Good To Be Writing Again

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I don’t try to hide the fact that my family and my service to God comes before my writing. Therefore, I was on a Sabbatical from July of 2012 to March of 2013.

Now, my girls have gotten a little older, my training of them a little more through, and my heart a little lighter. So I am ready to start writing seriously again. I am updating my blog weekly, putting in queries to publications that I would be a good fit to write for, and I am working on my first publications – a Home Economics Curriculum series for elementary aged students.

Please contact me if you have a suitable project for me.



Blogging for the Tech Industry

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software testing

software testing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Somehow, someway, I ended up a Tech Industry Blogger.

Why am I so surprised?

Because that isn’t what I originally intended to do. But now I am glad that I have done it.

Really, I have 10 years of experience in the Tech Industry, so it does make sense that I would combine my Freelance Writing with that Technical Experience. What is my experience? Oh, I am glad you asked;-)

5+ years in a Test Leadership (or Test Management) role.

10 years software testing

1+ year project management

10 years of writing 100’s of documents and 1000’s of communications.

5+ years with SQL

10 years with Windows

5+ years designing and/or developing test automation

Sounds like someone you want to write for you! Click my Hire Me link for more information or to discuss your next Tech Project.

Here are a couple of recent Bloggs I wrote for SPK (as part of the SPK Blogger Team):

Client Spotlight: Backbone Media

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I am very excited to announce that I am now writing / blogging for Backbone Media.

Of course, they are right up my alley. Backbone Media is a Tech company, focusing on developing and marketing web sites for small and large businesses. Blogging is one marketing tool they use.

The first client I am writing for is SPK and Associates, a Technical Consulting Firm, similar to what I worked for during my 10 years in the industry. I am basically writing about what I know – Software Testing, Project Management, Test Management, Process Improvement and more. It has been good, as I was starting to let the dust settle on my Tech Industry experience.

Check out SPK and Associates blog: . I write as part of the SPK Blogging Team.

My articles are:

I look forward to more work with Backbone.

Business Writing Services: Marketing Email Sample

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Back in my tech days, a friend of mine and I considered starting our own IT Consulting Business. We both ended up getting busy with other projects, but I know that I enjoyed writing up the Business Plans, Marketing Materials, and Marketing Emails. Below is a sample of one of the Marketing Emails:

 Marketing E-mail – Tech Projects


 Are you sure that you are shipping the right product? Is your project behind schedule and/or over budget?

We can help your company get back on track. A&G Quality Assurance Consulting Services will save you time and money by implementing the various solutions to the following issues that can impact a project:

  • Engineering does not have all of the information of what the product should look like
  • The project/product keeps changing
  • Lack of communication
  • Losing touch with the Customer’s wants and needs
  • Lack of resources


  • Requirements development and management – A complete set of Requirements that are complete, testable, and unambiguous can help Engineers understand what the product should be, thereby alleviating lost time to reworking the design and code. We can develop solid Requirements and implement Change Management for you, to ensure your ability to get the product right the first time through.
  • Requirements and other documentation review and testing – Testing documentation before or during the start of coding can eliminate as much as half the bugs typically found in a project. We can test and review this documentation, which can mean saving weeks worth of code rework and bug fixes.
  • QA Processes and communication – even some simple processes can alleviate headaches and schedule slides due to miscommunication between Management and Engineering. We can develop and implement a QA plan to make your project more efficient and effective.
  • Using the right life-cycle methodology for the product – if a product or project keeps changing to meet new developments in the market, then a methodology that has shorter time frames with specific negotiated features can help you respond to the market quicker. We can strategize with you to design and implement the best methodology.
  • Usability Studies and Use Cases – Keep your finger on your current and potential markets by sitting down with Customers and finding out how they will really use the system. This can decrease time to market and increase sales. We can run Usability sessions and lead Use Cases development efforts to achieve this effect.

Many companies do not start their projects with Quality Assurance staffing or Vendors in place because they feel that they can not afford it. The truth of the matter is, studies over the past 10 years of technical projects show that too many project fail or fall behind because these techniques and process are not implemented from the beginning, thereby actually costing the company more money in the long run.

Please contact us if you are interested in learning more:


Phone: 123-465-7890

We are available on a very reasonable hourly contract basis. Our resume and references are available upon request.

Also available for:



Technical Writing: Sample

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Although written a few years ago, this Technical Writing Sample of an Internal Communication of a Post Mortem Web Application Project Analysis is a good example of my skill in both Business Communication and Technical Writing.

