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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Announcing the Success of One of Our Own!

ShopNotes is pleased to report that our very own Karen N. Johnson’s book is available for purchase in trade paperback. Beautiful Testing: Leading Professionals Reveal How They Improve Software is available from O’Reilly Books and Videos.

From the publisher’s website: “Beautiful Testing offers 23 essays from 27 leading testers and developers that illustrate the qualities and techniques that make testing an art. Through personal anecdotes, you'll learn how each of these professionals developed beautiful ways of testing a wide range of products -- valuable knowledge that you can apply to your own projects.”

In Chapter 12, “Software in Use,” Ms. Johnson connects our personal stories and how they affect our work. The importance of storytelling becomes intertwined with the testing methodology.

We had an opportunity to catch up with Ms. Johnson recently, and she took time out of her busy schedule to answer some questions for us:

SN: What was it like writing a book for software testers that included such personal stories as your relationship with your ailing mother?

KJ: Writing the chapter in Beautiful Testing was a healing process of sorts for me. I blogged about it, see: “Beautiful Testing.”

SN: What did you gain from working with the Evanston Writers Workshop in the process of writing this story?

KJ: I drafted the chapter before I met the Evanston Writers Group. In fact, the chapter was close to going to print. I did ask Amanda from the group to provide a good critical review focused on grammar and some other aspects even though the timeframe was tight. I found having a strong writer helpful as everyone else who'd reviewed the chapter previously knew plenty about software testing but I didn't feel as though my chapter had gotten a true writer or editor's review.

SN: As you work on your next projects, and we understand you have a contract on another project stemming directly from your work on Beautiful Testing, what thoughts do you have on your process? Do you find working with a workshop approach helpful to your work?

KJ: Between having had conversations with another author and my work on BT, I was asked to contribute to another book that will be coming out from O'Reilly publishers. Hopefully I can draft my material in time to be included in that book - slated to come out in the first half of 2010.

Process. I wish I could say I have more of a process. I am deadline-inspired.

The workshop is helping me - its helping me schedule time for writing, think more about writing and I feel like I have a sincere group that I can get feedback from.

SN: Any other thoughts you’ve had about writing that you’d like to share with us?

KJ: I am beginning to understand what helps me write. I'm trying to understand and notice what elements or conditions help me write so that I can do my best to get myself or give myself those conditions.

For more information about Ms. Johnson and her work, please visit her website at Karen N. Johnson.

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