Monday, June 27, 2016

Problem Solving Leadership - Part 1 of N (N could be 1 too)

As you can see, it is an email I sent to Esther in 2010 asking for details about the Problem Solving Leadership. I kept trying year after year to check if the cost came down. The good thing is that they have not increased the cost more than 2800 USD. It looks like it has always been 2800 USD since 2010 and maybe before that too.

2800 USD + Flight cost to USA from India + Accommodation + Food + Local transportation = Huge $$$. I could not afford it. I had multiple opportunities where I had to give them 14 hours and I would be paid a lot of money. I kept rejecting them. I stuck to those jobs that let me go home after 8 hours and also let me practice my skills. The jobs that let me participate in workshops, buy me books, send me on week long leaves to conferences and be myself.

While some of my colleagues started earning more money but were unknown to the world, I got some good mentors and friends all over the world. I kept going to conferences, spending my money on workshops, courses, books, licenses, mobile devices. I was working on my reputation as a good tester. Slowly, I was invited to present at conferences, called to conduct workshops, advise testers and it was all going good.

I had taken workshops/courses from Rahul Verma, Pradeep Soundararajan, Matt Heusser, Peter Walen, Fiona Charles, James Bach, Jon Bach, Michael Bolton, Cem Kaner since I started my testing journey ten years ago. Many recommended Jerry Weinberg's books. I also liked them when i read them. In fact, I liked them to the extent that I used to quote his words in personal life too.

I wanted to meet him. I also asked him if he conducted PSL workshop online and his reply was a No. I changed jobs and thereby got an opportunity to attend the PSL workshop this June. Even though everything was in place, I had my own fears - will I be sent back from airport for some issue with the documents? will I have to travel back due to any emergency? Will my flight be hijacked and I take a bullet to save someone and many more such crazy stuff as I could not believe that I would be able to attend PSL without any issues.

Finally, I arrived and I went to the hotel and was very excited about attending the workshop the next day. I was ready by 7 am and the workshop would start only by 9 am. I kept waiting outside the wrong room for an hour before I confirmed the exact room and went there.
There were already few people waiting. I smiled at them and got myself a seat. Esther soon came to the room and my eyes were still on the entrance waiting for Jerry.

And once Jerry came and the time was 9 am, the workshop officially started.

There were five full days of intense workshop followed by half day of introspection and some of us went to a nearby peak and had an awesome time on the Sky Tram.


What did we do during the five full days?
We had many explicit exercises which tried to emphasize

  • Observation
  • Team work
  • Personality types
  • Leadership models
  • Running a startup
  • Problem solving
  • Consulting 
  • Fish bowl
  • Lot of sharing what we learned as individuals and as a team. 

Sharing the exact workshop contents would not do justice to both - the trainers and the readers. One has to experience the workshop to feel the lessons. It is also interesting to know that each individual comes to the workshop with different set of expectations. Some want to know more about themselves, some want to hone particular skills, some want to know where they can improve (and not necessarily improve in the same week), some want to just absorb everything and some come just to have a break from their routine.
I was someone who went to learn more about myself and I realized that I learned a lot about others and how my actions affect others!!! Some interactions were eye-openers in their own terms and I also had the opportunity to see others full of passion / raw emotion and bringing their true self in the open.
There were opportunities to dive deep and get what you want. There were opportunities that made you feel stupid temporarily and it seemed to follow the golden rule (according to me for any workshops): You get as much as you put in. You put in a lot of effort, you get a lot of learning. You just skim through the workshop experience and you can get just that - the top layer - you might like it or hate it.

So, the next few months to start with, should be interesting. The participants of the workshop have promised to support each other. Sometimes, the workshop enthusiasm dies down after few weeks but I have a strange feeling about this one. This kind of teaches skills for life as it focuses more on problems which never go away and then on people who seem to be the ultimate creators of any problem :)

Till next time, "We will deal with it!!!"

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Sunday, June 12, 2016

One decision you will not regret as a software tester!!!

It is Dec 6th 2016. You are getting congratulatory messages on your email, mobile, Facebook, Twitter. You are getting calls from your friends and well-wishers. You are indeed very happy and thanking your team members. Your hard work has finally paid off and you are now a superstar known to many more testers in this world. How would you feel if this was true! Think about it.

While you think about it, let me introduce you to a wonderful opportunity that will test you, challenge you, make you work smart, make you think, work better with team-mates, plan better, manage time well, prioritize better, investigate well, ask better questions, analyze quickly.

Why should you participate in Software Testing World Cup

Many work, some are super smart, some excel but very few shine on the world stage. STWC is the stage for you to shine.

Test yourself
You might have lots of experience testing in your company but don’t you want to test yourself to find out where you stand on the world stage? Can you prove that you are the best in the competition? If not at the world stage, at least in the continent? Imagine the happiness you get when you get to know that you are in the top 3 of the continent/world.

Excellent Learning Opportunity
How do you test? How is your competitor different from you? Which tools did they use? What test ideas you missed? You can get answers to all these questions in such contests!

Make new friends
Are you aware that there are close to 250 teams that register per continent! And each team has 4 members. Think about how many friends can you make, how many testers you can talk to, collaborate with. They could be your next team members or you can meet them and discuss about common interests.

Big Prize Money
Did you know that the winners would get close to 3000 Euros? Your investment is just 40 Euros. One spends that amount every day for random reasons. Spend it on your learning. Here is the secret: Many of the teams have never participated in such contests. If you can just show up and put in a decent effort, you can win that BIG money!

Check out the winners from last edition:
All the best for your chance. When I and my friends participated in STWC, we came 5th in Asia :)

Here is your link to register!!!

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