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Seasons Change and Energy Fluctuates (TESTHEAD)

On May 23, 2013, in Syndicated, by Association for Software Testing
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It’s been interesting to look at the last few years of my blog’s existence. In it I can see certain trends and also I can look back and see what mattered to me, what I chose to expend energy on, and what took me away from posting on the blog or making good on things I said I would do.

Why am I thinking of this right now? Because it’s been several weeks since I’ve done an update to the Selenium Practicum, and I’ve been averaging about a blog post a week, which many people who follow my blog know is abnormal for me. However, it really isn’t that abnormal. If I look back at the past few years of data, January and February are strong months of lots of activity, multiple posts (often twice a day or more), and then as the weather gets better and the days get longer, the posts become less frequent. Typically around May, the post spigot dries up to about one every five days, or perhaps one a week.

Now that I’ve had a chance to review it a bit closer, I realize why. The past few years, I’ve been involved in a number of initiatives, and each of them seems to have a life cycle of their own. SummerQAmp has a life cycle, preparing for conferences has a life cycle. Posting for other blogs has a life cycle. Add  to that the activities my family participates in and its easy to see that the energy isn’t really growing or diminishing, it being redirected. For some reason, it’s easier to take on a big learning initiative during the winter months. Preparing to write articles also seems to be something that I am better primed to do in the early spring. Summer is about developing presentations and talks. Fall is when I go into gathering mode and try to put it all together and see if I can condense and explain the avenues that I have done down. This may not be absolute, but if the past three years of blog data is  to be believed, it’s a pretty accurate description of how and where my mind is going.

I had a chat with a fellow tester some weeks back where she shared with me that she really appreciated my blog, and the fact that “she could relate to me as an individual, not just as a tester”. I think in some ways, that’s what makes writing TESTHEAD critical for me. In some ways, this blog is more than me pontificating on some cool test idea. Very often, test ideas are few and far between in my posts. Events take up a fair amount of space, but they really are dictated by what I actually participate in. While there’s a lot of opportunities to learn and practice out there, events happen when they happen. That leaves one more aspect of the blog, and that’s the one that really matters the most. Interaction. I interact with this blog in many ways. Its my accountability partner. It lets me know when I’m doing a great job, and when I’m not doing so great. It lets me know who finds what I say interesting, and who doesn’t.

Most importantly, though, it gives me a chance to talk about things that I am, dare I say it, not so good at. This is an idea and a philosophy I picked up from Merlin Mann several years ago, in which on one of his podcasts, he said (paraphrased) “I don’t blog about this because I’m good at it. I blog about this because I’m actually pretty lousy at a lot of this stuff!” I find it interesting that, when taken  on a whole, I am “endorsed” by more people for test automation than I am any other skill. Personally, I find that ironic, because test automation may be the skill I struggle with the most. I’m not innately good at it. I spend a lot of time trying to figure things out that it might take a seasoned programmer just a few minutes to do. Still, because I do want to get better at it, I write about it. A lot. I write about the challenges I face. I write about the frustrations I have. I write about the fact that a lot of the explanations made just aren’t that easy to understand and I share my confusion. Maybe that’s why so many have endorsed me for test automation, not because I am good at it, but because I have a clear understanding of just how frustrating it can be, and I can offer lots of proof to that fact :).

In any event, Spring is almost over, Memorial Day weekend is coming up (and I am deliberately going “off the grid” to celebrate it 🙂 ). Lots of interesting stuff is going on, and as soon as I know for a fact that we are good to go on a number of things, I’ll be talking about quite a few more things, including getting back on the hobby horse that is my Selenium WebDriver Practicum.

 

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