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Pre-launch announcements for my new projects

After six weeks or so of resetting following my unplanned exit from Quest, I’m getting close to publicly announcing more details on a couple of new projects.

One of these has been in the making for about a year, while the other has arisen as a direct result of leaving full-time employment.

I’ve always been drawn to the idea of writing a book and I will finally realize this idea with the release of a testing-related e-book very soon. It’s been a highly collaborative effort with input from many members of the testing community. Having more free time since finishing up at Quest has given me the opportunity to wrap up what I think is worthy of publishing as a first edition. I will return all proceeds from sales of this book to the testing community. Look out for more details of the book via this blog and my social media presences in the coming weeks!

My other project is a new boutique software testing consultancy business. The intention is to offer something quite different in the consulting space, utilizing my skills and experience from the last twenty years to help organizations to improve their testing practices. This consultancy won’t suit everyone but I hope that my niche offering will both help those who see the value in the way I think about testing and also give me the chance to share my knowledge and experience in a meaningful way outside of full-time corporate employment. I expect to launch this business before the end of the year, but feel free to express interest in securing my services now if you believe that my thinking around software testing could be of value in your organization. Note that I will not be making myself available full-time (as I’m deliberately carving out time for volunteer work and to focus on my wellbeing), so now is a good time to secure some of my limited future availability before the formal launch of the consultancy. Again, keep an eye on this blog and my socials for more details of the testing consultancy project.

ER of presenting at DDD Melbourne By Night meetup (10th September 2020)

In response to a tweet looking for speakers for an online meetup organized by DDD Melbourne By Night, I submitted an idea – “Testing is not dead!” – and it was accepted.

I had a few weeks to prepare for this short (ten-minute) talk and went through my usual process of sketching out the content in a mindmap first (using the free version of XMind), then putting together a short slide deck (in PowerPoint) to cover that content.

I find it harder to nail down my content for short talks like this than for a typical longer conference track talk. The restricted time forces focus and I landed on just a few key points: looking at the claims of “testing is dead”, defining what “testing” means to me (and contrasting with “checking”), where automation fits in, and wrapping up with a few tips for non-specialist testers (as this is primarily a meetup with a developer audience).

I did two practice runs of the talk over the same conference call technology that the meetup would be using (Zoom), even though my willing audience of one (my wife) was only in the next room at home! I find practice runs to be an essential part of my preparation and I was pleased to find both runs coming in very close to the ten-minute timebox.

The September DDD by Night meetup took place on the evening of 10th September and featured nine lightning talks with some preamble and also time for questions between each talk. I was third up on the bill and managed to whizz through my talk in a few seconds under ten minutes! The content seemed to be well received and some of my ideas were clearly new to this audience, so I was pleased to have the opportunity to spread my opinion about testing to a different part of the Melbourne tech community.

Lee kicking off his talk

It was also great to see Vanessa Morgan as a first-time presenter during this meetup and her talk was a very polished performance.

Thanks to the DDD Melbourne crew for putting on meetup events during these interesting times and, as a newcomer, the friendly community spirit in this group was obvious.

You can watch my talk on YouTube.

Decompression – phase 2

It’s already four weeks since my exit from Quest after some 21 years with the company and it’s amazing how quickly my “reset” is happening.

My calendar continues to be largely empty, apart from a number of video calls with friends both locally and overseas each week. My days are passing quickly and are filled with exercise (walking and cycling), well-being practices (meditation and yoga), reading, home/garden maintenance and relaxing. The welcome start of the Tour de France and the excellent daily highlights on SBS represent my only “TV time” during the day.

I’ve also been keeping abreast of what’s going on in the testing community and have a couple of small projects on the go – writing a guest blog post (details coming soon) and preparing a talk (“Testing is not Dead”) for the DDD Nights meetup on 10th September.

When my redundancy package payout appeared in the bank at the end of August, my ties to Quest finally came to an end. Reflecting on such an incredibly long time working in the same company, my main emotion is one of gratitude. Quest provided me with my first employment opportunity in Australia after migrating from the UK and, over the many years that followed, gave me manifold opportunities to grow professionally, contribute to the broader testing community, travel extensively, and build great relationships. I miss the banter with my good friends & colleagues and also my close collaborations with the wonderful folks over in our office in China, where I look back with great pride on the development programmes I helped to put in place and run over the years.

I continue to work on the testing-related project I mentioned in my previous blog post and expect to make an announcement on that in the next month or so, so stay tuned! I’ve also been taking part in an online business course and this may also lead to some news in terms of my next steps in the coming months.