November 2020 Updates

Somehow Thanksgiving is over but I’ve been buying Christmas presents for weeks. It’s amazing how quickly (but not quietly) 2020 is flying by now that it is nearly December. As with most of my updates, these are mostly for my own clarity on what has transpired but I hope they are of interest to bystanders and friends too.

About two months ago my company BloomNation announced it was rebranding itself to Promenade Group to better reflect how our business was now positioned to help 3 different verticals gain traction online: flower shops (BloomNation), liquor and wine stores (Swigg) and restaurants (Dig In). The company is growing rapidly and is in a strong position during Pandemic (thankfully). Most companies I’ve joined have been duds so working for a startup that is succeeding is a nice change of pace.

A few months prior to this, I hired my first direct report. I spent at least a full month recruiting and interviewing people for a mid-level Software Test Engineer. I’ll have more to say in the near future but suffice it to say over 100 people applied and only 1 got the job.

So many other things come to mind:

  • A little over 2 weeks ago was my first AST Board Meeting as President. I spent the past two years as Treasurer, et al. Not much has changed, but then again so much has.
  • There’s lots of cool stuff happening within the AST that I hope to be able to share in the next few months! So much good stuff. In the meantime I’ve got to bite my tongue.
  • I’m currently teaching the final AST-BBST course of the year, Test Design. One of the most under-rated courses we have. Lots to look forward to in 2021 with regard to courses!

While I’m not speaking at it, the original online testing conference (the aptly named) OnlineTestConf is coming in December is always worth checking out. The 2020 conference calendar isn’t over but has been filled with online conferences. If this is the way of the future, we’ll definitely need better ways to comb through the programs to find the specific things we want to learn. Information overload is real.

Five for Friday – April 17, 2020

Welcome to Friday, here are five points worth sharing. A few of these are “work” related but not all. Here is to helping find balance between working from home, home time and personal time:

  • I’m finishing my second week of One Hundred Push ups. It’s hard but fun and takes less than 10 minutes per day. I’ve hit a few walls (because I’m out of shape) but the next workout (I do 3x a week) I usually break down the wall and continue on.
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger has been busy on social media helping people focus on what they can control. Then he shared his old no gym / home workout routine using just bodyweight. It’s kind of legit. Men’s Health has it. I’ll try it after I can do 100 push ups!
  • For those parents who are looking for ways to plan their children’s education while being remote we just signed up for for our 2.5 year old. Between this and the iOS app Endless Learning Academy I think it’s going well.
    • We’ve actively been trying to experiment with learning plans to keep the kid developing. He doesn’t go to preschool yet but then again it seems like no kids currently do.
  • Tea-Time with Testers magazine has a new issue after over 2 years on hiatus. Included was an article that struck home with me called How To Read A Difficult Book by Klára Jánová and James Bach. I also have tried reading An Introduction To General Systems thinking several times and have not gotten what I wanted from it. Perhaps I need to try what Klára did.
  • There are some good bits of advice in the a16z podcast: Moving to Remote Development (and work). One is about the kinds of bad behaviors that get emphasized when moving to remote work (especially for managers). Another is a discussion around communication, using video, how to be expressive and generally send the right signals.

And a friendly reminder that with Amazon delivering slower than normal for non-essential things, eBay sellers are shipping faster than ever!

Five for Friday – March 13, 2020

Welcome to Friday, here are five points worth exploring:

February 2020 Updates

This month has been busier than the last few and I’m feeling the need to chill. Part of this busyness is having just wrapped up teaching an AST-BBST Foundations class, which is about equally as intense for the instructors as they are for the students. The other part is at work, we are through our biggest week of the year aka Valentines Day (did you order your flowers?). Oh and my 49ers lost the Super Bowl. It’s fine, everything is fine now. At least I’ve settled in with my team being second best in the league this year. 

