Hmm. I find proposed answers to these questions somewhat... unexpected. Lacking, in fact. They focus so much on technical ability, and seem to ignore the human side of being a manager. Starting with the first one... "1) Let’s say you are the first QA manager joining our startup. What are the first three things you would do?" The kind of things I'd expect to hear here would never be of the kind 'write a test plan'. And I hardly believe anyone would be able to contribute a test plan right away, would they? I expect ability to write a test plan, or setup a process where it is created and managed, to be rather easy to check by just asking someone to do a test plan on an imagined scenario. The answer I would like much more would be: '1. meet the team', '2. understand the product, its vision, goals', '3. understand current dev/QA setup and code before I proceed'.
In other words, it seems to me that the first things to do should be to see where we are, connect with people rather than making things up. How can you propose first actions without at least basic understanding of where you are?
I like questions 5+ much better, but still these seem more suited for interviewing an experienced individual contributor, not a team manager.
How about setting up a team? How about hiring? How would you define and split tasks, assuming we agree on tasks? What kind of testing would you personally do, which would you delegate to QAs and which would you require to stay on the dev team? What would you do in situation X? (any difficult multi-optimization problem where people, technical and philosophical issues are to be considered)
I can imagine a great individual contributor to ace every single question on ths list, and then fail utterly when he has to manage even 2 people effectively.
This has been added:
"It is important for the QA manager candidate to ask questions of his own regarding the current process and the challenges facing the organization that led to the search for a QA manager."
The questions don't go into further details of managing and leading a team, there is a whole set of questions that are more tailored towards hiring a "QA team lead" - might be a follow on blog post.
Re: the last paragraph ("The lesson to be..."). Is it really the lesson you can learn? Doesn't this friend of yours know this? Didn't he actively try to persevere, to see how he works and what makes him stop and what could possibly keep him going?
To me it sounds more like description of a problem (i.e. just restating it). "A person starts many things but drops them before finishing. In other words, that person lacks perseverance."
A lesson to me would be something like... a) when you feel your passion for something going up, do X, b) when you have just started doing something new, do Y to ensure you don't drop it tomorrow, etc.
Have you perhaps seen these kinds of 'solutions' or approaches? (not just restating the essence of the problem, but actually attempting to solve it from the standpoint of the person _with_ the problem :) I think more than a couple people could benefit from this :)
Are you suggesting that if you point my browser to a malicious URL [Chrome on Win 7] I will get malware "just like that", without clicking anything? How's that possible, exactly? (I have no Java installed.) I understand there could be a _security_ flaw in the browser itself, but are you telling me there are security flaws that mean "malicious URL opened = arbitrary malware will now run on user's OS"???
Possibly, yes - Flash and Java are both commonly-exploited attack vectors for this. Not having Java is a good start, but Chrome ships with Flash embedded in it (and to Google's credit, they keep it aggressively patched by pushing updates), but if someone were running an exploit against an unpatched zero-day, then you could go to a harmless site which is running federated ads, which the attacker has purchased ad views for, and which they use to serve their Flash-based payload which runs the exploit and provides some measure of your access to your computer (often to add an additional payload that can be used to back-door you). The damage is done.
To protect yourself against this, you should go into Chrome's about:settings/content and set Plugins to "click-to-play", so that you have to manually allow a plugin to execute, preventing this kind of drive-by attack.
"I don't expect for-profit companies to support things that has no value (to them) other than harming their revenue stream."
If users can't block ads they hate through AdBlock on Chrome, they may switch to a different browser or OS. That's not good for browser/OS creator... In addition, people who use AdBlock probably click on ads mostly by mistake (as do I and lots of my tech-aware frinds). Hence there is almost no revenue in showing those ads anyway.
I agree with you that if an organization sees something they control as working against them they will usually try to kill it. I disagree that AdBlock is actually working against their revenue stream... at least I don't see any evidence in this whole thread, mostly speculation.
What worries me more is hypocrisy on the part of Google. They frequently claim that users come first, when in fact Google's profits come first. Why all the drama about users then? :)
tl;dr While it hurts to lose a loved person, at least that person no longer suffers.
One point from the blog I have a hard time relating to: "Because whatever problems Aaron was facing, killing himself didn't solve them. Whatever problems Aaron was facing, they will go unsolved forever. If he was lonely, he will never again be embraced by his friends. If he was despairing of the fight, he will never again rally his comrades with brilliant strategies and leadership. If he was sorrowing, he will never again be lifted from it."
I'm not sure what your religious beliefs are, but to atheists [like me] it's pretty clear that death is the end, and while he may have suffered a lot in his life, he surely is no longer suffering, and "his problems" no longer exist. They're gone with him. And in that sense, yes, he solved them for himself. Yes, he gave up the potential rest of his life, but I can relate to the idea of letting go at some point, possibly even without much regret as to what might happen in the future.
