"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, December 01, 2011

Truth about test plan document & test case document

Not that you don't know.

Truth About Test Plan Documents
  • 98% of test plan documents that are created are not updated, maintained or cared beyond sign off.
  • The first 5 pages of a test plan document contains history that doesn't interest even those whose names are mentioned in it.
  • Scope of testing section is the most funniest part of the whole document. Some times when testers report serious problems, some people cite it as out of scope. Hey, its still in the product.
  • Customers worldwide could have saved millions of dollars if their vendors didn't care about creating test plan documents.
  • 4 years into a project, nobody knows about the test plan document.
  • No matter how stupid or intelligent the test plan document is, testers still write the test case they want to write.
  • As an offshore services company, writing test plan documents are a cool way of billing customers without actually doing testing.
  • Every stakeholder feels a false sense of achievement the moment they have a test plan document irrespective of whether they actually have a test plan.
  • The cost of reviewing a document that nobody is going to use it is really high.
  • Those who think they are not ready to test because the test plan document is not ready aren't testers by any means.
  • A simple maintainable test plan document is far superior than a detailed test plan document.
  • A mind map is worth a thousand good test plan documents.
  • Test Plan Document is a Document, not necessarily a test plan.
  • The next time you ask a tester to write a test plan where she knows it is not going to be used or maintained, she is not going to put her heart in it.
  • Some test plan documents are written in a way that it is obsolete in its first draft itself.
  • Some reviewers of test plan documents aim for perfection. More funny stuff, they may not even know what the product is supposed to do.
  • Those who know about opportunity cost are likely to write a better test plan document.
Not that you don't know.

Truth About Test Case Documents

  • ~ 90% of testers haven't bothered to think why there is a "case" in "test case".
  • For most people on earth, a test case means a test idea that is documented.
  • The expected results column in test case documents are a copy paste of requirements document / stories. So much money goes into re-writing the requirements document into expected results column.
  • If you are already laughing at test case documentation, you may roar to a bigger laughter at trace ability matrix.
  • Most traditional testing services projects have 50% of their project duration spent on writing test cases. The team members in such projects complain unavailability of time to "actually" test the product. No wonder.
  • Unless the context demands, detailing a test case is a sin.
  • Detailed steps in test case documentation provided for humans to execute is something I personally consider as an act against humanity.
  • More than 99% ( yeah, more than 99%) testers I have met have passed a test case (or a bunch of them) without actually executing it. It is so f****** boring.
  • Test case documents bring more money to countries like India than what Bill Gates must have invested in setting up an office in that country.
  • Those testers who don't know to test without test case documentation aren't testers.
  • More than 98% of projects I have consulted in India didn't have testers doing "test design". Here is a way: Take the requirement and write at least two or three tests to "check" if that requirement can be marked a Pass. That is all the design that happens.
  • Test case documents are actually "Check case" documents.
  • If there wasn't check case documents, software testing as an industry would have attracted more talent and helped in building more passion for the craft.
  • Businessmen love test case documentation. Testers hate it. Businessmen hire testers to write documentation. Testers trade their time for money, end up writing documentation for money.
  • Test case pass percentage is a great way to fool stakeholders. People love to be fooled.
  • I personally can write test case documentation for any buggy product and make it look like a bug free product. 
  • If all test case documents created so far were printed and burnt, we'd have fire for the next one thousand years.
  • If you rate testers based on how many test cases they write per day, you'd always find people who can meet the number you want them to achieve.
  • As someone said, "Testing at its best is, sampling". If you start writing and detailing the samples, you will have fewer samples than what you can have and you will never get to know about the product.
  • If X test cases documentation takes Y hours, the amount of time spent on reviewing it and getting to sign off is 10Y. So, if X goes to 10X, we have 100Y hours of work spent on test case documentation.
  • Some projects have great test case documents and no time to run them all.
  • If you do a lot of documentation, you cant ship software, you can definitely ship documents.
  • If you are hiring people who need detailed test scripts to test software, your hiring has ton of bugs in it.
  • Those business people who ask testers to write "how long will this test case take to execute" and make estimations of test cycle complete time, should be executed.
  • It is about Opportunity cost and Opportunity or Cost.
  • No user has ever bought a product because the product was developed with lots of test case documentation.
  • 99.999999999% of test case documentation I have seen so far doesn't care what the users really want.
  • If testers read 1000000 words in a test case document the first time they were executing, they only read 10000 the next time and 1000 that next time and 100 for the next. Later, they don't need it.
  • Some people think test plan document = test case document.
  • The service most companies sell is test documentation, not testing.
  • All good testers I have met so far, treat other testers as intelligent as they are and don't punish humans with detailed test scripts.
  • Test cases don't assure repeatability of testing, at best it assures repeatability of testers getting bored.
  • Funny that expected result of a test case should ideally be, "Software should go kaboom" BUT it is mostly, "We should see a boat sailing smooth as the day is bright and clear and the waters are not turbulent".
Just that, I know.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Trio Exploratory Testing - Session Notes & Discussions & The Big Dice

Oredev conference was super duper. The people I met and what I could learn from them was amazing. Siggie got a bunch of speakers for the test track and I was one of them. I met some context driven testers and good humans I was longing to meet. Selena was full of energy. Zeger was artful. Siggie has a cool style. I'd vote him for the next James Bond. After lot of talk (beer), talk (err, beer) and talk (and err beer) and little beer, the Kung Fu Panda in me said, "Enough talk, lets test". Update: How did I forget my country cousin, Henrik? OMG. He and I had enough beer one day that I need to recover from the hangover of our talk. What I am attempting to do with Moolya is what he is trying with House of Test. Another update: Another beer made me forget my dear friend Ola Hylten. He took me home and it was made this as one of the nicest trip ever. Miss him.

