Seattle Area Software Quality Assurance Group

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Productivity Gaming in Software Testing
January 16, 2014

Quality means very different things to different people – and when it comes to software all perceptions of quality are valid, and all approaches must be tested. So to produce high quality software in today’s networked universe, you need to test all possible combinations which is not feasible, or you need to test differently. When we run our tests, we essentially train the software. Traditional test strategies focus on feature or component level testing through either manual or automated means, but may not account for end-user scenario-based testing or usability related aspects of the product as a whole.

On the Lync team, we use productivity games specifically designed for our features and signature scenarios as a way to complement traditional workplace testing methodologies, and to expand how we test software. This presentation discusses how we used productivity games to enhance the quality of our products by improving team collaboration, employee engagement, and cost savings. We illustrate the use of productivity games in the workplace as a way to involve many faces of quality into the software development lifecycle by including all major stakeholders into the gaming experience and targeting multiple platforms. We also show examples of how structured productivity games improve software quality, ensure a highly productive workforce and transform an often mundane task of software testing into a fun activity.

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Shilpa Ranganathan

Jan. 2014
Tips to Embed Quality into your Software Project
February 2014

Quality cannot be tested in. It can only be built or embedded into each project, prior to coding. Many organizations mistakenly attempt to only test defects ‘out’ of their software. But embedding or building Quality (lack of defects) into your organization’s People, Processes and Technologies proves much more efficient and cost effective.

At this month’s edition of SASQAG, Daniel Crowley shares not just gold nuggets but deep veins of gold that can provide you and your organization with on-going improvements in quality. See for more info and examples.

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Daniel Crowley
Denab Quality Systems

Daniel Crowley is a quality champion with over 35 years of QA experience. He is CQO of Denab Quality Systems, a consulting company which provides quality enhancement consulting for organizations. He holds a BS in Computer Science and Busi ess Administration. He has been awarded a Certified Quality Professional (CCP), Certified Software Test Engineer (CSTE) as well as senior membership status in both the American Society for Quality (ASQ) and in the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME).

Daniel has provided Quality leadership services for Hughes Aircraft, Honeywell MSD, Kaiser Permanente, Delta Dental, Countrywide Global, US Navy, and Les Scnwab, to name a few. Daniel was the columnist of "Quality Today" in the Seattle area business journal focusing on total quality business improvement issues.

He has presented to various groups in North America and Europe including the ASQ, Irish Computer Society and Quality Week Europe. Daniel has served as a member of Washington and California Quality Award Examiner's Teams.

He is currently serving as a counselor for SCORE which provides no cost mentorship to new and established businesses.

Feb. 2014
MetaAutomation: A pattern language for strengthening and accelerating automation and communication around product quality
March 2014

Across the software industry there is a common pattern of disconnect between automating the product for test, expectations of software developers creating the automation, and the actual value that automation can bring to the product and the team. This disconnect brings cost in the form of inappropriate performance targets, wasted effort, and inefficient or failed communication of product quality issues.

MetaAutomation is a pattern language to provide architectural guidance across the problem space that includes automation and product quality decisions and to greatly enhance the speed and value of the automation itself. It includes a sequence and a network of five architecture patterns that address this disconnect and provide a clear guide to strengthen the quality aspect of software development. Atomic Test is the first pattern in the sequence, and it can be applied immediately to a beginning or to an established automation effort to improve the focus and value of the test results and artifacts from automation. The rest of the MetaAutomation pattern network i.e. the four other patterns can be implemented in sequence later, but if considered in planning, they provide additional motivation points toward applying aspects of the Atomic Test pattern.

The Atomic Test and Automated Triage patterns have been applied with success. The other three patterns are simpler, and are represented by current deployments in different architectural contexts.

Applying MetaAutomation to test automation can improve the strength and importance of the quality effort by at least an order of magnitude, and provide the scale and flexibility to better support future product changes as well.

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Matt Griscom
Reliance Network

Matt Griscom is an experienced creator of test automation, harnesses and frameworks. Two degrees in physics primed him to seek the big picture in any setting, which can confuse people if they’re not ready for it, however it periodically puts him on the vanguard. Matt loves helping people solve problems with computers.
March 2014
Using the Cloud to Load Test and Monitor Your Applications
April 2014

Load testing is often one of the most difficult testing efforts to set-up—in both time for the deployment and cost for the additional hardware needed. Using cloud-based software, you can transform this most difficult task to one of the easiest. Charles Sterling explains how load testing fits into the relatively new practice of DevOps. Then, by re-using the tests created in the load testing effort to monitor applications, the test team can help solve the challenges in measuring, monitoring, and diagnosing applications―not just in development and test but also into production. Chuck demonstrates web performance test creation, locally run load test creation, cloud executed load test to the cloud, application performance monitoring (APM), global system monitoring (GSM), and usage monitoring (UM) for near real-time customer input for your application.

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Charles Sterling

Charles Sterling has more than eighteen years of developer tools experience at Microsoft, starting there in 1992 on the phone support team focusing on the Microsoft development tools. Chuck was the product owner for MSMQ and the product manager for the .NET Framework 1.0. After shipping the .NET Framework, he worked in Australia for seven years on community feedback channels. Back in Redmond, Washington, Chuck is a senior program manager in the Visual Studio Test Tools Team in charge of the customer feedback channels and beta releases. Prior to Microsoft, Chuck was a marine biologist doing marine mammal research in the Bering Sea.
May 2014
Testing the Xbox One
May 2014

Testing a game console isn’t all fun and games, but given the excitement around the launch of Xbox One, there are certainly some great stories to be told, and lessons to share. Xbox One team member Alan Page shares an insider’s view of what it’s like to test one of the most anticipated game consoles ever created. Learn the details of testing the Xbox from the guts of the operating system to the games and applications—and everything in between. Discover how the Xbox team at Microsoft creatively balances test automation with hands-on testing, how they’ve turned traditional measures of code coverage and test pass rates on edge, how they’ve blurred the traditional lines between development and test, and many other ways the Xbox team builds, tests, and delivers software that both end-users and game developers love. Join Alan to discover new ideas that any software team can use.

