Alan Page: Are there any good books you can recommend for current or aspiring test managers?
Joe Strazzere: I love to read, and I’ve found several that are particularly useful as a test manager.
Lessons Learned in Software Testing by Cem Kaner, James Bach, and Brett Pettichord is a book with terrific tips and insight. I've given a copy to everyone on my test team, and we use it as the basis for some of our learning sessions. Perfect Software and Other Illusions About Testing by Gerald Weinberg is a wonderful book exploring some of the "whys" behind what we do. And, Measuring and Managing Performance in Organizations by Robert Austin is a powerful study on how performance is impacted both positively and negatively by some of the measurement systems we tend to use.
Alan Page: I love reading the "Perhaps they should have tested more …" series on your blog. How did you get started with these posts? Do you have a favorite post in this series?
Joe Strazzere: Thanks! At the time, I had been reading about how some folks were preparing for presentations and asking about “famous bugs in history.” It seemed to me that there were plenty of publicly mentioned bugs in the present day, so I decided to start writing about a few I encountered. I’m often struck by how casually the media treats these issues, using terms like “glitch,” and seemingly dismissing them as “just the way things are—there’s nothing can you do about it.”
I’m not a Microsoft basher, but my favorite was my article about the Zune bug—a leap year bug!
Alan Page: You're one of the few test managers I see participating actively in online communities, and you're heavily involved at SQAForums. What value do you (or your company) get from this participation, and how do you find time to participate?
Joe Strazzere: The most important thing I get from participating in online communities is the ability to keep in touch with what others are thinking, saying, and reading about testing, QA, and technology in general. I've received many answers to specific questions I've had and picked up a ton of tips and techniques. Hopefully, along the way I’ve helped a few others as well.
I don’t get as much time to participate as I might like, but I do try to spend a few minutes here and there, reading and sometimes answering questions. I’m an early riser, so I can spend a few minutes in the morning. And, while others might pop outside for a smoke, have a snack, or take a walk during the day, I check in with online communities.