I got hold of Rikard Edgren and Shmuel Gershon and we decided to do an exploratory testing session. Here is what we did.

Click on the image to enlarge

All three of us enjoyed doing this so much that we hope we can do more of this in all future conferences we meet. What was more interesting was the de-brief and discussions that followed. After we finished testing, Rikard said, "Oh my, you write a lot of notes. I would spend that time to find more issues". That is brilliant but I explained to him about why I do it. It helps me tell a story of how I did things even years later. I pulled a test session I did 6 months back and narrated a story of how the session went. I then mentioned that my style of note taking could be useful in situations of high accountability.

Oh, our Rapid Reporter Shmuel was there. We talked about Rapid Reporter and its use in Session Based Test Management. Shmuel brought shared with us a feedback  : A tester doing scripted testing and using Rapid Reporter found that he was taking notes and found it very useful that he could learn a lot. He said he started making notes of things he used to miss in the past without it.

Rikard shared stories of his testing style. His style appeared to be like one where he didn't want documentation to act as a hindrance to the progress he wanted to make in finding bugs. Well, I think he is right. It shouldn't. For those who have seen how I test, I do the notes part so quick that it doesn't compromise the goal I want to achieve. I felt I was defending my style too much. Yeah, to an extent but then hey it is my style.

We then started to talk about how each one of us adopted SBTM what James and Jon had provided long ago. I talked about how I tried doing it with the style I have seen James doing and how I failed :) It also meant lot of questions from James that I could not answer. The only way I could answer to his questions is to adopt SBTM to my style of testing.

We had an interesting interruptions in between. Some people were constantly checking with us what we are up to. One of us took the job of engaging them in a conversation while other two continued the discussion.

It was one of my nicest experiences to have tested along as good testers as Rikard and Shmuel. I simply love them and am a fan of their work. My sleep is interrupted with the potato and rapid reporter :P. Fortunate for me, I use Black Viper Testing Technique to solve many problems.

Shmuel has come out with idea of BIG EXPLORATORY TESTING DICE inspired by Rapid Software Testing Heuristics and I think this is one of the coolest contributions from Shmuel other than his Rapid Reporter. I have a pair of them on my desk.

 Oh you too see the Cartoon Tester in the background? Hate this guy, he is everywhere in Moolya :)

How to use it? Here is the tutorial : Roll the dice and read what is written on it. Ask yourselves if you have asked questions about what you read. For instance, I roll the dice and see "Support-ability". It reminds me to ask questions about what kind of support-ability is built into the system I am testing. How could someone recover logs from crash? How will the support staff know what the user has done? How will the user know how to explain what happened? So cool.

If I have missed anything interesting, I am hoping Shmuel and Rikard can't resist themselves to add their comments on this post.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Gifting someone a life and they f****** it up

Oh my! I was reminded of this story. It is a hard to digest story for me but I can't just hold myself from telling it.

About two years back, I did work for a client in India and they had to pay me about a couple of thousand dollars. Meanwhile, a fresh college graduate who was trained by some testing institute came to me seeking help in getting a job. He convinced me that I should help him. I was emotionally touched by the way his parents struggled to help him complete his engineering bachelor degree course.

His parents were daily wage farmers in some village in Andhra Pradesh. His parents were getting paid something like 3 to 4 dollars per day and they used to save as much as they could in that money to help this guy study.

He also seemed to express interest in doing some creative style testing and thinking. Convinced that this guy needs an uplift in life, I called up my client and said, "The money you were wanting to pay me is important to me. It would make a small difference to my current life style but God has helped me be happy with what I have right now so I need to ask a favor from you. I know this guy, XXXXX , who needs a job to help his family in basic shape. So if you could give him a job and pay him what you owe me, I'd be more than happy to engage with you again"

The client was very open to the idea but checked with me that I am not making up my mind to gift him life because it comes at a cost. I thought I knew how much it would cost.

With a couple of thousand dollars, you could buy lots of things or be happy having it in bank. My wife and parents were proud of what I did. This guy thanked me for gifting him a great opportunity. I told him that he is being given an opportunity with his parents in mind and he needs to work really hard and learn to do very good testing. He nodded like a doll.

I was constantly checking with my client of this fella's progress. The client said he was good and I was happy that he was doing good. A couple of months later when I tried to check again  I found that this guy had not been performing as good as he used to be. He seemed to be enjoying his life more than learning and improving skills. I wrote to him about it but the response didn't seem to suggest to me that he was serious. We then watched him for a couple more days and I called up my client to ask them to fire him because they didn't do it thinking I'd be offended.

He was fired. He lamented about his mistakes over a call with me but it was too late. I lost my money and possibly the reputation I had built with this client. Its sad that I lost money and faith about people asking my help. It reminded me of the stories I read in Panchathanthra. They are so true even after 5000 years.

Well, it helps me become wiser but makes me nervous to help somebody who brings up the emotional angle. Decisions in life are always based on emotions or the lack of it and they are heuristics.

I am not telling all I have helped have done this to me but even if one does, it creates an imbalance to the way I was dealing about helping people. Passion to foster good testing and good testers continue to guide me take decisions like the one above. I hope I have enough strength and money to pursue my goals despite such cases. You never know how much your decisions are going to cost you. I am not pained at having lost couple of thousand dollars but feel sorry for that guy's parents. The last I heard from that guy, he still wasn't able to find another job. 

