e-Talk Radio: Derby, Esther, 4 January 2001

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as actually, you mentioned before the show started that you had a surge in your temperature and that you're up to, what did you say?

Esther Derby: 31 degrees, so we're having a heat wave.

Carol Dekkers: For any of our listeners who might be outside the United States, that is not 31 degrees Celsius, that is 31 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the equivalent to about minus 1 Celsius, so it's not hot by any means. But it's hot for Minneapolis this time of year.

Esther Derby: For this time of year, it's quite warm.

Carol Dekkers: Well, welcome to the show. We're going to talk about the Software Testing and Quality Engineering magazine, that is. You're going into the third year. We came up with a topic for this session to be Trends and Insights into the changing field of software development, what's changing, what's the same, that type of thing. And it's going into its third year--Software Testing Quality Engineering has evolved from what was originally fairly, fairly modest roots and is now going into your third year. That's pretty exciting.

Esther Derby: Yes, we're very excited about it. Actually, the magazine started out with a fellow named Steve Whitchurch, who was doing it pretty much as a labor of love, and STQE took over the distribution of that for a year and then after that first year, with that original subscriber base of a thousand, 1,000 subscribers, evolved into the magazine we have now.

Carol Dekkers: Oh, wow.

Esther Derby: And we're currently at right around 12,000 subscriptions with our total circulation of about 20,000.

Carol Dekkers: That's pretty outstanding for modest beginnings like that. Who would you say your primary audience is at STQE?

Esther Derby: Well, we write for test managers, development managers and people working in testing and QA, so we're really focused on testing and quality engineering and providing practical information and practical articles that will help people do their jobs better.

Carol Dekkers: And the gamut of things that you've had in your magazine over the last three years has been really outstanding. It runs everywhere from measurement to requirements to quality to testing to technical to people issues, and I think that's quite outstanding for a magazine that's in OUR industry, typically something like information, we can be very technical but yours is very graphically pleasing, very easy to read, very easy to work through, and I'd like to read a Letter to the Editor if you don't mind. I don't know if you will recall this one, but somebody wrote in said "This is the first time that I wait anxiously for a magazine to arrive. Since the first issue I've enjoyed every article. I've had the opportunity to put into practice several of your techniques recommended in your articles, especially the articles regarding requirements and design. Thanks for the quality of the content and the selection of such expert writers." Is that a fairly typical response you get from your readership?

Esther Derby: Well, that is a very nice letter, I didn't recall that one specifically, but we do tend to get that kind of feedback, that people find the articles that we publish to be of practical, pragmatic use, and that is what we really strive for. We try to publish things that are going to help you do your job better in the next month and the next two months…

Carol Dekkers: Oh, right…

Esther Derby: We strive for that as opposed to theory or things that will only work in a Petri dish.

Carol Dekkers: What

About the author

Esther Derby's picture Esther Derby

A regular StickyMinds.com and Better Software magazine contributor, Esther Derby is one of the rare breed of consultants who blends the technical issues and managerial issues with the people-side issues. She is well known for helping teams grow to new levels of productivity. Project retrospectives and project assessments are two of Esther's key practices that serve as effective tools to start a team's transformation. Recognized as one of the world's leaders in retrospective facilitation, she often receives requests asking her to work with struggling teams. Esther is one of the founders of the AYE Conference. She co-author of Agile Retrospectives: Making Good Teams Great. She has presented at STAREAST, STARWEST and the Better Software Conference & EXPO. You can read more of Esther's musings on the wonderful world of software at www.estherderby.com and on her weblog at www.estherderby.com/weblog/blogger.html. Her email is derby@estherderby.com.

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