"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, June 06, 2008

Letter to myself

Dear Pradeep,

Greetings!

I have been with you all this while and shall continue to be with you. I am enjoying each moment you enjoy as a tester and also each moment that you don't enjoy as a tester. I am sorry for enjoying those moments which you think you haven't been enjoying. I am sure you'd be interested to know why and how I have been enjoying those moments that you haven't been.

First, let me list the thing that you haven't been enjoying:
  • Whenever and wherever you write about test automation, a handful of readers tend to think that you reject the idea of test automation and they write harsh e-mails to you.
  • Whenever and wherever you write about certification, the certified tester community attacks you over e-mails/phone calls that you and I are spoiling the craft.
  • Whenever and wherever you write about programming skill for testers, another handful readers think that you are suggesting testers not to learn programming.
  • Whenever and wherever you write about tools, most testers think you are referring to test automation tool.
  • Whenever and wherever you write about yourself or your experience, a set of people think you lack humility.
  • Whenever and wherever you write about exploratory testing as a skilled activity, a set of people think "no tester would do be able to do that".
  • Whenever and wherever you write about ideas to solve a problem than giving a one line answer, a set of people think you don't know how to solve it and is faking what you know.
  • Whenever and wherever you are writing about testing being an excellent thinking job, a few people think you are trying to paint a picture that does not exist.
  • Whenever and wherever you - do bad testing, fail in testing course like BBST, you feel intimidated by more skilled people than you, you feel bad about not having learned or practiced those things that helps you become a better tester, you fail to give enough respect to expert testers time, etc...
In this context, I'd like to remind you of a learning you had from Michael Bolton: There are some things under your control and there are other things that are not under your control. Taking advantage of things under your control, as a tester, is essential to clear traps and it might also lead to gaining more control. To take advantage of things under your control, you first should realize what are the things you control.

I also remember that you had made a note in your Moleskine of Saurav Ganguly's television interview where he was asked: How were you able to make a great comeback to the world cup cricket squad after being axed for poor performance? His answer: I didn't worry about things that are not under my control ( media critique, jokes on bad batting performance, e-mail forwards about my performance, people gossiping about it ) but focussed on things that are under my control ( Practice, skill enhancement, consistent batting record in Ranji trophy)

Similarly, you don't have a control over the thoughts of people thinking whatever they think after reading whatever you have written. You have a control over what you write and you have a control over the way you write it.

Your testing has been influenced by a lot of experts but not all have similar influence. They haven't seen great testing to appreciate the things you are sharing and I doubt if all those who witness it would be influenced by it because it's hard work and high skill demanding.
  • Not all testers want to do great testing
  • Not all testers know they are doing bad testing.
  • Not all testers want to know they are doing bad testing.
  • Not all testers want to know more about testing.
  • Not all testers know what skills to gain and practice.
  • Not all testers agree to be context driven.

Here are three questions ( like the Monty Python and the Holy grail bridge of death piece you enjoy )

1.Whom are you serving through your writing?

I am sure your ongoing struggle is in understanding that. Let me help you with what I think about whom you are serving - You are serving those testers who look for better thought process and those who enjoy the better thought process and those who think you have a better thought process.

2. Who asked you to serve them?

I asked you to do that!

3. Why haven't you been enjoying some moments that I have been?

You want all testers to do great testing although you know its not possible. Some people question your idea of "great testing" because they already have an idea of "great testing" and it conflicts with the idea you have. You are able to demonstrate that their idea of "great testing" lacks critical thought as your idea of "great testing".

By the way, your idea of "great testing", is not yours but of those people who have influenced you. You have just subscribe to those ideas and are contributing to it in different forms. I have occasionally witnessed you doing bad testing and I am sure I would see that in future, too. Do not forget that you are a human and your ideas are fallible. I know bad testing and bad thought process irritates you, even if you are the one who is doing it.

I would love to see you doing things that are under your control - learning, reading, writing, bettering your skills, helping those testers who enjoy the thought process that you enjoy, speaking, coaching and mentoring.

Your power to influence testers is limited. Limited to the ones who don't want to limit themselves. So do unlimited things under limited time that you and I will be here in this world.

I will be with you forever, enjoying everything you do from great things to not so great things. Anything you do is great to me.

I will write to you whenever I feel a need for it. This letter is personal, just between you and me.

