Goodbye 2018

I love to write yearly roundups! It is the time when I put numbers to my feelings and celebrate my personal development. So, here it goes! 2017 was an amazing year, a lot of change and most of it positive. To compare, 2018 was much calmer year. Real working bee year.

What did go well

trainings/work

In 2018 I gave 29 trainings in 2 languages (DE & ENG, still hoping to give a training in LV) in 4 countries – Germany, Austria, Finnland and Rumania. I gave trainings around software quality, more specific testing and requirements, with and without agile dimension. From those 29 trainings, 17 was in-house trainings (in-house are not displayed on trendig website). I like to think that I helped 17 teams to become better with software quality. One team was special because all 9 students were developers. Some of them were giving trainings (agile, TDD etc) themselves. Their thank you for the testing training I gave them is one of my highlights this year. This training was special in another context as well. One of developers scored 100% in certification exam. This happened for the first time in my training career. I build trainings on stories and put more focus on discussion and less on exam questions, many of my students get 90something %, only 5 did not make it with first try. Anyway if I managed to bring just one team of developers closer to testing world, I mark 2018 as successful year.

I also worked on improvements and creation of new training material and wrote two articles. My first trendig article was on quality assurance, written mostly for managers and executives. Second article is addressed to whole delivery team about transition, testing and working as a team. In first whole team article I could scratch only the surface, stay with me others will follow soon.

speakeasy

In summer 2018 Anna-Marie and Fiona due involvements in other projects decided to handover SpeakEasy. Abby and me, we were mentees and after delivering our talks supporting SpeakEasy already for some time, so for us it was only logical to take over. But because we are heavily involved in several other projects we were cautious to commit. In that situation Maaret came as saver, she overtook organisational part and takes care of communication with conferences. We were lucky to have Ash on team as well, she enriches our start team with perspective and gentle push to find the focus and round up.

conferences

I am pretty happy with my two appearances in conferences. For the first time I did a workshop and for the first time I paired with someone. This someone was Lisa Crispin and I am still amazed how easy it was to work with her together. Working together with Lisa is my conference highlight of the year. I also like the workshop we created a LOT and hope to be able to give it as much as possible in upcoming conferences. I have already some confirmations, but need to wait until organisers will announce the program.

blogging

I wrote few blog posts less then previous year, but got more traffic (see the picture on the top). I am still searching how to shape my website and blog. I am writing for myself, but I am aware that others are reading as well. By look on topics where the traffic goes it gives me strange feeling and reveals delta between what I want to write about and what seems you want to read about. This is top 3 of most viewed posts:

  1. AM I A SEXIST?                                                                  with 941 views

  2. HOW YOU MEASURE SUCCESS IN TESTING?   with 308 views

  3. EXPLAINING SOFTWARE TESTING                        with 212 views

Unfortunately, articles which are important to me, like Attracting Girls To Engineering(71 views), Words Has Meanings – QA(51 views) and Today I Learned(47 views), are not under top 14. To serve readers, but to stay true to myself I decided to improve my blogging and to share more everyday stuff, things what I do as a trainer, consultant and speaker ( I thought it is boring, but after some private conversations discovered the opposite).

I notice other bloggers to put information about advertisements, paid products or affiliate programs. I guess this is the right time to say that I am not using any of it and everything I write, I write because I want to share or because I wanted to understand it better myself, did little research and then wrote a summary. Yes, I work at trendig and they pay me salary, but they pay me for being a trainer and not for writing my personal blog.

What did not go well

I got sick and could not really get well again. I had to cancel several events and despite of support of my team, I felt like I am letting them down by not carrying out with my commitments. Only after longer break, reflections to my last working years and acknowledgement what I did wrong, I could rejoin my team. Thank you, Jana for being there for me when I needed. I am happy to work for CEO, who cares for people so much.

meet-ups

TestParadies was project which suffered the most. To compare with 9 events in 2017, in 2018 I managed to organise only 3. Unfortunately due my current work situation there is no improvement to expect. I am calling for support. If no-one will be willing to help or overtake, I will have to close the meet-up.

 

Wishes for 2019

First and most important one – I want to get my health under control. By “health” I mean physical, but everything is connected, so… whole health.

Second,  to keep my believe system strong and keep changing world to be a better place by changing myself to be a better person. Leading by example works, I verified it.

Update: just noticed that this is my 100th blog post! Another reason to celebrate tonight, juhuu! 💃💃💃 Happy New Year, everyone!

2017: That Was Awesome!

Everyone is already busy with a new year resolution, but I am finally having time to write my retrospective and say “Thank you!” to 2017 for being an awesome year!

Workshops

It all started in January – I gave my first self-created full day (8h) workshop about test automation for a customer – the team of five and half of them were new to testing. What a challenge! I was super nervous before the workshop and super tired afterwards. But the thing I took with me – I want to do it again and again and again!

And I did. Already in February, I gave the next workshop, this time about exploratory testing and it was not created by me. I adapted several ideas and methods, which I learned from Jean-Paul. It turned out very well and I keep using elements of that workshop in ISTQB trainings I give now.

