Monthly Archives: February, 2015

Mr. Spock and Star Trek’s Influence on my Life and as a Software Testing Manager

Mr Spock
Picture courtesy of the BBC News Entertainment & Arts.

I was saddened to hear of Leonard Nimoy passing at the age of 83. Trekkies knew he was sick and recently was in the hospital. Of course selfishly I wanted Leonard Nimoy to be part of the 50th anniversary Star Trek movie. It was wonderful to see him in the 2009 Star Trek movie. I loved the scene where he encounters a young Kirk – and greets him warmly with: I have been and always shall be your friend. Such profound and deep words if you really understand the friendship between Kirk and Spock. And Spock’s father who tells him that he married his mother (a human) because he loved her. Those are my favorite scenes from the newer movies – we are to witness some of the Vulcan’s emotions.

Mr. Spock was one of my favorites from Star Trek the original series. As a child I faithfully watched Star Trek in reruns and never got tired of watching it over and over again! The space travel and encountering new worlds and aliens was fascinating. Even today just hearing the Star Trek theme means an adventure awaits! The Enterprise is the most beautiful ship. My love of technology comes from those early days of Star Trek. Over the years we have witnessed how Star Trek has become reality through current technology. Look at their communicators and today we have mobile devices. In The Next Generation Picard uses a small flat screen computer – now we have iPads and Skype! Technology has dramatically changed over the decades. Earlier in my career computers were DOS based and printers were dot-matrix – they were loud and slow! My initial programming classes included writing and executing JCL through punched cards. Luckily that was only one semester! Click here for more information and the below picture is courtesy of wikipedia. But my education served me well as a programmer for 12 years and then many years in the testing field!

Punched card

During the 90’s computer magazines were filled with articles on how technology was changing. Of interest was the Chicago project that ended up being Windows 95. This earlier computer was expensive with a hard drive that was 1 gig. At that time it was considered to be a lot of storage! Those early days of computers with the Apple and Windows wars was exciting

Many nights started with the intention of spending an hour on the computer but ended up with late nights learning the new technology. At work my nickname was “geekette” as I helped my co-workers with the technology that was confusing for them. But for me it was a love affair! Technology was not as common as it is today with everyone having an iPad or a smart phone. Unlike the current generation, in kindergarten we did not have computers. Those of us who understood technology was a smaller group of people and many did not relate to us. But that was okay because we had Star Trek! Never underestimate the Trekkie bond!

Mr. Spock was interesting as he was half human and half Vulcan. He had the logic and self-control of the Vulcan’s but there were times when we witnessed his human emotions. When the Enterprise is under attack or there is a crisis, Spock is logical and in control. He can be heard to tell the crew that there is no reason to yell. Through the decades from TOS and the many movies we learn more about Spock and how he had to learn to keep his emotions under control and not let his human side take over.

I love this picture of the Enterprise and it is courtesy of Once Upon a Geek.
NCC Enterprise

There is an interesting parallel between Mr. Spock and my life as a Software Testing Manager. My love of logic and thinking through a situation by remaining neutral comes from Mr. Spock. Often I have been told I can appreciate both sides of a story and make decisions while remaining neutral and unemotional. I believe this is an important ability for a Testing Manager. We have to keep our emotions in control when the pressure of a pending release is high or we are juggling a lot of risks trying to determine the best use of time. It would be easy to cave into the human emotions. Instead we need to focus on the facts and test assumptions to make the best decisions. High emotions can cause us to have tunnel vision by looking at a narrow piece of the problem instead of trying to understand the overall situation.

My love for technology and logic comes from Star Trek and Mr. Spock. As I write this tribute I have a marathon of TOS playing on our Smart TV and one of my favorite two-part series in currently playing: The Menagerie. One day my husband and I went to Best Buy and I saw the Smart TV and well… had to have it! Some people are dedicated to one operating system whereas I use Windows, IOS, and Android. Charging multiple devices with different operating systems every day seems to be the norm.

Mr spock vulcan
Image courtesy of Fanpop.

Lastly, here is a video where Leonard Nimoy discusses the Jewish story behind Spock’s hand gesture that he brought into Star Trek. Leonard Nimoy will be missed but he left a wonderful legacy and influenced countless lives. But we still hate to part so soon!

What are your Mr. Spock memories?

Live long and Prosper!

Articles I Wrote that were Published through Tea-Time With Testers

books

Over the years, I had the pleasure of writing articles and several series for Tea-Time with Testers. My series included: How to Develop a Strategy for Cross-Browser Testing, Career Development and Learning Strategies for Testers and Introducing Session-Based Testing into your Testing department. Below are my articles in their original format. The attachments are in PDF format and you can read a lot of wonderful articles on Tea-Time with Testers.

2013 Articles

Introducing Session-Based Testing to Your Team Part 2 – December 2013 / January 2014
Click here to read
This article is focused on introducing session-based testing in your testing group after attending training.

Introducing Session-Based Testing to Your Team Part 1 – October 2013
Click here to read
This series will discuss how you can use session-based testing and tools like mind maps while providing suggestions on how to implement change within your testing team or department.

Prepare for Promotion Now! – Women in Testing Special September 2013
Click here to read
We often hear how the number of women moving up the corporate ladder becomes smaller at each rung. There are a lot of good conversations discussing the various reasons that factor into this problem. This article is based upon my experience on a few things women can do to let their voices be heard, have more influence, and prepare for senior level positions.

