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On Facing Forward (Rhythm of Testing)

On August 29, 2015, in Syndicated, by Association for Software Testing
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The lady-wife and I were enjoying a glass of wine in the quiet evening last night. I was relaxing from a crazy-busy week at the day job. She was recovering from her own week of challenges. We both commented on the end of summer.

Mind you, we both can read a calendar and we know when summer “ends.” We have had remarkably mild weather the last week or so. For August, it has been very cool. We have had a decent mix of rain and sun. The garden is absolutely loving it.

The squash are flourishing as are the tomatoes and the various plants in the salad garden. The potatoes are looking good as well. Still, the weather has been very cool – more late September than late August. I’m not minding too much, the air conditioner has not been running, so lower electric bills. The rain has been consistent enough where the rain-barrels have not really been empty since mid-July. So, lower water bills from less watering.

Looking Forward

We are looking forward to our annual excursion in a couple of weeks to the Wheatland Music Festival outside of Remus, Michigan. Absolutely massive weekend of music and friends and an excellent way to mark the end summer. We volunteer with the recycling crew, as we have for the last 20 years or so. The lady-wife talks with people about ideas for recycling and projects and simple things that people can do at home that save them money and are good for the environment. I do less of that and more of “immediate need” stuff – like dealing with compost-able materials from the various kitchens and food vendors. Which includes shovels and work gloves and improving the quality of the soil – in a couple of years.

We cold camp among pine trees with friends – play music and share food starting Thursday afternoon (we get up before the festival opens to help get stuff set-up) through Sunday afternoon. Coffee made on the camp-stove, prepared food we heat up and enjoy – along with various adult beverages being passed around and songs and tunes shared all make it a special weekend for us all.

It is something we look forward to all year.

When we first began volunteering, we did what we were told. We did what needed to be done. We shared laughs and, in my case, a fair amount of manual labor. We drank beer and coffee and had a good time. One year, we cooked bacon and eggs Sunday morning in the recycling tent as we had brought way more than was needed – and the food needed to be used. So, we shared.

There were “crew leaders” and “shift leaders” who made sure everything that needed to be done was done – when it needed to be done. Now, 20 years on, we are in those roles. Our “crew” this year includes the kids of people who were our crew and shift leaders when we started. One year, our oldest grandson was part of the volunteer crew.

It is strange, to some folks I expect, that part of what we are doing when working at this Festival, is teaching people what we know about composting, recycling, teaching and learning. We are also teaching people to take over our jobs – to do the things we are doing at some point in the future. 

The work I do at this Festival, really is “young man’s work.” It is physically demanding – even when you do manual labor on a regular basis. I expect this might be one of the last years where I actually do that level of work, instead of scheduling others to do it – and coach and encourage and cajole.

We do that anyway – it comes with the territory. But, us old folks jumping in and working as hard as the youngsters helps set an example to them, and to the casual observers walking past. I rarely end up with my clothes being anything but filthy at the end of a shift. That may be coming to an end as well.

A lot of things are that way.

In a matter of weeks, I will move from “Member of the Board of Directors of the Association for Software Testing” to “Former Member…” I am in the middle of transitioning away from being the Conference Chair for CAST – and returning to a back-bencher.

Several people at this year’s CAST mentioned, off-the-record of course, the energy of the conference. The observation so many people made ran something like “Wow. The energy at this year’s conference was amazing. There were loads of people who were eager to talk and share ideas and it was fantastic.”

That made me feel very good.

Others commented on something else – “Wow. There were some really fantastic speakers and not very many were ‘big names.’ There were a few present and the tutorials were fantastic and lots of good ideas were shared. And still, these were not the major names people look for at conferences and they had great information and ideas to share.”

Bingo.

That folks, is part of handing things on to the next generation of testers.

The amazing thing to me is that, stepping down as one of the “experienced” members of the board – I am wrapping up 3 years of service. The members who were not up for re-election have all served one year. All are experienced testers. They have management experience – and they are taking up the reins to direct AST.

They have knowledge and ideas.  They have energy and drive.

I am excited for the future of AST.

Getting something into good shape, or the best shape you can get it, so it can be handed off to the next generation is part of what makes the world what it is. It takes people being willing to hand over the responsibility to the next generation. It takes people in the next generation being willing to take on and do the jobs that need to be done.

That is part of people, old guard and new, facing the future together.

Face Forward.

Eyes to the Front.

 

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