Sunday, August 25, 2019

"Anthony Naveen - A Learning Experiment" & Request for Votes :)

Today, I spent a good eight hours mentoring and coaching Anthony Naveen as he expressed interest to improve his testing skills. He has around two years of work experience and now out of job.

It started with me asking Anthony to call me on Skype at 9.00 pm on Friday and I will resolve all of his queries. He pinged me at 8.58 pm and I was impressed (hint). We chatted for a few minutes and I asked him about his plans for Saturday. When he told that there were no plans, I asked him if he can come over to my home and we could test peacefully.

I was home alone and slept around 1.30 am. I woke up around 8.30 am and I received Naveen's message at 9.00 am sharp. I asked him to come at 10.30 am as I would be able to get ready, have my breakfast by then. He said ok and reached before time (10.12 am).

I also had a visitor at 9.30 am. With my plans fully going haywire, I was a bit upset - lack of sleep, no food, no bath and two visitors (one of them unplanned and the other early).

I and Naveen started discussing testing from 10.30 am. I decided to order lunch at 12.30 pm and ordered breakfast. I was having a running nose and was confident that it's just a matter of a few minutes and everything would be fine again.

After asking Naveen to tell everything he knew about testing and his background, I told him the agenda:

  • Introduction to Software Testing
  • Understanding the Context
  • Modelling the Application
  • Test ideas to test any application
  • Bugs and bug advocacy
  • Tools for testing
  • Test Reporting
  • Continuous Learning
By lunchtime, we had finished modelling the application. I was going through my slide deck and explaining each term. My plan was to finish the slide deck and then move on to hands-on. He was making notes, asking questions, acknowledging and then I asked him a few questions. 
His answers were my words. Cross questions did not yield any new words. Either blank stares or I don't know or some other unrelated terms popped up.

The language was not the biggest problem as he used the next logical technical term and words in our conversation. I was struggling to find what is the root cause. I wanted to find out what was blocking his progress:
- Lack of practice - Mostly yes
- Fear - Partially?
- Peer pressure - Young guy, probably yes
- Lack of mentoring - Clearly visible
- Lack of exposure - A big Yes
- No encouragement - Most probably
- Language, Culture issues - Don't know

and many more

I paused, took a deep breath and called up Mahesh Chikane and discussed a few things. 
It gave me an idea for some other problem, me & Mahesh are trying to solve.

I closed the laptop and shared the simple process of software testing:

Requirements > Test Ideas > Test > Bugs > Investigate > Report

That's it. Nothing more, nothing less.
We started our 90 mins of a hands-on demonstration of how to test and also complete the above stages in software testing. I was giving a live commentary of why am I doing whatever I am doing, what else can be done and why the current approach is preferred. 

We finished the 90 mins. The timer helped us remind about the deadlines. The recording tools helped us record. The mind mapping tool helped us organize our thoughts. Google helped us get test data. There was instrumental music, food, mosquito coil for company. 

What did I learn?
# A journey of ten plus years cannot be given in eight hours.

# There are multiple factors that are at play - confidence, maturity, intelligence, personality, learnability, self-awareness, skills, discipline, interests, approach and a few more (I need to think deeply to articulate them better)

# Feynman Technique - I need to get better at explaining this to a toddler.

# There is a need for simple exercises. I will work on these. Examples need to be easy to understand.

# A 90 min demo is different from coaching someone. You can wow someone with your work. The challenge starts when you want to discover their talents and also coach them towards their betterment. 

The upcoming months are definitely going to be interesting.

And about Anthony Naveen - he has potential, just like all the testers. He will get better with practice. Today is his Day 02. Let us see how he turns out by Day 100. Meanwhile, let me ping him and ask how did Day 02 practice affect him.

I also remembered that "Testing Heroes" voting has started.
Link to vote:

I have been selected as a finalist for "The Explorer" category. I am also proud to say that my friend and colleague Satyam Dixit is also a finalist for "The Performer"

Leia Mais…

Friday, August 16, 2019

1st Anniversary with Qapitol QA Family

Strange things happen in life. I messaged Dheeraj Karanam asking if there is anything for me at Qapitol QA as I will start looking for new opportunities after 6 months. In ten days, I had the offer in hand! The vibes were good and as we say there was a thought process DNA match!

