Year 2023

Melissa Fisher
5 min readDec 27, 2023

I was recently encouraging a friend to write up all the amazing things they have done this year. So to be in line with my encouragement I thought to do the same. It can be easy to forget about what you have done. It’s also not only the BIG things but all the seemingly small things, such as showing up even when you don’t feel like it or learning from failure. I also feel there’s a lot of emphasis on professional development, however, what about other areas of your life? I feel it’s important to look at the bigger picture and all elements. So here are the things I want to brag about. Starting with elements that are not professional!

Built a Pond

We built a pond this year! I researched the how, planned it and executed the plan. I’m proud of myself for acting as Project Manager on this project. It was hard work (especially digging the hole), however, it was all worthwhile when a few days after we filled the pond with water, a frog visited. I’m looking forward to developing the pond further next year.

Created a daily meditation habit

A big win of the year has been exploring Buddhism. Becoming more self aware through practices of meditation and use of Buddhism singing bowls. I have been using the Headspace app. I’m still finding it hard to have that neutral tone and observe my thoughts sometimes. I feel this is OK. Will continue the habit next year and see what happens as a result.

Joined the gym

I joined the gym this year and explored more weight lifting and exercise classes. As a mostly remote worker, it has been great to get out of the house during the day. Next year I’m hoping to do more outdoor activities, such as running and cycling.

Weekend Volunteering

I spent many weekends volunteering in the garden of a Dementia care home. I really enjoyed the time that I spent there. Tidying up the garden and making the garden a place residents could enjoy.

Blog writing

The main professional thing I’m super proud of is my blog writing. My blog has spurred on so many connections and conversations. I’m very grateful to those that read, although I am a little selfish and write for me! I sometimes write to get things off my chest (writing is great for stress relief) or to explore my own thoughts. Recently I read something that said there is no point in writing if no one reads your content. I wholeheartedly disagree with this! Write for you! If others find your content useful as well, then it’s a bonus.

Public speaking

I did not have any targets related to public speaking. I got a little nudge to do ExpoQA and QualityCon, so that was a delight! I did submit for Agile Testing Days and got in. Through doing my workshop at ATD I have discovered that I enjoy more practical sessions, such as workshops. So perhaps this is one to explore in the future.

Expo QA — I headed over to Spain and did my talk on Solving Testing Problems through a set of principles. I enjoyed doing the talk, along with having a family holiday. Madrid is beautiful and I look forward to going back one day. I’ve written up all of my Testing Principles on my blog, so feel free to scan through and have a read.

Quality Con — I came up with a bespoke talk for a boutique conference called QualityCon. The talk was titled Sitting in a Hut Assessing the River. It was super fun to experiment and create a one off talk. It was based on a previous blog post here. https://fishouthebox.medium.com/sitting-in-a-hut-and-assessing-the-river-d8b05a996160

Agile Testing Days — In November I had the opportunity to do a talk and workshop at Agile Testing Days in Potsdam Germany. This was a dream come true and was the last Testing Conference on my bucket list to go to. The talk and workshop explored looking at the bigger picture about things you believe you must do as a software tester. I’m proud and pleased that I got a 100% good rating from 8 of those that rated the session.

Giving back — Volunteering at Ministry of Testing TestBash UK

This year I was a volunteer at the Ministry of Testing’s Uk conference, TestBash. I had an absolute blast volunteering. Helping support workshops, talks and the Ask Me Anything sessions.

Work related

In terms of work related, I’m proud of so many things. I have a long list!

  • Forming Quality Engineering Allies — one big moment was a team member calling out in the IT all hands the benefit of having us at the start of the project.
  • Pushing for collaboration and working together. Forming some fantastic work relationships.
  • Holistic view of quality — educating others about seeing the bigger picture.
  • Bringing in an amazing Quality Engineering Team. Got a fabulous set of people working on a project.
  • Forming a QE chapter — sharing ideas/working together.

FY24 Visions

  • To continue looking at all areas of my life. To not get consumed by one particular area and have balance.
  • Help people! I have recently started a new mentor-mentee relationship. I enjoy these relationships because as a Mentor I find I learn as much as the mentee.
  • To continue working on our Nature Garden. If you have any ideas on what I could do, then send them my way!
  • Continue promoting a collaborative culture in the workplace.
  • To complete a Women’s Leadership course at my workplace. Very grateful to have been given a place! I’m looking forward to the kick off in January.
  • Even more time outside! Hikes/walks/cycling/camping!

--

--

Melissa Fisher

Thinking outside the box and disrupting people's thinking.