So, I went for the board

End of August two years ago, I announced that I was going for the AST board. I kept my expectations pretty low, and I am glad that I did. Two years have passed, so I figured let’s revisit that decision from back then. Long story short: I won’t go for another two years. Read on to find out why.

The secretary

For two years, I have been the secretary of the board of directors of the Association for Software Testing. Pretty nice sounding title, eh? Well, there are three in-person board member meetings a year. We also went from bi-weekly calls to monthly ecoms during my term.

Usually the in-person meetings are done over a weekend from Saturday morning until Sunday noon-ish. That’s where most of the decisions are made for the ongoing course. In between, we tried to get work done.

Well, we tried at least. Part of the problem is when you depart from the in-person meetings, and get back to your daily routine, many of the good intentions to move something forward are eaten up by daily business. That’s happened to me, that’s happened to other board members, and many of them admitted it. It’s bit of a tragic situation, considering that folks get elected for having a loud voice on twitter or in the community, but you don’t know for sure if they get anything done in a group of volunteers.

So, for anyone out there wanting to go for the board, keep in mind not to set yourself a too high target. Remember that you will be dealing with a totally mixed set of volunteers, and it’s very hard to predict if and how you can work together. Folks from different directions have different opinions about different things. It might be that you will totally rock the place. But in hindsight, after two years, I think that the context-driven testing community is set up with many opinionated people, that can make the “getting something done” side of business hard at many times.

So, why I’m stepping down?

Besides all the things that we kept rolling, over the course of the last year, I figured that being the first European board member is causing me much of stress. Usually I took Fridays to fly into board member meetings, and returned early mornings on Mondays when we had an in-person meeting. That worked to some extent with my schedule, and I think that’s based upon the company I work for, and the freedom that I could take there.

And I think after two years, I have seen enough to recognize that it’s way harder to participate in online discussions with the timezone difference. It’s way harder to contribute to the board discussions that we have online or in email, and so on.

In September, I also became a CST which made me life with keeping track of online discussions harder. When you’re in class for two or three days straight, you don’t return to your hotel room to read the updates from the day.

So, over time, I figured that I couldn’t put in the amount of time that I felt would be necessary. I also recognized, that it became harder and harder for me to contribute. That’s when I decided that the AST would be better off if someone else had the chance to step in.

It’s not all bad

But it’s not all bad. During the last year we made the decision to update the BBST course material, to move the website to a new system, and to form a group working on standards and certifications. I think these are good steps, and they were long overdue.

That said, I look forward to the new elected board members, and how they will continue the work of 10 years of board members that came before them. I leave the group with a whining and a smiling face.

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