"Some birds aren't meant to be caged, their feathers are just too bright"- Morgan Freeman, Shawshank Redemption. This blog is from one such bird who couldn't be caged by organizations who mandate scripted software testing. Pradeep Soundararajan welcomes you to this blog and wishes you a good time here and even otherwise.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Being a tester V/s Working as a tester

Hi Reader,

I think I spent enough time, to give you something that can really make you think a lot on who you are.

Well, I joined a couple of software testing and testing related communities in orkut with an attempt to discuss on topics of testing and learn something from more wise minds.

All communities I joined are flocked with Indian testers and I am now wondering whether I should thank myself for having a learning there?

I learnt that there are two types of testers in India:

a) One who is a tester.
b) One who works as a tester.

Now, I do not want you to believe me. If you believe me before you read further, I would have to assume you belong to category (b). However...

_ Being a tester v/s Working as a tester_

It is very interesting to share my research on Indian testers in this post. I am not sure how testers are in the western or eastern world since I have never traveled outside, so let me not talk about them without seeing them.

Now, you might have a question to me...
"Who is better, the one who is a tester or the one who is working as a tester?"

I do not want to bias you but judge it yourself based on the following.

Features of people "working as a tester" -
  • One who works as a tester, would have started to learn testing for the purpose of job and is eager to collect material, interview questions and answers.
  • One who works as a tester, is eager to get a certification for augmenting themselves in their career.
  • One who works as a tester, is a toolsmith. They believe if you do not know any tools that are available in the market and the ones mentioned in job openings, you are not a tester.
  • One who works as a tester, seldom thinks of jumping into development, assuming that is a better job.
  • One who works as a tester, stops learning and starts confusing others by replying to queries in many discussions/communities/forums, both online and offline.
  • One who works as a tester, value money more than testing and they feel they are better testers if they are paid more.
  • One who works as a tester, post queries in all forums with improper subject line and without using simple search.
  • One who works as a tester, keeps asking others opinion about the job and the tool they are using.
  • One who works as a tester, wants to be spoon fed and is not willing to spend time and energy in researching or finding the data by themselves.
  • One who works as a tester, is the one who expects others to reply to their basic queries.
  • One who works as a tester, is the one who is irritated with testers who are being testers.
  • One who works as a tester, gets to management job as soon as possible, paving way for more people to work as a tester.
  • One who works as a tester, never tolerates ones who are being testers.
  • One who works as a tester, are more attracted to testing jokes than testing concepts.
  • One who works as a tester, never accepts others view of testing, be it from a person who is also working as a tester.
  • One who works as a tester, never know who coined the terminologies they have been mis using and never want to learn about their work too.
  • One who works as a tester, ... "Oh my God! this list is getting too big".
  • One who works as a tester, is a person who will never accept this post of mine.

"That's a sweet way to end it Pradeep" , I said to myself.

On a contradiction, I am happy that there are people who are being testers in India -
  • These people learn and experiment the concepts so well that, you ask them to write test cases for a software or a tubelight or anything, they will be able to do it without others help. Atleast they will make an effort.
  • These people value money and testing equally. ( I would never say they value testing more than money, I want to be realistic and no hype)
  • These people do enough search/research on their doubt before they post it on to a group. Such a tester is visible by the way he asks doubt - For example he/she asks - Subject - Query on XYZ concept - Body - Hi Testers, I was wondering about this concept after looking at ..... link .... I did some basic analysis but I seem to be not convinced, could anyone who has a belief that you can explain for me to understand can offer an explanation and I thank each of you for that.
  • These people get irritated when they are with people who work as a tester.
  • These people never stop learning, even if they become a Director or have their own start up.
  • These people are not as fortunate as the most of so called testers, who work as a testers.
  • These people remain... these people.

Its Judgment Day !

I still do respect those people who are working as a tester and trying to become a tester !

_ End of _ Being a tester v/s Working as a tester _

"I now have no doubts why the term "monkey, testing" came into the domain"

Thanks and Regards,

Pradeep Soundararajan


Note: Sorry for being so frank and bold.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Test your interviewer

Hi Reader,

I need motivation to keep giving good articles in Tester Tested! Blog and recently there was a big push for me from someone in Finland. I would love to share that with you

Well, hopefully you have come back from that link and now get ready for something interesting and a very controversial topic.

"Now Pradeep what is that controversial topic and what do you mean by *Test your interviewer*?"

Hmm ! is it that interesting for you to read this post?

_ Test your interviewer _

Before I proceed further, I want to ask you a question and it is ..."How many interviews have you attended till date?" 10 or 20 or 40 or 50 ?

Is 50 a huge number for you to digest?. Well if 50 is a huge number, what would you call an experience of attending 200+ interviews?

Would you want to know who is that person who have attended 200+ interviews till date?

No guesses at all... Its me, Tester Tested!

"Now Pradeep, why did you have to attend 200 interviews in this short span of 3 years?"

That's an interesting question but there is a better time I explain why I did have to attend so many interviews but I am just sharing something with you that I noticed very frequently in interviews.

Based on the interviewers I have come across, I am classifying the interviewers in the following categories -

Interviewers who do not know what they are asking -

Every technical question in an interview is good if it reveals information about the candidate and his/her fit to the job opening but perhaps there are some interviewers who ask those questions based on their past experience of attending interviews and expect the same answer as what they gave in their interviews.

Interviewers who run out of questions -

There are some interviewers who run out of questions and start asking irrelevant questions or ask questions which does not contribute towards the objective of interviewing.

Interviewers who are unaware of the domain, the candidate has worked -

Unfortunately, this is something that irritates me the most and I am more happy to have got rejected by those. In an interview an interviewer asked me "Pradeep, what is the Load testing tool you use for testing multimedia?"
I replied "Sir, I guess there is nothing called load testing tool commercially available for multimedia product testing". He then surprised me ...
"What, haven't you come across Load Runner?"