Come to think of it there are a few more things happened that are worth mentioning:

  • On March 20, 2020 I’ll be speaking at a new free online conference by Kobiton called Odyssey on the topic of How I Became A Test Automation Engineer. This will be an updated (read better!) version of the talk I gave at the OTC. The conference takes place March 19-20, 2020 and you can sign up for free!
  • I’m now the proud owner and maintainer of the Context-Driven-Testing website. This is the official CDT website created by Cem Kaner to share the CDT principles. Along with the principles comes a blog that I hope to add to over time. This is a huge thing for me as someone who takes a CDT approach to testing, to have this piece of history.
  • In some ways I consider myself a bit of a historian of the testing community, especially around the areas of the community where “I came up”, e.g. around CDT. If you saw last month’s update you’ll know I also manage the LAWST website, which although is about Peer Workshops, definitely comes from the CDT community. To me these are some prized possessions because they contain a lot of history, a lot of writings about the growth and challenges of software testing community in general.
  • It’s crazy to me that most of’s Sponsorships for the year 2020 are gone! I’m still working on a way to get Sponsorships set up here, but that’s on the long list of items in my backlog. Maybe next month I’ll get the time to do this? 

Five for Friday – January 17, 2020

Welcome to Friday, here are five points worth exploring:

  • Our first AST webinar for 2020 about TestOpsies is now live on the AST YouTube channel, check it out:

January 2020 Updates

  • Tomorrow, Wednesday, January 8th at 11am, I’m hosting James Bach and Michael Bolton for a webinar on TestOpsies – Dissecting Your Testing. Learn More or Sign up today to attend / receive the recording!
  • Starting on January 12th I’ll be teaching the first AST-BBST Foundations course of 2020. The class is sold out which is good and a little stressful but should be fun. It’s also the first time in more than a year that I’ll be teaching. Learn more about AST-BBST classes
  • CAST 2020 is going strong. We extended the CFP until January 10, 2020 to squeeze in more amazing speakers and concepts as possible. Early Bird tickets are on sale!
  • Half of’s Sponsorships are booked which is crazy! I’m happy people are interested in supporting the project and frankly this support is going to help us spend more time / build better features. 
  • I’m now the proud owner and maintainer of the LAWST website. LAWST is the Los Altos Workshop on Software Testing, and it’s format is widely known / popular peer workshops model. 
  • I’m attending the Automation Guild 2020 online conference coming up the first week of February. Honestly I like online conferences. While it’s not a guarantee I’ll watch the videos (I don’t have dedicated time), I like the convenience, content and low time commitment.

I’ve been reading Troy Hunt’s weekly update series and while I love the concept and execution of such frequent updates, I don’t think I have useful enough information to capture so frequently. I might however start posting videos as an option for those who don’t want to take the time to read.

Five for Friday – September 20, 2019

Your head’s for having ideas, not for holding them. — David Allen

I’m fairly certain I like writing because it clears my mind and gives me calm (aka I have ideas and then get too distracted when I hold them).

Welcome to Friday, here are five points worth exploring:

    • CAST 2019 wrapped up in early August. We recorded some sessions including keynotes which I’ve edited and put them up on the web (also on our YouTube channel). Checkout out the recordings of Sessions and Keynotes!
    • Planning for CAST 2020 is already in the works. We’ll be in Austin, TX in the first week of August. A Big Discounted package called Blind Bat is on sale (super early bird pricing) if want to get the jump on the planning.
    • Improvements are coming to and I wrote about a few of them including the use of Sponsorships.
    • I don’t often listen to Tim Ferris but I got some value out of his interview of David Allen, author of the book “The Art of Getting Things Done“. Part of his process for personal productivity already fits into the way I currently do things but I’ve got room for improvement. Listen here.
    • STARWEST is coming up in a few weeks. I’m presenting a tutorial on Monday but Wednesday and Thursday will be live streamed through their “Virtual Conference”. You can Register here.


