Saturday, November 19, 2016

Call for Speakers for two of my favorite conferences in India

Agile Testing Days Asia
Global Testing Retreat

I love both these conferences for the learning, networking opportunities and the people behind these events. They genuinely see these events as an opportunity to help the community and not as a money making opportunity.

Does that mean they provide free tickets?
No, running a conference is not easy. They don't get things for free. So, it is obvious that they use the registration charges to offset the expenses. 

Why do I recommend these two conferences:
  • Respect for individual over designation
    You might be the least experienced in the room but if you have a great idea, it is appreciated and recognized in public without any partiality.
  • Stick to timelinesBefore, during and after the event, if they promise something, they deliver on time.
  • Honest and transparent
    If they say there are 10 registrations, you know that there are 10 +/- 1 registrations. It is not 2 or 20. If there are any goof-ups due to any factors, they openly admit it and give YOU the options to choose instead of forcing an option(read decision) on you.
  • Hard working and humble
    I have learned a lot on how to run a conference smoothly just by observing these two conference committees from close quarters. They don't brag about the effort and the sincerity behind the hard work shows in the success of these events.
  • Good at heart
    I remembered the quote:

    “Remember, people will judge you by your actions not your intentions. You may have a heart of gold but so does a hard-boiled egg.” - Maya Angelou

    These folks are not just good by intentions but their actions are also praiseworthy.
    So, my dear friends - Open the notepad/mind map/notebook and get ready to submit for these conferences. 

    Deadlines to remember:
    Agile Testing Days Asia: December 16, 2016

    Global Testing Retreat: February 01, 2017  

Have they paid me to write this? Yes, they have paid me in love, affection and touched my heart. They have my full support.

See you in these conferences. If my paper does not get selected, I will pay the fees and attend :) Anyways, we will meet!

Follow them on twitter: @stepin_forum and @TestingRetreat

Leia Mais…

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Aug-Oct: Bugathon, Bug-A-Sur, Workshops, Courses and Conferences

This post is an update of what kept me busy for the last two months. More for me as a log file :) Do read on if it interests you.

It started with BugATAhon contest conducted by Agile Testing Alliance at Compassites Software Solutions Pvt. Ltd at Bangalore on August 6th, 2016.

BugATAhon Winners (Bangalore)
Previous experience with Zappers contests and Weekend Testing time boxed sessions seems to have helped me win the contest :) This was the first time I and Sundar were in different teams since we got to know each other in 2012.

After BugATAhon, it was time for Mobile Testing and Mobile Security Testing workshop at ET Marlabs, Bangalore. I loved the energy of the group and how quickly Surbhi organized the whole workshop. Everything about the workshop right from the first email to final payment was finalized in a week's time. 
The Team at ET Marlabs, Bangalore
It was time for Mobile Testing workshop at Test Maniac on Aug 13.
Mobile Testing - Test Maniac (Bangalore)
Then Sep, I went to Noida to conduct Android Security Testing and API Testing workshop for Times Internet. This was the first time I conducted workshop on Android Security Testing. The practice with Test Manic testers helped to a great extent. I also thank my new friend who taught me the basics of Android Security Testing. 

Times Internet Team, Noida
This was followed by Exploratory Testing workshop at OpenText in Sep.
The Team at OpenText, Bangalore 
Then, I presented in Agile Testing and Test Automation Summit on the topic - "Automation in Testing". How could we incorporate automation in testing is the main theme of the talk.  
This was on Oct 21 and Oct 22, I and Sundar formed a team to participate in Bug-a-sur conducted by Venturesity.

And we won again. Santhosh Tuppad and Pranav K S also won some cool prizes. What made me even more happy was that the same team from ET Marlabs also won a prize in the contest.

Bug-A-Sur - Venturesity (Bangalore)
Each event can be a blog post on its own but due to the time constraints and other priorities, I am stopping here. I have not mentioned about the STWC judging (completed), Machine Learning course (in progress), Sahi Pro Meetup (completed) and LinkedIn Learning course which I plan to enroll before Oct 30th to take advantage of the free courses they are offering.

Till next time, happy testing. 

Leia Mais…

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Done with STeP-IN SUMMIT 2016

July 28: Workshop at Bangalore
Some of us were not sure if the workshop would run as scheduled. There was a Karnataka bandh (strike) proposed on July 28th. Later, it was restricted to North Karnataka. We went ahead with the workshop. Some of them were happy with the format of the workshop where I tried to explain a concept followed by an exercise to the participants. Some of them did not like the break in flow. It is hard to please everyone. Also, to note that it is indeed very hard to conduct a hands-on workshop and also explain many concepts in the same day.