Using Mind Maps to Organize your Cross-Browser Testing Part 5 – February / March 2013
Click here to read
In this part of the series, I shared sample mind maps that I find useful in organizing my testing.

2012 Articles

Balancing Time with Cross-Browser Testing Part 4 – December 2012
Click here to read
In this part of the series, I shared sample mind maps that I find useful in organizing my testing.

Importance of Social Networking Part 3 – August 2012
Click here to read
In this article I shared information I gathered through the Testing Community on how to perform cross-browser testing.

Understanding Browser Compatibility Strategies Part 2 – July 2012
Click here to read
In this article I shared information I gathered through the Testing Community on how to perform cross-browser testing.

Understanding Browser Compatibility Strategies Part 1 – June 2012
Click here to read
In this article I shared information I gathered through the Testing Community on how to perform cross-browser testing.

Contributing to the Testing Community – May 2012
Click here to read
In this article I discussed the importance of building relationships within the Testing Community and contributing.

Training Someone New to Testing Part 2 – April 2012
Click here to read
This series focus on training someone who is new to the Testing field.

Training Someone New to Testing Part 1 – March 2012
Click here to read
This series focus on training someone who is new to the Testing field.

Facilitating a Journal Club – February 2012
Click here to read
In this article I provided suggestions on how to start to start a journal club to provide opportunities for Testers to discuss current trends.

Developing a Career Plan – January 2012
Click here to read
The focus of this article is developing a career plan with approaches that a manager can implement for his department and testers can adopt for their own professional development.

2011 Articles

Onboarding New Testers – November 2011
Click here to read
The focus of this article is onboarding newly hired testers into your department.

Articles I Wrote That Were Published in Testing Circus #Testing

publicationsOver the years, I had the pleasure of writing articles on testing, training, career development and other topics for Testing Circus. Below are my articles in their original format. Some of the articles I have revised and posted on The Testers Edge based upon what I have learned since that time or to take a different approach on the material. The attachments are PDF and you can find the magazines with a lot of great articles on Testing Circus.

2013 Articles

Are You Listening to Your Intuition? – 2013 September
Click here to read.
A lot has been written on how to progress your testing skills but an area often overlooked is listening to our intuition.

How Do I Manage My Time When There Is So Much To Do, 2nd part – 2013 April
Click here to read.
This article is the second part of “How Do I Manage My Time When there is so Much to Do?”

How Do I Manage My Time When There Is So Much To Do, 1st part – 2013 March
Click here to read.
With this article I addressed a few questions and challenges I face as a Software Testing Manager.

Who do I ask questions? – 2013 February
Click here to read.
In this article I discussed the importance of building relationships to help you identify the right person to ask questions and gather information.

How do I know when to stop testing – 2013 January
Click here to read.
In this article I addressed the often-asked question “how do I know when to stop testing?”

2012 Articles

How can I learn to Test – 2012 December
Click here to read.
In this article I addressed the question “how can I learn to test?”

Do you think I could be a tester, Part 2 – 2012 November
Click here to read.
In this article I addressed the question “do you think I could be a tester?”

Do you think I could be a tester, Part 1 – 2012 October
Click here to read.
In this article I addressed the question “do you think I could be a tester?”

Performing Risk Assessment Part 3 – 2012 September
Click here to read.
The last part of this series discusses a post-testing risk assessment or what is sometimes called lesson learned.

Performing Risk Assessment Part 2 – 2012 August
Click here to read.
The second part of this series is focused on monitoring initial risks and identifying new risks based upon what is learned during testing.

Performing Risk Assessment Part 1 – 2012 June
Click here to read.
The first part of this series is focused on identifying risks prior to testing.

Can We Approach Metrics Differently? Part 3 – 2012 May
Click here to read.
This part addressed defining a goal, metric setting, and guidelines for presenting information to senior management.

Can We Approach Metrics Differently? Part 2 – 2012 April
Click here to read.
This part addressed “The Five Whys” which is a fact-based approach to identifying the root cause of a problem.

Can We Approach Metrics Differently? Part 1 – 2012 March
Click here to read.
This part addressed providing a foundation in analyzing information to define your problems.

Four Questions to Consider When Writing a Test Report – 2012 February
Click here to read.
This article discussed guidelines for writing a test report.

What is a Tester’s Role in Quality Part 2 – 2012 January
Click here to read.
The second part of this article discussed how the processes and testing approaches adopted by a Testing Department and how they impact the product’s quality

2011 Articles

Guidelines on Writing a Meaningful Problem Report – 2011 November
Click here to read.
General guidelines that a tester can follow when researching and developing a problem report

You Want it When? Part 2 – 2011 October
Click here to read.
This part discussed approaches to prepare for testing when timelines have been reduced which may require the testing team to work extended hours

You Want it When? Part 1 – 2011 September
Click here to read.
This part discussed how to prepare for testing to hit the ground running.

Regression Risk-Based Testing – 2011 August
Click here to read.
This article discussed different approaches to assessing risk that can be used to develop both a modified- and core-regression strategy.

Breaking the Testing Mindsets – 2011 July
Click here to read.
This article discussed different ways to approach a testing problem.

A Test Matrix Approach for Organizing Testing – 2011 June
Click here to read.
This article discussed how to use a test matrix instead of test cases.

Planning Your Next Testing Assignments – 2011 May
Click here to read.
This article provided suggestions on planning a testing assignment. Translate the word “PLAN” into four actionable steps: Prepare, Layout, Analyze, and Navigate.