Monday, August 30, 2010

TESTHEAD gets a spot in “The Cost of Testing”


Remember how I said I had a few things in the works that I'd feel I need to keep mum about until something more substantial comes of it? Well, with this week's TWiST podcast, it will be as official as it can be, so I figure I can say something now…

I'm going to be part of a book!

 
Actually, I'm a chapter contributor, along with about 20 other software test practitioners, some with very familiar names if you read this blog frequently or read the sidebar blog roll I have :). The book in question is dedicated to the topic of "Reducing the Cost of Testing" and looking at avenues that are not normally considered (in other words, this is not a book about outsourcing).

I had the opportunity to participate as a peer reviewer for this project, and during that process, it was determined that a contributor couldn't meet their original commitment. This left chapters not spoken for. As I had been mulling over an idea, I decided to see if I could write and submit a chapter. After some back and forth on the general idea and a few days of thinking about it and pounding a first draft together, I received confirmation that my chapter would be accepted. One faxed Contributor Agreement form later, and it looks like I'm in!

So what did I write? Well, y'all will just have to wait until the book comes out (which we are projecting to be sometime in the Spring of 2011). I can tell you that I focused on something that is near and dear to me as a topic, and that I wrote about it in a way that was personal and not at all academic. Well, not anymore, at least. My first proposal was in my best College Essay format, and decidedly unlike my blog style. The first reply back basically said "yeah, you know how you write for your blog? And how you decided that you would write in a more "book oriented" passive voice format for this project? Yeah, not such a good idea; lose the passive voice, it will make for a better and more personal read". With that, I decided to go back and re-write my first draft and "write the way I talk", i.e. the way I do here; first person, from my own experiences, and with my own history as a guide. It seems to have worked :).

Anyway, I am excited about this opportunity, and hope I get more chances to put my words into print in the future. They say the first cut is the deepest, and if you can survive that, you can certainly do it again. I had no idea how challenging it would be to do this. Not the writing part per se, which certainly had its own set of challenges, but the screwing up the courage to say "come on, you can do this!" and actually submit it for consideration. My own resistance was the biggest hurdle to overcome… and I had every doubt imaginable. What if they don't like it? What if I'm not good enough to write professionally? Why would my ideas be something worth putting in a book? Every one of these, and a few others thoughts swirled through my head, and ultimately I decided the following:

"If they don't like it, they don't like it. So what?!"

 
"If you don't think your writing is good enough to be in a book, then it isn't. It's that simple… but wouldn't you rather find out for sure?"

 
"You have over 19 years experience with small and large companies, and you've witnessed situations that saved money and those that didn't. Share your experiences; it's possible others might find them interesting and instructive."

 
…and the rest, as they say, may be history. Again, I'm a realist at heart, and I tend not to spend money I don't have, or claim credit for something that hasn't happened yet, but this is looking more and more like it will be a reality, and when it becomes reality, I'll be in it. Needless to say, I'll be excited to see this in print!
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