Schedule and Events

March 26-29, 2012, Software Test Professionals Conference, New Orleans
July, 14-15, 2012 - Test Coach Camp, San Jose, California
July, 16-18, 2012 - Conference for the Association for Software Testing (CAST 2012), San Jose, California
August 2012+ - At Liberty; available. Contact me by email:

Monday, August 30, 2010

Sheep of a different fold

For a few years now I've been listening and reading to the work Mary Poppendeick has produced with increasing appreciation. Then last year I had the opportunity to interview Mary and Tom for InformIT, as part of InformIT's coverage of the Agile 2009, where Mary was giving a keynote speech.

(Mary and Tom) and I have very different backgrounds. We worked in different kinds of organizations and our careers and interests took us in very different directions.

Yet here was this other person that had both studied the history of the philosophy of management -- and studied the actual effects of those ideas in practice -- and come to the same conclusions as I had.

For that matter, the way that the Poppendeick's approach the subject is different than my stuff, and I think worth studying. So when I found out that they had a google tech talk, I just had to link to it here:

I've spent tens, if not hundreds of thousands of words trying to explain the ideology of "process improvement" and some of my concerns about it. For a quick summary introduction, I gotta say, this video by Mary is shockingly good. Throw in a copy of The Management Myth by Matthew Stewart and you end up with a very good survey of the literature in two source documents.


If you need me, I'll be in the corner, licking my wounded pride, trying hard not to cry.


Seriously, this is a good stuff, and I am pleased to recommend it.

UPDATE: A cursory glance at Poppendeick LLC website finds several 'sound byte' level things that you might take issue with in regards to /testing/. My advice: Ignore the sound bytes that are so easy to misconstrue; watch the video instead. Check out what she actually /says/ about software development, management, and leadership. I expect it will resonate with you. It did with me.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

What Matt has been up to

Woa. Some cobwebs on Creative Chaos, eh? Seems like Matt Hasn't been very busy, doesn't it?

Gosh, I sure hope you don't think that. Let me bring you up to speed:

a) I've split up my blogging into two places - here (always free, no-registration required) and for the Software Test Performance Collaborative - still free, registration required.

b) That blogging now includes recruiting, running and managing a weekly podcast "This Week in Software Testing" - also free for the new shows. To get the old content, you'll need to be a paid member of SoftwareTestProfessionals.Com. Don't want to pay? You can download every episode as they come out, or you can participate in various contests on the blogs. Or write an article for the magazine.

c) I'm still micro-blogging on twitter under the username mheusser.

d) I'm still producing a column for the magazine, now known as "Software Test & Quality Assurance" magazine, or STQA. After two years of writing a encyclopedia-style column were we defined key terms used in the "theme" of the issue, we decided to shake things up a bit and write an interview column. Each issue we'll gather questions from the community for a 'test expert' and have them answer. For the August issue we interviewed Michael Bolton; the extended interview is now available on-line. I'm at the point now where I need recruits to interview, and shortly after that, I'll need questions ...

e) Beyond working with the fine folks at STP, occasionally I get a bit of time to work with other publishers, including the folks at SearchSoftwareQuality. That includes a few podcast-style interviews, a tutorial on the Selenium IDE, a good place for classic testers to learn about Selenium, as well as a two-part tutorial on Selenium RC, which is a start for programmer-types. (Link to Part I and Part II here). I also just wrote a small piece on Effective Bug Reporting Techniques for SSQ.

f) We finally put the Conference for the Association for Software Testing (CAST 2010) to bed last night with a conference retrospective. We held it in Grand Rapids, Michigan in early August. Instead of presenting, I helped out with the local logistics, recruiting some sponsors, and organizing and funding the evening receptions. CAST 2011 will be in Seattle, Washington. With Jon Bach as the conference chair and James as the program chair, I suspect it will be amazing.

g) With one conference to bed, it's time for me to worry about the next one! STPCon is going to be October 19-21 in Last Vegas, Nevada. It starts the 17th if you grab a two-day pre-conference tutorial. I'm a "track chair" for the hands-on track sessions, I'm running one of the track sessions, running a panel on how to decrease costs in testing, and organizing a lightning-talk like session. Oh, and there will likely be a Monday night reception.

h) Day job! Full time as a member of the technical staff specializing in test for Socialtext. At least I managed to skip the commute, otherwise this stuff would be impossible.

i) It's about time for me to re-start teaching religious education for fourth and fifth grade at my Church during the school year, plus coaching soccer for this fall. (See, I have a life outside of work. Really. Occasionally. Sorta.)

j) I just wrapped up a two-year night teaching position at Calvin College. It was really great, but due to a-i, plus not commuting into Grand Rapids anymore, something had to give. I have small children at home; it would be nice to occasionally see them.

... and then I went crazy.

No, at least semi-seriousy. Based on a discussion on the LinkedIn Discussion list, I just signed up to be the lead editor on a collection of essays on how to reduce he cost of software testing to be published by CRC Press in early 2011.

We've got a good team. We had some solid progress before we signed the contract.

But I did just sign and email the contract last week, and our completed, publisher-ready draft is due Nov 1st.

More to come; at the very least, I'll try to blog pointers to interesting work elsewhere.

But forgive me if I haven't been blogging here much. As I hope you can see, I've been ... kinda busy.

And that was before I went crazy. :-)