I felt it was important for you to know me beyond just my accomplishments. So I asked a friend to ask me some questions to show off my “geek-a-tude.” I’ve listed the questions and my answers below.
Tell me Your Craziest Dream about QA
VR: Wow. I’ve had a lot. Perhaps more like nightmares. Ha. My crazy dreams about QA are more about solving challenging test strategies in my sleep. I would literally find myself dreaming about challenges and then I’d wake up and jot down a crazy solution on a pad of paper I keep by my bed. In fact, it’s that or in the shower that I come up with my best work.
What TV Character do you most resemble?
VR: Hmm. This is a tough one. I’m going to make myself out to be a Ms. Potatohead—a combination of 3 TV characters: I like to think that I’m this strong smart woman that is a bit of a workaholic on the outside but actually tender on the inside (Olivia on Fringe), combined with the quirky geekiness of Liz Lemon on 30 Rock, and peppered with a bit of ‘I make decisions for the greater good’ from President Laura Roslin on Battlestar Gallactica.
What’s Your Proudest QA Moment?
VR: This one is easy.
Educating everyone from analysts to PMs to CFOs about QA and testing is part of my role. At one organization, while working on an extremely high-profile project (a 20-system integration to support internal management of the SAT exam—including ecommerce and finance), I needed to gain buy-in from the CFO on the importance of testing.
Due to the high dollar amount and sheer volume of transactions that would be entering the ERP (enterprise resource planning) system, and due to the fact that the ERP system was the last system to receive data in the chain of 20 systems, I needed the CFO to understand that his system was the most vulnerable. He had the most risk to mitigate because all data entering the ERP system would be accepted if provided in the correct data format. However, if upstream systems were not properly designed, developed, and tested, then the properly formatted data coming from those upstream systems could still be inaccurate. The ERP could be easily flooded with erroneous data, making for a very large data clean-up effort.
My proudest moment was the change that took place in the CFO’s support of testing. The first time I sat down with him in a meeting to discuss QA and testing, he was visibly uninterested—in his eyes, IT was a support division and he expected everything to just magically “work.”
Cut to a few months later. (Pay attention! This is when the proudest moment comes!) I was sitting in a meeting with a number of C-level people, including the CFO. It was announced that the development schedule had slipped and the proposal on the table was to decrease the already-minimal time allocated for testing the ERP system, introducing much more risk. As I was about to address the powers-that-be on the virtues of testing, the CFO jumped into the conversation ahead of me and demanded the need for additional time.
He went on to explain the basic tenets of testing to the other folks in the room. I didn’t have to say a word. Not a word. He got the message. That was my proudest moment.
When you’re not working you are…
VR: Enjoying life and trying not to take any breath for granted. I love spending time with friends and family—cooking, eating. I love seeing live music. I love traveling. I love making or trying to make people laugh (mostly at my silly antics.)
OK. Moment of truth. Geekiest movie indulgence…
VR: I love all sci-fi. The Matrix trilogy. Lord of the Rings trilogy. Blade Runner. Stargate. Children of Men. If you want to talk about TV—I’m a huge BSG fan. Don’t know BSG? Don’t bother talking to me. Alias. Fringe. Star Trek (original series). The X-Files. Space – Above and Beyond.
If you weren’t rocking the QA world you’d be…
VR: Running my own restaurant/bar in the Caribbean, or perhaps a Bed-and-Breakfast. Or, a professional QA taste tester for ice cream. But perhaps I might be most knowledgeable at testing Starbucks lattes. I have a weakness—I’m a frequent taster as it is. Might as well get paid for it.
Want to get more VR “Geek Cred?” Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask away. She might even answer!