Sunday, May 31, 2015

TestRetreat - Grand Rapids

I am planning to participate in a Test Retreat in Grand Rapids on August 1, 2015.  Test Retreat is an event formed by Matt Heusser two days before CAST.  What is Test Retreat?

The truth is I do not know what Test Retreat is.  Then why participate?

  1. I was invited.
  2. I am participating in CAST
  3. The Retreat takes on Open Spaces format
  4. Smart people will participate
  5. I will learn something valuable
Being invited is an awesome thing, because I have collaborated with Matt several times in the past. Each time we have collaborated I have learned something new.  I also become energized and inspired.

I have never participated in CAST, so I think this retreat is a logical extension of the learning experience CAST will provide.

I love the open spaces format.  The reason is that it allows for a gathering where smart people decide the agenda organically.  I was introduced to the LAWST format in 2007 by Bret Pettichord.  Brett continues to use open spaces style formats with his Test Bazaar and other events.  I have also seen Matt use this style for a panel discussion at STPCon in Dallas.  When people build the agenda, I believe the right conversations happen.

I have learned so much over the past 8 years by trying to surround myself with people way smarter than me.  An additional attribute is that these smart people have passion and drive to make the software industry better.  I believe I share that passion and drive, but often we need new ideas and tools to pivot the industry in the right direction.  We accomplish this by discussing topics with smart people.

I believe four times in this short post I have used the word, learn.  That is exactly the reason I would love to collaborate at Test Retreat Grand Rapids 2015.  I plan to continue my education journey.

If any of these reasons inspire you, please let me know so we can invite you to the Test Retreat.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Honor Your Veterans

I feel very blessed to have met a wonderful person a month or so ago.  Her name is Brenda Hall, CEO of Bridge360.  Her company has put together an amazing program that teaches Veterans to test software called Veterans4Quality.  I highly encourage all companies to offer these service men and women an opportunity to expand our global testing family.

In my opinion this is such a great opportunity to introduce passionate and talented people into the career of Software testing.  Please consider giving these graduates a 12-week internship at your company.

As a bonus blessing, we have an extremely talented daughter who soon will be going off to the Ringling College of Art and Design.  Here is an art piece she submitted to the Women's Auxillary of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, VFW.  She received a scholarship locally for this piece of art, and it is now at the state level.  My new colleague and friend Brenda Hall also shared this at the Whitehouse a few weeks ago.  Enlarge the attached photo to see the magic.

I would like to end this short post with a huge THANK YOU to all of those great people giving military service around the globe to bring peace to our chaotic world.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Getting Started

A colleague asked me one morning how his friend could go about getting started in the field of Software testing.  Thanks to his astute note taking, here is the list I had apparently provided.

Take the Online courses at the Association of Software Testing:
Testing – Black Box Software testing is approximately $200 course that you can take online that will give you a good overview of the “Context-Driven School of Testing” which is the direction many companies are moving towards.

Start learning these technologies for Automation:
You can use the Selenium IDE to record your actions on a web page and it will auto-generate code based off of that.  This is just to get started and familiar, then code on your own after that.
JMeter -  Can be used for performance testing, API testing, and DB testing.
You can use BadBoy to record your actions in java and it will auto-generate code based off of that that you can use as a base.  Note that BadBoy is Windows only and may not currently be maintained

For gaining testing experience:
If you want to try testing to see if you would like it, you can sign up at or or and get real testing assignments that you can get paid for on the side.  A good way to learn testing and see if you enjoy it.
You can also play with some test puzzles at

For networking:
There is also one he mentioned that is run by one of the QA leads Ben Rogers  -
He did suggest to talk to some people in the industry to see what it is really like and would be more than happy to share the good and the dark side of software testing so you know what it is like before you get into it.

Longer term things:

To Read
Book - Agile Testing
Book - More Agile Testing
Book - Lessons Learned in Software Testing
Book - Perfect Software (and other illusions about testing)
Book - Explore It
Join the JMeter mailing list:
Long list of blogs 

For training:
Any courses along the lines of Context-Driven School of Testing are good to read

Austin Community College may offer a software testing set of courses (he’s not sure how specific or helpful these may be)
US Military veterans should try the course provided by Bridge360 -

Happy Testing!