The first post on Hiccupps was published five years ago this week. It’s called Sign Language and, reading it back now, although I might not write it the same way today, I’m not especially unhappy with it. The closing sentence still feels like a useful heuristic, even if I didn’t present it that way at the time:

Your audience is not just the target audience, it’s anyone who sees what it is you’ve done and forms an opinion of you because of it.

I’ve looked back over the blog on most of its anniversaries, and each time found different value:

  • I Done the Ton: After two years I compared my progress to my initial goals and reflected on how I’d become a tester and test manager 
  • It’s the Thought That Counts: After three years I began to realise that the act of blogging was an end in itself, not just a means to an end 
  • My Two Cents: After four years, the value of time series data about myself and the evolution (or lack of evolution) of my thoughts and positions became clearer 

And so what have I observed after five years? Well, by taking the time series data to Excel (see the image at the top), I find that this has been a bumper year in terms of the number of posts I’ve produced.

I think it’s significant that a year ago I attended and spoke at EuroSTAR in Maastricht and came back bursting with ideas. In November 2015 I wrote eight posts, the largest number in any month since November 2011. This year I’ve achieved that number three times and reached seven posts in a further three months.

But I don’t confuse quantity with quality … very often.

In fact, if I look back over this year’s posts I see material that I am ridiculously proud of:

  • Joking With Jerry: Jerry Weinberg – yes, that Jerry Weinberg – asked me to organise a discussion on something that I’d written that he enjoyed. I think Jerry is the person I have been most influenced by as a tester and a manager and it’s no exaggeration to say that, while nerve-wracking, it was a labour of love from start to end. 
  • Bug-Free Software? Go For It!: An essay I wrote in preparation for CEWT #2 which, I think, shows a biggering in my capacity to think bigger, and which I like because it reminds me that the Cambridge Exploratory Workshop on Testing is a thing. I set it up. It works. Other people are getting value from it. And we’re doing another one in a couple of weeks. 
  • Toujours Testing: This one simply because it is a kind of personal manifesto. 
  • What is What is Professional Testing?: An essay I wrote in preparation for MEWT #5 which, I think, reflects the move I’ve been making over the years to perform what I might call exploratory retrospection. By this I mean that I will try to test my testing while it is ongoing rather than waiting until afterwards – although, of course, I reserve the right to do that too. What I like about this is that I can and do use the same kinds of tools in both cases. 
  • Tools: Take Your Pick: It’s got ideas and tools up the wazoo. From the seed of a thought I had while cleaning the bathroom through the thicket of ideas that came pouring out once I started to scratch away at it. From the practical to the theoretical and back. I found it challenging to arrange the ideas in my head but immensely satisfying to write. 

I’ll stop at five, for no other reason than this post is for the fifth birthday. I wouldn’t be so crass as to say they’re presents for you. But when they pop out, completed, they do sometimes feel like presents for me.