While one participant complained that I came late to the workshop, I am sorry for it. I came 30 mins early to the time mentioned to me. I was unaware that the workshop was supposed to start 30 mins earlier than I arrived. I will ensure that this doesn't repeat.

We talked about Modelling, Mind Maps, Bug hunting, Test Ideas, Heuristics, Bug Investigation, Test Reports and Tools. I hope the workshop was useful to most of the audience as evident by the positive feedback I received from the feedback sheets. I learned from Rahul Verma on how to collect  feedback- just give the participants a blank sheet and ask for feedback.

Bangalore: Intense minds at work
July 29: Workshop at Hyderabad
Soon after the workshop at Bangalore, I flew to Hyderabad. The flight was delayed and I reached my hotel at 3am. I did not want to be late this time and was in the meeting room by sharp 9pm. This workshop, I wanted to try a different approach. Half day explanation, half day hands-on exercises.
And guess what, I received feedback that the first half was interesting and some of them felt lost in the second half. By now, you must have guessed how difficult it is to come to an approach that everyone likes. Many liked the session on mind maps and the resources I presented to them for further reading and references. It was heartening to see that participants came from Cochin, Mumbai, Delhi for these workshops. Folks, just call me to your place and avoid the travel :)

Hyderabad: End of workshop, Start of learning
Immediately after the workshop, I reached Bangalore at night. The next morning, I was off for a trip with my wife till Aug 2nd.

Aug 3: Test Automation Contest
For the first time, I participated in a Test Automation contest. Our team from Sahi Pro had the experienced Kshitij Gupta and the ever enthusiastic Pratik Shah. We saw at least five of our customers also participating in the contest and they were using Sahi Pro. The only question we had in our mind was: What if they won and we did not win? What will we say to our CTO?

After some time, we were ready with the answer: "Even in a lookalike competition for Charlie Chaplin, the original Charlie Chaplin came third :) "

First round seemed easy till ten mins to the end of the round where we almost messed up the code and started to panic. Good sense prevailed and we troubleshooted and resolved just in time. Results were announced and we were through to the second round. Only 8 teams out of 32 teams qualified for the second round. In the second round, we had to present our case and be ready for the Q & A.

When we connected our laptop, the HDMI port was not recognized and we presented 7th instead of allotted 3rd. The judges seemed to like our approach and how we used the full capability of Sahi Pro.
We were happy with our efforts.

Team Sahi Pro
Team Presentation
Aug 4: Summit Day 1
Welcome Address: Vivek Mathur kicked off the proceedings with a short speech on what to expect and how to get the most of the conference. It was crisp and noteworthy.

Vivek: Points to keep in mind
Keynote Address 1: Reinvent to Disrupt by Ashok Pamidi
I liked some of the points Ashok emphasized. The six major global technology shifts he mentioned included:
1. Digital technology
2. Cloud Computing
3. Automation and Robotics
4. Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Computing
5. IoT (Internet of Things)
6. Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality

Major Global Technology Shifts
As a software tester, I had a thought: How many of us know something about all of these? Isn't it necessary to know at least something which will help us in a conversation about these topics? And no wonder that we heard most of the talks on these lines - IoT, Machine Learning, Automation, Digital, Cloud Computing.

Next Keynote Address was on Quality Engineer – Leveraging Your Potential/Profession in Digital world by Rashma Samani.
This keynote was also very useful. She shared her experience of testing SetTop Boxes and how testing is part of her life now. She asked us to get rid of few obsessions and also highlight our strengths.
Strengths of Quality Engineers
Next, Dr.Nandakumar Ramakrishnan honored each of the STeP-IN Tech Committee members. My part was reviewing the papers allocated to me and provide comments. Thanks STeP-IN for honoring us.

The next talk was: "Ninja or Samurai? The Art of War and the Future of Testing" by Wolfgang Platz.

Ninja vs Samurai
Though his claim of how exploratory testing cannot provide a comprehensive risk coverage was something I questioned, we could not come to the same point of view within the 5 minutes of Q & A time.

