"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.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

The story of a monk who sold bugs!

In January 2006, I wrote an interesting post in my blog that became one of the favorite e-mail forward among testers in India. To my disappointment, when I got the forward e-mail from a couple of people, I could see different names as authors in it and I never got the credit. I bet no one can make the kind of creative grammatical mistakes that I do and its always easy to spot my writing. Also as Michael Bolton pointed out in software-testing list, "Pradeep writes from heart".

Fearing those idiots who did not owe me credits I didn't want to write such stories that could make another interesting forward with a claim that they are the authors. I am no coward and most important of all, I don't want my blog readers miss such stories that I have in mind. So here is a story that I think that has gone weeks of thinking:

The story of a monk who sold bugs written by Pradeep Soundararajan [Idiots and fools can change it to their name if wanting to forward the story]

Once upon a time, not so long ago, a monk set out looking for a job in India that could help him earn enough to feed his family. Monk knocked the door of a few software companies and by God's grace, a company did consider him for an opening in testing that they had.

The monk was new to the software industry and had calculated his monthly salary by dividing the CTC ( or cost to company per annum ) by 12 and felt happy about it but when he received his first pay check, he did come to know that maths in software industry, especially when it comes to salary is different. It was not possible to run his family with the monthly pay check he received and hence had to find a way to earn more.

Looking out for another job means, taking time off the work, which also implies that he earns lesser for that month and might end up not getting an offer. So what is the way to work in the same company and yet earn more?

In conversation with other testers in the company during lunch, the monk heard a couple of testers lament about the development teams not fixing the bugs found by them. One tester said, "I bet a 100 rupees on each of these bugs" and other testers too started making similar statements. The monk who was listening to this got an idea and asked all these testers, "did you say 100 rupees to convince developers to fix a bug?" and then testers replied, "Oh yes!"

The monk went back to the monastry in search of his Guru to seek help to win the bet that was placed on each bug. The Guru had left for a world tour but had left a note to all the monks who came in search of him and the note said, "Your problems will be solved even if I am not here to help you and the one who can help you this time is yourself". After reading this the monk didn't get disappointed but thanked his Guru for leaving such a wonderful note.

The monk boarded a bus to head back to office and at the bus he handed over a 10 rupee note to purchase a ticket. The conductor said, "Sorry, I cant give you the ticket, the low battery condition in this ticket generator will make the ticket get stuck during the print out and its a very painful job to remove the paper out and fix the roll in the position and hence we are losing money and business because of this" and the monk said, "Thank you! I got the answer for a question that was bothering me".

The monk, on reaching office called for a meet with other testers and asked them to bring their bug report print outs. Everyone gave their bunch of reports and the monk started his homework.

He picked a bug that was logged with a low battery operation of an embedded product where the developers had commented "Users are not supposed to use the product in low battery". The monk went to the developer and narrated the incident that happened in bus and also added that, "I guess the government is planning to sue the company that provided that machine. As ours is a huge company where different products are developed, are you sure its not our company thats going to be sued?"

That question to a developer was enough for the monk to make his first 100 rupees. As days passed, the monk narrated a lot of real time stories to developers who had offered reluctance to fixing a lot of bugs assigned to them and the monk made a lot of money. As the stories from the monk became popular among the developers in the company, developers loved listening to monk' stories and the monk had a very high credibility among all teams.

The testers conducted a meet and discussed about the monk who made a lot of money through them and decided to cancel their bets thereafter and some testers said, "Ah! I can say better stories, what big deal? Let me convince the developers hereafter and I am not going to pay that already rich monk anymore"

The monk had not only caused a revolution within himself, he had also created an evolution, the way other testers wanted to work.


The monk decided to go to a new place looking for more and different kind of problems. He made a lot of money solving such problems and eventually became one of the richest tester of the world!

Lessons to learn from the story of a monk who sold bugs:
  • Everyone needs something convincing to take up a task, be it fixing a bug or executing scripts.
  • Developers need some real time scenarios, facts, customer information and information about customers knowledge, models in which the customer uses a product in a packaged form - story - to get convinced to fix bugs.
  • One who constantly thinks of solving a problem, will find the solution anywhere.
  • The most reliable person for help, is yourself.
  • Testers need to develop and practice a skill of story telling to get better at selling bugs.
  • Testing is not an activity of improving quality, its an activity of finding information and it is the product/development teams who fix those issues for improving the quality. In case you still want to think that testing is an activity of improving the quality, you might want to become a best bug seller to continue thinking of it.
  • Testing is not necessarily a computer science subject and its life science, social science, ... all science and all non science, too.
  • There is a traditional way of making money and as a tester if you take the traditional way, you make less with it.
  • Some bugs are born with self explanatory story but some aren't and testers need to build them.
  • More your sales figure ( selling bugs, I mean) higher is your credibility and as testers if you don't have credibility, you might not be able to boost your sales figures further.
  • Pradeep Soundararajan will keep writing such stories without fearing the people who try putting their name as authors and exposing themselves as idiots, fool.

