personal improvement

Articles

Person playing the piano Using Agile to Learn Anything

Acquiring new skills is always admirable, and it can even help you find new opportunities in an increasingly competitive job market. By going in with a plan and organizing your self-improvement activities, you’ll be learning new skills in no time. Agile can help. Here's how forty-five minutes a day and a structured approach using kanban can set you up for success.

Shakeel Muhammad's picture Shakeel Muhammad
Drawing of a person ascending stairs Continuous Improvement Activities beyond the Retrospective

One of the principles behind the Agile Manifesto is “At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.” Unfortunately, many associate that practice with performing team retrospectives at the end of a sprint, or periodically in kanban. But if you seek to build a high-performing team, there are more improvement activities you should consider adopting.

Jeffery Payne's picture Jeffery Payne
Man holding string lights up to his face Embracing the Learning Curve in Software Development

In software development, we're constantly learning new skills because we have to. Technology and its associated best practices are constantly changing, but this is a good thing—it means our industry is evolving quickly. It also means we are constantly on the learning curve. Having a good mindset about continuously learning can help you go far in the software world.

David Bernstein's picture David Bernstein
Learning soft skills Practice Soft Skills through Collaboration to Become Truly Agile

At the core of agile is the need to effectively communicate and interact with your team members, so it's important for all roles to practice soft skills. However, there is nothing soft about them. Soft skills are probably the most challenging thing you can focus on in your technical career. Rather than struggle to improve by yourself, develop these skills through collaboration.

Mark Kilby's picture Mark Kilby

Better Software Magazine Articles

tolerate You Get What You Tolerate

We’ve all worked with a talented developer who can be a frustrating challenge to manage. First-time managers may unknowingly encourage bad behavior. There are several innovative ways to resolve the situation.

Andy Kaufman's picture Andy Kaufman
HOW TECHNOLOGY IS CHANGING THE WAY WE LEARN How Technology Is Changing the Way We Learn

Modern technologies like virtual reality, cloud-based systems, and measurement of content have disrupted how we learn. Standards have evolved to improve how learning material can be published to any device.

Troy Tolle's picture Troy Tolle
Do You Really Want to Be a Manager Do You Really Want to Be a Manager?

The majority of managers are promoted due to their software development expertise. But becoming a successful manager requires a drastic change of focus. There is a set of expectations to consider before making that leap to the “dark side.”

Ron Lichty's picture Ron Lichty MW Mantle
overwhelmed at work Saying No to More Work

We’ve all been placed in the situation where a boss asks you to perform more work than you can possibly handle. Johanna Rothman knows firsthand that there is a better way to respond that benefits you and your manager.

Johanna Rothman's picture Johanna Rothman

Interviews

8 Ways to Ruin Your One-on-Ones: An Interview with Jason Wick
Video

In this interview, Jason Wick, senior manager at MakeMusic, discusses his STAREAST presentation about eight ways you could be making your one-on-one meetings completely useless. He discusses in depth what he feels is the number one way to ruin these meetings: holding back on feedback. He also offers advice on how you can educate your team leader to avoid the pitfalls that lead to ineffective one-on-ones.

Jennifer Bonine's picture Jennifer Bonine
Julie Gardiner Emotional Intelligence in Testing: An Interview with Julie Gardiner
Video

Julie Gardiner, head of QA at Testing Rainmaker Limited, discusses the STAR conferences Test Lab she leads, which allows people to attend virtually and even win prizes for best test report and best bug report. She also talks about her upcoming book, and why emotional awareness, self-management, empathy, and relationship building are important skills for testers.

Jennifer Bonine's picture Jennifer Bonine
Experiences at STAREAST 2018: An Interview with Michael Sowers
Video

Michael Sowers, TechWell’s IT director and program chair for STAREAST 2018, discusses some of the activities, presentations and networking opportunities at the event. He also discusses what to expect at the all-new Agile Testing Days.

Jennifer Bonine's picture Jennifer Bonine
Marcia Buzzella Improving Communication and Social Skills: An Interview with Marcia Buzzella
Video

Marcia Buzzella, an independent leadership consultant and strengths coach, discusses the importance of communication and social skills in a business atmosphere. She offers advice on tools to recognize your weaknesses in those areas and how to work toward improving your effectiveness.

Jennifer Bonine's picture Jennifer Bonine

Conference Presentations

STARWEST 2018 Evolution—Not Revolution: Transforming Your Testing
Slideshow

You may have heard the saying “The only constant on any project is change.” Yet the prospect of change is rarely welcomed—either personally or professionally. How is it that we still believe that these changes apply to others but not to us? Julie Gardiner says that now is the time to re-evaluate and transform how we do testing in order to deliver more value to organizations—from a people, processes, and tools perspective. Join Julie as she shares current experiences of transformations and lessons learned within different organizations. She discusses an automation framework that ended up being thrown away, revamping processes, and tools and techniques to transform your testing. This thought-provoking session will give you the courage and ideas for how you can add even more value to your company.

Julie Gardiner
STARWEST 2018 The Art of Software Investigation
Slideshow

Although processes and tools play an important role in software testing, the most important testing tool is the mind. Like scientists, testers search for new knowledge and share discoveries—hopefully for the betterment of people’s lives. More than sixty years ago, William I.B. Beveridge reframed discussion of scientific research in his classic book The Art of Scientific Investigation. Rather than add to the many texts on the scientific method, he focused on the mind of the scientist. Join Ben Simo as he applies Beveridge’s principles and techniques for scientific investigation to software testing today. Learn to discover and communicate new knowledge that matters; to think—and test—like scientists; and to continually prepare, experiment, exploit chance, imagine productively, apply intuition and reason, tune observation, and overcome resistance.

Ben Simo
STARWEST 2018 Working with Anxiety: From Personal Weakness to Career Strength
Slideshow

Each of us has personal weaknesses that are often perceived to have negative impacts on performance and capability in the workplace. When this weakness is prominent to yourself or others, are you capable of benefiting IT teams and qualified to do the job? In dealing with negative impacts of her Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Julene Johnson falls into this category and has experienced personal doubt in her ability to perform her job well. Over time, however, she’s noticed that habits and techniques developed while dealing with anxiety can be applied in a manner that improves her life and her career and gives confidence to others in her capabilities. Similarly, skills and abilities gained while working as a tester have helped her build successful patterns in her life to help her manage anxiety more effectively.

Julene Johnson
STARWEST 2018 Be the Lord of Your OWN Rings: How to Build Your OWN Insider Testing Program
Slideshow

Many testers just don't plain get listened to. Management doesn’t seem to listen despite you having a really good idea on how to reduce costs without reducing quality. How can a well-meaning tester act as an agent of change and change your corporate landscape? Dona is the Lord of the Rings at Microsoft where she co-creates the future of Windows with 10M + #WindowsInsiders all over the world. They are one of the biggest fan and influencer programs in the tech industry—one that helps shape the future of Microsoft technology every single day. She will guide you on how to create a fan and influencer program for your business and empower these members to be your first ring of defense against low-quality products. Come and hear the secrets of modern product testing and how YOU can emerge as the hero of your own story.

Dona Sarkar

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