About Karen Wysopal

Mixed Media Artist Software QA Manager Photographer Intermittent Blogger

The Demonic Dev/QA Relationship

I received a lot of generous and interesting feedback from my presentation, QA Role in Scrum – Leveraging Agile for Defect Prevention at PNSQC last October.  Some came in the form of written comments on little sheets of paper handed out at the end of the presentations. One that particularly stood out for me was,

“Nice job not demonizing dev.”

I laughed on first reading it.  Why would I demonize dev?  We’re all on the same team; we all want to create a high quality product.  Right?  Right. Continue reading


QA Role in Scrum: Leveraging Agile for Defect Prevention


Update February 19, 2014...  Another great evening presenting on Agile Quality!  This time at AgilePDX in Portland.  Many thanks to Diana Larsen for the invite, and to everyone who attended for the great conversation!

Links to the white-paper and slides here (or slides with animation here.)

East coast Agile enthusiasts: Hope to see you in April at QUEST 2014 in Baltimore!

Continue reading

Managing Idiosyncratic Talent – HBR blog


One of my favorite aspects of management is finding the core brilliance in each person, and figuring out how to help that brilliance take center stage in his or her work.  In addition to not trying to fit a square peg into a round hole, sometimes this also means helping people get out of their own way.

This is highlighted in an interesting interview with Robert D. Austin on managing “idiosyncratic talent”.  He suggests that we can avoid “leaving good talent on the table” by rethinking our ideas of how people need to “fit in” in order to be employable, and uses software testers in a successful Danish company as a prime example.


Scoping Testing is Not as Easy as You Might Think

QA Managers get asked all the time, “How long will it take to test it?”  Scoping testing is one of the most challenging tasks we face in QA.  To understand why, we first need to look at the question itself.  What the questioner really means is, “How long will it take for you to tell us it’s okay to ship it?”  This is a different question, and a much harder one to answer. …read more >>

“Agile Automation” an Oxymoron? Resolved

Test automation, it turns out, is a broad term. The tools with which to do it range from the massive, expensive, infrastructure intensive, to the open source download-and-run. The latter are easy to deploy and make quick use of in an agile environment, but even in this context some suggest the best outcome is achieved by assigning dedicated resources to it. Continue reading

Testing as a Creative Endeavor

Recently, I did a Google search on “agile test automation”. I’m struggling to figure out how, if at all, test automation fits in to a very agile and loosely structured software development model. I come from a world of three- to twelve-month software release cycles. Where I work now, we release new code to production at least once a week. It’s exciting and invigorating.  What I most enjoyed about writing test automation was Continue reading