The Software Testing Club recently put out an eBook called "99 Things You Can Do to Become a Better Tester". Some of them are really general and vague. Some of them are remarkably specific. My goal for the next few weeks is to take the "99 Things" book and see if I can put my own personal spin on each of them, and make a personal workshop out of each of the suggestions.
Suggestion #100: Try always what happens when you violate the rules. So here's the second sentence also. - Teemu Vesala
The original eBook ended with a number 100. Why? Just because. It was meant to be a little poke in the ribs to say "ha, see, we put in 100, just because we wanted to". In other words, expect the unexpected.
Epilogue: Where I've been, and what I've learned
This has been a wild ride, to tell the truth. It was started a bit anxiously, then felt like I got into a bit of a groove, then I decided to go for it and put out two a day where I could. For some of the entries, it was easy to come up with examples. For some others, it felt like pulling teeth to make examples that were coherent and understandable. Still, I found when I was pushing out two posts a day, I felt confident I could push out two posts a day. Then CAST (the Conference for the Association for Software Testing) came, and I had to travel, go and participate in the conference, and I decided to put down this project for a week to focus on other things. I figured it wouldn't be too hard to pick it back up again. Wow, was I wrong.
As I've said in other items I've written, the habit becomes the driver. When we create a habit and put it into practice, it become easier to meet the habit. When we put down the process, even if it's just for a week, it's so much harder to pick it back up again.
September and October also coincided with a increase of writing and focusing on initiatives preparing for talks I will be delivering at Oredev in November. I found myself fighting with, and trying to make time, to finish this project. One stretch of working through the Excel example, and condensing it down so that I could put it into a blog post in a way that was coherent, took almost two weeks for me to get together.
One of the funny things I noticed as I was writing these examples: I would find myself talking to people in other contexts, and as I was talking with them, I had to stop and think "wait, is that something I wrote about?" If the answer was yes, I would go back and see if I agreed with what I wrote originally, or if I would want to modify what I had said. If I was discussing something that wasn't in the examples thus far, I would make notes and say "hey, that conversation would be great as a topic for number 78. Don't forget it!"
Mostly, it feels really good to know that I made it from start to finish. Seeing re-tweets and favorites on Twitter, plus likes on Facebook and the comments to the blog posts themselves, shows me that a lot of you enjoyed following along with this. More to the point, this project has doubled my daily blog traffic. Now, of course, I feel a little concerned… will all those readers drop away now that this project is finished? Will they stick around to see what I have planned next? What do I have planned next?
I do have a new project, but it's going to take me longer to do it. Noah Sussman has posted on his blog what he feels would make a great "Table of Contents" for a potential book. The working title is "How to Become a More Technical Tester". I became intrigued, and said I would be happy to be a "case study" for that Table of Contents, and would he be OK with me working through the examples and reporting on them? He said that would be awesome, and thus, I feel it necessary to dive in and do that next.
So, did I just throw out a "bold boast" immediately after completing another one?! Didn't I learn anything from this experience? The answer is yes. What I learned the most is that creativity strikes and skill grows when we actively work them. Without that up-front work it stagnates, and becomes harder to draw out. Therefore, I would rather "keep busy" and make more "bold boasts" so that I can keep that energy flowing. This will, however, be a more involved process. I am not going to make any promises as to how much I can update or how frequently. This may take a few months, it may take a year. It's hard to say on the surface. I do know that I want to give appropriate attention to it and do the content justice. Who knows, maybe Noah will be willing to consider me a collaborator for this book… but I'm getting ahead of myself again ;).
My overall goal for this project was to do more than I figured I ever would if I just read the list and said "hey, those are cool". Here's hoping that my example will encourage you to try to likewise reach in side and fins something you can use. Your outcome may be remarkably similar to mine, or entirely different. If you do decide to take any of them on, please blog about them (and please, put a comment in my blog so I can see what you have written).
Now, however, it's time to close this project, at least for the time being. Time will tell if we've seen the last of me on this (hint: probably not ;) ).
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