TestBash Brighton Feedback

Just plonking this here with a bit of joy and pride. And because I don’t brag enough.  Some feedback from TestBash Brighton just gone.

I loved TestBash! I am trying to ‘get back to the floor’ and re- learn my test skills. Test Bash was brilliant to talk and hear about real testing again, away from the corporate bullshit and myth of metrics I have been dealing with for the last 10 years. I have been in testing for 20+ years now- but am more excited than ever in the discussions and community than ever.

Highrise goes back to 37Signals

It will be interesting, especially as a Highrise customer, to see what comes of Highrise going back under the banner of Basecamp.  Whilst I haven’t dug up their announcement from ‘selling’ Highrise, this announcement definitely feels different.  I don’t hold judgement in anyway, more an observation that we are all experimenting in the world of business and all too often it doesn’t go according to plan.

It is so hard to make all the things balance in business.  I just hope no one has been hurt too much.

Family Friendly Library

I hope to see more of this type of places popping up, in all areas of life.  Family friendly spaces are just not common enough!

On March 15, University of Toronto Libraries, in collaboration with the Family Care Office, opened a family study space at Robarts Library, the first of its kind in Canada.

Designed for current students, faculty members, visiting scholars, and staff at U of T with their children aged 12 years and under, the space is intended to foster equity, diversity, and inclusivity by addressing the unique needs of student parents.

Source: The Varsity

Unexpo – Maximising Community Feels

We did, perhaps a world first, unexpo at TestBash Brighton.  This write up by Sarah is wonderful and describes so many of the ‘community feels’ we got from the experience.  I really believe, with some tweaks and improvements we can expand on this idea and help make conferences what they should be about – learning AND connecting people. Hopefully now that people have an idea what an Unexpo is, it will become a bit easier to recruit people for the task.

We’ve done meetups, Lean Coffees, early morning runs, 99 second talks and now the Unexpos will hopefully become a regular event at some of our TestBashes.

Fitting Into A World…

I read Mary Beard’s Women and Power recently.  It was a nice, light and quick read.  Though the quote at the back of the book really does summarise it all for me.

“You can’t easily fit women into a structure that is already coded as male; you have to change the structure.”

I’m opting for changing the structure.

The Software Testing Pyramid

I was trying to make sense of a software testing pyramid thing out there, and not that it was wrong, I just didn’t really identify with it.

So I came up with my own version. I posted it on Twitter and LinkedIn and got some interesting responses, both openly and via DMs.

I’ve also encouraged discussion about it over on The Club, not just about testing pyramid, but also in general posting different models/diagrams that may be out there.

The circles and colours are random. The layers are insignificant.  The triangle shape is probably irrelevant too. For me the idea behind it is that rather than trying to focus on a model that someone else has created, we should take a look at our own testing and focus on including only the tests that matter.

Maybe I’ll expand on the idea in the future.  For now, I present it here.

Resisting Those Social Media Urges

With all the privacy stuff going around, I thought it would be a good time for me to start making more effort into investing into my own social network of Rosie.

Social network of Rosie means my websites.  If you ever need to reach out, you can be sure to find me here on rosiesherry.com (a bit more professional focused) or on MessyTimes, personal and family focused.  I also have unschool.me which I’ve neglected and wish to turn into a bit of a longer term research project.

I’m not quitting social media.  For now am still very much active on Twitter.  And I am on Testing Slacks (Testers.chat and MoT one) that are out there too. I’m mostly avoiding posting anything to Facebook, though my Instagram photos get fed into there.  I will be checking FB for messages and I kind of rely on some Facebook groups for things.

I’d like to find a better solution to my photos, both backing them up and also sharing selected ones.  I will get there in time.

I use to blog and write much more, since social media has had a direct impact on that, I would like to change the habit.

So, for now, I will be doing my best to resist my urges to post to social media and instead try to post what I would normally post on one of my ‘web properties’.


Categories: Me

Becoming a mother as an identity shift

I think about this a lot and would love to research about it more.  We’re such a transactional society with little consideration for these ‘mother’ things.

For me there was definitely a difference before and after kids.  Yet, we don’t plan for that – emotionally or practically, society assumes we need to continue as always, yet everything is different.

“Dr. Stern showed that becoming a mother is an identity shift, and one of the most significant physical and psychological changes a woman will ever experience.

The process of becoming a mother, which anthropologists call “matrescence,” has been largely unexplored in the medical community. Instead of focusing on the woman’s identity transition, more research is focused on how the baby turns out. But a woman’s story, in addition to how her psychology impacts her parenting, is important to examine, too. Of course, this transition is also significant for fathers and partners, but women who go through the hormonal changes of pregnancy may have a specific neurobiological experience.”

From The Birth of a Mother on NY Times.

Pass The Piper

Last week we hosted an epic TestBash Brighton. For me it was followed by some Team MoT social and planning sessions. I’m only just able to start recovering somewhat from the whole experience. Yes, I get exhausted from it all too. I’m still scratching my head at how I, being so introverted, ended up running conferences for a living.

As MoT has grown, I’ve become much more confident in doing as I please, as I desire, or as I feel is right. Many, mostly women, will identify with the challenges I have faced in pushing my career and business forward. MoT has actually spawned from this discrimination I faced – the fact that when my eldest boys were little no one seemed to want to hire me. The recruiters all too often went silent as soon as they realised I had kids. So when no one would employ me, I chose my own path.

