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The State of AST – A Personal Retrospective

On April 14, 2014, in Articles, News, Newsletter, by Association for Software Testing
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By: Benjamin Yaroch

Since April 14th 2004 AST has had numerous milestones and successes. From gaining non-profit status in October 2004, to the first conference in 2006, to the first BBST class in 2007. More recently we have added additional BBST classes, forged new training partnerships with SummerQAmp and PerScholas, and funded local groups and several workshops.

Occasionally I get asked how I got involved with AST. Many years ago I met Dawn Haynes at a conference and she introduced me to AST and encouraged me to attend CAST. So I did, and during the 2009 conference in Colorado I met James Bach who encouraged me to get actively involved in AST. After the conference I spent some time talking with Scott Barber about how I might be able to help and after thinking it over I decided to volunteer as marketing chair. Since then I’ve been elected to the board of directors twice and was the VP of Marketing for two years, and now President for the last two years. Needless to say It’s been an exciting journey, I’ve worked with some great people, and a lot has changed in that span of time.

While I can’t recount the complete history of AST I can describe what has happened since I became involved. In late 2009 I was invited to attend a future leaders summit in Colorado. This meeting was held after a very difficult conference year. The 2009 conference was preceded by an economic downturn and companies depropritorized conference attendance. This put a tremendous strain on AST’s finances and the board wanted a fresh perspective from “outsiders“ about the future direction of AST. After spending two days discussing options and direction the decision was made to move ahead with a more refined mission and focus on programs that AST was best at, which at the time included the conference and education.

A big part of this new direction involved a refined mission. We decided that to be more effective as an organization we needed to narrow our scope and focus on Context-Driven testing, so we changed the mission statement to reflect this new vision.

Since then AST has hosted several successful conferences. In fact in 2011 AST hosted the very first Context-Driven conference chaired by Jon and James Bach. Starting in 2010 AST has had a doubling in membership, full BBST classes, and we have become financially stable. This financial stability and interest in AST’s mission has allowed for the creation of new initiatives like the Grant program, WHOSE, funded SIG meetings, international informational sessions in Singapore and India, live streaming at CAST, partnerships with nonprofits, and the ability to host our annual conference in the heart of New York City.

But none of this would have been possible without the dedication and commitment of each board member and numerous volunteers over the past 10 years. So on behalf of AST and its current board of directors I would like to thank all who have volunteered their time and played a part in AST’s success thus far. I’m excited to see what the next 10 years will bring; Happy Birthday AST.

 

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