Friday, December 27, 2019

Looking Back at 2019 - A Year Full of Challenges and Surprises

It became a habit for me to close the year with a final blog post, looking back at what happened over the last twelve months. It's one of the things I've learned to do that helps me internalize and acknowledge my own achievements. Once more the year is coming to an end - time to reflect!
  • Test Automation University was released! Many thanks to Angie Jones for bringing this amazing project to life and for asking me to do my first video course ever: "The Whole Team Approach to Continuous Testing". I've also watched several of the other courses myself and found them to be extremely valuable!
  • I have given 7 sessions at 7 conferences in 5 countries this year, 2 of them being keynotes, 2 others being talks that either opened or closed the conference. (Overall, that makes now 22 sessions at 16 conferences in 8 different countries since September 2017!) Besides that, I attended 3 more conferences this year. So much knowledge to take with me, and so many inspiring people to learn from! Being away from work for conferences, especially from my product team, was not always easy. The good thing here: we talked things over and found an agreement for us.
  • I've been accepted to give 7 sessions at 4 conferences in 3 countries for 2020 already. In addition, I've been asked by 3 companies to give talks and workshops for them in-house, with 2 of them arranged already.
  • I became part of the program team for Mob Programming Conference 2020. This is my first time on a program team for a public conference, and I'm sure I'll be learning a lot.
  • I've sketchnoted countless more talks. I can't believe I've only started this experiment last year, it already feels natural when listening to a conference talk! I didn't put in effort to level up my game here, yet it's amazing to hear positive feedback just because these notes exist and other people can benefit from them, too.
  • My first ever podcast episode got released! Huge thanks to Peter Kofler for inviting me as guest to Coderetreat Facilitation. I've had a few opportunities before that, yet nothing came out of them, so I was really glad this one worked out!
  • I've done my first Power Hour, my first introductory video as well as my first Testing Ask Me Anything session (and its follow-up) for Ministry of Testing - all on on the topic of collaboration, pairing and mobbing. Thank you Mark Winteringham for having me for the Dojo!
  • The "power learning group" initiated by my learning partner Toyer Mamoojee and me got really engaged this year! We all benefited a lot from our mutual support. Super looking forward to next year together with these wonderful people!
  • Toyer Mamoojee and I had the honor to share our learning partnership on Agile Testing Days' keynote stage. Even better: people got inspired to start their own learning partner journeys! In addition, partnerships that had formed last year had evolved this year, like the ones of Mor Korem and Thomas Rinke, as well as Viki Manevska and Eddy Bruin.
  • People got inspired by what I shared on my testing tour to start their own tours! Just to highlight two of them: Gem Hill formulated her tour around security and code, and Parveen Khan around becoming more confident as a tester and getting out of her comfort zone. I bet people did similar things before I've shared about my endeavor. The difference for me is that now I hear from people that they're up to something like that on their own - which is amazing! Please continue spreading the word, we all will benefit from learning with and from each other across company boundaries.
  • I've become code-confident, publishing my first ever GitHub repositories, and worked on code a lot more at work as well. A real biggie for me! Oh, and I already made another pact with my learning partner Toyer Mamoojee to challenge me even further in 2020! :)
  • I continued pairing sessions on the topic of security testing with Peter Kofler. To many more in the future! Especially as my next year's theme is all centered around security. :)
  • It's now officially 1.5 years that I'm on the "principal" seniority level at my company, with all the challenges that come with it. The position is quite a challenge in itself, and balancing my capacity between company initiatives and my own product team is tricky as well. Concerning that, I've found a method for me that mostly works and allows me to focus every day and week on what's right now the most valuable thing I can contribute with.
  • I ran a first experiment on our company's mission to improve the testing and quality culture of our product teams, learning a lot about the context of four other teams, helping them to help themselves.
  • I introduced the mob approach to a lot more people at my company. I ran three cross-team, cross-role, cross-location mobs as a proof of concept that remote mobs do work and we all can learn from each other, no matter our role or seniority level. I conveyed knowledge in hands-on mobs for other teams as well as our internal testing community.
  • I took on a formal mentorship for a colleague who asked me for it. Many people assumed I would have lots of experience with mentoring already - yet in reality I have not had many opportunities for more structured or formalized mentorships. I love having this chance to learn how to help another one grow on a certain topic, while I keep on learning myself!
  • I took my first personal coaching sessions at work, and they helped me tremendously. Sometimes the solution already resides in us, and a gentle nudge can help ourselves reveal it or re-state the obvious. I also got referred to join a series of leadership workshops next year. Really looking forward to learning how to improve my collaboration, communication and leadership skills!
  • I gained 1,349 followers on Twitter just this year, more than a third of the overall current number. I realize this number tended to increase faster the more followers I have, and still I really celebrated when crossing the mark of 3,000 followers. After all, Twitter is my main and most important social media platform.
  • I've started to re-share posts that mentioned me on LinkedIn. I'm not really active on that platform, yet it's my place to connect with former and current colleagues who now started to see more things that I do outside the company. The response is interesting to see, so I'll continue experimenting with it.
  • Counting this one, I've published 25 blog posts in 2019. Considering I wanted to cut down regarding blogging and experimented with more lightweight approaches to share on this medium, it's great to see I've still managed to post twice per month in average. The number of page views for my blog even climbed up to 207,275! Granted, I am probably heavily contributing to these numbers every time I look things up, yet still. ;-) And you know what's best? This very blog post is exactly my 100th post overall!
  • I realized that my energy level is not always at 80% and above (as I liked to think so). I had to learn that it can drop any time and I need to keep a constant eye on it. On the upside, becoming more conscious about it helped me to do a lot more self-care this year (like finally enjoying my passion again, playing computer games just for fun and the sake of it!). I've committed myself to increase self-care in 2020, ingraining it into my new challenge.
  • I got voted Most Influential Agile Testing Professional Person (MIATPP) by the lovely Agile Testing Days community. I couldn't believe I ranked third place in 2018, so you can imagine my disbelief this year! And yet it's a fact, the community really gave this award to me this year. I'm tremendously grateful for this wonderful feedback on my work of sharing back what I learn on my journey. Extremely encouraging!
All this was made possible by the continuous amazing support and encouragement by my community and company peers. Thank you all so much, I can only hope to pay it forward. Lists are never complete, yet some shout-outs simply have to be done here.
To everyone: have a healthy and happy new year 2020 - may it be full of wonders and growth!

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