Dr, heal thyself . . .

Performance measurement – the most powerful inhibitor to quality and productivity in the Western world”Robert D. Austin

I’ve reviewed a lot of test teams in the Enterprise Tech world, and I get asked a lot how I go about looking for problems or how to identify opportunities to get more value out of your approach. The following is an attempt to sketch out the model I use to frame those reviews and look for areas for deeper investigation. All models are wrong, but I’ve found this one to be useful, so hopefully you can get some benefit from it too. But first some context…

Continue reading

Test as Transformation – Expectation Management

“One can’t paint New York as it is, but rather as it is felt.” – Georgia O’Keeffe

The last installment in my series on how testing and quality engineering can support a digital transformation program is about one of my favorite subjects – managing expectations. But is it possible to improve through expectation management? Yes. In my experience through alignment of our ambitions, business capabilities and operating model limitations you can absolutely improve not only the internal/external perception of our business but also your delivery capabilities.

Continue reading


(Cross-posted from LinkedIn)

Hey Testers – If you listen to podcasts, I’ve been plowing through Unexplainable by Vox and cannot recommend it enough. There is a LOT in there for us to learn about what we think we know and what we really know and the power of observation. From gravity to our sense of smell, what we DON’T know about these subjects is enormous, but what has been apparent through the research into all these topics is how much observation plays a big part in moving things forward. Small, casual observations that might ordinarily be dismissed as anomalies or mistakes can unlock new ways of thinking about problems, complexity, and our view of the systems we unleash on our customers (and potential harm on the world).

Continue reading

Test as Transformation – Optimization

“What we find is that if you have a goal that is very, very far out, and you approach it in little steps, you start to get there faster. Your mind opens up to the possibilities.” Dr. Mae Jemison

Every business wants to be more efficient, but what does that mean in the context of your approach to quality engineering and digital transformation program? The desire for change is greater than ever, with over 80% of companies KPMG recently polled stating they have large transformation programs in place but lack confidence they have the operating model in place to support the required changes. And those transformation plans are only being accelerated since the pandemic! Inefficiencies within and between business operating models or products are great sources to capitalize on unrealized areas for collaboration, reuse, process improvement or reduction in redundancy.

Continue reading

How can software testing support business and digital transformation? – Software Testing News

“Testing sits at the heart of the processes required to enable and fast-track business change, so the information it generates can be used to shift how an organisation operates, help redefine its value proposition, or change how it competes in the market. Testing specifically, is closely aligned to business strategy and supports more than just technology delivery. The management information (MI) produced by testing can also be leveraged to drive innovation and identify opportunities for both risk reduction and investment.” Read full article HERE

National Software Testing Conference, UK 2021

It’s been a while, but it sure felt great to get in front of a live audience again and interact with folks at the National Software Testing Conference this week! I had a great time talking about the role of testing in supporting and accelerating business change though digital transformation and disruption. Along with my keynote, the KPMG team presented a talk on the role of test automation in your SaaS pipeline and a workshop on testing challenges in FinTech. It’s a great group of people to work with, and I was particularly proud of my colleague Abdulla Mohammad finally receiving his award for “Test Manager of the Year” from the European Software Testing Awards. I’m working with Abdulla on some machine learning tools for coverage and risk reporting and can tell you, he only has greater things ahead of him!

Continue reading

Test as Transformation – Disruption

They sicken at the calm that know the storm. – Dorothy Parker

This is the second installment in my series on how testing can support technology transformation via disruptive external forces impacting both business and operating models. In my experience, transformative testing is closely aligned to the business strategy, and supports more than just technology delivery. Transformative testing should help drive innovation and identifies opportunities for both risk management and investment. Technology adoption – either to innovate or stay competitive

Continue reading

QR Podcast – Elizabeth Zagroba

Heya – Finally found time to spill some tea with one of my favorite people in the testing industry, Elizabeth Zagroba. We cover off all the essentials from moving into a technical testing role, idealism, and our favorite musical theater. Check it out HERE… Enjoy!

Friends of Good Software 

Doubt Builds Trust recording 

Doubt Builds Trust blog post (this is all you really need, frankly) 

The Mental Load of One Meeting 

Praise the Messenger 

“What’s past is prologue . . .”

“What’s past is prologue…” – The Tempest (This article is reposted from my LinkedIn)

I was interviewing someone today, and they kept referring to their “non-traditional” path into technology as something that needed to be overcome, and it reminded me of a lot of people in #softwaretesting I’ve known, so I wanted to share some thoughts on this.

1) You don’t owe anyone an explanation for how you got to where you are in life. Period.

2) The tech industry is OVERRUN with likeminded, timid, sheep that will let incentives trump ethics every time. If you took a chance on yourself and busted your ass to break into a new field, IMO those are the EXACT qualities we need in leaders.

3) IME people with engineering or pure CS backgrounds LOVE to over complicate things. Practical experience helps you cut through noise because you have to live with the consequences of your solution.

Finally, as someone who has come into technology through a “non-traditional” path and suffered my share of impostor syndrome – you have everything you need to do this work and as my pal Angie Jones likes to say, “your differences are your superpower”!

Test as Transformation

“What is the answer? she asked, and when no answer came she laughed and said: Then, what is the question?” – Gertrude Stein

How can software testing support business and digital transformation? Unfortunately, that’s not a question that gets asked frequently, as testing has traditionally been viewed as a technology insurance policy – and no one likes thinking about (let alone talking) about insurance! Transformation in the context of a business is a fundamental shift in how it operates, redefining its value proposition, or changing how they compete in the market and in my opinion, testing sits at the center of the information required to support and accelerate business change. Through the course of the next couple posts, I’m going to talk about how testing can help transform your business, but first I want to explain what I mean by “transformative testing”.

Continue reading

EuroSTAR Testing Voices – Test as Transformation

Alignment in your test approach and business priorities is vital and will either accelerate or constrain enterprise transformation. Using his 20 years experience in building software quality management and testing teams for global financial services and consulting firms, Keith will explore opportunities for testing to not only support enterprise transformation programmes, but drive innovation and change beyond their traditional roles. You can register HERE – Hope to see you there!

the road is life.

“I was surprised, as always, by how easy the act of leaving was, and how good it felt. The world was suddenly rich with possibility.” – Jack Kerouac

A quick update that after 20+ years in a business that’s taken me to over 20 countries and 6 international moves, I’ve decided it’s time for one more run down the road. I am very happy to announce that I’ve relocated once again to the UK and taken a role with KPMG as a Director in their Testing Services business.

I’m excited to join the team and look after the the banking sector while expanding our partnerships and growing what is already an award winning practice. Thanks to everyone that helped make this possible and I wish only the best for my friends at Orion and Fiserv.

More to come once I get settled in, and I hope to see you around soon! Cheers!

The beatings will continue until morale improves . . .

I got a few questions about org dysfunction and how it specially relates to software testing, so I figured it would be easier to address them here as sort of a “reply all” to the different channels where I’ve made those comments.

Merriam-Webster defines “dysfunction” as: 1: impaired or abnormal functioning or 2: abnormal or unhealthy interpersonal behavior or interaction within a group. In my experience, organizational dysfunction occurs when leadership have misperceptions about how the organization is designed and actually operates, but more fundamentally, not understanding that the organization is performing EXACTLY as designed.

Continue reading

Upon further review…

I tweeted this out the other day in response to watching a project manager get abused by a “senior IT director” over defects being found by clients that they clearly felt should have been “caught by QA”. Apparently this resonated with the testing community as the reactions have been overwhelmingly in support of the sentiment and anti-bullying position.

Continue reading