"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.

Friday, November 02, 2007

E go U go I go of U and I

I have no control over your thought process to restrict you to not read the title as Ego You Go and I go of testers.

Here is what I think about my ego:

  • I am egoistic but not at contexts and situations where the ego could kill the possibility of me doing a good testing.
  • I am not egoistic because I am so curious that I don't care from whom I learn something that can help me do a good testing.

Which of the above two statements could be true in your case, too?

The passion to become good at the craft we are living in makes us better person, too, and the evidence is from my incomplete research on ego and testers.

In my experience, so far, I have had an opportunity to work with testers from various backgrounds (education, culture, native place, language, the way they were brought up ...) , experience ( in terms of number of years , non testing field experience ), skills ( whatever they think their skills are, whatever I think their skills are), knowledge (domain, craft specific ), interests ( curious to explore testing or curious to explore something else), passion (testing or money or both [ certification - if you like it] ) ... and infer that one of the most common thing amidst this diversity is ego.

People (who think they don't have ego) think those who have ego are the ones who are bad professionals. I ( who is sure that I have ego ) think it is not that bad for people to be egoistic as long as they achieve the mission they have in hand without spoiling opportunities to succeed in future missions with the same team.

I think I have not anything different and I am happy to have identified it.

I am going to discuss 3 cases ( the most common and uncommon ones, in my opinion ) that can help me ( or not help you) to understand what I inferred from what I witnessed, experienced, heard and saw.

Case 1: From Lead to Seed

A senior tester (by designation) got promoted to a Test Lead and thought he'd be no longer expected to execute tests. He is moved to a new product based on a requirement of a Test Lead and finds himself in tough situations where people who report to him aren't respecting his views. What he fails to identify is the need to build credibility by executing tests and understanding the product.

The ego of being a test lead and yet not respected by people who report to him ends up in clashes about ideas to proceed with testing. The manager identifies that it would be a good idea for him to learn the product, execute tests for a while, understand the testing complexity and challenges and then play a role of a Test Lead ( as per what he thinks ) ends up in he taking up test execution. During the process of test execution, the ego is still alive and he is hesitant to ask questions that he thinks his team members would laugh at and finally ends up in not knowing the product well and failing to execute tests in a manner that someone thought it as a right way.

On the other side, the team members who report to him do have an ego that built up during the process of knowing that their team lead knows little about what they are doing.

So the Lead and the team members never get a chance to respect each other. Not to forget is a point that there are similar ego issues between the team members.

I guess that leads to bad testing!

Case 2: Buddy testing and then Bloody testing

A company enjoyed having 2 senior testers (senior by designation and lets call them Shyam and Jagan) who were passionate about testing and their work competed against each other's work output and was a healthy competition, of course. Shyam and Jagan worked on the same product but for different customers. Both of them were known to be good at meeting the mission in hand and the important point to note is: both were thick good friends for over 3 years.

Unfortunately, one fine day Shyam's work is applauded by the management. This act of appreciation hit Jagan hard enough to start building up an ego with Shyam. Poor Shyam, not being aware of this ego that Jagan is building cracks jokes ( as both used to ) on Jagan's work and this hits him more hard.

Shyam who cared for his friend Jagan was left disappointed when he did come to know about the multi storied ego that was building. Shyam eventually found it tough to continue working as he too started building his own version of ego. The ego got translated into an unhealthy competition that ended Jagan to look out for a job where he feels safe to work without such unhealthy competition. Shyam and Jagan still thought alike as they used to and both ended up looking for a job without each other's knowledge.

Both quit the company and moved to different ones more or less at the same time without realizing. Here comes the crux of the story: Shyam and Jagan never felt happy with their work thereafter despite working away from each other because what motivated them to succeed in the past was the healthy competition.

I guess that lead to bad testing - for Shyam, Jagan and to the company they earlier worked together.

All it takes is one second...

It takes just one second to feel egoistic and not do something that you too are aware should be done but that one second might result in making you and others around you as bad testers.

It takes one second for those who stole my posts to admit they stole but makes them feel better forever that I appreciated them.

It takes one second to feel egoistic ....
Case 3: From Manager to Damager

Wait a second, let me write the Case 3 a little later because, I got a mail from a team member who thinks he is too smart because he was appreciated for finding a lot of bugs and is a better tester than me. He is challenging my decision. How can he do that when he is reporting to me? I am going to fire him right away and shall update this post later.

-- 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

Some good testers don't blog and so I think the testing community is unfortunate that they have limited opportunities to learn from them. Some bad testers steal others post and so I think the testing community is unfortunate to fear the fact of why some good testers don't blog. Willingness to learn is a skill that a tester *must* possess in my opinion - which also helps in having a lack of ego. I guess that's how good testing begins.


Anonymous said...

Hi Pradeep,

First of all would like to say thanks and congratulate for writing such a wonderful blog.

I have started reading your blogs from past 2 days and one thing I noticed is the Color and the fonts are not comfortable / pleasing for the eyes for long reading.
Though I know this is a usability issue ( User dependent ), I am sure many would have also noticed it.
Please do something on this.

Great going. Keep it up

Pradeep Soundararajan said...


I thank you very much for your feedback. Something is screwed up in the settings and I am unable to change the fonts and I too feel the view or user readability isn't good.

From start I have retained this template ( as on November 2nd ) and I am considering to change it.

