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Copyright © 2017 Marcia Buzzella. 

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Collaborative. Authentic. Purposeful.

I am dedicated to using collaborative, authentic, purposeful inquiry to buoy the strengths, performance, and engagement of individuals and teams wanting to obtain clarity and practice so they are ready when opportunity knocks. 

ABOUT ME

My career in software quality assurance (SQA) and testing was not planned. In fact, my college mentor encouraged me to become an accountant.  I found my way forward, into software testing, despite the advice I received. Read the full story here.

After earning some bumps and bruises in the software quality assurance world, I realized that history repeats itself all too often in this industry.  Scrapped projects. Delayed deployments. Test documents sent to live customers. Shortened timelines.  Critical defects introduced to production. Sound familiar?  As a software testing practice leader, I watched as software test professionals encountered the same challenges I lived through again and again.  Why were the challenges of the past still plaguing today’s teams?

Determined to answer this question, and to help software test professionals move beyond these obstacles, I went back to school to earn a Doctor of Business Administration degree, with a specialization in Leadership.  For my dissertation, I elected to dig into the trials and tribulations of software test professionals. 

I spent the next three years wading through books and articles, interviewing software test professionals, and analyzing the data acquired.  The core takeaway from this endeavor was the premise that successful IT projects occur when teams possess a balance of soft (social) and hard (technical) skills. I also discovered that the soft skills of communication, problem-solving, and adaptability allow software test professionals to influence the success of IT projects.

Eager to share my findings, I presented the information to small groups of software test professionals. During the Q&A at the first session, a QA manager posed a question that crashed my thought processes completely.  He asked, “How do you evaluate your soft skills so that you know where to start?”  Upon reflection, I realized that I was describing a utopian destination but offering no means to arrive at paradise.

At about the same time I had engaged a strengths coach for personal development. I took the Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment back in 2011 and often use the talent theme lens to review my performance and identify growth opportunities.  Completing my degree left me feeling adrift (the danger of having Learner and Achiever as your top talents) and I needed perspective.  Little did I know the two paths would quickly converge.

Soft skills are inherently personal.  The social capabilities that make one software test professional successful might not apply to another individual.  Similarly, an individual’s talent themes are personal … the odds of another person having the same top 5 talents (in the same order) is 1 in 34,000,000.  Enter the strengths-based coaching perspective for personal development and soft skill improvement.

 

Collaborating with strengths coaches allowed me to chart my development journey.  Where did I want to go?  How would my talents get me there?  Understanding my internal wiring also helped me forge a stronger relationship with my spouse.  Why do I do the things I do? Why does he? (Yes, I persuaded him to take the assessment too.)

 

If you want to explore your talents in action and plan next steps, then contact me for more information. You can also check out my blog and resources page for additional insights.

Formal Bio

With 15+ years of experience in leadership and software quality assurance, I have collaborated with individuals and teams to identify shared objectives, talent development opportunities, best practices and standards, business process improvements, and innovative tactics to encourage adoption of new concepts, tools, and methods of interaction.  I have a Doctorate in Business Administration, with a specialization in Leadership, and my chosen area of research centers on the capabilities of software test professionals. My goal as a leadership scholar practitioner is to create positive, engaged environments where all stakeholders readily, and collaboratively, contribute fully to the desired goals.

I love embarking on exciting new adventures (traveling, hiking, dining) with my husband/best-friend. As an avid amateur photographer, I rarely go anywhere without a camera in hand.

Qualifications and Certifications

  • Doctor of Business Administration, with Leadership Specialization

  • Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach

  • Master Human Capital Strategist, Human Capital Institute

  • Advanced Communicator Silver and Advanced Leader Bronze, Toastmasters International