Root Cause Analysis


After the XYZ 2.0 product delivery, an informal Root Cause Analysis was completed by the QA Department. It is considered informal because:

  • Only one person from one department analyzed the bugs. Generally, this should be completed by 2 or 3 people from a couple of different departments (PM, Dev, QA).
  • Not every bug was analyzed, only a sampling (about ¼).
  • Only bugs from the closed list were sampled (vs. all bugs touched during the phase).


Each bug was analyzed and put into one of the following classifications:

  • Requirements – these are bugs that are usually caused by no, or unclear, requirements. Development does not know something should be implemented or implemented the specific way.
  • Code – coding errors and code integration bugs.
  • Test – this includes incorrectly logged bugs, test not knowing correct functionality (which borders on being a Requirements bug), and issues that can’t be reproduced.
  • Suggestions – all of the suggestions and requests for new or improved features.


Out of 77 bugs analyzed, the number in each classification of bug was as follows:

  • Requirements: 10
  • Code: 35
  • Test: 14
  • Suggestions: 18


What do these findings mean and what can we do to improve our Project and Development processes going forward?

With Code issues being the highest, this suggests that Quality Processes need to be put into place to keep bugs from happening in the first place and to have the Developers finding bugs before the code is delivered to QA. These Quality Processes could include:

  • More unit level testing to be done by the Development Team
  • Code Inspections and walkthroughs
  • Write Unit tests, then code (Extreme Programming technique)

Although Suggestions being the next highest is a good thing, this would imply that Development, Support, and/or QA Team members are not being involved enough in the Requirements phase. We could improve our product quality by tapping into all of these resources during the requirements phase, instead of just during the test phase.

14 bugs in the Test category is not completely bad, but this number would be lower if documentation was kept more up to date and if there was more project documentation.

Only 10 bugs in the Requirements category suggests that we are doing a pretty good job of gathering, understanding, and implementing requirements.

Additional Recommendations

A more formal/empirical bug analysis needs to take place on upcoming releases when time allows.

April’s Resume

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Here is my professional resume:


2010 – Current Freelance Writer, Schroader Family Writing Services

  • Textbroker, Freelance Writer, Business Writing Market, Technical Writing, Health and Wellness Writing, Travel Writing – Textbroker is an online marketplace for written articles. Currently rated as a Level 4 Writer (levels are 2 to 5).
  • Churchmouse Publishing, Freelance Writer, Christian Writing Market – A paid, syndicated / published article
  • Armoral Tuttle Public Library, New Plymouth, ID, Volunteer, – Web Content Management and Site Updates
  • Resume Writing Services – Helping people get the job they want by assisting them in crafting a professional, quality resume

2006 – Current – Homeschooling Mother of 3 Children (and counting)

2005 – 2006 Senior Database / Backend Test Engineer, Consultant to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation through Bridge Consulting

Product Description

The GrantView System is a heavily customized Grant Making and Tracking software built on an existing product using SQL, and XML. This new Grant making system was plugged into existing Gates Foundation systems including Financial and Reporting. ETL, the primary testing focus, consisted of using SQL DTS and SQL stored procedures to extract, transform and load data from the new GrantView system into the existing Data Mart and Reporting system, with some changes being made to the Data Mart schema to support the new data.

  • Wrote test specifications and test cases for full coverage of owned feature areas. Testing was primarily backend testing and involved mostly SQL data validation, with some data setup through the GrantView UI. Wrote SQL queries (multi-table joins, sub queries, etc…) to perform the data validation.
  • Became a feature area expert and worked closely with the team, especially the Developers, on any issues found. Performed troubleshooting, including backend analysis of issue, reading through SQL code, and using SQL tools.
  • Wrote SQL scripts to automate some of the ETL testing, mainly using complex queries and checksums to validate the data between the two systems. With some assistance from the Test Lead, plugged the SQL scripts into C# code, using Gates Foundation custom automation harness, to fully automate the testing and reporting of results and ran the automation on a nightly basis.
  • Performed document and code reviews on all documents and code related to ETL, giving feedback where useful.

2004 – 2005 Senior Test Engineer 3, Consultant to Microsoft through Volt Computer Services

Product Description

The Order Management Platform is a generic, flexible e-commerce platform built on SQL, ASP and COM that allows different product groups at Microsoft to use the components of the system in ways that suites their need to sell their products through the internet directly to their customers. Email Services and Feed Services, the primary testing focus, are Windows Services which run a series of SQL Stored Procedures at a designated interval to accomplish tasks such as importing vendor updates to orders and sending email confirmations based on new orders or updated orders.

