I have been reminiscing this evening about the passing of another year. It has been a year during which I have learned a great deal about myself and my chosen craft. Many of my experiences have strengthened my understanding of why certain things work well for me in my situation and why other things don’t work so well.
I have been blogging and tweeting more and more during the year as I have realised that the thought processes I am going through seem to be of interest to others which has both surprised and inspired me further.
One of the subjects which has been giving me a great deal of food for thought has been how we get to understand requirements and a lot of this boils down to the way in which we communicate with each other (as members of development teams) and our customers and other stakeholders in the business. I gained some insight into how to go about uncovering some of these hidden requirements from outside the software testing field: I went to the Old Bailey (the Central Criminal Court in London is in a building called the Old Bailey for any unfamiliar with the term) and listened to some cases being heard. I followed this up with a visit to the Royal Courts of Justice which is one of the higher law courts in the English and Welsh legal system. It was fascinating to me to listen to the proceedings and observe the way questioning was pursued.
The testing community throughout the world has been a tremendous source of encouragement and it has been great to read about the proceedings of the various conferences that have gone on during the year. I have mainly centred my attendance on the Software Testing Special Interest Group (SIGiST) conferences arranged through the BCS (formerly known as the British Computer Society) and the UK Test Management Forums. These events have all been very valuable to me in my learning and I am grateful to the SIGiST organising committee and Paul Gerrard of Gerrard Consulting respectively for continuing to arrange these events.
Besides the formally arranged conferences a big thank you must go to Tony Bruce for his sterling work organising the London Tester Gatherings. What tremendous events these are! It is great to be able to meet up with fellow testing professionals to discuss our craft in an informl setting.
It has been a privilege during the year to help out with proof-reading and reviewing articles for The Testing Planet, the newspaper produced by the good folks at the Software Testing Club. Again, this is another vibrant community of testers from all over the world and it has been great to be associated with this.
European Weekend Testing, organised by Anna Baik and Markus Gärtner, has provided a safe place in which to practice the software testing craft. The missions on a weekly basis have always been challenging and a great way to hone existing skills and learn new ones. Unfortunately time has not been available to keep these going on a weekly basis but I hope to get along to future sessions whenever I can. The other weekend I attended a Weekend Testing Americas session hosted by Michael Larsen. It is a great way to learn from others and become better craftspeople while we are at it.
It was from one of the European Weekend Testing sessions that I realised I needed more help with understanding a technique called ‘Transpection’ which I had read about on James Bach’s website. I contacted James on Skype to ask for his help and I was able to add that to my armoury for further use.
Through all of these events and activities I have met and chatted online to some amazing people – you all know who you are – thank you for all your support over the past year. I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy and prosperous 2011.