QR Podcast – Anne Marie Charrett

When I was running the Barclays Global Test Center, I started a meme to inspire our team to be their best. If I saw someone working tirelessly on their craft, challenging the status quo, or being a leader, I would call them a “badass software tester”. Anne-Marie Charrett was the model for that name. Never afraid to call it like she sees it, you can count on her to be a fearless voice of reason in our business. As well, she is an awesome force for change in testing through organizing meet ups, coaching sessions, and conferences all over the world. Join us HERE as we talk about being authentic, coaching testers, the “M” word (metrics), and how to enjoy life beyond technology. Enjoy!


Personal Update

I don’t normally put personal stuff here, but I wanted to let folks know why I might seem a little slow to respond or distracted lately. Last year my wife got me a rescue kitten as a positive distraction from all the other stuff going on in my life. Needless to say, it worked wonders and Edith and I connected and formed a tight bond. Sadly, a couple months ago she succumbed to what our vet thinks was acute renal failure and passed away. I know in the grand scheme of things, people have much larger problems and I’m extremely lucky to be where I am today. I just miss my cat.

“Standout” Book Contribution on Management Interviews

Here’s my contribution to Ben Kelly‘s great new book on interviewing, “StandoutA career guide to gainful employment as a skilled software tester”. You can read and purchase your own copy HERE…enjoy!

“These days I conduct mostly “management” interviews, so I am looking for potential and cultural fit into our team. Principles I value are honesty, integrity and accountability, so those lines of questions are often meandering and my conclusions are more “gut feel” than straight forward. I like to talk to people about their hobbies and what they do with their down time, as that can tell me a lot about their personality, dedication, and work ethic. Discussing what books people are reading (or not) is another great way to get insight into people. I was once interviewing a candidate with someone on my management team, and I asked the question “what books are you reading right now”. My manager literally said, “what an awful question”, but after the nervous laughter settled down and we let the conversation flow, we learned a tremendous amount about the person – as they did about us! (We ended up hiring them!) One of the biggest mistakes I see candidates make is not being their authentic selves during an interview. What interests me is how you personally contributed to a project (don’t interchange “me” with “we”), what you learned, what mistakes you made, and what you want to know about me and our team. Feel free to laugh, say “I don’t know”, and talk about values and principles, because long after the technical qualifications have been met, those are the things that really matter.”

QR Podcast – Jerry Weinberg

What more can I say about Jerry Weinberg than hasn’t already been said? He’s been consulting and writing for over 50 years, including seminal works like The Psychology of Computer Programming, Perfect Software, and The Secrets of Consulting. In the business of software testing, he has influenced ways of thinking about quality, value, and the role of testing in software development. Check out Jerry and me (and his ringing phone!) HERE discussing leadership, diversity, the state of software testing, and how to remain relevant after 60 years in the business. Enjoy!


QR Podcast – Mark Tomlinson

Always enjoy catching up system performance guru, bon vivant, and one of the nicest guys in our business, Mark Tomlinson. Aside from discussing his responsibility for getting this “podcast” interview series started, we have an extending discussion on “thought leaders” and expertise, innovation, ethics, and whats with all those “boring” testing conferences! (FWIW I had to cut over 30 mins of laughing, joking, and cross talk at the beginning and end of this!) Enjoy!


QR Podcast – Trish Khoo

Google v Microsoft? Ducks v Fish? Dungeons and Dragons? That means I could only be talking to one person – Trish Khoo! Listen in as we discuss making it as a tester in todays world, mental health, and what to do with all those extra ducks! Check out our chat on the latest QR Podcast! Enjoy!


A brief comment on “Thought Leaders”

“It doesn’t matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn’t matter how smart you are. If it doesn’t agree with experiment, it’s wrong.” Richard Feynman

I don’t believe in “thought leaders”. In my opinion based on my experience, too often the views of people biased towards very specific practices limited to certain contexts are given far too much weight. I believe you should research, question, and experiment in your own ways and means and draw your own conclusions based on that evidence. By all means draw on the practical experiences and advice of seasoned professionals, but don’t take what you hear as unquestionable fact.

There is a big difference between respecting a professional opinion and blind faith. People are the biggest contributor to any context, and people are messy, so find what works for you and your team and go with that.

In regards to “thought leaders” brow beating, bullying, discouraging, or otherwise using their position in the community to silence dissent or alternative views – knock it off. The title of “thought leader” is not a mantle to be claimed, it’s offered by a community and in my view carries with it the burden of modeling positive behavior. As well, if your ideas can’t suffer scrutiny or challenge, guess what, you were probably fully of shit and survivorship bias away…

Good luck and don’t stop questioning the “experts” in their own backyard…

Culture Is More Than A Mindset – Agile Testing Days 2017

So honored and excited to be giving this talk at Agile Testing Days this year with my pal, Ash Coleman! Hope to see you there! 

Culture Is More Than A Mindset

How language around work culture can foster an environment of growth and agility.

Changing culture is hard. Organizational values that define culture are deeply rooted in hiring practices, incentive programs, and management frequently based on practices and not shared principles. As well, there is often the illusion that a workplace is an environment built on those principles, but is often framed by what you DON’T say, not necessarily by what you do say. Meaningful change can only come through a clear minded assessment of the state of your industry, business and culture, and begins with a hard look at your own participation in those communities.

Through this talk, Ash and Keith will explore the structural barriers to attracting “like-mindedness” and how the way you advertise your workplace signals the underpinning values of your business. We will talk about what these words are really saying about your business and how you can affect better outcomes. We will talk about ways the testing community can lead by example in “attracting the right fit” and how our language around culture and opportunities at our organizations can either impose discrete limits on our development or can foster an environment for growth and agility.


QR Podcast – Launch and Damian Synadinos Interview

Hey everyone! I know you’ve been wondering, “when will there be ANOTHER software testing podcast” – well, the wait is finally over! I’m starting a new interview series hosted on the QR Podcast page and focusing on talking to interesting people in or around our business about stuff I want to know. Hope you enjoy my first episode with Damian Synadinos…cheers!


RTC 2017 – NOT talking about testing…

There’s not much more I can say about the quality of the Romanian Testing Conference, than to just point you in the direction of the speakers page. I have to hand to chair Rob Lambert and the team at RTC, they put on one hell of a conference. The venue was fantastic, the proceedings seamless, and as for attendees you couldn’t ask for much more. Having never been to Cluj, I didn’t know what to expect, but whatever those expectations might have been, they were far exceeded. The folks at the conference were engaged, critical, and after decent amount of antagonizing them in my workshop, even started to push back under my questioning!

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Nevertheless, she persisted…

Hey everyone – This is the editorial I wrote for the latest edition of Women Testers. I took it as a chance to spotlight some influential women I’ve had the pleasure to either work with or learn from. The full edition can be found here. Thanks! – KK

Examples matter. In my experience, behavior modeling is one, if not THE most powerful influences on how we treat people and develop professionally either individually or as an organization. As someone who has led groups of all shapes and sizes and has reported into the highest levels of enterprise tech, I can assure you people are watching. Watching and emulating. That’s why examples matter – but if they are to have a positive impact they have to be seen.

Over the last twenty years I have had the opportunity to work with countless amazing, strong, intelligent women. Through this editorial, I wanted to take the opportunity to shine a light on some people who have had, and continue to have, the biggest impact on me professionally and inspire me personally. They became my examples to emulate by mentoring me, kicking my ass, and just being generally awesome at what they do. As well, as a father of two young boys, it is extremely important for them, so they can see things as they are and how they should be.

So here are some of my heroes – the smart, fierce, funny, and influential women who inspire me to be my best. Enjoy! Continue reading