2017 Recap: Wait – what just happened?

Looking back on 2017, it’s impossible to list all the wonderful experiences and changes that happened throughout the year. Aside from continuing to build the SQM business with Tekmark and spending time with the good people at TestBash Brighton and Philly, I got to travel to some new places. I was honored to keynote at Romanian Testing Conference and Copenhagen Context, and I would highly recommend both of them for future visits. It might be due to a little burnout, but I am increasingly skeptical of the software testing conference circuit, but RTC and CPC are a breath of fresh air in a crowded field. The community, attendees, and passion of the organizers shine through and I hope to be back some day.

Continuing my partnership with the kind folks at QASymphony, I spoke at both QualityJams, including the new one in the UK. I am excited to be expanding this into 2018 including some webinars and panel discussion, so watch this space! A return to Agile Testing Days was in the cards as well, which included a workshop, keynote and participating in the “Trusted Friends” experiment. A lot has happened this year in regards to sexual harassment and believing women, and our industry has just as far to go in that regard as the rest of society. 

A highlight of 2017 came late in the year at Agile Testing Days. I was privileged to share the stage with Ash Coleman to co-present “Culture is More Than A Mindset” as a keynote before their Women in Agile event. I have presented countless times, but I have never been as nervous as I was that night, and I hope the message I wanted to convey to men around listening, thinking, and sponsoring came through. Ash is an amazing technologist with inspiring stories to tell, so if you haven’t heard her speak yet, sort yourself out in 2018.

I also launched the QR Podcast this year, and in all honesty, it has done better than I could have hoped. I am fortunate to have some amazing friends in this business who have taken the time to talk to me and endure my interview style. The original intent was to document discussion I have with these folks on a regular basis, but due to the popularity of the show, I am going to continue it into 2018 with some great topics including: SAFe, interactional expertise, the psychology of testing, and a bunch more. Stay tuned!

Another great privilege of 2017, was watching the testing community come together to help Kristof Nordstrom daughter through #savingLinnea. My friends and I in NYC had a lot of fun contributing a photo for one of the months in the the Ministry of Testing Calendar to support her treatment. If you can buy one, it goes to a great cause and as well, you get some sweet photos of all the “hottest properties” in the software testing business! Ha!

If you have been following me this year, you know that supporting the Afghan Girls Robotics team has been a passion when I heard about their project. And thanks to all of you and the incredible people at Agile Testing Days, we raised nearly TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS to send the team to Germany! While in Berlin, the team got full access to the conference, tutorials, and networking events. They also got to showcase their project and Roya Mahboob gave an emotional keynote on her work supporting technology communities in developing countries. I am still in awe of all the work that Roya and her Digital Citizen Fund do to support the Afghan tech community and budding technologist all over the world. She is truly an inspiration and I hope to continue working with her to support the team and her other initiatives.

Lastly, after a rough 2016, I decided to throw myself into work, friends, and things I believe in to try to turn 2017 into a year of change. I’m not sure I got there on all fronts, but there are certain people who I don’t think I would have made it without their friendship and support. I have a lot of friends in this business, too many to list, but I cannot express how much Martin Hynie, Santosh Tuppad, and Elizabeth Zagroba have meant to me this year. Whether it was putting up with my rants, picking me up when I’m down, or just sharing a laugh, your friendship means the world to me.

I also have to say a special thank you to Smita Mishra for kicking my ass when I needed it most. Thanks pal!

I’ll be taking an extended break from conferences and whatnot in 2018 to focus on writing, podcasting, and recharging, so I hope to see you all again soon! Cheers!


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