This is a well-written story teaching us about the importance of tester's early involvement in the project, understanding the use cases and preforming exploratory tests over pure test automation. Hats off, Kristin Jackvony!
Desk checks are a practice of involving various team members to provide feedback and share accountability on the quality of the implementation during the development.
I haven't heard of Desk Checks before but this solid explanation by Lina Zubyte makes things much clearer to me.
I'm glad to see that teams are getting more aware of the importance of automated testing done by developers. But for effective testing, one needs an effective development environment. And that's what Ethan J. Jackson is providing practical solutions for in this insightful article.
And if developers in your team aren't so keen to do the testing activities yet, Alissa Lydon provides some handy tips on how you, as a tester, can help them do so.