The day I graduated from college, I still remember asking my Dad in our living room what he thought I should do next. He answered my question with a question – what do you like to do? At the time, I wanted something more specific. In hindsight, it is actually the best advice. Do what you love. My passion is for enabling software engineers to do what they do best by equipping them with the processes and tools that guide them along the right path.
My quest for process improvement began early in my career at Texas Instruments. I had grown from a “programmer” as we were known back in the day to “supervisor” with responsibility for leading a small team of developers, for providing written requirements from our internal customers to the development team, and for testing to ensure we delivered what the customer asked. I found that the software was fraught with bugs that prevented the software from performing well from the user perspective. I started providing written test cases for the team to run which in turn reduced the number of retesting cycles required before delivering better software to the customer.
My next responsibility was Test Manager for a software project with an external customer. Poor quality here would directly impact the company’s bottom line. One of the quality issues I discovered is when veering from the “happy path” in my testing, it was extremely easy to “break” the software. After repeatedly finding the same user interface bugs over and over, I proposed a set of generic user interface test cases and the developers agreed to run them. Amazingly, I stopped finding so many bugs. I was convinced that there are better ways to build quality software and I was inspired to learn more ways!
I could tell many more stories along my journey to where I am today. Suffice it to say, that building in quality is the fastest and least expensive way to delivering software that works right and meets the user’s needs. It is also a lot more fun for everyone!