2019/02/04 – A review of 2018

I’ve been meaning to write for a while, and with my last post being September, I feel long over due.

In January last year I wrote this post about what I did the year before, and more importantly, what I intended to do for 2018. I thought it would be good for me to go over them, to remind me of what I achieved.

Blog more often. Getting one a week may be too much for me, based on last year. But if I can get one a fortnight, or even double last year, I will feel like I have made a difference in myself, and maybe in others too. One thing I have been thinking about is trying to go for small posts, although with the length of this post, I am not following that plan very well…

I managed 18 posts last year, which is more than the 15 I did for 2017. So I managed to succeed my goal of writing more, but not even close to what I aimed for.

The posts ended up grouping around three core themes:

  1. TestBash Brighton (6)
  2. Bloggers Club (3)
  3. #MidsTest Meetup (3)

Whilst I have written lots in the past for TestBash, I never got around to typing up and publishing the rest of Brighton, nor Utrecht, and doing it now would be strange and confusing.

Will I write more in 2019? The fact I missed January doesn’t set the right pace, but I would rather write when something inspires me to write, than force myself and make something inferior or poorly written.

Get more involved with my local Meetup. As I mentioned earlier, I want to present another session this year, but I also want to see what other ways I could help. One way I am starting with, is seeing how viable it would be to have it hosted where I work, which could get some new people attending, and be much closer to my house.

This was more successful than I planned, with me turning into the face of the Meetup as the year went on, introducing speakers, posting events, drumming up interested. But it didn’t stop there, and has now lead to me becoming the lead coordinator for #MidsTest, where I am now helping arrange the events and working out who will speak and when. It isn’t easy, but feels very satisfying seeing people speaking with one another during the networking portion, as well as helping me channel my passion for testing into something great.

Continue attending conferences. I have tickets booked for two more TestBash’s this year, Brighton and Utrecht.
For Brighton I am at it for three days, doing a pair of workshops, then the conference, and finishing with the open space on the Saturday, which from photos and Twitter posts from last year, look very interesting. I also applied for their UnExpo which they are trialling for the first time. No idea if I will be successful, but I certainly won’t get a stand if I don’t apply.
For Utrecht it will be my first time going abroad for a conference, and feel a bit weird as I will be going alone. Whilst I travelled alone for the other conferences, as this is in another country it feels a bit weird in my head. Hopefully meeting up with others for the social events will be good, so if you are going, please get in touch! I’m also intending to give a 99 second talk at each, and whilst I don’t know what I will talk about, I am planning to wear my Robin hoodie again as it feels like a tradition.

I did attend both Brighton and Utrecht 🙂

For Brighton I wrote some posts (not enough, as mentioned above), available under this tag. I was also successful in getting an UnExpo stand, where I made this poster:

It went okay, though the UnExpo concept could be improved, which has been taken forward and used to change how it is done this year, with more information at https://www.ministryoftesting.com/news/the-return-of-the-unexpo-call-for-stands

For Utrecht it was strange going alone, but once there I met people I knew, as well as got to know others better, things felt good! And I did make a 99 second talk, making it 4/4 for the times I’ve been to TestBash and the times I’ve done one.

And for both, I did indeed wear my Robin hoodie!!

I want to submit a paper for a conference by the end of the year. Right now, I have no idea what I would submit, but who knows what conversation I might have or blog post I read, which can get the cogs going and get me thinking on something. I may not succeed in speaking at a conference this year, but by submitting the paper, if I am unsuccessful I can at least use the feedback to improve any later attempts.

I ended up submitting to four conferences by the end of the year.

  1. TestBash Essentials 2019 (unsuccessful)
  2. Nordic Testings Days 2019 (unsuccessful)
  3. SwanseaCon 2019 (waiting to hear)
  4. Agile on the Beach 2019 (waiting to hear)

Whilst I was unsuccessful with two of them, some positivity came from TestBash, where I am volunteering at TestBash Brighton. So even though I’m not speaking, it’s nice to be involved.

I don’t know what I might apply to in 2019, as the big thing for me is what story do I have to tell that others would want to hear, that they haven’t heard elsewhere recently?

I want to run my own testing conference. As if submitting a paper for another conference wasn’t enough, I have been thinking about starting my own. It all started when I was asking on the tester Slack channel for conference suggestions, and as they were coming in I complained that they are never near me (Midlands in the UK), and in the North East, North West, or South. I was asked why not start my own then, and instead of shrugging it off as a crazy idea, I began to think how viable would it be to do so.

I haven’t got what is jokingly referred to as LeeBash sorted yet, and don’t know if it will happen this year, but when it does, it will almost certainly be in collaborating with #MidsTest.

I want to be a better tester. I don’t want to get complacent, think that there is nothing more I need to learn about testing, and that I can do a good enough job and that should do. I don’t know in what ways I want to improve, but I do know that if I don’t think about it, I won’t try to.

I don’t know how I can say I’m a better tester now than I was a year ago. But I do feel that whilst I don’t know everything, I know enough to help shows others at work how to be a tester, with plans to start coaching our developers on testing. I know that my passion and hunger to learn has allowed me to uncover new things that I’m trying out at work, with teams asking me to help facilitate and train them on mobbing (mob programming, except I don’t say programming so it’s not scary to non-technical people), riskstorming, and supporting agile.

That is what I wanted to do during 2018, and overall I feel like it went well. It could have been better, but I want to focus on what I did and went well, rather than what I didn’t and not continue to progress.

What does 2019 hold for me? I’m not certain, but I will try to share it on here as it happens.

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