He could have asked me a better question instead of that which could have made me to continue respect him.

Keeping myself cool and with an intention of not disappointing him, I said "Oh, I have not come across Loadrunner for Multimedia Sir, I might check about that when I go back after this interview".

I would never join if I know well in advance that I cant learn anything from a supervisor, who interviewed me irrespective of the .

Interviewers who think they are interviewing a candidate because they are better than the candidate -

The most common class of people I have met. As an interviewer you should be looking for opportunities to learn from the candidate knowledge, else you are not a good tester.

... Well there are many such classifications I would want to take. I would say out of the 200+ interviews I have attended I would rate only 10 people as the ones who are eligible to interview testers.

Now it is time to thank all the interviewers I have met since each of them gave me a new learning and experience and if you dont want someone like me to classify you in any of the above, you should be ...

Simple steps to become an effective testing interviewer -

  1. When you get a resume for interview from your HR/Manager, go through the resume and check with yourself whether you can interview such a profile you have recieved and also do let your manager know your comfort level to interview the candidate based on your/candidate's technical skills.
  2. Every question you ask, should be towards the objective of revealing how fit the candidate's skill is towards the opening you have.
  3. Do not ask too much about theory on testing, no two people know the same definition.
  4. Have a discussion ( not rapid fire questions) and or try to test something with the candidate and see how his/her approach and thought process is towards the testing.
  5. Do not ask questions that do not have a standard answer in this world, like "What is the difference between Sanity and Smoke testing?" rather it would be challenging for the candidate, if you ask "If you know what Sanity testing is, could you tell me its significance or let me know what impact would a project have if Sanity testing is not done?"
  6. Appreciate the candidate if he/she is better than you and let him/her know that someone else would interview them to take a decision of hiring. If you say so, you are a non egoistic, humble and bold person.
  7. If you could learn from the candidate, make a note of the learnings during and or after the interview.
  8. Ask for interview feedback from the candidate and try to better yourself through the feedback. Not all candidates would give a proper feedback but there are many people like me.
  9. The most important of all, read Dr Cem Kaner's - Interviewing Software Testing Candidates .

_ End of _ Test your interviewer _

"A good tester, tests the interviewer"

Thanks and Regards,

Pradeep Soundararajan

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The man who inspired me through his notes

Hi Reader,

There is always something special about people who inspire others. We humans do not fix a person in mind and start looking at his work to get inspiration but it all happens either accidentally or through the passion we have developed towards something.

When I started looking food to feed my passion towards testing, I came across James Bach, accidentally and the fire started there. When you know a person, you get to know his circle of friends and similarly, when I got to know James Bach, he then mentioned a few names to me who were equally wise people in the field. I am not sure how many of you know Jerry Weinberg but for sure he is one such mentor for one and all in the field and outside too.

After joining the SHAPE forum, I started wondering "Is there anything that Jerry does not know?"

Recently, Michael Bolton's work made me to inspire him. There is another thing that inspired me about Micheal, that he augmented himself from being a student of James Bach to becoming a peer to James. It is so much of hard work and dedication to get there is what I know.

_ The man who inspired me through his notes _

Now lets start talking about the notes. If you right click and open the link and go through the 4th page in this link , you would come to know, a fantastic exploratory testing exercise that Michael Bolton carried out in flight from Delhi to Amsterdam.

I want you to first, spend some time reading his notes and explanation, before you continue reading this.

Assuming that you have gone through the notes, I continue...

How and what did Pradeep learn from Michael Bolton's notes ?

  1. I learnt that learning and practicing testing need not happen infront of a PC and an opportunity to learn and practice something is hidden in the idle/free time we claim to have.
  2. "Exploratory testing done well is systematic", as James says.
  3. If I were the company whose product was put in flight; I would request all the passengers to share their experience of using the product and would keep enhancing the product rather than allowing good testers to have a good time testing these products. (That's a testing skill too, a testing service company or a product company should possess it, as per my perspective)
  4. I did make a note of the approach of Michael, to note down the observation, to make a sketch of the product, understand the product ASAP, decide on the scope of testing, think intuitive and then all this leads to find as many bugs as possible.
  5. I also did learn that while taking notes, be descriptive enough to make people imagine the product that underwent testing. I seriously could imagine the in flight entertainment system, without having traveled or used such a system in flight.
  6. As he says "taking such notes helps in modeling and framing a strategy to test a product".
  7. Mere learning is not important; I too am going to take notes. Not that I want to ape what experts do but am very curious about the thinking process of the experts and would want to know "how did they think to arrive at what they have arrived on?"I also learnt to make notes from others notes, if I happen to get it.

Michael, I have some questions which I would love to see the answers as a comment to this post. You could help a couple of testers looking into this post by answering the following questions apart from me.

  1. Before you boarded the flight, did you think of testing something or in other words, were you prepared to do some testing after getting into flight?
  2. What was running in your mind when you were taking notes or in other words, did you feel you were doing whatever you did, as a practice towards developing exploratory testing approach?
  3. Have you informed the bugs you found, to the company who owns the product or in other words, do you think it is good for testers who are going to take notes, after reading your moleskine notes should inform the company about the bugs they found?
  4. Do you find anything else that you can share with us regarding the same?

Last but not least, kudos to Jon Bach for helping Michael Bolton to reach to such a level of note taking capability. Forgive me all, I am too young and naive to appreciate these people but still I did :(.

_ End of _The man who inspired me through his notes _

"When you scribble something on a paper, you never know that an upcoming artist could get inspired by it"


Pradeep Soundararajan