Goals are important. Without a goal - something you plan to do, accomplish, achieve - you can only wander aimlessly. (Or I guess you can always become a sedentary part of the scenery...) Note that this is *not* to say that wandering aimlessly is bad; some of my best finds have been from intentional aimless wandering! Just be sure you're doing so on purpose.
Revisiting goals is important too. I quickview my goals multiple times a day (vetting what I do against them I still need work on), and reviewing them is vital to my weekly planning, but once a year I spend several days thinking about what I want to be doing, what I need to be doing, and what I need to not be doing. I find that taking this time to recenter and realign myself makes a big difference in the energy, happiness, and enjoyment I bring to and get out of my work and life. So, my goals:
- Learning is my driving force. My most important goal is to never stop learning. This pervades everything I do and all of my other goals.
- I love testing, and I love coding, and I especially love helping other people learn. I know I'm doing the right things when I'm excited and happy throughout the day. Everything I do should be aimed at keeping my excitement and passion high.
- Increasing the capability level of each individual on my team and the team as a whole is more or less my job description, but I'm still explicitly calling it out as one of my goals. Everyone on my team has made a huge amount of progress over the past year; my challenge is to help them sustain this growth.
- Even though we are doing great things with our automation stack we are having problems with some of our tests being unreliable. Flakiness is an inherent risk when automating UI, but I believe that risk can be mitigated down to something very close to zero. I just have to prove it.
- To continue to progress in my career I need to raise my visibility on my team, across Microsoft, and across the industry. I have to prove that my USP isn't just a lot of hot air. I have to show that I can do it all. Testing the bejeezus out of Sparkle is one aspect of this; talking with people and groups here at Microsoft and out there in the rest of the world is another; and of course writing this blog helps too! <g/>
- Also important is making Sparkle great, both directly by bashing on it myself and indirectly by helping my team (Dev and Test and everybody else) become better testers. Additionally, I want to become expert about Avalon and the entire Expression family. I understand the basics of Sparkle but I need to go deeper. I know my way around Avalon but there are plenty of parts I have not yet explored let alone conquered. And Acrylic quite frankly baffles me. I plan to change all that.
- I am a coding geek through and through, to such an extreme that I think my creativeness has become lopsided. So I intend to nurture my creative whole by learning how to draw. (Which will likely astonish those who know me, because I am *so* not an artist. But I want to learn how to draw architectural renderings goshdarnit!) And I'll continue on my journey towards becoming an expert rollerskater (on which path I am just barely started).
- "If you don't have your health you don't have anything" said the Six Fingered Man, and I wholeheartedly agree. Historically I have always been rather a weakling and not very physical, but working with my trainer for some eighteen months now has changed all that. I can actually jog for a sustained period of time now! I've been learning lots about how diet affects everything too and feel much better thanks to the changes I've been making there. It's easy to let all this slide when those Oh So Very Important deadlines come calling, but I find everything goes so much better when I take the time to take care of myself.
- Lastly, but not by any means least, I am going to have fun! Because that's the most important thing in life after all. <g/>
This is where I am going today (and tomorrow, and the next day, and...). How about you?
*** Want a fun job on a great team? I need a tester! Interested? Let's talk: Michael dot J dot Hunter at microsoft dot com. Great coding skills required.