And what happened next is a story worth continuing.
Let me try to wrap it in five key points - a journey that started 12 months ago.

(Q)uality - Problem Solving at its best
I am witness to so many expert problem solvers and problem solving examples everyday that I enjoy working at Qapitol QA. Every employee has solved one or the other problem in such an innovative way that it motivates me to be at my best to stand upto their expectations and meet the high standards everyone expects from each other.

(A)ttention to test design and automation
Wonderful balance between testing fundamentals and using technology to assist testing. There are companies who think automation can solve any problem and there are companies who don't scale because they don't use the right tools at the right time. In between, there is a sweet spot and we are there. We know when to say No and we know how to learn anything to delight customers.

(P)eople & Projects
Who is on leave? Who needs help? Who needs course correction? Who is facing issues because of travel? Who needs immediate training? Who needs a confidence booster? Every employee is closely observed and groomed with the freedom to make /new/ mistakes.

The projects are awesome just like the people. Some of the toughest problems are being solved by the QAPIOS. One could solve a problem that is visible to everyone. One could highlight the problems that no one has realised them and solve those, which is sometimes more interesting than solving the visible problems. I have been in projects where the clients were shocked that testing could be done in this way too - we reduced 5 days regression to 8 hours and the clients were shocked, surprised and pleased!

(I)ndividual Freedom and Responsibility
I had experienced such freedom and responsibility in Fiberlink (2012) and in Tyto Software (2016). It was good to get back to the deadly combination. It is not just at the management level. Every employee is empowered to take decisions and when things go wrong - the question asked is: "What can we all learn from this?" and not "Why did YOU mess up?"

(O)rganization focused on learning
Every day is a learning sprint and I am learning how to solve new problems every day. I worked on three different domains in a single year and enjoying the challenges each domain presents. All the experience of working with different teams, different stakeholders and different company cultures is helping me here! I would have never thought that the mistakes I did early in my career would help me after so many years. I am learning with every guest speaker too! We had James Bach, Sanjay (Chropath) and Sundaresan (Pact) so far.

More power to QAPITOL QA and all the QAPIOS!

Twelve runs scored and the pitch seems to be a good one for batting!
Should be an interesting innings. Bring it ON :)

By the way, we are always on the lookout for smart folks to join the smart teams.
Interested? Ping me on LinkedIn -

Leia Mais…

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Test Leadership Congress - Mind blowing experience

Test Leadership Congress 2019 - New York
I recently spent a week in USA attending The Test Leadership Congress conference. It was the first time, I conducted a tutorial in a conference in USA. So, let us look back at the whole experience from where it started.

Preparation - Background dots
Anna Royzman - the conference founder is a good friend of mine. We met at Agile Testing Days or at CAST - I am not sure but what matters is that she is the founder of two conferences - conTEST NYC and Test Leadership Congress and is a true leader. We have had multiple interactions over Skype and she helped me learn a lot about test leadership. So, I kept hearing about the conferences and there were multiple good reviews about the conference. Meanwhile, I had also attended Problem Solving Leadership workshop facilitated by Jerry Weinberg and Esther Derby in 2016. In the recent roles at multiple companies, I was handling key leadership roles. All of this dots connected well and I wanted to present the Problem Solving for Leaders and Managers at Test Leadership Congress. The proposal was accepted and I was all set to travel to New York for the first time. 

Acceptance and Marketing
Once the proposal was accepted, I was super excited and wanted to give it my best shot. I conducted multiple workshops in India on the same topic and was happy with how the audience liked the overall experience. With any conference, there is a lot of marketing just close to the conference dates and you get very less time to know the speakers. In this case, everything was well planned, in advance. There was a separate Slack channel created for the speakers. There was no push to get the slides in by a certain date. The information was passed to all the speakers in one email and it was slowly turning to be a huge gathering of close friends. What surprised me was the list of events before the actual events that the speakers could volunteer to be part of and get their brand visible. The hotel information was also provided well in advance. 

LinkedIn posts about each speaker were posted regularly and not bombarded. Individual attention was given to each speaker. You really wanted to know more about the speaker after reading the posts. Even before the conference started, you could sense that this conference was going to be a totally different experience.

