"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.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Heroes of software testing - Do you know about them and their work?

My initial plan was to board the flight to Toronto on July 11th from Mumbai to attend CAST 08 software testing conference. Sangeeta, a tester from Mumbai influenced me to change my plan and organized a lecture in Ness Technologies in Mumbai.

I liked the offer and accepted it, as I knew I would enjoy the experience. It's fun to meet new testers, talk to them and learn new things. I am in constant search for budding testers like Sharath Byregowda , Ajay Balamurugadas , Sathish Kumar Chinappa , Sangeeta, Sandesh , Girija, Bhargavi and Nattu ( who accompanied me to CAST 08 ) and those who are passionate and do things about seeing a better tester community like Mohan Panguluri, COO of Edista Testing ... I never know where I can find similar ones. One of the ways that has been of great help to me, to find such testers and thinkers is, while at lectures and my workshops. I offer whatever help I am capable of doing to expose them to good stuff and I do it when they ask me for it.


Here is an excerpt from the talk:

"We are in India, the land where cricket is considered close to being a religion. It has super heroes like Sachin Tendulkar and Dhoni who have inspired a lot of people in India to play better cricket. They could inspire because a lot of people spent their time watching them play great cricket at tough situations. As Indians, you might have seen a lot of people who enjoy playing cricket the way Sachin and Dhoni play. As testers, have you seen anyone doing testing that has inspired you to test better?"

Response: Silence

and then a question comes up from a corner, "Who did Sir Don Bradman see as an inspiration for he is the best known cricketer of centuries?" and all other testers burst to laughter thinking that I was cornered with that question.

I took a while for the audience to settle down and replied,
"I know who inspired Sir Don Bradman" and then a pause to add, "It was himself."
"How many of you are inspired by your own testing?"


Response: Silence

End of excerpt




Reading good stuff as a bad practice and reading bad stuff as the best practice

The above state is what most Indian testers to my knowledge are stuck in. This state resulted because most of testers don't have the habit of reading as though its a bad practice. Most of those who read, are the ones who search in Google and land up at bad sites ( that includes my blog at times ). Most of those who Google search are the ones who are not interested at better thought process but at ready made best practice answers.

There are good and great stuff from internet. I once searched for expert testers and found James Bach. That google search changed my life and the way I test. There were a lot of junk stuff written to attract such search results that I had to pass through before finding James Bach's website. I was sure that I needed help about thought process from an expert tester and not ready made solutions from time to time.

The road to Toronto

I had to face a lot of trouble to get to Toronto. My Visa was rejected ( at the first attempt ), I didn't have sufficient funds ( as per the VISA officials and my bank statement ) , I was denied permission to board the plane as my ticket was booked via United States and I didn't have a US Visa. The Canadian customs had a discussion that bothered me if they would let me in after I landed at Toronto and then my baggage went missing and finally landed as the last one on the belt. Amidst all this was my hope to meet the heroes in real space who have inspired me and to meet those whom I can draw more inspiration from. I believe in God and also believe that God takes a human form to help humans. A great human who lives in 61, Ashburnham in Toronto and the one who lived in my house ( my dad ) helped me and cleared traps so that I reached Toronto and was able to attend CAST 08.


Chasing dreams

Finally I got a chance to meet the heroes who have been inspiring me to test and think better. My super hero James Bach wasn't present at the conference and hence I couldn't meet him. I would be meeting him in November at a conference where we both are invited to speak on testing at a developers conference in Malmo Sweden.

By meeting my heroes, I learned some important things that I could not have learned, had I not met them. I got an insight into the way they live, some ways they think and they communicate. It was several dreams of several years that came true, all in one place - CAST 08.

Not all learning is fun.


If you have understood what I have written in this post so far, then my English writing skill has improved a lot since I wrote my first blog post. It pained a lot to know that I was writing terribly bad English but had I not learned it, I wouldn't have been able to make sense to you in this post.

One of the important things I learned in CAST is the cost of making a few mistakes and the cost of wasting someone's time. I did some mistakes a few months ago but experienced the cost of making those mistakes when I could not stand in front of those people whose time I had wasted. I felt too ashamed of myself but I know I would not feel ashamed for a life time as I am recovering from those mistakes.

Learning is fun as long as you don't learn about yourself and how bad you are in somethings that you want to be really good at. The more I learn that I am bad, I am inspired to work hard enough to get over it. Being a student of James Bach means I keep searching for the answer, "How do I know what I know?" and often I discover what I don't know when I meet and discuss with great minds like the ones I met in CAST 08. I make it a practice to learn what I don't know or what more I'd want to learn on what I want to be good at.


Not all pain is bad

I went all way from Bengaluru ( Bangalore ) to Toronto to know more about myself and how bad I am in things I want to be good at. It hurts but there is no short cut to learning. For those who might disagree that learning could hurt - as testers we provide information about the quality of the product to the management. If we find a lot of bugs, it might hurt the management when they know it especially when it upsets their shipping schedules. It hurts them because they have learned something about their own product. This pain is then converted to measures to not get into a similar situation again. That is what I think some great man said, "No pain, No gain". The things that I learned from my heroes at the conference and other discussions would be reflected in my blog for years to come, so unfortunately keep reading them.


