2017 in review

It really is that time again as another year comes to a close and I take some time to look back on 2017.

In terms of this blog, I wrote 22 posts in 2017, coincidentally exactly the same as 2016! This remains well in excess of my (internal) target cadence of one post per month and my blogging was much more regular in 2017. The stats indicate that Twitter was again the main driver of traffic to my blog and it received about the same number of views in 2017 as in 2016, so if there are topics you’d like to see me talking about here (especially to encourage new readers), please let me know.


I made it to four conferences during the year: two specialized testing conferences and two agile-ish ones, and I presented at two of these four.

My first conference of 2017 came in February with the Association for Software Testing‘s first conference outside North America, in the shape of CASTx17 in Sydney. This was a good testing conference and was successful enough for the AST to bring their conference back to Australia in 2018, more on that below! A review of this conference appears in a previous blog post.

It was another trip to Sydney for my next conference in June, the enormous Agile Australia event. There was no testing-related content in sight here, but there were some decent talks (especially the keynotes) that made it worth enduring the mass commercialism of this conference. I blogged about my experience of attending Agile Australia here.

My first speaking gig of the year came at the end of June, co-presenting with Paul Seaman at the LAST (Lean, Agile, Systems Thinking) conference in Melbourne. This community-focused event had a massive range of speakers and talks over two days and it was a good chance to share our story of building and running a software testing training course for young adults on the autism spectrum (much more on this to come below). It was an enjoyable gig and marked the first time I’d co-presented, so also served as handy presentation experience (see a previous blog post for details).

My last conference of the year in August provided my second speaking gig, at the AST’s main event, CAST held in Nashville. This small conference was very enjoyable to attend, with a lot of great talks from people with an interest in context-driven testing. My talk – A Day in the Life of a Test Architect – went well with a very active “open season” of questioning following my presentation. It was also great to catch up with so many familiar faces including my mentor, Rob Sabourin, and the chance to explore this part of the US some more after the conference was too good an opportunity to miss (including experiencing the total solar eclipse from the Great Smoky Mountains national park). My experience report of attending and presenting at CAST previously appeared on this blog.

I only made it to one testing meetup during the year, that being the Sydney Testers event held around CASTx17. This well-attended meetup was a great experience and the large membership base of this meetup group continues to reflect a vibrant testing community in Sydney.

Work stuff

It’s been a good year following the sale of the Dell Software group to Francisco Partners. We’re back under the name of Quest and our first year as a standalone company has gone well with my role thankfully not really changing as a result, so I’m still lucky enough to get to work with some amazing people all around the globe. Our big pockets of testers continue to be in China and the Czech Republic with a few others in the US and Australia. I expect to visit most of our overseas offices during 2018, having only been to the Zhuhai (China) office once in 2017.

Community work

My community efforts through 2017 were all directed to a new venture, offering software testing training to young adults on the autism spectrum with the help of the not-for-profit disability organization, EPIC Assist. Together with Paul Seaman, we have built the EPIC TestAbility Academy and completed our first run of the 12-week course. It’s been an incredibly rewarding experience, with a lot of learning opportunities both for us as presenters and the students on the course.  We both give our time for free and it’s nice to give back and share our knowledge in the hope of securing meaningful employment for some of these young people. We’re also looking forward to running the course again, starting early in 2018. The programme has received a lot of interest and Paul & I have been happy to present about it at the LAST conference, within the offices of Seek and Locomote, and also at an ANZTB SiGIST event.

Other stuff

My community work on the EPIC TestAbility Academy led to a couple of co-authored articles with Paul Seaman during the year. The first appeared in Women Testers magazine and the second in Testing Trapeze magazine, so thanks to these two publications for the opportunity to share our story with the broader software testing community.

In May, I was offered the chance to be Program Chair for the AST’s second conference in Australia, CASTx18 in Melbourne. I was very happy to accept their invitation and it’s been a busy few months organizing the call for papers and ultimately selecting a programme from the submissions we received. I announced the programme in November and it’s an excellent collection of local and international talent, all headed to Melbourne for the event running on February 28 and March 1 at the Langham Hotel on Southbank – I hope to see some of you there!

It’s been a busy year professionally and no doubt 2018 has some exciting opportunities in store. In the meantime, I wish you all a very Happy New Year and hope you enjoy my posts to come through 2018.

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