  • Wrote test specifications and test cases for full coverage of owned feature areas. Testing was primarily backend testing and involved mostly SQL data setup and validation. Wrote SQL queries (multi-table joins, sub queries, etc…) to perform the data setup and validation. The set of SQL scripts served as partial automation of the testing.
  • Quickly became the group expert in Email Services (primary test area) and learned Feed Services to assist with testing when needed (and Feed Services integrated with Email Services). Performed Analysis on some Production issues that were found in Feed Services to assist with understanding the issue and getting to the correct design approach before it came to System Test.
  • Worked closely with Developers on any issues found. Performed troubleshooting, including reading through stored procedures and running performance analysis tools.
  • Wrote on-boarding / training documentation for primary feature area. Also wrote an automation evaluation document on what it would take to fully automate the Email Services feature, along with breakdown of grouping of test cases for best ROI from the automation.

2003 – 2004 Quality Assurance and Test Lead, Consultant to Microsoft through Murphy and Associates

Product Description:

Project Codename Edison is a Partner Relationship Management and Opportunity Management web-based and data integration system built on SQL Server 2000 and Windows 2003 using technologies such as ASP.NET and XML. Edison integrates Partner, Customer, Sales and Opportunity data from various MS internal systems including MSOrg, Sibel, Feedstore, Cert Partner, MSSales, Genesis and MOSB. The product is to support the needs of the World Wide Small and Medium Business Unit (Sales and Marketing).

  • Came on board with 7 weeks left to ship 1.0 pilot – lead 4 other team members, including 3 offshore resources in India, to write and run tests (including data validation with SQL), organized bug bashes, and started the setup and organization of the Quality Assurance Team in this timeframe.
  • For the 2.0 version, came up with creative solutions (using research and other’s experiences) to plan and implement a test schedule that would fit into the ship time box. This included organizing and leading bug bashes, user testing, prioritizing testing, and coordinating with the Development Team on defect prevention (including Dev running manual and automated unit tests before check-in). Communicated risks associated with shipping product in time box with capacity short QA Team.
  • For 2.0, participated in interviews and grew the team to 10 members, including 1 additional Lead. For 2.3, participated in interviews and grew the team to 22 members, including additional offshore resources and 1 additional Lead.
  • Held some Test Management duties as the point Test Lead for all major releases through 2.1.6. This includes: scoping and estimation, work breakdown, capacity planning and work schedules, master test plans, all project leadership meetings, JAD (feature / spec) session, and Test representative for major project decision making. Involved in all aspects of the SDLC.
  • Lead the team to do spec reviews, test case writing, running tests, logging bugs, and communicating issues. Got hands on when / where needed.
  • Conjointly lead the test automation effort including high level design, how to group test cases into suites for supportability of data driven automation, and low-level design reviews and code reviews. For UI testing, the main harness was a Microsoft custom-built .NET automation driver with API, use to access controls on a web page. Scripted Test Suites in C#. For data integration testing, SQL scripts with test databases and/or xml files were used.
  • Lead other kinds of testing including Performance, Load, Localization, Unicode, Globalization, Security and Privacy.
  • Involved in or lead Best Practices including how to write good bugs, triages and general project / team process improvement such as improving documentation and communication.
  • Initially handled all test coordination with our integration partners. Currently handle coordination with the Microsoft Sibel Team and share coordination and communication with all the disciplines involved in the Edison project, including Analysis, Development, Product and Project Management, User Support and Production Support.

Additional Quality Assurance, Project Management, and QA Management Positions since 1996. Many of these positions included Technical Writing.


2010 – Ongoing, self teaching writing and freelance writing business through books and online sites

2002 Continuing education courses and workshops, Volt Technical Education

File and Folder Operations with C#.NET

1997-1998 Continuing education courses and workshops, Microsoft Technical Education
Including Product Cycle Model, Survey of Testing Tools, Testing Websites I, SQL Server Basics, and Testing for the Global Environment.

1996 Computer programming courses, North Seattle Community College
Developed functional programs in BASIC and C++. Used basic Unix commands and wrote batch files using the Korn Shell. Learned data communications and networking basics.

1994 – 1995 Associate in Arts and Sciences, Bellevue Community College
Emphasis on psychology including quantitative and qualitative research and analysis. Tutored students in Algebra and Calculus.

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