"Here is a way to test if your mission on earth is complete - if you are alive, it isn't" -- Richard Bach

Yours truly,

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

"The test doesn't find the bug. A human finds the bug, and the test plays a role in helping the human find it." --

14 comments:

Pradeep Soundararajan said...

Thank you Pradeep, for this wonderful letter and lessons. Yes, this is personal, just between me and you.

jbullock said...

Nice.

One way through this wicket is to think of the information as an offer. You are offering what testing looks like to you, at the moment. Other people are offering what testing looks like to them, no matter how they present it.

If we come together with an attitude of respect, and sincere intention, we all get to learn things.

For me, I am glad to talk with anyone about testing or software development if they are offering their best insight and seeking to understand mine. What they believe doesn't matter. On the other hand, if the intention is something other than learning together, I can't be bothered.

That's a pretty good way to develop software, too.

Pradeep Soundararajan said...

@ Jim Bullock,

Thanks for coming back.

For me, I am glad to talk with anyone about testing or software development if they are offering their best insight and seeking to understand mine.

I'd recommend people to interact with you as a couple of e-mail discussions with you has *influenced* me to be more conscious of "influencing".

If we come together with an attitude of respect, and sincere intention, we all get to learn things.

I agree with you. I am facing a problem as many others might also be facing that people aren't sure if they want to learn because they have frozen their learning or uncomfortable to know other side of the stories that they know.

nhrao said...

Hi Pradeep,

It s a nice letter .

This is a way to verify what is in our mind and what are all our goals and are we moving forward in achieving it.

Good thought and keep it up.

Self control and Attitude development are most important for any professional who like to move forward and achieve their goal.

Best wishes,

Narasimhan Hanumantha Rao
Lead Engineer-Mc Dermott Asia Paciifc Pte Ltd, Singapore

Pradeep Soundararajan said...

@hanrao,

It's great to have your comment here.


This is a way to verify what is in our mind and what are all our goals and are we moving forward in achieving it.


It also helps in being candid about ourselves, which is important if we were to better ourselves.

Thans again!

Lohit Verma said...

Hi Pradeep
I really liked the letter
I guess I was one among the folks mentioned in Point 3 :), but as stated there, I do believe it lead to a healthy discussion

I am hoping to catch you in person soon, fingers crossed
Regards
Lohit

Pradeep Soundararajan said...

@Lohit,

I guess I was one among the folks mentioned in Point 3 :), but as stated there, I do believe it lead to a healthy discussion


Actually I was agressive in that discussion but you added a healthy tone to it and I appreciate that.

I hope we meet soon.

Amit Arora said...

This one is beautiful, Pradeep

Shrini Kulkarni said...

>>>I will write to you whenever I feel a need for it. This letter is personal, just between you and me

Well, Pradeep .. you seem to have breached the contract that you and "inner-you". You should NOT have published the entire letter but the essense (not exact words)...

Good one though ...

Shirni

Amit Arora said...

Shrini,

You are your testing self?


:)

Cheers,
Amit

Amol Agare said...

There are things those are under control/not under control. This is so normal, but to distinguish between those is a tricky job. This is where “under control” things takes priority over “not under control” things.

Pradeep, keep doing the good work.

Hope, We will meet soon.

~
Amol

Pradeep Soundararajan said...

@ Amol,

This is so normal, but to distinguish between those is a tricky job. This is where “under control” things takes priority over “not under control” things.

Its simple. Here are a list of things that are under your control:

a) To learn to test better.
b) To practice it.
c) To educate yourself.
d) To practice it.
e) To learn to clear traps.
f) To practice it.
g) To not think that you don't know what things are under your control.
h) To practice it.

manu said...

Keep up the Good Work Pradeep !!

I really appretiate your courage and efforts. You are a fresh air of change and hope that Testing (atleast in India...) desparately needs.

Whenever I feel de-motivated in my daily work, your blog is the on where I turn to get back my inspiration.

Once again, thanks for your wonderful efforts.

Pradeep Soundararajan said...

@Manu,

I really appretiate your courage and efforts. You are a fresh air of change and hope that Testing (atleast in India...) desparately needs.

I think I will remain fresh.

Whenever I feel de-motivated in my daily work, your blog is the on where I turn to get back my inspiration.

When you start looking at yourself whenever you are de-motivated, you wouldn't get de-motivated after that.

Sometimes I need motivation and I look into myself plus look out if Michael Bolton, Ben Simo are online and if they aren't I go to try reading anything from them :)