-- Pradeep Soundararajan - http://testertested.blogspot.com - +91-98451-76817 - pradeep.srajan@gmail.com

"Pradeep's first language is not English--his first language appears to be testing." -- Michael Bolton

12 comments:

Neeraj said...

I must say that this is a highly creative, inspiring, and thought-provoking story. I believe that a biggest strength that a human can possess is the convincing power. As a technical writer, I always make it a point to look at bugs in written material irrespective of whether I am working, seeing an ad on television, watching roadside hoardings, reeading pamphlets, or going through news stories on Web sites.

There are some writing issues in this blog also. Please don't mind.

For example,
He made a lot of money solving such problems and eventually became one of the richest tester of the world!

The line should read "One of the richest testers".

Love,
Neeraj

Pradeep Soundararajan said...

@Neeraj,

I must say that this is a highly creative, inspiring, and thought-provoking story.

Thanks!

There are some writing issues in this blog also. Please don't mind.

For example,
He made a lot of money solving such problems and eventually became one of the richest tester of the world!

The line should read "One of the richest testers".



"Pradeep's first language is not English--his first language appears to be testing." -- Michael Bolton

I wrote in this post: I bet no one can make the kind of creative grammatical mistakes that I do and its always easy to spot my writing.

I dont mind such as long as the message gets through.

Surprisingly with this bad writing skill, a Big media organization is soon going to make me one of their regular writers because they feel its rare to find someone who has this kind of a flow and thought process and when I said to them, "Are you sure that you want me to write with the kind of grammatical mistakes?"... they editor said, "Well, we know there are grammatical mistakes but we also know the feel your readers get"

I think you must look at my post in software-testing@yahoogroups.com on Spelling mistakes!

BTW, check a post that I wrote last year in this blog as compared to this years. There would be a huge difference and I would say the same in 2008, too.

Debasis Pradhan said...

@Pradeep,

Yet another best-selling post! Well, you are no doubt an excellent storyteller and this post is the proof of my claim! Great writeup.

As you might already know, recently I have written a post on the importance of a well-written bug report in the sellability of a bug. Here is the link, in case, anyone might want to take a look at it - How to sell a BUG!

Happy Testing...

Regards,
Debasis.

Venkat Reddy Chintalapudi said...

Good going Pradeep & thanks for thought provoking article.

This kind of posts help testers to wait a while in the flow and check back what is required out of them in their own context.

The context of quality itself will differ from customer to customer and every one need to work towards the perceived quality of the customer. After all, We, the testers won't be acting as a quality police for the Applications

I don't agree on the fact that people can improve the quality of applications just by fixing bugs. Bugs are just one of the factors for quality.

It's good that you touched upon most of the skills required for bug life cycle.

Pradeep Soundararajan said...

@Debasis and Venkat,

Thanks for your comments and support!

nandu-legendinthemaking said...

Iam not an expert, neither am an employee in a software firm.But i find each of the posts in this blog really inspiring. Keep up the good work Mr Pradeep.

Regards

Nandagopal

Pradeep Soundararajan said...

@Nandagopal,

Thanks for your wishes and such comments has kept me going a long way and there is a very long way to go.

Naveen said...

Nice way of thinking. I really appreciate this, relating the work with real life examples. If we do so then no need to convince the developers at all.Just tell the story.

Ram said...

I like your articiles and blog - i too learn many concepts.

looking at the title - i am afraid if i missed the name of original author of a similar title missed in this blog post?

"Robin Sharma" the author of "The Monk who sold is Ferrari" and other fabulous leadership wisdom books. (http://www.robinsharma.com)

just a thought to this context :)

-Ram

Pradeep Soundararajan said...

@Ram,

"The monk who sold his ferrari" had nothing to do with "The monk who sold bugs" and any monk can sell anything.

This post wan't inspired by the book and I haven't read that book, so far.

I am happy that you talked about the context.

Anonymous said...

The story is really lame. I dont understand why are you so upset that someone else took credit for it.

Just because the character is a monk doesnt make the whole plot interesting.

You seem to congratulate yourself a lot. No offense, but Im just being brutally honest.

Pradeep Soundararajan said...

@Anonymous,


You seem to congratulate yourself a lot. No offense, but Im just being brutally honest.


Anonymously talking about honesty is the best joke I have heard so far.

You might know too little about me and you are free to form such perceptions about me.