Has it really been more than 2 months since the last time I posted to this blog? I guess it has. As is my custom, I’ve been thinking about the past year and what I want to do differently in the upcoming year.

The past year has been hectic. And yet, I’m not sure I accomplished much of what I really wanted to do. I did get to the end of all the available BBST courses. They all really opened my mind on the subject of testing. I’ve been a test lead for the past decade or so and in all that time I haven’t really worked on my own testing or technical skills. This is one thing I aim to change in the upcoming year and I want to take the learnings of the BBST courses as part of the input to that process. It’s interesting, the BBST courses have had an impact on the coaching that I give to folks at work but the more I thought about it the more I really wanted to actually bring those ideas into testing that I myself do. It looks like I will have that chance this year.

I also tried on a number of occasions in the past year to be more regular about writing every day. I’ve had some success but it hasn’t been sustainable. I tend to do most of my writing calisthenics up on http://750words.com.  There was even one month where I did write every day. But I took several monthly challenges that I couldn’t complete and ended up on the wall of shame for. I plan to continue the effort in 2012 to write every day. I don’t have a magic strategy for making it work but I know that awareness is the key. So I guess my plan around writing is a more general one to keep aware of the things I have decided I want to accomplish this year. The tool I’ll use for this will be my calendar.

A third area I want to work on this year is getting deeper knowledge of the product that I work on. I’m a big believer that testers need to deeply understand the product and customer space that they work on in order to add the most value to their work. Over the past few years of being on the Analysis Services team I have acquired a fair amount of knowledge in those areas but I’m still aware of how much more there is to learn.

So those are three areas that are top of mind for me as we end 2011. There is one more specific thing I want to accomplish this upcoming year. I guess this one is most like what people would think of as a new years resolution. Here it is: I plan to purchase no books in 2012.

I got this idea from inventorying the books I already own. I found that I have many more books than what I have actually read. And many of the books I put into the spreadsheet gave me the feeling that “I should have read that book by now.” So before increasing the inventory even more, I will spend this year catching up on reading the books I already decided that I want to read. Wish me luck on this one. I probably need to turn off one click ordering on Amazon…