Slides, Video download

Alan Page

Alan Page has been a software tester for nearly 20 years. He was the lead author on the book How We Test Software at Microsoft, contributed chapters for Beautiful Testing and Experiences of Test Automation: Case Studies of Software Test Automation , and recently published a collection of essays on test automation in The A Word. He also writes about a variety of software engineering subjects on his blog at

Alan joined Microsoft as a member of the Windows 95 team, and since then has worked on a variety of Windows releases, early versions of Internet Explorer, and Office Lync and most recently, Xbox One. Alan also served for two years as Microsoft’s Director of Test Excellence.

Alan Page
Applying the Visual Practice to Complex System and Process Design by means of Connected, Layered and Integrated Storyboarding Technique.
June, 2014

As complexity becomes an increasingly important consideration in the design and management of systems and processes, and the value of alternative thought modes is recognized, the need for practical, effective and repeatable techniques becomes obvious.

While most of are familiar with the use of storyboarding as used in the production of Hollywood Movies, where each scene in the movie is planned by means of a series of hand drawn sketches (hence the term storyboard), there is an increasing use of storyboard and/or similar “visual” technique available to support the design process, that is based on tracking the “use-case” of a given technology, yielding a composite set of information held all in one place.

Since visual thinking most often emphasizes the synthesis of information and ideas, creating a connected and contextually relevant “story”, it provides a potent counterpoint and complimentary balance to the current situation where “analysis paralysis” often frustrates, confuses and bogs the development process down.

In this presentation, I will presume to show how to apply simple drawings, icons and a cartooning concept called “static animation” to allow almost anyone to conjure a workable integrated storyboard, that will yield not only a solid business case for the project, but the requirements needed to be successful at it, define a good number of the important risks, surface a high level concept of operations model, interface ideas, functional samplings and other relevant things that in a short space of time will permit much more thorough project scoping, planing and execution.

Since the art of storyboarding is such a commonplace and familiar artifact in movie design, I must admit to my surprise that it hasn't already become a core element in technical design (software, engineering and more).

Michael N Erickson
Boeing Commercial Airplanes

Michael N Erickson is a Visual Practitioner, of the BCA Processes and Tools organization, Requirements & Architecture Integration Team (RAIT), based at the Boeing Company factory in Everett Washington.

Born in Alaska, and having lived the majority of his life in Washington State, his life experience ranges from the very rudimentary (rough carpentry, felling trees, hand forged tools, ice climbing) to extreme technology (system, concept and process) design. Essentially a “systems analyst who draws” he is primarily known for large system visualizations or models, (could be described as "Journey maps", "Vision, Concept of Operation, System, Process pictures") and contextual storyboards.

A heavy user of cartoon art, which allows him to safely depict touchy worrisome issues pertaining to the human condition in the context of organizational stress and the complexity of large scale system integration.

Protecting the World with Big Data
September, 2014

We live in a world of viruses, worms, and browser threats that change and adapt on an hourly basis. Learn how Microsoft’s Protection Team, who bring you Microsoft Security Essentials and Windows Defender, has built and maintained a Big Data solution to protect Windows customers. These efforts offer monitoring and tools for release management, cloud protection, automatic signature generation, and malware research.

slides, Video download

Bill Pfeifer

Bill Pfeifer was born and raised in rural Alaska (Tlingit tribe) where he began taking an interest in computer security from a young age. He studied at both University of Alaska in Fairbanks for his bachelors and at Purdue University for his Masters in Computers Science, specializing in security. He has been working as a Program Manager for the Microsoft Protection team for four years as a, leading aspects of product instrumentation, monitoring, and quality metrics.
Bill Pfeifer
To instrument or to automate, that is the question, or not
October 2014

Test methodologies keep evolving and the new trend is telemetry. While it makes a lot sense to base your post-release quality assurance strategy on telemetry, it’s not that intuitive and straightforward pre-release. It is common to rely on test passes (manually or automated) and pass/fail validation in controlled environments to sign off a product for release. This talk will discuss possible approaches for using telemetry for pre-release sign off and the benefits in doing so.

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Meier Shmouely
Director of Engineering, Skype, Microsoft

Meier Shmouely is a Director of Engineering in Skype driving the Skype client central test services. Meir has been at Microsoft for over 19 years, driving Xbox one security, MSN Performance and Reliability, Windows Application Compatibility and ISA Microsoft Proxy and Firewall.
Getting Paid for Doing "Nothing" : How I Figured Out What I Do and Describe the Business Value In Doing It
November 2014

Despite being semi-famous in the testing community for a while, and proclaiming himself a tester, Michael recently realized that he never actually enjoyed testing! Understanding what he does actually enjoy - and how to explain the value of that so that people pay him to do it - is a journey he may never fully complete. In this talk Michael will describe his journey so far, in hopes it will help you come to a new understanding for yourself and your career.

slides, MP4 video download

Michael Hunter

After ten years of writing line of business apps for a major bank, and then almost fifteen years writing testing apps and frameworks for Microsoft, Michael is taking some time off to learn drumming, get married, and find his next paycheck. His “You Are Not Done Yet” testing checklist and other writings are at

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Seattle Area Software Quality Assurance Group (SASQAG)
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