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2011: A Look Forward (Rhythm of Testing)

On January 1, 2011, in Syndicated, by Association for Software Testing
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On SQA Forums, someone posted a question about “New Year Resolutions.”  There were many of the usual suspect types of responses, e.g., get in shape, lose weight, gain training, learn something new…

I posted that some years ago I resolved not to make any “resolutions,” as in commitments to myself, that I knew I would most likely not be able to fulfill.  Yeah, a little snarky, but it was also pretty honest. 

Therefore, as my last post was a look back on 2010, as I was sipping a brandy last night chatting with my lady-wife as she knitted and some show was on television, I had some thoughts running through my head.  Pretty sad, eh?  The days of running off to the local Scottish Society’s Hogmanay are distant memories.  Most of our friends we’d get together and play music to welcome the new year are now widely dispersed.   I wonder if that makes us “old” – Hope not. 

Ah yes, my thoughts.

Some of this I actually started thinking about late last year.  I sent some emails to a handfull of people asking them for assistance.  In some ways looking for advice, and in otherways, to be sounding boards for my thought processes.  There are changes coming that I’ve been pondering. 

For most of my career in software, I’ve worked for someone else.  For most of that time, it was working for companies where producing software was to support their primary business.  The software was not their product, it supported the product or its delivery.  To be honest, working on the product the company makes is fun.  It can be frustrating when I don’t have the option of actually talking to the people who asked for a change or enhancement, and I speak with people who may understand what the people who asked for they really mean.

The Road Ahead…

The interesting thing is I’ve been thinking about the future.  Well, not THE future, but what lay ahead for me professionally and how that may impact the family.  It would seem there are several items that are possibilities for the coming year.  One path would be to look for new work opportunities, either as a contract/consultant or as a full time, permanent employee.  Yeah, as if  “permanent” means much.

Community

Another option is to become more involved in the testing community.  Actually, I started working on that as well in 2010.  What I mean is that reading blogs other folks write is a good way to learn what they’re thinking is.  Reading and participating in on-line forums is another way to both learn and become involved.  Well, doing that as much as I can right now. 

Of course, more actively engaging in both of these types of activities is on my list of things to do this coming year.  Ya know, the funny thing is, the more I talk with folks about things I learn and have learned, the more I learn myself. 

Local Testing Groups

Another thing, the local testing group, GR Testers, has been going in fits and starts for a while.  Meetings have been sparse of late.  The most recent one, December, was kind of fun.  There were a bunch of us sitting around a table, lots of wings, good beer and folks talking about testing.  Good way to spend an evening.  There’s another meeting coming up Monday, 3 January.  It makes it the first time in quite a while that there were back to back monthly meetings.  Normally, they are officially held every other month.  It seems that as more people are showing an interest, the meeting frequency will pick up.

I wonder how many other local testing groups are out there that have a meeting schedule based on “whenever” instead of “We meet at this time, and here are the next couple of topics we’re focusing on at these meetings…”  I believe that the more people know about local groups, the more they are invited to participate and the more information that is available about them, the more active and the stonger the community there is.

I think that pretty well sums up what I’m looking to do with the local group.  I believe that getting more people involved and talking about testing is vital to improving not only our individual tradecraft, but the abilities of the local community.  Sharing well reasoned ideas can do nothing but good, presuming all are allowed to learn and ask questions

Personal Development

Now, I realize that any of the above activities can lead to improving any individual participating.  What I mean here is something a bit more.  I had been signed up for the BBST Foundations course offered by the Association for Software Testing for a session in in the fall of 2010.  Things happened and that session was cancelled.  I could not take the session offered as an alternative. 

The GOOD news, for me, is I am signed up to take the Foundations course this spring.  YEAH!  I am really looking forward to this.  Everyone I know who took the course raves about it.  Big-time excited. 

I’ve continued reading blogs and articles and books and talking with people and… everything else.  My goal is to continue learning and to continue to share what I learn. 

For conferences, I’ll be attending and presenting at STPCon in March in Nashville.  I bought myself a birthday present and renewed my AST membership in October.  If I can work it out, I’ll be attending CAST in August in Seatle. 

At the day-job, I’ve continued to be a pest, and will do so for some time. The cool thing is the boss is good with it. Something about “pushing everyone to improve…”

So, that is a combination of goals, intentions and plans for 2011.  What the future will really bring, I’m not sure. 

On the other hand, the lady-wife did give me a list of places where she’d like to live should a relocation option present itself…

 

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