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[Yet Another] 2013 Retrospective (Road Less Tested)

On January 2, 2014, in Syndicated, by Association for Software Testing
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Over the past few days I’ve been inspired by other testers who blogged about their 2013 retrospective. Seems like 2013 was a great year for testers and testing everywhere. This inspiration was all I needed to get my creative writing juices flowing again. I haven’t blogged in ages and you’ll see why below.

APRIL 2013

Critical Thinking for Testers and WeTest Workshop
In April 2013 I made a last minute decision to fly to Wellington, NZ to attend Michael Bolton’s Critical Thinking for Testers Workshop. There are certain courses that do not add much to what you already know. This course was not one of these!  I’m glad I made the journey to NZ as the course was very insightful and deeply impacted the way I test and see things. I was challenged and inspired by Michael. I was also very fortunate to be able to attend the Wellington Testers (WeTest) Workshop as someone cancelled last minute. WeTest is a LAWST style meetup where one person presents, followed by facilitated open season. Michael Bolton talked about Regression Obsession, a topic I was very interested on as back then I was working for a company that suffered from that, and I was trying to change it.

JUNE 2013

WTANZ Revival
After attending a couple of Weekend Testing Americas sessions at the fun hour of 3 AM on Sundays, I was persuaded by Michael Larsen to revive WTANZ, Australia and New Zealand’s chapter of Weekend Testing. With Michael’s help, and the support of many testers downunder, such as Anne-Marie CharrettDavid GreenlessRichard Robinson, Oliver Erlewein and most recently Dean Mackenzie (WTANZ’s newest co-facilitator), WTANZ re-started with a bang in June. We’ve had 6 session since June and have a great year planned for 2014! Stay tuned!

JULY 2013

KWST3
I went back to NZ in July for the third Kiwi Workshop on Software Testing (KWST3). The topic was ‘Lighting the way: educating others and ourselves about software testing. Raising a new generation of thinking creative testers’. We all shared our experiences on educating other testers and ourselves. Yet another challenging and inspiring workshop!

AUGUST 2013

OZWST2
Straight after KWST, came the second Australian Workshop on Software Testing (OZWST2). I attended the first OZWST in 2012 in Adelaide and was not going to miss the second, especially because it was in Sydney, just down the road from me. We had Rob Sabourin as the content owner and the topic was ‘Collaboration in Testing’. In true context-driven style we changed the format of the workshop a bit to suit the ER’s that were being presented and the attendee’s experiences.

Move to USA
Then it came the big one: after 16 years, it was time to say goodbye to Australia and move on to the land of opportunity! In August 2013 we moved to Miami Beach, FL and since then life has been just as chaotic as it has been fun!

Awesome Trinity of Testing
In August all the stars aligned over Madison, WI and three testing events happened back to back, with the main attraction being CAST 2013.

This was my first time ever at CAST. I was expecting it to be great, but it exceeded all my expectations. I met so many of my Tweeps there, people I felt I knew, however all I really knew was their icons on Twitter and a few 140 character long conversations. It was a surreal experience! To some I had to introduce myself as ‘testchick’ which was hilarious! Having a large crew from downunder at CAST also made it special. I planned to write a whole blog post about CAST this year but life got in the way. Also, thanks to my mentor and friend Anne-Marie Charrett I did a lightning talk at CAST about How to Introduce CDT in Factory Environments.  It was terrifying, but a challenge I needed to tackle as public speaking is not my strong suit. Luckily I didn’t pass out, or make too much a fool of myself and survived the experience with lots of lessons learned.

Before CAST, there was Test Retreat, a 2 day Open Spaces style conference where the attendees set the agenda. The topic was “Deliberate Practice”. And the day after CAST Test Leadership Camp took place. One lesson I learned is that 3 conferences in a row is probably too much! Especially when they are all collaborative conferences.

Miagi-Do
After the first day of CAST a bunch of us hit the Great Dane pub. There I cornered Michael Larsen and didn’t leave him until he decided to give me my Miagi-Do entry challenge. It was not the first time I asked, Michael is a busy man and I had asked many times before, however I wasn’t going to miss this opportunity! And it paid off, after doing the lightsaber challenge I did well enough to enter this not-so-secret society.

NOVEMBER 2013

New Country, New Job
In November I started a new challenge, I took a job with SmartBear down in the Florida office. The first few months are always a massive learning curve, so I’m waiting to feel like I can keep my head above water – but you know how it goes in testing, that may never really happen!

DECEMBER 2013

Workshop on Self-Education in Software Testing (WHOSE)
And to close the year off I attended WHOSE in Cleveland, OH. This was by far the most challenging and mentally exhausting workshop I’ve ever attended. The aim of the workshop was to create a skills inventory for context-driven testers with the purpose of promoting self-education in testing. We covered a lot of ground in 2.5 days, we worked really hard! And every single one of us left with homework to be completed in the next few months. Watch this space, there’s something really cool being put together.

Phew, that is it, 2013 in a nutshell.

Wishing anyone that gets to read this a fabulous 2014!

 

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