Five for Friday – May 24, 2019

As much as I like writing recap blog posts I’m tired of the way I title them, e.g. early, mid, late + month updates so instead I’ve organized this one as five articles / resources to share (note some of these feature me):

  • My Webinar for TestCraft on “Participating in Code Reviews” as Tester went well. If you are interested the slides + materials are available online here. When a copy of the recording is available I’ll send an email to my mailing list. Have you joined yet?
  • A little over two weeks ago I was on Joe Colantonio’s TestTalks podcast. It was a lot of fun and I’d ask you to listen if you have the chance. Speaking of podcasts, I’d love to do another some day, got any suggestions?
  • The Association for Software Testing’s elections are coming up. Want to be a board member? Learn more.
  • I’ve been using Dash for macOS for a few months now and I’m really enjoying having both local copies of documentation (for JavaScript, iTerm, Git, etc) and having a text expander. Check it out.
  • Recently it was brought to my attention that in the book Accelerate by Nicole Forsgren, Jez Humble and Gene Kim there is a section on Test Automation. In this section high performance is related to having reliable automated tests, created and maintained by developers that run regularly. ” It’s interesting to note that having automated tests primarily created and maintained either by QA or an outsourced party is not correlated with IT performance.”
    • Food for thought for sure.
    • Now I need to re-read the whole book and see what other tidbits I might have missed.
    • I highly recommend the book

Five for Friday – February 1, 2019

I don’t imagine doing a Five for Friday often (this is in fact the first time I’ve done one) but it seems like a good format for a few important things happening this month:

  1. February 21st at 11am, I’m hosting Brent Jensen for an AST webinar on Building a Data-Centric Modern Quality Culture. You should sign up! Brent is co-host of my favorite testing podcast: AB Testing where he and Alan Page work on the Modern Testing Principles.
    • I’ve been wanting to do this webinar for some time because data analysis can help us better understand what quality means to our customers. This is part of Modern Testing Principle #6.
  2. Yesterday I took the 2019 State of Testing survey and I think you should too.
  3. There’s 10 days left for CAST 2019 Call for Proposals and I’m working on 2 abstracts for workshops. If you haven’t already, consider applying!
  4. I listen to a few podcasts including the Tim Ferris show. I only listen to those episodes which seem interesting and Tim’s interview with Patrick Collison, CEO and Co-Founder of Stripe was great. It’s worth it if you have the time.
  5. Another podcast I listen to  (occasionally) is the Joe Rogan Experience and a great recent episode is with Killer Mike. From the show notes “Killer Mike is a rapper, actor, and activist. He is one half of the group Run The Jewels and has a new show on Netflix called “Trigger Warning” available now.” Well worth a listen!

mid-January Updates

Some random thoughts as I sit here at mid-January of the new year:

  • I’ve been reading Walter Isaacson’s newest book Leonardo da Vinci and it’s a fascinating look at how mastery in one discipline or craft such as painting can evolve and become better based on studying other disciplines.
    • Based on Isaacson’s own research including Leonardo’s own notebooks, we are presented with the breath and depth of Leonardo’s self teachings. For example Leonardo often considered himself a scientist, engineer, and weapons designer before a painter. He studied birds and flight, motion, water movement and also dissected animals and human cadavers to learn about muscle movement and skeletal structure. All to learn more about the world around him.
    • All of this cross discipline research influenced and improved his art. I highly recommend the book!
  • I have a Now page, be sure to check it out!
  • Late in December I posted on the 2016 & 2017 Conference videos that are free to watch. It was interesting reviewing all of those past conferences and then surveying which ones posted public videos. In the /past list we have a variable called “Event Videos” where we post these. For easy reference:
  • The State of the Testing Survey is now available. There’s a lot of room for interpretation of the results (and questions) but this is by far the best survey of the testing industry. I always fill this out and I hope you will to!
  • The first webinar I’m hosting for AST is coming up. Join us if you haven’t already!