Hotel and Speakers Attention
The hotel was 2 mins away from the conference venue and there was speakers dinner, reception and after party arranged for the three nights. There was individual attention on the speakers and any request was met with a standard - "Of course - it can be done" attitude. There were just three tracks. I am happy that there were just three - I will tell you soon, why!

There was not much of a crowd. You could sense that it was on purpose - every attendee got to meet/greet every other attendee at least once everyday. It helped break the barrier and know more about each other and share knowledge. Most of them were either test lead, director, team lead, qa manager helped as everyone was literally on the same boat. Guess what - the badge did not carry anything about company or designation. Just the name and an indication of whether you were a speaker or an attendee. It was just BRILLIANT. Talk about inclusion.

happy attendees
About Program
The topics were diverse. No one topic was repeated. The entire schedule was designed as if an artist had separated the silk strands and arranged it based on thickness and color. Such precision and judgement of which session should follow which other session and excellent diversity in terms of experience, context, first timer vs seasoned, country, gender, age, roles, designations and presentation styles. I had so much difficulty in choosing the track to attend not just once or twice but for the entire 2nd day - yes, the entire second day! Luckily, one of the tracks was recorded. There was no "You sponsored, get a slot and sell your product" kind of talk. Every talk was selection worthy. 
People keep getting the questions in many conferences about which track has which talk and which room. In this case, everything was on Sched and the room number was clearly mentioned. Here is where attention to detail was highlighted. On the second day, when you clicked on Schedule to check, you would expect to see the first day schedule too and then scroll to the second day! In this case, it was updated to the closest hour. What an excellent user experience. Loved it.

About Conference
The entire conference started and ended on time. The wifi was excellent and there were lots of power slots available and end result - I could tweet without worrying about battery or internet. Many would agree to my points as they also tweeted happily. Check out the tweets here with #leadtest: Link My tweets are available at ajay184f 

Workshop collage
The simple stuff was brilliantly handled:
- Stick to schedule
- No sales pitches
- Excellent wifi and food
- Photographer to capture key memories
- No nonsense of speaker felicitation and wasting time

Last Day
The whole three tracks was now just one track for the last day. Looking back, there was talks, keynote, games, breaks, hallway discussions, group discussions, tutorials, performances. There were first timers, seasoned speakers, experts and plenty of networking opportunities. You could sense that whatever happened was the right thing to happen.
 If I have to summarise in one line - Jerry Weinberg would have been proud of this test leadership conference

Thank you to Anna for inviting me to the conference. Thank you to the program committee (I got to know who you are ;) ) for selecting my proposal. Thank you to the speakers who gave your best and made it a wonderful learning experience. Thank you to the attendees who trusted in all of us and made the whole experience beautiful for everyone. Thank you to all my well wishers!

Leia Mais…

Saturday, May 25, 2019

ATA Meetup #22 - Bangalore - Amazing experience

Reached super early
The session was supposed to start at 9 AM and I reached by 7.45 AM. I did not want to be late. Due to weekend's minimalistic traffic and super driver, I surprised myself and I thought I can just enter and wait in the hall. The security asked me the contact person name and I told him that there is a meetup by Agile Testing Alliance - did not help. I called up Aditya Garg and somehow the security got convinced that I can at least pass the main barricade and sit on the makeshift park seats.

It was nice to experience fresh air, have fruits and dive into an interesting book called "The Practicing Mind" by Thomas M. Sterner.
The Practicing Mind
I remembered the discussions with Shrini Kulkarni about consciousness, mind, awareness as I read the book. Around 8.40 AM, Thrivikram and Venkata P from HCL welcomed and escorted me to the induction hall where we had the meetup. The conversation between them and the security folks was an interesting one making me think of the process adherence vs value addition.

Learning for me:
Know the contact person in advance and keep them informed about surprises in plan.

HCL Services
The first session was by HCL management represented by Prashantha M who highlighted the various services offered by HCL, the case studies and the learning. There were few really good questions by the audience who wanted to know more details about the insights shared to them.

My tip:
Knowing something and applying directly to your context might be dangerous. Know about the context in which it worked/failed. 

