"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.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Learning & On demand lectures & Challenging the challengers

India celebrates September 5th as Teacher's day marking the birth anniversary of the great Dr Radhakrishnan and so today I started getting calls from my students wishing me on the occasion.

I replied, "Happy Teacher's day, to you too"
and then a student said, "No, I am not a teacher".
"Well, haven't you taught yourself?"
... after a pause ,"Oh yes!",
"Well then you are a teacher and maybe you didn't realize it"

The list of people who have taught me things is huge. Not many readers of this blog know that they too teach me when they ask questions as comments and come back and clarify their points or correct me when I have been wrong.

James Bach and Michael Bolton are two big names many think as my only two teachers. I think I am a gifted student to have learned testing from these two people and there are many other people, too. While others help me and teach me to become a better tester, James and Michael goes steps beyond and help me teach other testers.

Why is my teacher list huge?

Its because James and Michael taught me an important thing: How to learn from others although they might not be consciously teaching me?

Without that skill, I just would be less confident about my testing because testing is an activity of learning.
So, I help testers how to learn and that makes them smarter than other testers who don't know how to learn.

On demand from a few students who said I should hold a lecture that is inexpensive as compared to my workshop, here is the announcement on this special day.

The coming September 29th (Saturday), I might be holding a 4 hour session, which of course consists of one of the most exciting testing exercise for a mere 500 rupees in Bangalore. I usually spill a lot of secrets of good testing during my talk and hence you might want to get your seat booked.

In case you wish to attend this session of mine, you could send me an e-mail at pradeep.srajan@gmail.com with a subject line "September 29th - Testing Lecture Registration" and I shall send you the details.

You could pass this on to your colleagues and friends, too, to ensure they join you for this session. It would not put me in loss if there are 50 people attending this session and so if you are planning to register, passing it to your colleagues and friends might be a good idea to increase the chances of not putting me in a loss :)

_ Challenging the challengers _

"Take a look at this, "Today it is no longer important to be a good tester, or have the right technical skills to manage the plethora of problems that you encounter in your day-to-day job as the testing professionals. Increasingly, today software testers require people-oriented skills to survive what can often be a lose-lose relationship with developers,managers and clients.
" Take a look at this link .

What the hell?

Someone is saying it is no longer important to be a good tester! So here is the e-mail that I sent them for which there is no response, so far:



Hi Accenture Testing Challenge creator,

Please have a closer look at what you guys have written : "Managing people in testing projects - Building, supporting and adding value to your team - Today it is no longer important to be a good tester, or have the right technical skills to manage the plethora of problems that you encounter in your day-to-day job as the testing professionals. Increasingly, today software testers require people-oriented skills to survive what can often be a lose-lose relationship with developers,managers and clients."

Are you sure that is what you wanted to mean?

I strongly feel that you guys in the context of creating interest among people should not misguide them with such words. What would a fresh starter in this field think if he reads such a thing that it is no longer important to be a good tester?
  • However, is that condition true in all contexts? Who said that? Can you quote the person who said that?
  • Communication, is a part of testing skills, I am wondering how someone wasn't aware of that?
  • Is that the philosophy of testing prevailing in Accenture?
I am expecting things to change and a reply to this e-mail.

-- Pradeep Soundararajan



Neither did they re-phrase nor did they reply to my e-mail.

The thing that irritates me is the comments section in the link where people don't question it and just keep adding comments. I thought of entering their testing challenge contest but now feel I am not sure of their judgment.

"Oh God! Please help the testing community from people who misguide testers".

There are testers who misguide other testers in all companies and hence it doesn't mean I am accusing Accenture for this but the people in Accenture who are misguiding the community with such a statement.

Claimer: I claim that all opinions that I share in this blog is mine and I am independent enough to think and it is none of my employer or client views.

-- Pradeep Soundararajan - pradeep.srajan@gmail.com - +91-98451-76817

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


10 comments:

David Drake said...

I suspect they are not being careful with their words. If you are not a good tester, then no amount of "people-oriented skills" will cover up your lack of credibility. If they do, then you're a fool and a liar at best, and you will sink your company.

Pradeep Soundararajan said...

@David,

Thanks for your comment David.

I am glad that you too realize that they are misguiding the upcoming generation and is a dangerous thing to do.

Shmuel said...

I am not a formal student in a school/university anymore. Neither am I a teacher by 'career'.
Yet I believe I am always learning things from others and from the environment, and like to believe that I'm teaching others too.

Growing is a give and take practice -- we're constantly a teacher and a student at the same time.

Happy Teacher's day! :)

Pradeep Soundararajan said...

@Shmuel,

That's an important skill you have developed as a tester Shmuel.

Thanks for the comment!

Anonymous said...

I am the first Indian tester to say you did a very good job by exposing Accenture peoples misguide. Many people are fearing to comment becos Accenture name is involved in it I think.

Peoples learn from your testertested blog and still not realising things.

Happy teachers day Pradeep

Pradeep Soundararajan said...

@Anonymous,

Thanks and same to you for your (belated) Teacher's day wishes.