It would be a great moment for me if you get in touch with me through e-mail, too.

I am here to serve testers community and I am just doing my job, hopefully right.

Anonymous said...

First I am a regular reader of your blog and secondly I felt guilt going through this post.

I am commenting as anonymous.

Your writing touches my heart and brain.

Pradeep Soundararajan said...


I thank you for being my regular reader and I am hopeful that you see a value of being so.

Guilt is nothing wrong - it is a sign of improvement. I recommend you to read Jerry Weinberg, James Bach, Cem Kaner, Michael Bolton, Scott Barber, Jon Kohl, Jon Bach, Shrini, Karen, Esh, Ben Simo, Matt Heusser, Mike Kelly, ( a huge list ) and you might find more stuff that helps you think and do a lot better testing.

Neeraj Tikku said...

Very well written Pradeep.

The "Ego Factor" has always been one of the most fascinating and most difficult that I have to work with.

Fascinating because when used correctly, it gives wonderful results (yes, I've used it at times to motivate people and to bring out the best in them). I know some calls it a cheap-shot, but I say what the heck, if a job is to be done, it should be done to the best of everybody capabilities.

But yes, a little slip-up and the Ego's destroy best working conditions and relations. I do have also burnt my fingers as well.

So I'll say your first statement, I am egoistic but not at contexts and situations where the ego could kill the possibility of me doing a good testing, will be very much true for me.

Ajoy Kumar Singha said...


Your posts always ping the heart and brain of the reader. That's one reason I look forward to your newer posts.

Pradeep Soundararajan said...


I love myself for not being as egoistic as many others whom I know and I see from reading your experience that you too might be liking yourself for that quality of your's.

Isn't your blog taking shape?

Pradeep Soundararajan said...


Thanks! My blog is successful if it can make you write better posts and I wish to see my blog successful.

If something has touched your brain and heart it should be visible in the posts you write and I hope to see the evidence for it.

Nimesh Vadgama said...

What can I say Pradeep -- another great post, Keep it up.

Anonymous said...


In your first post you have mentioned that " 4) 4 to 5 posts per week at the max and a min of 2-3 posts per week." which is not so.
You have settled down for less number of posts.
Atleast 2 to 3 per week would be good.

Pradeep Soundararajan said...


Thanks for asking something wonderful.

In my free time I go and read some of older posts and the first post is something that I have read more times than the other ones.

I did plan for 4-5 posts per week initially and the mission I had set to myself was to share all things I learned and thought about testing.

I didn't know that I would have a bunch of readers and I also didn't know that this blog would re-shape my future. Now that this blog is shaping my future ( probably a few others, too ) I am curious to not give something that ends up as a waste of time for the reader ( which includes me, too )

You might see a fewer grammatical mistakes, fewer spelling mistakes, more insightful posts these days as compared to those days when I started blogging.

I have lots to write and I admit that I have lots of time, too, but I am being bound by NDA that I signed to my clients.

Each post of mine - undergoes critical thinking ( what I call as critical thinking ) and a lot of other tests and so it takes more time than the posts I wrote earlier. The fact is that I write a lot of posts than what you see here but not all makes it to the publishing.

Yet, I think I am doing a good job and I am dreaming of a time where I am paid just to blog and nothing else.

I once again thank you for asking this however I am disappointed that I might not know you as you remain Anonymous in this comment of yours.

Rajinder Singh said...

Hi Pardeep,
This is a nice topic...close to human nature, which always plays a great rle in building work culture of a company and an individual's career.

Keep it up.


binesh said...

hmm..Ego now this is something most people have projected as something negative in human and I have seen ppl downright deny that they are not egostic..glad u have shown the positves of being egostic.

I always wondered how ppl say thay have no ego..I would consider my self to be dead without ego..

I liked your case 1 :from lead to seed as this is exactly what happened in my company..my Lead was a good tester till she got promoted and started only delegating work..and now none of our team members respect her as she knows nothing about the product than sendin e-mails..its a sorry situation and one I am consciously trying to avoid..nothing matches the excitement in finding new ways to test and uncover defects..

keep writing..such good posts.

Priya Narayan said...


Egoism did good in my case too....

I happened to reply to one of the questions that a QC professional asked on the linekdin network and the next day I read your comment to his question and ur sarcastic comments to the answer that I had given.

My ego was hurt, I searched your profile on linkedin and through that read some of your posts in this blog and let me tell you I am feeling good that my ego was hurt through which I have gained insight to your blog, your contributions to our industry and an intro to a 'egoistic genius':-).

Great goin buddy, keep up the good work.

Priya Narayan

Pradeep Soundararajan said...

@Priya Narayan,

I happened to reply to one of the questions that a QC professional asked on the linekdin network and the next day I read your comment to his question and ur sarcastic comments to the answer that I had given.

It did good to connect us both. Am glad you came here.

My ego was hurt, I searched your profile on linkedin and through that read some of your posts in this blog and let me tell you I am feeling good that my ego was hurt through which I have gained insight to your blog, your contributions to our industry and an intro to a 'egoistic genius':-).

I like the title you gave me. However, it is you who surpassed me by being open to learn.

I hope you weren't sarcastic in your comment here and I mistook it as a compliment :)

Looking forward to connecting with you and apologies for hurting. Somehow that's the way it works some times.