Then, the folks from Intuit shared their journey of how they transformed and inducted Quality in the organization through their talk: "Transformation Journey of Quality Engineering at Intuit". Karthik Krishna and Anandhavalli Krishnaswamy were the presenters. They highlighted how the testers at Intuit wear different hats at different stages of the product cycle. They also talked about they focused on the skills of the testers, how they helped the testers improve before expecting magic from the testers.
Different hats worn by Intuit Testers
Later, I attended the session by Santhosh Tuppad. He engaged the audience pretty well and shared his experiences of how he hacked many systems. He recommended OWASP, browser addons and learning about different tools. He asked us to focus on the mindset first before jumping into security.

Meanwhile, I also met Nikhil Bhandari, Parimala (@curioustester) and other friends once again!
With Krishna, Nikhil and Santhosh
I was a bit tired after non-stop traveling for the last week. So, I went back home. I also had to prepare for my talk the next day. At night, 9.30pm I started my preparations for the talk after conducting a webinar on Sahi Pro. You can also register for the webinar here: By 1am, I had my presentation slides ready.

Aug 5: Summit Day 2
I arrived straight into Rahul Verma's keynote: The Dogmatic Agile – ‘A Critique of Deliberate Blindness of Indian Wannabe Agilists’ and it was really thought provoking.
- Do not follow any process blindly.
- Focus on skills.
- Do not focus on just the extremes. Understand that the solution might lie in between the extremes.
Rahul's Keynote
Next tutorial was by Brijesh Prabhakar: Testing in the Extremes – an Olympics story!
This was an interesting tutorial in terms of how the team tested the application and systems with just 500 testers and 9000 test cases. It was surprising to know that the preparations start the day the previous Olympics ends. And they don't use any fancy models or tools. You had to be present at the tutorial to experience it.

Testing for Olympics
I did not understand much from the VMware presentation. I blame it on my lack of knowledge and not on the presenters. It was time for my talk. My talk was titled: "Automation in Testing — A session of Confessions, Introspection and Secrets".

The slide deck is here: PPT
A pic of my talk
Body language not in my control
Next session was on "Machine Learning in Software Testing" by Milind Kelkar.
He talked about the different Machine Learning Techniques and how they are applied along with the different use cases.
Machine Learning Techniques
 When I asked him on how to get started with Machine Learning, he showed the following slide with Languages for Machine Learning. He referenced Coursera course and Andrew Ng. The next course starts Aug 8. So, enroll soon if you wish to learn more about it.

Languages for Machine Learning
 Then the results for the Test Automation contest was announced along with highlights of each of the 8 presentations by the finalists. Team Sahi Pro came second and we were happy about it. One reason why we thought we missed the first prize was Sahi Pro is so feature rich that it might look that we did not do much in the 3 hours, which is acceptable. It is a testimony to the power of Sahi Pro. :)

Team Sahi Pro - The Runner Up
Sanal Nair (STeP-IN), Ajay, Kshitij, Pratik
That was end of day 2. I skipped the last session to talk to Shrini and Rahul.
Jayshree, Parimala, Vani, Sunil and Ajay
It was a great experience at STeP-IN SUMMIT. Most of my tweets have the hashtag #STePINSUMMIT16. Thanks to the organizers. And it is time for me to move on to the next challenge - The BugAThon :) 

Leia Mais…

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!!!"

Leia Mais…

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!!!

Leia Mais…

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Interview with Sahi Pro - The Tester's Web Automation Tool