We messed up the craft - Ajay - Qapitol QA
We went for breakfast and after making new friends by consciously sitting with strangers, it was time for my talk. The slides took some time to appear. Thanks to this, I could express myself at the whiteboard and have the audience involved in answering few questions - did we mess up the craft or is everything perfect?

There were just two slides and here are the images:
Five ways we have messed up the craft

Time to clear the mess

EarlGrey - Satadip Ghosh - Coviam
Many years ago, I had bet that Srinivas Kadiyala would become a tester to watch out for and it is true today. I predict now that Satadip Ghosh will be the next one to watch out for. I am impressed by his organizational skills at such a young age. If he continues to work hard on his skills, he will be a super hire for any company. His presentation on EarlGrey was a decent one and well paced!

How to be a Test Jumper - Sushma MB - Qapitol QA
I was super nervous for Sushma's talk and Sushma watching me every now and then during her presentation did not calm my nerves at all. She did a great job for her first community presentation. The attitude with which she approached the whole task when I asked her to present at ATA meetup is commendable. The feedback from Chaithra and Balakrishnan from Qapitol QA helped her deliver a good talk. She was ready to incorporate most of the feedback and defended some of her decisions - a good quality! All the best, Sushma for more talks!

ChroPath - Sanjay Kumar - Autonomiq
I knew Sanjay from The Test Tribe session where Sanjay demonstrated ChroPath and I was lazy to attend it live. I wanted to pay attention to the session and it was mind blowing. I was relating some of the points to Sahi Pro's ease of use. Sanjay is the creator of ChroPath and the story of why he created the tool was also inspiring. I have installed the addon and will conduct an exercise at my company to get everyone familiarised with the tool. Sanjay is open to conducting a session at your company too if you can prove the numbers.

Toll gate
I was mentally exhausted after all the lovely sessions and slowly losing physical energy as the Ola auto was taking its own sweet time to reach the location. I had bought double toll and it was wasted as auto went below the bridge. I kept thinking if autos are allowed over bridge and suddenly I was asleep.

More events coming up
June-July Schedule

More Details at 

My thanks to the organizers - Agile Testing Alliance, Nagesh, Thrivikram and everyone involved in making this meetup a memorable one.

Leia Mais…

Friday, January 25, 2019

Call for Speakers from STeP-IN Forum and First meetup of the year

Meetup Details

The first meetup of STeP-IN Forum was successfully conducted on 20th January at Verity Training office and was attended by 10+ testers. For the first meetup, we had picked the theme of testers' role in Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence and data Science.

Interesting discussions revolved around the future of mundane jobs, the history of ML algorithms, what each participant felt about AI, the skills required to get started on these fields and how to apply them in software testing. We also discussed about the repercussions of these and how they have started affecting us in a negative way to some extent or the other.

Is it beneficial or harmful - definitely upto how we apply them in our lives.

As testers, what is our role? Continue to be critical thinkers, point out the loopholes and finally bring in the human/social impact in all our decisions.

Machines and algorithms will amplify what is fed. What needs to be fed should be a humane decision.

We did not realise how time flew and we were at the end of the meetup and we wrapped it up with a photograph and exchanging contact details. A happy meetup for sure!

Looking forward to the next month's meetup with a similar interesting topic and more participants.

Meetup Participants
And it is that time for year when you can put on your thinking caps and submit your thoughts for the most awaited conference in India running across cities - the STePINSUMMIT and the city specific conferences - DSTC (Delhi), HSTC (Hyderabad) and PSTC (Pune).

The call for speakers is open and early bird tickets are available as well. The two days would be worth it considering the diversity and expertise of the speakers, the audience interaction and the sponsor booths where you can learn from the companies first hand how they can solve your problems. In our day to day work, we are so close to the problems that we may not get the spark or a different perspective to solve it. Listening to the speakers from different organizations, interacting with them, making new connections, meeting friends again, participating in multiple contests would be a great experience. The value one would get out of the two days would be very high compared to the early bird costs of the two day conference.

Think about it, buy the early bird tickets and immerse yourself deep in software testing over the two days. Book your calendar and let us meet there!

Call for Speakers:

Book Tickets:

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me.  

Leia Mais…