August and Everything After

Attribution Note:  This post’s title belongs to the Counting Crows album released in 1993.  *Please see below.

One of my software testing community colleagues emailed me this week, “You’ve been quiet.  How are things?”

I went into something akin to recluse mode after an amazing week in New York City in August 2014 where I participated in my first un-conference, TestRetreat2014 NYC with other passionate skilled quality-minded folks, and then participated in three days at CAST2014 NYC where I attended an awesome workshop lead by Noah Sussman, lead a track session (my 1st conference talk, yeah!), and served as LAWST-style facilitator [Ref.] for multiple speakers.  I am an extrovert who thrives on stimulating thoughts and connections in and with others.  I love people, but I also need space and quiet, focus time to recharge my batteries.  My personal goals derived from those energizing days were as follows:

  • TestRetreat – cross-pollinate by talking about software quality to non-testers and kids and engage with local agile or lean software groups.
  • CAST NYC – share my conference experiences (including details on that week) and insights through blog posts.

In keeping with my decompression needs, I had a delayed start plan; I intended to reflect and publish my mix of handwritten and typed notes by pumpkin time, Halloween. That did not happen.  Lesson learned:  Do not wait!  Share your thoughts and reflections while they are super fresh. Yes, I still intend to post insights from over a year ago.  Life happened.

In early October, I took a week long adventure trekking trip with 2 dear girlfriends, and when I returned home I learned that a loved one’s health had taken an alarming nose dive.  Outside of work responsibilities, family, and a 2-room home remodel project prompted by water, shade, and 65 year old plaster,  I did not muster any energy to connect with my software testing community or make a move on my good intentions until awhile after that loved one’s passing in May.

I have slowly been inching out of the woodwork since.  This summer I teamed up with someone locally to transfer leadership of the meetup group I founded, GCST, and to transition it to an agile meetup group.  I started a fresh effort to envision long-term goals and am now preparing and reviewing course materials to assist as an instructor for BBST Foundations.  I am also brushing up on  Gojko Adzic’s Specification by Example and Impact Mapping.  I drafted this post as I flew home to Florida from new job orientation in California.  That is big news.  I wear a product owner hat now.  I will remained focused on quality in software delivery in an agile environment for a different organization. I get to apply the testing mindset upfront in processes in direct collaboration with customers and as part of the development team!

Although, I have been a wallflower in the software testing community since last August – not actively participating in professional online groups – in the last year I did manage to contribute 3 company DevBlog entries and to do a few talks, which I now have listed in a Speaking page on this site.  Thanks for reaching out to me Matt Heusser and thank you for creating interactive spaces like TestRetreat and Software Delivery 24/7 for quality-minded folks to support each other and to learn from one another.

*Oh yeah, in closing, from back in the day, here is one of my favorite tracks from the aforementioned namesake album.   I hope you enjoy this tune, Rain King.

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