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An Exercise in Task Prioritization Or Where Has Pete Been? (Rhythm of Testing)

On October 9, 2011, in Syndicated, by Association for Software Testing
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I find it astounding that the last blog entry I posted was written on August 24.  That seems a long time for me to go between postings.  That is not to say I have not thought about writing some thoughts down.  In fact, I have a fairly lengthy list of post-it notes stuck on my bulletin board with “This would be a good topic for a blog entry.”  As of today, its quite a lengthy list. 

The simple fact is, I fell into a common trap for software people – I’d see a side project and think “I can do that in my spare time, it can’t take too long.”  Or, I’d say “Here’s an opportunity for me to do X.  Those don’t come along too often.  I can do that.”

Pretty soon, I had more “side projects” than time to do them in. 

On top of that, there was a “side project” at the day-job that needed to be addressed.  Not a big deal, just a minor little thing of 40 to 60 hours and a couple months to do it.  Of course, it was not on the project schedule because it was pretty small and could be done in the middle of other things.  Until it was scheduled to be shipped to a customer.  THEN the priority ramped up BIG time.  (No one has ever seen that before, right?)

So, in the meantime…

  • I wrapped up slide decks for two presentations at two conferences;
  • Wrote up supporting articles on both; 
  • Wrote an article taking a contrarian view toward the answer to a question asked;
  • Wrote up four short essays answering other questions;
  • Wrote up notes from CAST2011 and filed them neatly for later use;
  • Took the lady-wife on an extended weekend at a music festival that had no electiricity (and allowed no generators) in the camping area – and had a fantastic time;
  • Did the usual (and expected) “end of summer” family stuff;
  • Got caught up on the day-job’s projects (well, relatively);
  • Slept in yesterday.

Oh, and the usual home maintenance stuff for a home built in 1888.  (A friend of ours said “The only thing that works in an old house is the people.”  He’s right.  We stole the line and use it ourselves now.)  Oh, and I fixed the annoying drip in the plumbing in the downstairs shower.   (But that was today.)

The result is I missed a peer conference I had intended to participate in.  I also did NOT submit any proposals in the last 6 weeks to speak at conferences coming up next year (yeah, there werre a bunch of deadlines that I waved to as they whished by.)

The good news, and things I’m quite pleased about, include a resumption of workshops on drumming (pipe band drumming to be particular.)  I agreed to teach a bagpipe band’s fledgling drum corps this year.  I had done a series of workshops, fairly intense 4 and 5 hour sessions, starting with “holding the drumstick” and ending with “playing as an ensemble.”  They liked it so much that they asked me to repeat the lessons for their novices/newly joined drummers and pick up with more advanced material for last year’s students.  Cool.

The day job has had several “wins” from a business view, a software view, a testing view and personally.  Things are far from perfect, but there looks to be an interesting time ahead. 

So, expect an flurry of blog posts as I try and work myt way through the list.

What did I learn?  Hmmm – Jury is still out on that one.  Off the cuff, I’d say I should have learned to not take on more than I can handle.  What I may have learned instead is that sometimes the stuff we agree to do had better be fun, because we may not have a chance to do other stuff that is fun. 

 

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