Person dependent software projects and organization

India depended on Sachin Tendulkar for winning a lot of matches. Cricket ( a team sport ) became a person dependent one. Is it a problem for Sachin?

Not really. Actually it demanded him to be at a very good knock and he loved that challenge as it challenged its consistency. It could also be stated that - he faced tough situations and cleared balls beyond boundaries which is why he is admired by millions worldwide.

Similarly, if your organization doesn't want to make their testing a person dependent thing it is because they don't like you to be Sachin Tendulkar . They can't stop from you becoming a Sachin of software testing because it depends on your learning as a tester and not they giving a learning opportunity to you.

You will be interested to read what James Bach wrote about the need for super heroes for software projects long back.

--
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." --

12 comments:

Shrini Kulkarni said...

Surprisingly, you have not listed software testing heros and writen about their work other than that of James Bach who of course is a super hero- class appart. You did talk about Sachin who is cricket hero ..

I am not sure the names of budding testers you mentioned are your heros as well...you just said they are budding testers ...

will there be a separate CAST trip report? I do not see much here about CAST presentations other learning experiences you have had while you stayed at Toronto ....

Shrini

Pradeep Soundararajan said...

@Shrini,

I am not sure the names of budding testers you mentioned are your heros as well...you just said they are budding testers ...

All I know about them is the people in the list are highly passionate and the ones who might turn themselves to recognizable heroes if they continue to work hard.

will there be a separate CAST trip report? I do not see much here about CAST presentations other learning experiences you have had while you stayed at Toronto ....

I had a lot there and have to chew over the cud for years to come.

Surprisingly, you have not listed software testing heros and writen about their work other than that of James Bach who of course is a super hero- class appart. You did talk about Sachin who is cricket hero ..

I didn't list them for a reason that I hope people search and find who their super hero is.

Karthikeyan Ravindran said...

Dear Pradeep,

i am a regular reader of your blog I am working as a test analyst in chennai. You are my inspiration in this field.You have made my way of thinking.I am proud to be your junior.(am 2007 passout from MCE).

Regards,
Karthikeyan

Pradeep Soundararajan said...

@Karthikeyan,

i am a regular reader of your blog I am working as a test analyst in chennai. You are my inspiration in this field.You have made my way of thinking.I am proud to be your junior.(am 2007 passout from MCE).

Thanks BUT there are better people out there whom you should be considering to get inspiration from. I would want to know in what way I influenced your thought process and why do you consider it as an influence of my blog?

Karthikeyan said...

Dear Pradeep,

As i am a fresher i thought testing was only with writin test cases alone. But i found it is more than what i thought.And i dont know how to put in words what i think.Might be i can tell all when we talk.

Pradeep Soundararajan said...

@Karthikeyan,

As i am a fresher i thought testing was only with writin test cases alone. But i found it is more than what i thought.And i dont know how to put in words what i think.Might be i can tell all when we talk.

That's nice. I understand that you have enjoyed going beyond what a typical fresher explores. If you intend to continuing as a tester, you have to start building an environment and set of people who understand what you have understood and you can influence them by teaching then what you learned.

Read Kaner, Bach, Michael, Jerry stuff.

Karthikeyan said...

Sure pradeep. i will do.

Thanks Pradeep.

Sanat Sharma said...

I am reading Pradeep by the last one year or so. And always get some kind of inspiration from his blog. Keep up the great blogging, Pradeep.

-- Sanat Sharma
http://www.xtremeedge.blogspot.com

Vasanth said...

Hello Pradeep,
Pleased to share I am loading your blog often these days.
I am a Test Engineer of a Testing Solution Group.
Please share your thoughts on ideating new testing tools and enabling the business testers to utilize these tools in order to reduce the manual dependency effort in near future .

Thanks.

Regards,
Vasanth.C

Pradeep Soundararajan said...

@Vasanth,

Please share your thoughts on ideating new testing tools and enabling the business testers to utilize these tools in order to reduce the manual dependency effort in near future .

Tools help humans achieve goals and not replace them or their thought process.

Its important to note that tools are created by humans. Instead of having more humans on the side of creating tools, it is better to have humans on the testing side.

What do you think you would achieve by reducing human dependency?

Are you using Notepad, Word, Excel?

If yes, then you are using tools that have been helping you, its just that you don't realize what a tool means.

Divya Rajan said...

I'm sure loads of people told you this already but I must tell you the quality of writing has improved superlatively. Its truly impressive, and here I'm not even mentioning the contents that seem to be relevant yet far for me

Pradeep Soundararajan said...

@Divya Rajan,

I'm sure loads of people told you this already but I must tell you the quality of writing has improved superlatively.

This would remain special irrespective of who said what about my writing.

Its truly impressive, and here I'm not even mentioning the contents that seem to be relevant yet far for me

That's cool!