The last couple of years I have tended to write blog posts at the change of the year. One to summarize the year that is ending and one to list the things I am looking forward to in the coming year. This time it is different. It feels different.
Much has happened this year. As I was considering how to encapsulate it, I read over the posts on changing from 2011 to 2012. I must admit, I had to smile. Much has happened, still much remains to be done.
What has happened? Well, in August I submitted my resignation to the company where I was working. My "old company" had been bought by a much larger competitor and I found myself in a struggle to keep myself focused on what my goals and values were. I was a little surprised because I had worked for large companies in the past - most of my working life in fact, had been with large companies.
The surprising thing to the person I was a few years ago, was that I resigned without a "company" to go to. I went independent. I struck out on my own with a letter of marque sailing against any and every - oh, no, umm - that is being a privateer - not a working independent test professional. Meh, whatever.
But, that is what I did. The roots for this lie in this post I wrote late in 2011. Looking back, it was the natural progression of where I was going from and where I was going to.
Now, I did have a contract lined up - which has since been extended. This made the opportunity a little easier than jumping in cold-turkey - or deciding to go independent after being let go. I concede this was an advantage.
Of course, now I am working even harder - not simply at "the day job" but in my writing, my learning and my attempts to understand things better. The push from being sacked, as described in the blog post mentioned above, seems to have led me to the point where I hoisted my own flag, and have so far, avoided being hoist with my own petard.
I have been very fortunate in my meetings and comings and goings this past year. Given the opportunity to speak in Portland at PNSQC and then in Potsdam at Agile Testing Days, I met a massive number of people I had only read of, or read their words. It was inspiring, encouraging and humbling all at once. In both instances, I found it easy to not be the smartest person in the room. I had a pile of people there I could relate to and learn from.
To each of you, I am deeply indebted. Its a long list - let's see. There's Matt Heusser, who is still a bundle of energy and ideas. Michael Larsen, who is really amazingly smart. Bernie Berger, Markus Gartner, Janet Gregory, Gojko Adzic, Huib Schoots, Sigge Birgisson, Paul Gerrard, Simon Morley, Jurgen Appelo, James Lindsay, Michael Dedolph, Linda Rising, Ben Simo, and.... the list really does kind of go on.
The people I continue to find to be wonderful teachers and gentle instructors (sometimes not so gentle as well) sometimes through conversation, emails, IM/Skype chats, blog posts and articles. They include, in no particular order, Elizabeth Hendrickson, Fiona Charles, James Bach, Paul Holand, Michael Bolton, Cem Kaner, Jon Bach, Catherine Powell, Griffin Jones. There are others, but these folks came to mind as I was writing this.
Wow. This year has been amazing. The local group, the GR Testers, are meeting every month, with a variety of people showing up - not "the same folks every time" but people wandering in to check it out. I find this exciting.
AST - Association for Software Testing
What an amazing group of people this is, and is continuing to develop into. The Education Special Interest Group (EdSIG) is continuing to be an area of interest. Alas, my intention of participating in "more courses" has been impacted by life stuff. I've been able to assist with a couple of Foundations sessions for the BBST course, and offered ideas on some discussions but that is about all.
This past August I was honored to be elected to the Board of Directors of AST. My participation continues to be as much as I can give on a regular basis - including monitoring/moderating the Forums on the AST website (a really under utilized resource, perhaps we can change this in the coming year) and the LinkedIn AST group's discussion forum (mostly whacking spam).
A new and exciting development is the Test Leadership Special Interest Group - LeadershipSIG. This new group is looking into all sorts of interesting questions around Test Management and Test Leadership and - well - stuff - including the interesting question of the difficulty of finding and recruiting Context Driven Test leaders, managers and directors.
CAST is scheduled for August in Madison, Wisconsin. This is going to be good.
Other Conference / Community Stuff
Conferences coming up include STPCon - in San Diego in April. Also in April is GLSEC - Great Lakes Software Excellence Conference - that one is in Grand Rapids. QAI's QUEST conference is also scheduled for the Spring.
There are several conferences I've considered submitting proposals to - and I suspect it is time to do more than consider.
Writing - Oh my. I have several projects I've been working through. I am really excited about some of the potential opportunities. I'm pretty geeked about this.
Overall, I am excited about what 2013 may hold. It strikes me that things that have been set up over the last several years are coming into place. What is in store? I do not know. I believe it is going to be good.
After all. I am writing this the evening of December 23. According to some folks, the world was supposed to end a couple of days ago. What those folks don't understand is that everything changes. All the time. Marking sequences and patterns and tracking them is part of what every society does. They don't end. Simply turn the page.
Let us rise up together.