Reminds me that sometimes opportunity knocks only once. Other times, we have to create it. If we aren't skilled, there is no way we can create opportunities.


Thursday, September 29, 2011

TASTRO - Tester's Astrology by Rrajesh Barde

One of Moolya's customer, a large IT company in India wanted me help a group of testers think beyond the boundaries they had accustomed to. They wanted me to help them bring out the potential and creativity of testers within their organization. Having thousands of testers,  they did know where to start from - the top 30 they had. Top 30 in terms of demonstrated passion for software testing.

The icing on the cake, they wanted their testers to progress towards becoming brainual testers.

A group of 30 testers were introduced to me and I spent time for a couple of weeks with them on various activities. We ended up doing so many good things together that we accomplished the mission together. There were plenty of great work that they did. Now, those 30 have been successful in inspiring 30 more and this chain reaction is appearing to happen. If it goes on, I am sure this organization is going to rock in the coming years.

Somebody impressed with how I mentored these 30 asked me, "Aren't you giving away all secrets of how testers in Moolya test?", to which I replied, "There is no secret. This is how we test and this is how we live". There is nothing to hide. We don't have any secret ingredient or a secret ingredient soup unlike many services companies. We have watched KungFu Panda and hope you too have watched it. We focus on our skills. Our website tells that story.

In this post, I want to highlight the creativity that came out of the exercises of Brainual Testing.
Rrajesh Barde surprised me that he had been reading my blogs ever since I started it and he told me he had also commented on it. I was glad to meet my oldest (well, he's pretty young) blog reader. The only question I asked him was, "Was it worth your time?"

This guy turned out to be hyper creative. He had a sense of humor, lateral thinking, passion to test, leadership and creativity. We were brainstorming of how do we educate testers without letting them know they are educated. Of course, books are boring to most. What content do we feed them with? We discussed on Andy Glover's Cartoons for it. However, that didn't solve the problem of testers within their organization being able to see Andy working with them.

So, Rrajesh Barde in the meeting interrupted, "If I may, I have an idea..." and then came out with this brilliant idea of TASTRO - Testers ASTROlogy. In a country like India, a lot of people refer to Astrology. They at least want to read if there is something good in it for them. I thought that was a brilliant idea and we had to develop it further. We needed to mix fun and pun into it. We needed the learning touch. We needed people to look forward to their weekly TASTRO.

Here is what we got:

TASTRO – Tester’s Astro – What do your test signs foretell?

Your stars look good for coming week however you might face an environment downtime. Why not make a quick checklist on how to set it up?

Avoid calls during Rahu Kaal. Those who have calls with your on-site coordinators during this time, Beware!!

The planetary movements suggest that the build scheduled on week day will be delivered to the Testing team on Friday after sunset. You have plenty of time to read Rapid Software Testing Appendix and practice new testing ideas.

Though you think you know it, you have no certainty until you try. You might see a surprise appreciation for your smart work. Smart work could mean, you use oracles to test.

You are worried with unplanned work load. Read the book – Lessons Learned in Software Testing at home and you may see the change in office.

Worried why you your productivity appears to have come down? How long has it been since you took a break? Quick breaks between test sessions are important.

In the busy times, be prepared to work late, eat pizza for dinner at work, and work for some weekends. Don't wanna do that? Go beyond test cases, you will find more bugs.

There is a chance that your relationship with developers would go sour in the coming week. So treat them with chocolates. Developers are rich source of information for a tester.

Your customers would be under the influence of aggressive Mars. You would be forced to test whatever is thrown at you. Check for the mission to be achieved to avoid falling into traps

You would be trying to achieve the stars by clicking here and there with your monkey paws. Stop doing that and your career could get better.

Your managers would somehow have a strong notion that you have just been marking those test cases as “pass” without executing them. Honesty is important for a good tester.

When you have crashed the software and waiting for the system to boot, prepare your own test idea cheat sheet. For those who do, future has been bright.

Isn't this awesome? I feel testers like Rrajesh Barde are a huge boon to our industry. The beauty of my consulting was, I felt there wasn't just one Rrajesh Barde I met but many. I may cover about others in future posts.

A couple of years ago, I used to go to a consulting assignment as though I am superior and I consult people because they were inferior. These days, I go to consulting to get humbled by people like the ones I met.

Please, everybody, stretch out your creativity, you would find an Andy Glover or Rrajesh Barde in you. For those who want to follow Rrajesh's blog, here is the link. He came out with another concept called Bug Burji (Burji is a dish made out of Egg and we call it Egg Burji, Rrajesh made a Bug Burji out of it). Rrajesh, you inspire me. I hope after reading your work, a couple of others may join me in admiring your work and contribution.

I am telling myself that I was born to witness this beginning of the golden era of software testing. Don't know if you can even see what I am experiencing.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Testing Circus, Tea Time With Testers & The Testing Planet magazines

It is a proud moment that a magazine on testing started by a tester in India who did not have any funding or money to run it has completed 1 year and has matured well over the last couple of months.

It is testers like Ajoy and his team of volunteers listed here are the ones who are going to make a difference to this world in all good ways. It re-iterates a good point that passion can make things and sustain it. Many with huge budget but no passion can't achieve this. Even if they achieve, it may be with just business objective.

I want to congratulate Ajoy and his team for the efforts they have taken to bring this magazine out every month. Ajoy wanted to have enough money to run this and Moolya was the first company to sponsor ads in Testing Circus.