So now, I have MoT, which often now very feels like family. I also happen to have a new baby in the family, called Piper. She’s 4 months old. At that age my currently 14 yr old and eldest son had started going to a childminder. I had no plans for that this time around, but I had a conference to help organise.

What was I to do?

PassThePiper was my solution. I brought my baby Piper with me and awesome people of TestBash happily volunteered to entertain her at times.  Yay people of TestBash!



Piper goes with me everywhere. Quite literally everywhere, apart from of course, at TestBash Brighton when she was passed around, with such love and enthusiasm from the community.

Some of the time Piper was with me whilst I was watching the talks or chatting away. Other times she slept in her buggy whilst someone else from the MoT Team watched over her. And then other times she was literally passed around.

This experience was important for me for many reasons:

  • As a mother I want others to become comfortable with the idea of having kids around. Being at conferences doesn’t have to be all serious and talk doesn’t always have to be about testing.
    – As a mother, I want everyone to have the opportunity to show their support for women and issues of diversity.
  • As a mother, I literally have no choice. I exclusively breastfeed Piper ondemand at the moment. She either had to come with me or I had to miss out on TestBash. The other option was to try bottle feeding her, but that is not something I really want to do or risk putting my milk supply at risk for.
  • As a mother, I want to show others that we can do this stuff and there are others to support us and you.
  • As a mother, this is not an easy choice and not necessarily ideal. Piper is 4 months old, not moving, crawling or walking about and was generally easy to keep quiet. It would’ve been much harder to ‘contain her’ if she was just a few months older. I did wonder if it is it easier to bring kids or leave them at ‘home’?
  • As a mother, I see it as a first step. Perhaps in the future it will encourage others to join in or we can start providing a creche on the day.
  • As a mother, I would support others who want to do the same.

Would I do it again? Possibly. It really depends on the age of my child(ren). It was tough with Piper. I was physically exhausted from TestBash, I normally am. Having Piper really made it much harder and more tiring.

I got to see about half the talks on the days and got to see the people of TestBash, which was great. Would I do it next year when she is most likely a walking baby? Probably not. I would guess by that stage she won’t be in such need of me and my husband can easily step in.

Would an onsite creche be helpful for me next year? Quite possibly. Maybe I’ll look into that.

PS. No adults were harmed in Passing the Piper.

PPS. Thanks to Noah who tweeted in support of the effort 🙂

Removing Myself As The Single Point of Failure

I realised, a couple of years ago, as my little company grew a certain amount of structure, process and communication was important for it to survive.

Not too much. Not too little.  But just the right amount.

About 18 months ago I wrote an email to Derek, just saying hi and talking about my current status.  It was so great to have him respond.  He pointed me to the E-Myth Revisited book, which I read and loved (and I feel really should re-read it again).

As a result, what happened was a new sense of focus to free me up from the day to day of the business. I knew I could and should not have the responsibility for doing the day to day tasks of the business.  My mind was overloaded. There was too much going on. And I was increasingly doing a bad job of them all, whilst not enjoying it and feeling all the stress.

It’s not that I hadn’t been trying to get things off my plate, I had tried, but had depressingly failed on a number of occasions.  But at least then I felt a bit refreshed and had purpose in trying to make it work again.  I am really glad I tried again.

What is the right amount of ‘process’ is dependent on so many things.  Of course I like to see how others do things, but really we’ve been in search of what works for us as a team.  It’s not about documenting everything, but more focusing on having the company work without a single point of failure (me).

As a result of this, the kind of things we have been doing are:

  • Trello board with processes: set up a Trello board with a list of processes of how we do certain tasks, it’s far from perfect, but it has increasingly been helpful as our team grows.  We have processes for our writers, our TestBashes, our marketing efforts, etc.
  • Team Feedback and Input: my personal goal is to enable the team we have to make the right and best decisions possible. I will guide, input and feedback wherever possible, but I cannot go in any longer and do the actual work. I think also a big part of this is that our team knows where to go for help and they are encourage to ask for help.  Not everything is written down, but answers can be found if they know where to go.
  • Guides: we’ve created a few guides to help people we work with.  The writers guide and our handbook is a typical example. These are usually driven by pain and repeat questions. Our pain with writers was not getting good enough articles in, our guide has helped us define that and recruit writers to the quality we are after.  It was no small task creating a guide, but definitely worth the investment.
  • Task delegation: my 5th child was a great enforced test to see if things would work day to day without me.  The answer is yes, it does and will.  I am happy! But there is still work for me to do, right now I feel my work is about delegation and ensuring others have and know what they need to do their job.  I’m still on my ‘UnMaternity’ leave, which I’m loving btw, and need to write about it soon 🙂
  • Communication: We use Slack day in and day out for communication within our MoT team. I think what sets us apart a bit is that the Slack we use for day to day communication within our MoT Team is also a Slack which is open for anyone in the community to join.  It’s easy to dismiss the value of this, but for me it’s great that we are in touch with so many people and we keep on top of so many valuable conversations.  We have many private channels set up for all the things we are working on and it is so easy to invite the relevant people in ‘as and when’.

As part of this whole process is me finding my new sense of belonging. Finding my new place to fit in.  I’m still working on that, I suspect it will take some time to get there.  But that’s ok, I’m in no rush.