testing (ie. editing) on your Website, your white papers, your eBooks, or your articles.

I think this is especially true if English is not your first language.  I cannot begin to imagine how difficult it must be  for that group. We spoiled, native English speakers can’t even get it right, so how can we expect them to? However, we do expect them to get it right. And if writing is filled with misuses of grammar, we tend to judge it as inferior, stop reading, and perhaps miss out on some incredible content.

Just like an exceptional application will not have any users if its interface is poorly designed, documentation will not get read if it lacks proper presentation and formatting. Take time to make sure you have a good user interface on your docs.

My recommendations? Stay away from LOLSpeak! Go ahead and LOL once in awhile, but save it for the times when you’re REALLY laughing out loud. For professional documents, have someone that speaks the native language well (preferably an editor!) review your work.  Don’t send it out until that’s been done!  Oh, and one more thing…  Go ahead and overuse smiley faces (at least whenever you’re writing to me!) 🙂

And the Award for Best Software Engineering Website Goes to…. January 7, 2010

Posted by yvettefrancino in QA.
4 comments

Best Software Engineering Website

SoftwareQATest.com

That’s the winning Software Engineering Website  according to Alexa.Com.  The full list includes many sites that I was aware of and many that I wasn’t!  And as I explore each one, my mind becomes more and more overwhelmed with all the information that’s available to us, thanks to the Web.

For the last couple of days I’ve been blogging about creating a “Exploratory Testing Repository to try and organize a lot of this data.” Well,  after a good discussion with James Bach via a LinkedIn thread and reviewing this comprehensive list by Michael Bolton, I’ve decided the world wide web probably doesn’t need yet another source with lots of links to other resources.

This was just part of my grand scheme to create the most comprehensive “Everything QA”  Website EVER.  It’s already been done! Lots of times!  There’s so much out there that my head hurts! It’s all good…. just overwhelming.

Anyway, I have to say that I am very impressed with the winning site,  SoftwareQATest.com, and I especially like the list of Web Test Tools and resources.  This is kind of what I’d envisioned the “repository” would be like, only I was thinking it would be something people could run queries against and add to (like a database or wiki).

Since this appears to be such a popular site, I’m going to suggest to the owner,  Rick Hower, that he include a link to that great list of Exploratory Test Resources that Michael Bolton put together. Maybe I’ll put a plug in for Beyond Certification as well.

And that will complete the Exploratory Testing Repository Project! Are we good or what! (OK, it kinda helps to have Michael Bolton in the group… 😉 )

The Bugs of Life December 17, 2009

Posted by yvettefrancino in Management, QA.
1 comment so far

I’ve gotten into the habit of thinking of those irritants in my life as bugs.  It’s been a buggy week. First I got a flat tire when driving my son to school. Normally, this would be a P3 or P4… I’m on Big O’s Warranty program, so usually getting a flat tire is not that big of a deal. But, unfortunately, I’d just changed to snow times, and had NOT purchased the Warranty on these tires (no disaster recovery plan, no rollback plan.)   This wasn’t just one of those flats you can patch. My tire was decimated.  I don’t know what I rolled over, but it ripped that tire up.  To make matters worse, my jack is lost. Yes, I know that cute little place in the trunk where it’s supposed to be stored, and it’s not there.  So, this whole flat tire situation was really more like a P2.   There have been other bugs this week…  I got sick. Not really sick. Just P3 sick.  Better make that P4 when compared to my Dad who’s P1 sick.

But then I started thinking how I’m always finding the bugs.  My Dad made a little progress today. He was able to get from the bed to a wheelchair.  He’s still P1 sick, but not as sick as yesterday.  And even though my Honda is still sitting in the garage with its P2 flat tire, I have a Toyota Previa that usually just sits in the garage. It’s a fine workaround until I can get that tire fixed.  Other good stuff happened this week, too. Lots of good stuff. But what do we call that? What is the opposite of a bug? There’s gotta be a word for it. Butterflies?  Those are the things we should be looking for!

It’s too bad that in QA we are trained to look for the bugs. I think we should learn to look for the butterflies, too. Even though we need to find the bugs so we can fix them, we can learn a lot from the butterflies.  There’s a lot of beauty in well-crafted code.  Don’t spend so much time looking for bugs that you forget to appreciate the butterflies.

Lisa Crispin’s in my Beyond Certification Agile Group! December 10, 2009

Posted by yvettefrancino in QA.
2 comments

I’m really excited that the Beyond Certification network is growing.  In two days 45 members have joined, with a wide range of Agile experience.  The most exciting thing is that Lisa Crispin, one of the author’s of the very popular, “Agile Testing” is one of the members!  She is the Queen of Agile!