It wasn't just to promote Moolya but to help Ajoy and his team dream bigger with Testing Circus. To all those involved, I bow to you, salute you for what you have done. I know, probably more than anyone else, how difficult it is to have achieved it.

So, this post is dedicated to you folks.

There is another set of testers from India, Lalitkumar Bhamare and Pratikkumar Patel who are also doing a good job. They are the Tea Time With Testers. I want to mention and thank them for their efforts. I sincerely appreciate your work, passion and style.

Now, to both these magazines, your goal over the next couple of years is to be better than The Testing Planet. That appears to me as a golden standard for testing magazines to achieve. Rosie Sherry and her team of volunteers have not just set but raised the standard too high for others to try beating. I still remember the day when Rosie Sherry started the software testing club and pinged me on Skype to tell about it. I think Rosie should write a book on how she built all this so well.

All in all, this is becoming a good age to live in as a software tester. Those who are blind to all great work happening in testing deserve it because their children or grand children are probably not going to respect them :)

Subscribe to these magazines and you will thank me for asking you to do it. 

Thursday, September 01, 2011

How Pradeep teaches software testing - Part 3

I hope you have read Part 1 and Part 2 of the series of "How Pradeep teaches software testing" and I welcome you to the Part 3. I don't yet know how many parts it is going to take for me to complete this series. I am hoping that I would write down the most important parts and keep adding whenever I need to update. In this part, I am going to focus on my journey of doing exercises and hands on stuff I do at my workshops.

Having been a guinea pig of James Bach and Michael Bolton's online coaching, I myself went through quite a few exercises that were under experimentation. I still remember James showing me a set of pens and then hiding all of them away from me but one to ask me which one was being shown to me. All of them looked identical so it was difficult to tell which pen was he showing me. I had to figure out a way to question him to help me identify the difference between those pens. This is one such exercise that didn't make it to the Rapid Software Testing class. However, I benefited from all of them.

When I started to teach my own version of Rapid Software Testing in India, I sought permission to use a few exercises from the original version. I got permitted to use the Mysterious Spherical Ball and Dice Game. Oh, the Triangle, too. I needed more and I had to create my own.

Even before that, I had to modify the exercises to suit me and the point I wanted to drive. I did that. I have a few variations of the game and exercises and at times I drive a different point from the original one. If I were to have been a parrot repeating what they taught me, I wouldn't have been able to survive or inspire people.

I tried my own exercises. I tried them out with James & Michael. It was hard to teach them back something with my exercises. That made my exercises or my ability to deal with them stronger. I then tried it out on a couple of testers here in India and it worked wonders. So, I consciously didn't take all of my exercises to James & Michael. Not that I wanted to avoid them but as their good student, I wanted to appreciate their time. I first wanted to get good at something before asking them to work on it.

I published some exercises on my blog. For instance the telephone puzzle and other brainstorming exercises helped me to experiment some of my own.

Every time I did the same exercise with new batch of testers, a new idea or an approach used to emerge that used to teach me a lot. I started to focus on what testers in India need to learn. If their fundamental is flawed then it is not good to teach them some things that appear to be Greek and Latin.

I made a list of things that I think is fundamental and started to work towards exercises for the same.

I am listing a few of them below


  • Observation
  • Questioning
  • Lateral Thinking
  • Reverse Engineering
  • Scripting
  • Investigation


  • Test coverage
  • Testability
  • Mission focus
  • Heuristics & Oracles
  • Bug Reporting

I built exercises for each category I wanted testers to get good at. As an example, I built an exercise for reverse engineering practice for testers: Finding Nemo  . Sorry to Mac folks unless they have a Windows emulator in it.

I wondered if I could really help in creating good testers with my crazy set of exercises and ideas. I was consulting for Edista Testing Institute and sought an opportunity to experiment my crazy ideas with two batches of fresh college graduates. The results were beyond imagination. I could bet on these testers against all of the ISTQB passed fresh college graduates put together. Here are excerpts of the work that they produced after a month of training from me. 

I was all the more convinced about creating my own exercises to help creating good testers in India. As an evidence of how skilled a tester could get beyond those 30 days is here - Santhosh Tuppad, my student of the fresh college graduate training is now a co-founder of Moolya Software Testing Private Limited. Not just he, other testers from those batches are top testers in the organization they are working for. There are a few in them who haven't yet made it large but if you talk to them you'd know it may happen, if not today, tomorrow.

He is the youngest testing entrepreneur to the best of my knowledge at the age of 23 and this story being created in India and me playing a small role in it makes me happy of the path I am heading towards in coaching software testers. I am specifically going to write about my students and their journey after attending my training in a part dedicated to them.

The exercises created curiosity in them to learn more. So, I didn't do the learning for them, they did it for themselves. What every training for a software tester needs to do - is to create curiosity with pointers of how they could do it. What ISTQB is doing is a super reverse of that. They damage the gene when it is being built and create business opportunities to themselves in the context of helping such genes upgrade and repair.

Some of the ISTQB trainers in India who perceive that my work has an influence on them, use some of my exercises in their workshop. I allow them to do so because that's the best hope for me that someone would then question the value of what is being taught as ISTQB and get curious to learn about testing.

My exercises teach people to test their own ideas of testing. I'd like to build thousands of them and give it away. Over the last few years, I have seen lot of action from Context Driven Testing folks on the exercises. People come up with their own exercises and share it with others. It is the safest community to be in irrespective of whether you agree to the principles or not. People like Sebi, Markus Gaertner, Matt Heusser are the ones on top of my head who contribute testing exercises to the world.