I am Ajay Balamurugadas and I welcome you to our weekly show where we interview one of the promising leaders of the industry. It gives me immense pleasure to introduce today's guest. He has been a consistent performer in web automation and built a strong hold in a very competitive market. When everyone built the automation frameworks, he focused on what is important - automating the checks. His unique philosophy of helping the tester makes his tagline - "The Tester's Web Automation Tool" the Sahi (correct) tagline for him.
Without further ado, let us welcome -
Sahi Pro: The Tester's Web Automation Tool 
Ajay(A): Hello, Sahi Pro. Welcome to the show. We are very excited that you are here today to interact with us and share your expertise. You are one of the few automation tools who is tester-friendly and gets the job done in a simple manner. Tell us about yourself and your journey.
Sahi Pro(SP): Thank you, Ajay. It is my pleasure. I started as an open source product and then due to customer commitments, I started to focus on my Pro version and fulfill customer expectations. I noticed excellent testers struggling to automate due to complex automation tools. So, I evolved to enable subject matter experts and testers to get into automation easily.
A: Yes, that is indeed strange. When everyone around you focuses on building a robust framework and turning testers to coders, you have taken a different route altogether...
S: I will not say that we have a taken a different route for the sake of being different. My thought process is continuously evolving based on the testing industry and trends. I quickly realized that most of the end users were expected to be technical programmers or automation engineers. They were expected to build a framework from scratch, get the developers write code to align with the element identification mechanism and after all this, focus on automating the checks.
I found it quite disturbing. The purpose of web automation is to automate the checks, give the testing team the confidence that the regression bugs they expected to find are not present. The tool should free up the tester's time. Testers should explore the application and find more critical bugs. I don't expect my users to be technically super-strong. I take care of everything to help the tester, right from identifying the elements, suggesting accessor alternatives, providing relational APIs, excellent logging and reporting, calling Java functions and libraries from my script, automatic screenshots on failure and believe it or not, I automatically wait for page loads and AJAX activities to end!!!
A: Whoa! That's quite a big list of key differentiators! Tell us about your element identification mechanism.
S: I use my own wrappers around the Javascript DOM to identify elements. My APIs use various DOM attributes of an element to identify them. Instead of relying on a single attribute, I look for the element's value, name, id, css class or index etc. So, I work well even if multiple elements have the same attribute value. If I am unsure about a particular element's identification, I rely on my trusted advisor - the Relational APIs to identify one element with respect to another.
A: Many testers want to learn automation and give up as soon as they face problems in learning a particular language. What is you suggestion to them?
S: Yes, that is a common story. People are spending time learning the language more than automating the tests. I am not against anyone learning a language but let us remember why we started this discussion. A tool should enable people to automate and not set restrictions on the way. I am an extension of JavaScript and have a pretty good recorder which can create scripts for further usage. If you have never used any tool for automation, try me!!! If you already burnt your hands spending a lot of time learning a language with little success, let us pair together and see if I can help achieve your goals.
A: Are you only for newbies or can experienced folks take advantage of your prowess?
S: As I have already highlighted, my recorded scripts can be used as a good starting point for further scripting. My JavaScript is executed in a Rhino JavaScript Interpreter, running inside my proxy. As Rhino is a JavaScript runtime running inside a Java Virtual Machine (JVM), this adds a lot of power to my scripts. My scripts can directly call Java code in scripts.
A: I am sure, our readers are excited to try you and your APIs. Does anyone provide training or demo about you?
S: The folks at Tyto Software Pvt. Ltd seem to be quite helpful in this regard. Shoot an email to info[at]sahipro[dot]com or check out the documentation about me at 
I also meet my friends every Thursday in a webinar at
A: Thank you for your time, Sahi Pro. We wish you all the best for your future releases and features.
S: My pleasure. All the best for your series too. 
Feel free to add your questions as comments and we will get Sahi Pro to answer for you. 

Leia Mais…

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Life moves on. Thank you, Fiberlink (IBM)

I wasn't challenged at my job as I had spent just over 5 years at my first job at EFI. Most of them who had joined with me had quit. I had groomed my skills at EFI - thanks to the 9-6 office timing. I would reach home by 7pm and practice. I used to practice at 99tests, participate in Twitter conversations, read books and blogs. One fine day, I got a call from 99tests Founder - Praveen Singh that MaaS360 wanted to give a project to 99tests for 6 months. Before that, they wanted to have a pilot for a month with 1 tester. I was the chosen one. I tested the product. I also got my first Android smartphone for that (which I still have in perfect working condition).

After 2-3 weeks of testing, the QA director at MaaS360 called me for a chat. I kept on refusing. But after persistent calls and emails (6 to 7 times), I finally went to the office for a chat. They liked the reports and I liked the complexity of the product. I was offered on the spot and in the name of chat, I was interviewed :) I resigned from EFI the next day and after serving the notice period, I joined MaaS360 (Fiberlink) on Jan 30, 2012.

My first blogpost after joining the company is here:

There are many things I got to learn - both professionally and personally. I would like to highlight some of them below:

After close to four years of working at Fiberlink and IBM (IBM acquired Fiberlink), I wanted to try my hand at freelancing. I wanted to get out of corporate culture, the performance appraisals, the fixed timings and working on the same projects. I did not have any problem continuing what I did for my last four years but the urge to engage more with the testing community is strong. 

I want to spend more time focusing on individual testers, sharing what I know, helping small teams achieve greatness. It is time to move on. Thanks Fiberlink, IBM for the learning and the happy memories. Till the next blog post, be fearless and follow your heart :)

Leia Mais…