Nationwide Spring Engineering Event

On April 18-19, the Dealertrack and Dealer.com engineering teams participated in a nationwide engineering event. This year, each location came up with their own unique project to enhance their skills and experiment with new ideas. Participating locations included Burlington, VT, Dallas, TX, Manhattan Beach, CA, Groton, CT, Sacramento, CA, Lake Success, NY and Salt Lake City, UT. Read more

Career Paths for Testers

Abstract: Within the engineering environment at Dealertrack, testers have two main pathways they can pursue: non-technical or technical. The information presented in this post is written with our context in mind, but other companies in the larger Cox Automotive family may also share similar frameworks in structuring their testing community.

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Professional Services: Lessons In On-Boarding Remote Teams

Back in December of 2014, my team and I were given the challenge to grow capacity within our Professional Services (PS) team.  The challenge was to double the size of our release train from 4 to 8 teams by the end of 2015.  While we had grown our teams in Burlington, adding two new teams in Dallas where we had no presence seemed like a big challenge.  At that time, a couple of other release trains had Dallas-based teams learning the Dealer.com platform or were hiring new teams.  While visiting Dallas, I asked several team members what was and wasn’t working for those teams.  One thing I heard was that sending someone down for a week or two of training wasn’t enough; there needed to be some level of dedicated support for the teams.  This heavily influenced how we resourced and approach on-boarding. Read more

Spreading the News 2: Agile to Agilers

In August of 2013, Dealer.com began its all-in transformation to agile from partial waterfall, partial ScrumBut. In Part 1 of the story, we discussed the initial presentations made to project management groups more inclined toward traditional waterfall methodologies.  In Part 2, we look at our interactions with the agile/Scrum community in Southern California.
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Becoming a Better Tester: A Place to Start

I want to pose a question: Is a generalized simplified model for priming novice testers helpful or confusing?

I struggle with this question when creating training material and teaching testers. It’s a natural inclination of mine to want to distill what I have learned into some concentrated and easily digestible brew. Something that testers can take, use, and then become better testers. The catch though, is that I know that’s not possible with testing. Anything I create at best is going to be an imperfect model. In some cases it may help, and in others it would surely fall flat. Another concern of mine is novice testers on the hunt for a silver bullet or a magical list to follow. Since testing is about critical thinking and not lists, I want to try and avoid anything I create being used in this way.
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Forging a way forward for engineers – other than management

Our Engineering leadership team believes that hiring and retaining great people is the most important thing we do. Great people do great things; it’s why our company has been so successful.

However, until about three years ago, we were not providing career options to our staff that would allow them to continue to be great while also feeling fulfilled and rewarded, with a career progression that played to their strengths.

Basically, at a certain level, you either moved into management, or you were at a dead end. Read more

Message to Testers: Tell a Compelling Story!

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If you’ve spent enough time in your Quality Assurance, perhaps with a traditional title like “QA Engineer” or “QA Analyst”, then you have probably heard the following directive: As testers, we must tell a compelling story to our stakeholders. The context-driven testing community believes this to be paramount to anyone serving in the testing role.

But, what does this really mean? Are we just talking about a scripted checklist here? Are we just trying to sound elite? Is this just some form of covering ourselves to prove we’re doing our job?

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