You will have fun cracking my Finding Nemo exercise. You would trick yourself to believing you have cracked it and then if you do a few more tests, you'd discover you haven't. Santhosh and I worked on something called Guess the Password - Version 1 & Version 2 . Don't go to Version 2.0 before completing Version 1.0.

This is what I am doing in India. This is how I coach testers. The future is all about such testing exercises, if it were to be a bright one. So, all of India isn't all that bad in testing as you may be imagining it to be. Note that!

In future parts of the series, I am going to be covering on aspects of my interaction with testers in the class, humor that works for me in my class, feedback and what I did with it, interacting with trainers in software testing and lots more. Stay tuned, it looks to be completely safe.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

How Pradeep teaches software testing - Part 2

I just hope you all read Part 1 of this series. Now, I bring to you Part 2 where I talk about my journey of my first set of workshops.

In 2007, I was not sure if people would be willing to listen to my ideas in testing. I had some good readership for my blog and I announced 2 hour free talk on exploratory testing titled Mirchi Test Masala. Mirchi in Hindi means "spicy" and I wanted to offer the Indian Spicy Testing flavor during my talk. By God's grace, I was flooded with interest from my blog readers to host me for this talk at their organizations.

I happened to be invited in companies like Dell, Huawei, Celstream, Ionidea, Hasten Technologies and even at an organization in Chennai. There were few more organizations who happened to invite me a couple of months later looking at the blog post. I forgot some of their names. It could have been big or small ones.

This was an opportunity for me to test my public speaking skills, my ability to coach testers and also a test of how influential I could be to testers. I used a bug in Microsoft Powerpoint 2003 as an exercise to drive certain points to the audience and help them see testing as an exploration than merely test case execution.

This also gave me an opportunity to face some tough questions from audience and there was a stiff resistance to my ideas. Being an outspoken context driven tester in India wasn't one bit easy. There was a huge wave against the ideas I was trying to spread. Whatever resistance I faced didn't matter much because people saw an extreme passion for testing in me and they were acknowledging it well. That was a huge boost to my confidence that I can actually do a full day workshop.

I guess in early 2007, Michael Bolton did a Rapid Software Testing training for a client in Bangalore. That client had chosen a venue for coaching which was "rent a training room" types. I decided that I should do my first workshop in the same place because the vibrations that Michael left there would help me boost my confidence. I payed a lot of money to book the same room. That is where I did my first workshop on Exploratory Testing.

I was surprised (yeah, I was) that there were about 17 people who were willing to pay as much as 3500 INR for a day to get trained by me. I guess I paid more than half of that money on rental of the training room but I was happy. I don't distribute feedback forms because I believe the actual feedback is when people go back to their workstations and test out the new ideas.

Somehow, people were convinced that I was giving them a different perspective. My workshop was mostly hands on. Minutes before I started my workshop I pinged Michael and said, "I need your blessings on this important day in my life. I am nervous" and he replied, "Are you an expert presenter?" and I answered, "No". He then said this great thing, "Well then pretend to be an expert presenter". That helped me so much that I pretended to be an awesome presenter. Over the years, I have developed a stage presence that audience have loved it in most occasions.

What I seemed to gain is many different ways to run the same exercise. However, my audience were my asset. They asked so many questions to me that helped me do a lot better thinking to help them learn what they wanted to. Sometimes I appear to people as the king of analogy and examples. I connect with my audience well because there were my audience of past who taught me so much about how to do it and how many different ways I could fail trying to give an analogy.

There is at least one good thing I tell in all my workshops: If you want to disagree with what I am saying and stay silent just because you don't care about me, you are killing the testing community indirectly. I am going to be doing these workshops to many other testers and I don't want to keep telling stupid stuff to them, so please help me.

That statement has helped some people tell me where I am bad and where I need to do better. After I engage them in a conversation and if I was convinced about it, I made necessary changes.

A big thank you to all those who attended my first set of workshops. You made this guy grow in confidence and helped him learn how bad he is and how good he needs to get. The most useful feedback has mostly not been on feedback forms.  

Sunday, July 31, 2011

How Pradeep teaches software testing - Part 1

I'd like to spill the beans here. I want to tell you how I teach people to test software and my journey of it. I have also written about it in the past here , here and here. In this post, I'd like to tell you about finer details of my teaching style and how I got them. If you would read all the parts I am about to publish, you'd know more about my teaching than you ever did or you ever wanted to :)

How my speaking style evolved

The influence of James Bach & Michael Bolton

The first time I ever witnessed someone teaching software testing was when I got coached by James Bach and Michael Bolton. I had also witnessed people who, in the context of teaching software testing, were reading slides. I don't consider what they are doing as "teaching software testing" but I consider them as "slide runners".

The way James and Michael coach are two diverse powerful approaches to teaching testing. There are things in common but there is James specific and Michael specific signatures in their respective styles.While I was working on the exercises they gave me, I was also observing how they teach me. That was the most important step for me to think about teaching other testers.

I was curious to find out how James or Michael feels when they coach testers. What goes on in their mind? What is the thought process? How could I experience what they are experiencing?

A way I could do it, was to start coaching a few testers aping the styles of James and Michael. I remember my first class, I cracked the same jokes that I had heard from Michael Bolton and copied the body language of James Bach. Did it go well? Fortunate for me, that audience hadn't seen J & M in action. It appeared to be good. I had watched James Bach's Becoming a Software Testing Expert video at least a 100 times to try copying his style. I practiced and practiced. The bathroom and toilet was the best place for me to do so. Most people are bathroom singers and I had turned myself to be a bathroom presenter. Over the last few years, those who have seen James or Michael in action come to me after my talk and have said, "There is so much of James or Michael in you". Not surprising.

