What the hell am I thinking, OR, Why I’m running for the AST board

As you probably deduced from the title, I am running for the board of directors of AST. If you already think I am a worthy candidate, feel free to go about your day–assuming you remember to vote for me when the election gets under way in a few weeks. Otherwise, please keep reading.

I suppose you can take this as a kind of stump speech.

In short, I want to see AST do more.

That enough for you? No? OK then.

In… long(?), I attribute much of what I am today to the CAST conference, the BBST courses offered by AST and the people I met from both. I appreciate what AST has accomplished so far, but I want more.

  • Only getting to have the CAST experience once a year is a real drag. I would like to see AST host smaller, regional conferences in addition to CAST.
  • I have so far taken part in one of the BBST courses, and it was one of the most intense learning experiences I have been through. I want more people to learn what this material has to offer.
  • The AST grant program has helped with a number of special events and meetups. But the number is so small it’s frustrating.

Do I have a five point plan to carry out any of these? No. So why do I think you should vote for me? Why do I think I should be on the board?

  • I have worked with a number of current board members in different capacities over the past few years and have yet to find anyone in the group that I cannot get along with.
  • I have been told that I have built a reputation as someone who can get things done. When I didn’t like the direction of my local professional tester organization, I joined its board and helped change it. When I didn’t like the lack of tester meetups in my area, I started NOTiCE. When my company needed to stop talking about redesigning our internally built bug tracking system and start doing, I got the project started.

So Erik, you’re saying you did all of these things, and because of YOU they all succeeded? Well.. no. But I will say that all of these things are where they are today because I gave a shit and got involved. Did I know how I was going to be involved when I jumped in? No. But that’s not a bad thing (imo). For NOSQAA, I am the lead of the programs committee, I’m not the programs committee. I have a team of people that I work with. When I started NOTiCE… OK I went it alone. I found out after a while that I needed some help with various parts so I found co-organizers. As for that internal project, I ended up handing it off after almost a year. In the end, I wasn’t the right person to keep the project going, and I realized that.  But, I was in the right state of mind at the right time to get the thing rolling.

My point is I feel that I can work with the current board, get along with any newly elected board members, and help get things done for AST.

Whether or not I am elected, I plan on continuing to work with AST on a number of initiatives. If I am elected, it will be that much easier to get things done.

The full list of nominees for the AST board is available here.

Missed Opportunity

I want to say I’m sorry to all of you. I’m sorry that I didn’t research better. I’m sorry I didn’t trust a group of people I knew would pull it off. I’m sorry that I didn’t try to drag any of you within driving distance with me.

A few weeks ago, I went to a testing conference in Columbus, OH. The conference is QA or the Highway. There were over 280 attendees (only 20 no-shows due to the weather). This is only the second iteration of this conference (the first was back in 2010), and the first time it was in a full day format. There were four tracks, two keynotes, ample time between sessions for an unofficial “hallway track” and no forced vendor sessions.

Joe Ours was the conference organizer, speaker, and opening keynote speaker (when Keith Klain had to back out last-minute… yeah he originally had Keith as his opener). There were a number of great speakers as well. Though I didn’t get to see it, I heard Raj Subramarian’s (a Cleveland local) talk on Mobile Web Testing went over really well. David Hoppe did a talk on Disintegration Testing that I missed since it was at the same time as my talk on how I (try to) motivate testers (that I did in a kilt). JeanAnn Harrison did a talk on Mobile Software Test Automation with so much information in it she had to skip over slides to fit as much into her one hour block. I also really enjoyed Hilary Weaver’s  talk on getting along with your developers “I don’t like you. He doesn’t like you either!”. It was funny, informative, and she managed to keep it within her own PG-13 rating. Matt Heusser did the closing keynote titled “Cool new ideas… and some old ones, too”. Most of the presentations are available here. Since I used Prezi and it doesn’t play nice with SlideShare, my presentation is available here.

The single coolest thing about this conference was it’s location. I don’t mean the building, I mean the fact that it took place in Ohio. This conference was a little over two hours south of Hyland. Every attendee got a real conference name badge and a conference branded backpack. I’m not all about the gifts, but it shows a level of maturity that I would not have expected for such a new conference. Put on in Columbus. By a guy who basically decided he wanted a good, local conference in the Midwest.

Next year, I will be promoting this conference heavily; including asking for Hyland presenters to represent (come on, it’s not that scary). We were out done by companies like Progressive and Nationwide who sent groups. More people attended from the Kitchener-Waterloo Software Quality Association (Waterloo, Ontario) than we had from Hyland. I won’t let that happen again.