I’m running for the AST board of directors

The AST board of directors election will be happening this year between August 11th and 13th during CAST2014. I will be running, along with 6 other well-qualified candidates, for one of the four open positions.

Why I am running:

AST has been a significant catalyst for me in personal and professional development. I first discovered this group through a colleague at a company around 2006 or so. He was taking Bug Advocacy at the time, and I could see very apparent changes in the way he was working that really made sense. I wanted in on that. That lead me to signing up as a member, taking Foundations, and then Bug Advocacy, and then Test Design. It was a rabbit hole that lead me to CAST and meeting other people that genuinely cared about their work. I want to return the favor that AST has given to me by serving the community that has done so much for me.

If elected, here is what I will focus on:

These are topics dear to me, but also, I think they are very important to the continuing development of software testing as a craft.

  1. BBST is hugely popular, especially Foundations and Test Design. Those two classes are consistently booked 100% full well before the class and have wait-lists for folks interested in taking that session if a registered student is unable. I would like to grow BBST to support this demand and begin offering those two classes more frequently. This means we need more assistant and lead instructors.
  2. There is a clear market demand for testers with a technical skill set. I would like to begin developing a class to help testers meet that market need, but also to improve their ability to test software by developing technical skill and understanding. The idea of what this class is is still being conceived, but I imagine programming concepts, databases, UNIX/Linux, shell scripting, performance and load testing concepts, and Chrome developer tools / Firebug are all fair game. This could be a survey course in the same way that Test Design is a survey course. If you are interested in this or care about the development of this material, please get in touch.
  3. WHOSE is an AST sponsored event dedicated to studying and advancing self-education in software testing. The first of these was held in Cleveland, OH December 5 – 7 2013 and the result was the first version of a skills book which will be published  shortly via AST. The skills book is intended to be a living document that is updated by practicing software testers. I want to see this become a yearly event with a concrete outcome each time. A yearly revised skills book could potentially result from this.

If these initiatives are important to you, vote for me and we will make these a reality.

Stepping up as EdSig Chair for AST

About a month ago, Michael Larsen sent me an email telling me he was planning to step away from his role as Chair of the Education Special Interest Group for AST. Michael was explaining that he had served for three years now, and thought his time had come to step back from EdSig in order to put more energy into SummerQAmp and the many other interests that he wants to pursue.

I read through the email, not feeling great about it. Michael has done a fantastic job and I’ve enjoyed working with him as an instructor in BBST courses that continue to exist and thrive because of EdSig. When I got to the bottom of the email, Michael asked if I would be interested filling the role that he was leaving.

Much like Michael, when I’ve been asked to do something new that stretches a fair bit past my skill set, I have the complete inability to say ‘no’. This new role will be an experience to learn and develop new skills but more importantly, to serve a role that I think is useful for other people. I am passionate about the service role of the tester, and I think the education mission of AST is well aligned with that.

Michael posted this to his blog and the AST blog (and the relevant AST discussion groups) this past Wednesday making this change official. While Michael is transitioning out of his role as EdSig Chair, he will not be leaving AST, or BBST, or SummerQAmp, or any of the programs he has done a great job developing and fostering. I’m sure Michael will be as present as he ever was, I’ll certainly be bugging him for advice and counsel occasionally.

If there are things you would like to see AST do that help support the mission of education for software testers, please let me know. I’d love to hear about authentic problems of practicing software testers and find ways for AST to help. Following in the footsteps of MIchael, and Cem before him, is a tall order. I’m looking forward to serving to the best of my abilities.

If you are going to be at CAST2014 in NYC this year, maybe we can talk in person.