Moving away from being an ape to developing my own style

The best part about trying to ape James & Michael was, I failed to do so, in many occasions. There was someone else in me by the name of Pradeep who was constantly bringing himself out. He used to sometimes take over James Bach and Michael Bolton. I was very afraid of that. I didn't know if people are going to like Pradeep as compared to James or Michael.

At times the Pradeep in me took over for a longer duration as I couldn't hide him too long and people weren't disappointed about that. Slowly, the Pradeep in me started gaining confidence that he could do it all alone without the help of James & Michael styles he was trying to ape.

It happened that my English accent got into a spin and I was neither speaking the Indian English accent nor Americans would consider that I belong there. So, many Indian testers have thought I was trying to fake my accent to sound more like an American. I had a tough time explaining to them that I was not and then gave up. I guess I was paying the price for admiring and communicating a lot with James and Michael :)

I began focusing more on my skills to teach than to be worried if people are thinking that I fake my accent. Today I connect my audience with good content and humor that they almost seem to have forgotten making note of my accent. At least, I would like to think so :)

Today my talks and classes have lots of humor, not because Michael does it too but the Pradeep in me is a natural humorist. Today my talks are aggressive and I pump a lot of energy out, not because James does that but the Pradeep in me is highly energetic to talk about testing.

The legacy passed on

Just about few days back, Santhosh Tuppad's girl friend pinged me on Gmail Chat (that occasionally works after the launch of G+. I just hope Engineers in Google stop boasting about their innovative ideas of write hell lot of code to test code that intimidate the industry and focus on fixing issues that irritates the users they claim to care for) to tell me that she is seeing so much of me in him when he speaks. I helped her understand it shall go away after a while because the Santhosh in him won't allow Pradeep to dominate for long.

Two days after that Parimala told me that she surprised her husband by using some words which I use as frequently as I can and then realized "OMG, this is so much of Pradeep in me. How do I get rid of this guy?"

It looks like legacy passed on and soon they will recover and pass it on to someone.

Watch out for part 2

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Bangalore Workshop on Software Testing - 3 on 6th August, 2011

This year, BWST 3 (#bwst3) is delayed by a couple of months and for all good reasons. We were busy with personal and professional stuff. So, here comes the details.

Personal excellence & skill development

We have been noticing over the last few years that those who can change things for the world are those who have been changing things for themselves. As people say revolution starts from within, our experience has been similar to agree with that.

In this year BWST 3,  we are focusing on interacting more on personal excellence and skill development. We want to hear stories (from all participants, not just the speakers) on how they have been working on their personal excellence. Are they being pushed to that? What is their motivation to do it? What is causing them to fail? What support they need and from whom? What kind of skills are they working on? What are the black swan skills that the world should know about? What kind of books they read and how has it helped them? What kind of changes are they making to themselves? What do they plan to change about testing in future?

Does this topic connect with you well? Would you like to present or participate in this? We have very limited seating of 25 this year and this is an invite only conference. You don't need to send us a Salsa dance video to get an invite but you could write down your story of how you built or have been building your skills to us at parimala hut moolya.com titled "BWST 3 speaker" / "BWST 3 participant".

For those who don't know what I am talking about: Please read thisthisthis and this. Last year, we had Selim Mia from Bangladesh, Yeshwantrao from Madurai and Vasu from Chennai come all over to Bangalore to attend BWST 2. So, indirectly, I am telling, its open to the world.


The venue is at a hotel located in Bannerghatta Road, Bangalore. We shall send the details of reaching the venue to all selected participants and speakers via email.

  • 8 30 AM to 6 PM - BWST 3 (Late comers will not get Red K card. That's unfair. They will get it but be on time)
  • 6 PM till cops ask you to go home - Social gathering with testers

How do discussions happen in BWST?

We will be using K-cards and everybody gets to talk. As an organizer and a talkative person, I hate K-cards, so you can imagine that it gives all an equal chance. As it isn't rocket science to figure out how to use them, we will explain to you over there before we start.

For those who have attended BWST 1 or 1 and 2 or just 2 :) - This year, we have modified the 3 color K-card to just 2. We will have a Red card (High Priority Request - Limited use) and Green card ( Put me on the deck, I have something to say or ask - (Unlimited use)


As you all know this is a "pay for yourself" style conference and you'd need to pay 550 INR to cover your own expenses of food and refreshments during the day. At the hotel, we will have a complimentary wi-fi facility and power adaptors. So, bring on your tweeting machines and use #bwst3

It is a practice [ :) ] that we hang out in a pub after the conference and hence if you'd like to just join the evening pub meeting with all the testers of BWST 3, write to us separately with your mobile number. We shall SMS and tweet the location of the pub you need to come to. Of course, "pay for yourself".

This year, we have decided to provide T-shirts to all participants and speakers and we are looking forward to wearing one of our own sponsored by oh who else - Moolya

Hurry up! If you are too late, you get to wait list and you will have to pray someone drops out. Spread the word, use the #bwst3

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Testers & their passion for test automation

Once a group of software testers were traveling on a plane to attend a test automation conference. Their plane was hijacked by terrorists and all people on board, including the testers were held hostages.

The situation was grim as terrorists appeared to be dangerous with AK-56 strapped across their chests. The terrorists demanded a lot of things that the government couldn’t meet. After seven hours of flying, the plane was running out of fuel. The only demand government could meet was to refuel the plane.