TestBash Germany

Starting March most of my free time went for preparing TestBash Germany. In March I went to Munich to check location together with Patrick, we screened proposals, had some trouble with tax stuff, worked on strategies for sponsors and attendees and so on. I remember as we worked on shortlist for speakers, I asked Rosie how many we should keep back up. She said: none. In all those years never ever they missed the speaker. Well… we broke that and lost one speaker two weeks, second – three days before the conference. Things happen, that’s life, but we as a team, we did the best we could do – we asked some very special attendee to jump in and they said yes!

  

Before the conference, I offered a free ticket, paid from my own pocket, to anyone who could write me few sentences why she or he should get the ticket. No strings attached. I wrote the offer in German, because I wanted to support testers in Germany and to show what words “testing community” really means. This is Carolina, the lucky winner, but just like me she is not a German :)

TestBash Germany was a huge success, but few episodes of the conference I do not remember. My nerves were trembling, the pressure to make first TBG perfect (whatever it means) was high and at the same time, it was my good-bye. After years of dreaming, doubting, daring and convincing, I made my dream come true, I brought TestBash and MinistryOfTesting to Germany. Thank you to everyone who supported me in this time. During the conference, we asked to raise a hand, to whom this is the first testing conference. To our surprise circa 50% attendees raised it!!! Amazing! I could not wish more… I leave satisfied. Since I work for trendig, which is the organiser for ATD, even if I am not part of event team, sooner or later there would be a conflict of interest. But do not worry – the world keeps spinning and TestBash Germany 2018 is happening – our helpers Vera and Marcel are taking over.

My two pieces of wisdom to anyone who thinks about organising a conference:

  1. be sure there will be more work than you think,
  2. get a support of your employer.

I was not so lucky as Patrick and now I can share that sometimes it was very hard to balance. I had to cut my working hours and huge thanks goes to my husband. Without his full support, I would not make it.

Meet-ups

TestParadies is a meet-up I founded and solo organize since 2015. The local community is still inert and I still need to put a lot of effort to convince people to give a short talk, but so slowly progress is visible. In 2017 I organised nine (9!) meet-ups and covered pretty good topics:

  • Acceptance testing
  • UI Automation with Ranorex
  • Testing with agile teams
  • Many shapes of Testing vol.2 – Test pyramid, XLT Testsuite & JUnit5
  • TestOps Toolchain – Docker Workshop
  • Testing infrastructure for micro services
  • MOB Testing
  • Game night
  • Code Patterns for testers (thank you, Llewellyn, for letting me to adapt your talk and to use your materials)

Employer

As mentioned earlier in May I left the company, where I was working for two years. My current employer is trendig and I am happy to work with mind-opened people and evolute my skills. In second part of the year I wrote less blog posts, but spent more time with reading, taking care of my health and my family. We also moved in new home and the day when I will empty the last box will be my lucky day!

People

Besides workshops, meet-ups and TestBash Germany, I attended four other testing events – two local, where I gave a talks, and two conferences. First one was TestBash in The Netherlands. Went down there to help Huib and Rosie, met a lot of new testers and put faces and voices to several digital friends and role models.

     

In November it was Agile Testing Days. This time I was not giving a talk and could enjoy it fully. Had a lot of time for long discussions with like-minded people. To every picture I could tell you a story, but to keep it short, will stick to one. I come from a small country and many even does not know that it is one of EU countries, so small it is. So it was special highlight to meet four other testing Latvians at the conference!

 

Summary

2017 was really an amazing year for me. Beside topics above I also participated in  #30DaysOfSecurityTesting and started to reorganise my (testing) knowledge. I still cannot say I could do security testing, but I definitely learned a lot. I spent some time to investigate how to work better, how to motivate a team better, how to see, what I do not want to see and what makes a good leader. Those are topics I am very passionate about, will write and talk about them in the future.

Year ago I changed the name of my blog to TestRetreat. Now I can say it was right thing to do. I wanted to reduce the tense I had around the testing and it worked! The positive atmosphere and the right tune is very important. But it is also very important to take time off, not just from the work, but from all job-related free time activities :)

 

I wish you an amazing 2018!

Summing Up 2016

2016 was incredibly good year for me. I aimed a lot and achieved a lot. Here are some of the highlights:

  • understanding and knowing myself better
  • learned how to ask for a help and feel not ashamed
  • discovered a deep trauma, located impact of it in my life and let it go
  • clarity in what I want to do moving forwards, and taking steps to do that
  • attended testing conference for the first time
  • … and then another three
  • spoke in two conferences: BTD & ATD
  • learned and connected with test and tech professionals all over the world
  • work on bringing TestBash to Germany
  • organise local meet-up and rise awareness about software quality
  • ignited to set test automation as default requirement 
  • preparing one day workshop about test automation for beginners
  • mentoring students and other women
  • published 20+ blog posts
  • started to use twitter and learned a way how it can support my learning

I have huge plans for 2017. It starts with making TestBash Germany a big success as the place where speakers and attendies will feel safe to share and to learn. And many other expectations, some of which are currently still unknown to myself, but I am eager to take what comes and make the best out of it.