It’s so funny because before I even started blogging about QA, I was perusing the bookshelves at Borders and this “Agile Testing” book is the one I pulled out and added to my Christmas wish list.  I made a little note to myself to look for Lisa Crispin and Janet Gregory on the Web.  Then I unexpectedly found them on Chris McMahon’s Writing About Testing site and I’ll get to meet Lisa at the conference in Durango in May.  She lives in Colorado and was even going to be presenting at the SQuAD meeting last night (which, unfortunately, was canceled because of the snow).

This is kind of like saying you want to play golf, and the next thing you know, you’re scheduling a game with Tiger Woods. (OK, maybe I shouldn’t mention Tiger right now.  On the other hand, since he’s such a big news items these days, it might help my Search Engine Optimization. Tiger Woods. Tiger Woods. Tiger Woods.)  But I digress.  We’re talking about Lisa Crispin here, not Tiger Woods.

Lisa, very graciously, joined the Beyond Certification site right away and added some input about tools for distributed agile. I know she’s really busy, but she’s taking time out of her day to contribute and help my new community grow and thrive.  She is a really nice woman!  However, it looks like The World Agile Qualification Board is not treating her as so well.

I read today on Matt Heusser’s blog that

The World Agile Qualification Board has, for a second time, plagiarized the work of Janet Gregory and Lisa Crispin by cutting and pasting the outline for their book and using it as a course outline – without permission or attribution.

Matt is asking that the Agile Alliance formally censure the group . As is common practice on the Web, we spread the word of both the good and the not-so-good, so I’m doing my part in passing this along.  Santa, are you listening? Lisa: Nice!   World Agile Qualification Board: Naughty.

TechTarget and SearchSoftwareQuality December 4, 2009

Posted by yvettefrancino in QA.
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A month or so ago,  I blogged about all the great Software Test Communities I’d found. Well, yesterday, Matt Heusser turned me on to a new one that I hadn’t yet discovered: SearchSoftwareQuality.  Wow! What an excellent resource! I’ve been so busy reading, I’ve barely come up for air.

SearchSoftwareQuality is part of TechTarget an organization that publishes integrated media about technology, bringing technologists and vendors together.  The Applications Development Market has links to a long list of other media… podcasts, whitepapers, mediacasts, and so much more, including links to industry-specific Websites such as SearchSoftwareQuality.

From that site, there are a host of articles split into categories of

  • Models/Methodologies
  • Requirements
  • Testing and QA
  • Project Management
  • Maintenance

These are sub-categorized further.  I found a ton of great information, including this article on distributed agile (my latest obsession).

I also thought this section that gives you the popular terms was cool:

MOST POPULAR TERMS

versioning

timebox

session hijacking

test-driven development

WS-SecureConversation

For those of us that pay attention to Search Engine Optimization, this helps give us ideas of what we might want our next daily blog topic to be about.

I could go on and on, but then this blog post would get way too long, so better that you just go check it out for yourself.

Weekend Testers December 2, 2009

Posted by yvettefrancino in Management, QA.
1 comment so far

This morning I checked out this StickyMinds article suggesting a couple of ways testers could do some professional development.  The first half of the article was about a Toronto weekend conference.  Though that wouldn’t work for me, there were some ideas about how to facilitate a similar weekend conference, so it did get my wheels spinning some about trying to organize something in Denver at some point.

The second half of the article talked about a group called Weekend Testers based out of Bangalore. I spent a little time exploring their site.  It looks like they have a challenge from James Bach coming up on Dec.5 that I was tempted to join.  Most of their testing occurs in the middle of the day Bangalore time, though, and that is the middle of the night for me.  I think I’ll just lurk on the sidelines for awhile.

I do think this is a very interesting idea, though, started by a group of friends that wanted to use their exploratory testing skills and test some Open Source tools.  One of those founders is  Ajay Balamuragadas.  I have seen his name pop up a lot lately including on The Software Testing Club and on the Writing About Testing SocialText site.

Next I checked out the uTest blog and saw that Ajay was mentioned yet again as an up-and-coming blogger, by Matt Heusser.  Funny how you keep running into the same names in these different blogs and communities.

Anyway, this Weekend Tester idea is intriguing as another form of what I’m starting to think of as “social testing” and it got me thinking…  There are a lot of us unemployed QA people roaming around the internet.   With all the technology that’s available, working remotely is not a problem — maybe I could create my own virtual test team….   It would be a win for the client because he wouldn’t have to provide office space and a win for all of us QA people because we’d have a job without the commute.  And I really think strong collaboration is very do-able thanks to all the tools and technologies that are available today.  Now, I just need a strong business development person to go find me some clients and we’ll be in business!