Terrorists chose an airport to land and the plane was refueled enough to fly for 12 more hours. The terrorists threatened to kill a hostage every one hour if their demands were not met.They demanded the release of a terrorist who was captured by the government last month during an operation. The government had only three options: a) to release the terrorist b) to ignore the threat and get all people on board killed c) to perform a surgical strike during the next refueling session.

The government opted for option c. The surgical strike team consisted of highly skilled commandos who were trained in such rescue missions. The commandos pretending to be refueling the plane stormed into the plane and had concealed the latest FMG (Folding Machine Gun) which they unleashed to kill all eleven terrorists on board with minor bullet injuries to hostages.

After the strike was over, all passengers including the software testers on board stood up and clapped for quite sometime while commandos were preparing to off board the passengers. The news had become viral across the world and there were a lot of people waiting to receive the passengers. The conference organizers felt proud to receive the software testers who were on board this flight that had been rescued.

On the request of the conference organizers, those software testers decided to talk on what lessons can be learnt from the experience to software testing. With a huge round of applause, one of them came on stage, held the microphones and in a bold voice said, “Those commandos used a fully automatic machine gun to kill all the terrorists. That indicates that we should make our testing fully automatic to find all bugs”. Every tester in the hall clapped for the great lesson they learnt. 

Moral of the story: Testers and Test management have forgotten to appreciate their own colleagues and consider processes and tools help them achieve their goals.  Update: Also quoting Julian Harty : "Automation should be a servant, not master of our Software delivery"

If you have a colleague whom you want to appreciate and don't mind doing that in the comments section here, just go for it. Let me start.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A letter from the worst Agile Tester in India

Dear Blog Reader,


Hope you all are doing something in life and I don't care about it. I would like to introduce myself to you. I guess you don't know about my split personality disorder. My name is Pradeep Soundararajan too. No, not the guy you know but this is his split personality. The split personality is - I am the worst Agile tester from India. Yet, I am smart enough to be able to survive in this industry because the industry is structured to pose challenges to good testers and not for people like me.

What makes me qualify to be the worst tester is I don't squeeze my brain to test, don't care about the project success or what happens to my employer because I can always find another one who can hire me. Thanks to the most advanced interviewing techniques for a tester that ensures people like me get jobs.

As a matter of fact, I wasn't as confident as I am today about my survival in IT industry a couple of years ago. Ever since my management went to attend a conference where lots of people spoke about Agile, we were given a goal to ensure that even we become Agile. Thankfully, it didn't matter what Agile means or what Agile Manifesto says. What my management got about Agile is - to be calling ourselves as Agile, we need a stand up, a scrum, a sprint, some tests called as acceptance tests, developers and testers working together and oh business analysts writing bed time stories for us.

If our context demands to change the stand up to sit down, we won't because you see, we are AGILE and Agile to people like us means - don't change anything that will prevent people from recognizing that we are not Agile. Simple.

Our Agile coach and certified scrum master, in order to retain their jobs, appear to read a lot of blogs where people post their Agile experiences. Without probing if it suits our context or not they bring in best practices which are ideally ideas shared on blogs. Bloggers do a fantastic job of posting things that appears to work for them or in simpler words - pretending to work for them.

Once there was a white board added to our work place and a few sticky notes on our desks. We just thought we had to use these new tools to continue being called as Agile and we started writing down tweets (as twitter was blocked) on sticky post it notes and pasted it on the white board. It delighted our scrum master and agile coach. They even blogged about it.

Early days, the industry was wrong about making the tester sole responsibility for quality. These days they are saying quality is everybody's responsibility and that's a huge relief for people like me who are pathetic testers. All hiring that happens and the interviewing mechanisms ensure irresponsible people like me are favored for the job.

The industry will never learn that quality can never become responsibility of all irresponsible people of the project. However, by having said quality is everybody's responsibility, my burden has come down. I now share the blame well with all other people on the project even when I know my job was mediocre.

I have figured out a formula to make my life smoother than how it was earlier. I am presented with stories about the changes to the product or new additions and I need to write tests that meet the acceptance criteria. Business Analysts test for the acceptance criteria at the end of the sprint before signing off to push a build into production. So, my job is to sit with the BA's at the start of the sprint and figure out what their acceptance tests are and that's it. I mean it. That's the formula.

Do my developers care about TDD, Unit Testing their code or anything of that sort? No!  I don't bother to ask them those questions because if I ask, they would also ask questions on my work and I don't want that to happen. My organization posted millions of dollars of profit, it could have actually been billions of dollars but hey only if people like me were out of job. As an organization posts profits, the management is fooled to believe that they have the right people with them. They hardly know anything about their customers. Today's customers are so ignorant to software quality that they would figure out a work around than yelling at the company. They love the "Don't send" button.

The IT industry in India thrives on "head count" and not brain count and I am a billable "head" to my organization. As long as I am a billable head, my job is never going to be threatened. Do you think the US companies will pull out of India? No, they want cheap stuff and that's why they come to India. How does India deliver cheap stuff then? Its by hiring people like me who don't mind not doing great stuff as long as I am paid just enough to keep running my home loan, car loan and my wife's shopping expenses. If converted to dollars, that's still way short of what a US fella would get. There are some expensive folks in India but they talk a language that people in US think as not scalable.

