2022 In Review

2022 In Review
Prompt: An expressive oil panting of people attending a conference, debating with audience

Over the past decade I’ve written quite a few year end notes. They start with a brief summary and then focus on individual article performance. For reference see: 2021 | 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015

This year I want to try something different. Those previous notes are missing non-work related challenges and successes. That seems like a rather large gap in my notes. In this article I’m going to reflect on the year in a way that incorporates more of my life.

Each year I share growth and challenges in short form on LinkedIn and Twitter, so follow me there if you feel inclined. Or just say hi.

Family

Both my wife and I have aging parents that live far away. Health scares on both sides of our family made life difficult early in 2022. Looking back my wife spent full month out of the country helping family with health problems. The good news is everyone got healthier as the year went on.

Our 5 year old son is growing up, as all kids do. He's active in sports and that means I'm active too. I don’t mean as his chauffeur. I coached his baseball team and two of his football teams.

Coaching young kids is interesting. At this age they aren’t good at most anything and can’t concentrate to save their lives. Yet through the repetition of practice they make small improvements. Then after a few months those small improvements compound into big improvements. It’s amazing how much better we get when we practice.

Work Work @ Promenade Group

At the beginning of the year I had a team of Software Test Engineers reporting to me. Each person was working across a different businesses, embedded into an engineering team. I began to see problems with that structure in the prior year and suggested to our CTO they start reporting to other managers. I transferred them but kept my role as more of a test coach. Rather than go back to being an I.C. I kept my manager role.

Shortly after I began building a second test team, this time of Software Developers in Test. Promenade was building lots of new businesses we needed better test automation for our platform. I hired 2 people and we set out to build tests and test infrastructure. In less than 6 months we got our automated UI test coverage on our primary e-commerce app from 0% to over 70% of features. We also got our partner facing app coverage from 0% to over 30% feature coverage. Then our a re-org happened and my team was gone.

After working my way out of managing two teams I joined a new team as an individual contributor. I’m embedded on a team of developers building a greenfield application. The new team is great and I’m loving it. The fun thing there is it’s actually possible to understand the whole code base(s). I have a pretty good idea where most things are and how to find out what things do what which is fun.

Community Work @ the Association for Software Testing

During the evenings and on weekends I help keep the lights on at the Association for Software Testing. Ok that’s not true; we do a lot for a group of people volunteering their time to run a global nonprofit.

We’ve got a new energized board, many of whom I met in person during CAST back in November. Organizing CAST every year is a big deal and a lot of work for volunteers. But it's a fun challenge! This year I spent a lot more time facilitating conversations within our board. We have a group of smart people who can solve problems when we have time to focus.

We’ve spent a lot of time trying to understand what we do and the purpose we serve for our community. This is always important to re-evaluate, especially as people leave and communities shift.

I was elected for my third and final term for the board. It's time next year for me to figure out who will take over and help them get started. I'm sure there's more but I can't remember right now.

Kenst.com

In June of 2022, I ditched Wordpress as my blog CSM and came to Ghost. I’m done with managing the problems that come with hosting and running my own infrastructure. Although I appreciate how much I learn from it, I’d rather spend my limited time making content.

A few years ago I was growing a personal newsletter but it was a challenge to produce content. I closed it down in June when I published my first "hello world" type post here. With Ghost I get both a newsletter and blog all in one.

In the last few months of the year I found a routine I can stick to for writing daily. If I can maintain this good habit I hope publishing will continue better than last year:

Occasionally I look at pageviews of articles or topics to see what interests readers. For a year end recap they can also be useful:

Kenst.com for 2022

For 2022 this site had 84,600 pageviews. That's down by about half compared to last year. I attribute this to not publishing regularly. Going forward I’m less interested in how many pageviews I get and more interested in membership growth in my readership. Since June I’ve published 5 articles and grown my membership from 2 to 44.

TestingConferences.org

I run an open source list of software testing conferences and workshops from around the world. It’s my way of being an indie hacker and having a side hustle (well besides writing and community work). Since TC has a newsletter and sponsorships, pageviews are a little more important than with Kenst.com. Here's a recap of that site:

TestingConferences.org for 2022

In 2022 we had 30,479 pageviews, which is about dead even with 2021. The newsletter (which is separate) grew from about 800 subscribers to 900 in the year. In that same time the Twitter account has grown from 960 to 1270. The newsletter offers the most value for regular readers. The website is best for online (search) discovery.

I also get a ton of satisfaction and joy when people tell me how these things have helped them:

It's February and I’m finally ready to say goodbye to 2022. It's one of the few traditions I've done for many years. It's also a tradition that needed some tweaking. I hope you enjoyed the change because I did.

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Jamie Larson
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