I can see how people close to him will now suffer a great deal at this loss, but again, the problems a man struggles with are his own, and I'd rather not mix the perspective of his loved ones with that.
I sense that many people (even non-religious) have a very 'judgmental' view of suicide, like it's some kind of disgrace or stupidity. I'm not saying the blog post author is one of those people, but really, having seen lots of [absurd] suffering in my life I am very understanding of people who are brave or desperate enough to let go.
To me it was the same with a couple friends who died in young age of serious illness. It hurt both sides when they were ill; now it only hurts me, but I am glad they didn't suffer endlessly (or for an extended period of life). To some, extended suffering is hell. I can imagine that it's not the case for everyone though.
That struck me as just poetic language -- completely justifiable mourning for a possible future that suddenly, jarringly, became impossible. It's a genuine tragedy when everything that could possibly happen to someone in the rest of their life is simply deleted.
My experience with self help books is quite similar to my experience with people who read "Learn how to program" books. Some people go into the book with a head full of steam, but they give up as soon as things get hard. Other people start with the same enthusiasm, but they push through the difficult parts and (eventually) become great programmers.
The best educational materials I've ever read always start from the perspective that what you're about to learn is freakishly hard and it will take hard work to gain even a modicum of skill. Tragically, writing that on the cover of a book would likely kill sales.
As a reader though, I like to remind myself that I'm embarking on a voyage of learning, not one of already knowing. I remind myself that this is going to take a whole lot of work and that I will be frustrated many times. As long as I'm willing to do the homework, I can learn how to do almost anything.
As for your third question, you'll find tremendous variance as people have a number of different learning styles. I'd argue that any kind of personal change would work similarly to expert performance, so I suspect that the best medium is whatever medium does the best job of encouraging deliberate practice.
VAK(T): Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic, (Tactile). It's been argued that tactile and kinesthetic learners can be lumped into the same group, hence the parentheses. It's also hard to define exactly what the differences between the two are.
Ah. The VAK model. I looked briefly for scientific support for this "theory" on the Internet, but I couldn't really find any. Wikipedia suggested it's a theory with little to no support, and other locations didn't show ANYTHING that would convince me such a thing as "visual" or "auditory" learners exist. Below is a bit of my thinking on the subject.
I am inclined to think that these "learning styles" are bogus, that every person can and will learn in many different "styles" depending on the situation, specifically it's been shown that every normal (and even very young) human can learn just by observing other people's behavior. (One of the classics - Bandura: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Observational_learning)
I met many people (mostly in the soft skills training circles, same people who tend to work in psychodynamic therapy systems but went to business training for the money) who claim that "there are people of different learning styles and you should take that into account when instructing them/teaching them", but when I ask about details, nobody can explain what's the difference between these learning styles, and what is the belief that they even exist based on (e.g. a "source" :).
I could go on, but I think you get the point :)
While I do understand people may consciously prefer certain learning _settings_ (much more than a "style"), I doubt it's the categorization of a learner that makes or breakes such a complicated topic as "changing a habit" or "making a change in life" [based on a book / other 'intervention'].
I can definitely confirm the existence of visual/kinesthetic learners (in the limited realm of dancing). I've worked as a dance coach, and there's a distinct grouping into people who need to see steps demonstrated, and people who need to be guided through steps.
I can also confirm that people communicate in a way that describes the world in visual/auditory/kinesthetic terms, and people often have a preferred mode of communication. As a result, it is often helpful to choose a similar mode of communication. (My personal speculation: Not because that's their learning style, but because it is a more familiar kind of speech. What you say becomes more relatable)
But I certainly do agree with you that the "learning style" model is oversimplified, and can't be applied as such in many settings. (How on earth do you teach computer science in a kinesthetic way? ;)
Very interesting information about dancing, thanks for sharing that!
I can see how people have _preferences_. If something is new & hard (a possible definition for learning), I would imagine we instinctively look for ways to make progress with minimum amount of effort. So in that sense we may have learning styles, but that wouldn't mean permantent or exclusive style. Other ways could work for us, too, but over the years we practiced certain style more than others and so we choose whenever we can (it's efficient/pleasant).
So perhaps simple familiarity of a way to learn might be the source of the whole idea and its appeal.
I can see how poorly designed scientific research would even validate learning styles in that sense without uncovering that everyone can actually learn in every way, they just choose not to for local efficiency.
I think it's more on the part of the reader. A lot of willpower is needed to fundamentally change yourself, especially based on just one person's ideas. It's up to the reader to put the ideas into action, and I think that for a lot of people that's difficult without a motivating environment.
For example, hanging out with people that are into fitness does a lot more for you than going it alone. Working a service job and having to speak to people to make money does more for your confidence than any motivating words. It's different for different people, of course.