I am the first Indian tester to say you did a very good job by exposing Accenture peoples misguide. Many people are fearing to comment becos Accenture name is involved in it I think.

Well someone did e-mail me, so you are the first to comment on this post. Thanks!

I wonder why people should fear to say something when the community is being misguided. Well, why was your comment Anonymous? (Not to be taken offensive)

Peoples learn from your testertested blog and still not realising things.

I would be happy to make testers who read Tester Tested blog, think on their own and not bias them with my views. If they haven't commented yet, maybe they are thinking and I am glad about that. I think Tester Tested is all about making testers to think and in turn getting help for me to think more.

Adam Goucher said...

I am always amazed by the cultural insights from your blog. I'm not even sure if .ca has a "Teacher's Day" and if it does I don't know anyone who does celebrate it.

This post reminds me of a movie Madadayo which is about the relationship between a teacher and his students. While not 'testing' oriented per se, the cultural similarities in this case appear to be fitting.

-adam

Pradeep Soundararajan said...

@Adam Goucher,

Thanks for your comment and also thanks for pointing out to the movie. I shall try getting the video as I feel I can have a wonderful learning through it.

There are a couple of movies in Indian Cinema that depict the relationships, clashes, comedy, tragedy and what not?

Cem Kaner said...

Some people have very high regard for big companies. I've never been afflicted with that disease. In Silicon Valley, the hottest beds of innovation were in the small, hungry companies.

So the fact that someone at Accenture (and probably not one of the senior staff) said something on a website doesn't make me think I am reading the words of a genius or a process guru.

When I think of Accenture, I think of the Control School (some people call this the Standards school or the Quality School). I might be mistaken in that impression, but a comment like,

"Today it is no longer important to be a good tester, or have the right technical skills to manage the plethora of problems that you encounter in your day-to-day job as the testing professionals. Increasingly, today software testers require people-oriented skills to survive what can often be a lose-lose relationship with developers,managers and clients."

is just what I expect from the Control School. And from a huge company that sells services to governments and other big companies.

Personal skill is for those who value it.

However, even though uncritically accepting a pronouncement like this might be silly, rejecting it without considering its strengths might be a loss of a learning opportunity.

A manager succeeds through the success of her staff. The more effect the staff--in the context of the organization they work in--the more successful the manager.

So how do managers enable and defend their staff? What skills do they need?

Being a technical leader is useful--combined with other skills that turn this leadership into good recruiting and effective coaching. A manager who can inspire his staff can help them achieve a lot.

On the other hand, what of the manager who is not so skilled at testing but is more skilled at understanding what the stakeholders want from the testing staff and skilled at helping the testers understand this point of view? Who doesn't find bugs well but can appreciate good reports when she sees them, and can follow an explanation of a testing strategy or test automation strategy? Who can negotiate well for time and resources and treat her staff and her stakeholders with respect--and with firmness when it is needed?

Among the worst managers I have known have been people who were very strong in technology and not so strong in the other skills. Most of the worst executives I have known have been weak in technology but unwilling or unable to trust the technical and techno-ethical judgments of their technical staff.

I think we need a balance of diverse skills and interests among the management staff, including the test manager among those staff. Perhaps only some of those people need to be strong technologically. I also think we need some humility. Speaking manager to manager, I suggest that every individual among our staff knows more about some things than we do and that our full staff taken together probably know, collectively, much more about most aspects of the software and its development than any one manager does--at least if that manager was competent enough to hire good people.

So it might not be unimportant to have technical skills but it might also not be essential or, in some contexts, as important as knowing how to coach and encourage a technical staff, knowing how to make and defend a place for the technical staff in the larger organization, knowing how to understand the critical issues of the internal stakeholders and external customers and how to convey those issues to the technical staff in a way that protects the self-respect and integrity of the technical staff members while molding what the staff do in way that meets the needs of the stakeholders/customers.

Pradeep Soundararajan said...

@ Dr Cem Kaner,

I am thrilled to learn a lot from your comment.

Some people have very high regard for big companies. I've never been afflicted with that disease. In Silicon Valley, the hottest beds of innovation were in the small, hungry companies.

I see that a company is respected when it has hundreds and thousands of recruitment. I am usually irritated at job ads that big companies put up. They hype a lot about the opening that they have which people who join fail to ask a question like, "Hey your job ad said I will be re-architecting the future but it occurs to me that it is not what I am doing. Can you help me see it?"

is just what I expect from the Control School. And from a huge company that sells services to governments and other big companies.

Wonderful. I should start expecting such things from such Big companies rather than having a different expectation and there was a problem with my oracle :)


However, even though uncritically accepting a pronouncement like this might be silly, rejecting it without considering its strengths might be a loss of a learning opportunity.


I accept that. Also, I wonder if something that hits an emotion of a reader, which might also contain stuff that helps in learning something is of very little value to the reader. Isn't it?

or Am I missing an important critical thought process or a skill?


I am sure your comment helped me a lot and the same to my readers, too.

Thank you Dr Kaner!