Most Americans themselves don't appear to get Agile and asking Indians to do something good that they haven't got is super fun. They won't know how to track and we won't know how to produce and it works out as a perfect job saving combo for all of us. Unfortunately for those who have put in their money, the cost of pulling out is so much that they are stuck to indirectly beg us to do something to make things work. I once went to an Agile conference in the west and found that the leading agilists are complaining about their own countrymen for being bad Agile folks. I returned with confidence that we are just aping the major population of Agilists of the west and to an Indian, it is perfect to ape the Americans way of producing software.

When things go haywire, we bring in some consultants who are so passionate about agile (notice the small "a"?) that they wouldn't know they are shifting their role from a consultant to a contractor. They would do the "just enough" needed to make our biggest release, clean some of our mess and then go away. While they are here, we will treat them well and make them feel so good that they think they have got a great client and when they go away, we don't bother about what they did till our next major release.

The sprints are so beautifully positioned and the activities are so amazingly structured that I can easily blame the sprint for not being able to learn anything new or add any skills to what I might currently possess.

Every now and then, I pick up new terms that western folks talk about just to ensure I don't get intimidated in interviews. Be it Scrumban, Lean-Kanban or Lean Scrumban. If some interview questions are too intimidating then I simply remind myself of having read Brian Marick's Artisanal Retro-Futurism crossed with Team-Scale Anarcho-Syndicalism. I don't get a head or tail of it and I don't care either as long as I can tell my interviewers that's what I do. If asked to explain, I know how to obfuscate it further.

Good testers don't get the point of life and that is - some people have money and others need to extract it from them without needing to work hard. Good testers are specialists, they only specialize in how to test well. There is a need for generalists in this world, who can learn how to make money while not testing well mixed with not knowing how to code.

My life moves on but the good testers appear to be stuck trying to explain guys like me what should be done. Note, you can't move an inch out of us and we outnumber you so much that your life is as painful as having cancer all over your brain.

I am starting a new certification program - CTBCIA.  "Certified to be certified in Agile". This is skill based. I will test how long you can stand up, how you hurry up when a sprint is about to finish,... If you are from any other country, please email me, we shall expand our certification business aping the success of ISTQB all over the world. Once we have a local chapter in your country, we can make more money through conferences and selling our training programs which are feeders to our certification program. Don't worry about marketing, leading agile consultants of the world will talk so much bad about our certification that they will attract our target customers to approach us.

If you want to be a successful Agile tester, trust me, you don't need to know anything about it. Mostly because the people running the project themselves have no clue. Learning about being agile can damage your brain cells and your career.

I really don't care whatever you choose to do because you don't care for me. Humanity and software are two opposite terms.


-- Pradeep Soundararajan ( The split personality guy, not the one you know)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Testers Monthly Meet across India

Hey folks. As I wrote in my previous post on future of Indian testing the thing that seems to be making a lot of testers talk to each other is Testers Monthly Meet and now its organizing a low cost ( 500 rupees for one full day ) conference in NCR.

Adobe India is the venue host and they already seem to have more companies wanting to send their testers out for this event. The speaker line up looks very good ( ahem, not necessarily because of I am one of the speaker ). Forget the speakers, none of us cant match the wisdom of the combined audience. Vipul Gupta and Ajoy have been putting up a good show so far and knowing those guys I think this is going to rock. Vipul Kocher has been extending a lot of his time to support and facilitate this whole thing across India to an extent that his kids ask him, "Why are you at home today?"

I am so excited. Register today for the NCRTMM conference and lets meet and talk about testing. I am going to spend the whole evening with testers at NCR and I am so super excited about it. Joining me from Bangalore would be my testing pals Rahul Verma and Narayan Raman.

Hey, if you are from Bangalore, you could probably make it to the Bangalore Testers Monthly Meet. If you are in Pune, Chennai, Hyderabad, note that there are chapters for you too. Go India, Go. After the cricket worldcup, we need the testing world cup (hope there exists one:)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

My monopoly in teaching exploratory testing in India

This is a conversation I had with a good friend of mine. She is passionate about teaching testing and has changed her teaching style tremendously over the last couple of years.

I have changed a few words and broke down sentences from the conversation to make it more reading friendly. So, Mansi, when you read this and you spot anything that I have goofed up, please correct me.

Mansi: You are a monopoly for teaching exploratory testing in India.

Me: Yes, thank you. ( Of course, MB and JB visit India )

Mansi: How do you feel about it?

Me: I feel bad but also feel good.

Mansi: Good and bad?

Me: No, Bad and then Good.

Mansi: Why would you feel bad?

Me: I feel good because it helps me make money that gets me to feed my family and myself. I feel bad because being an evangelist of exploratory testing in India, I haven't seen people wanting to teach exploratory testing or even if I have seen, they aren't pursuing it.

Mansi: Oh, you know why people don't want to teach exploratory testing in India?

Me: That's what I have been trying to find out.

Mansi: Its because of you!

Me: You mean, I am the blocker for someone teaching exploratory testing in India? That's funny.

Mansi: You have set an entry barrier to them.

Me: What kind of an entry barrier have I set? I have been asking all my students to consider practicing to teach exploratory testing and I am willing to help them out. Why would I set entry barriers?

Mansi: Well, what I mean by entry barrier is, you would intimidate them with a lot of questions on their effectiveness to teach and all that.

Me: If I ask questions about how they plan to teach, why should they get intimidated by that? As a matter of fact, I would ask questions to them to see if I could help them not do the mistakes I did. I may learn to do a new exercise for my class from them.

Mansi: Because you are THE guy for exploratory testing in India.

Me: James Bach would hate to hear that. I am not an authority trying to prevent anyone from doing anything they want to. Look at you, Mansi, your class is filled with hands on exercises these days as opposed to your past of running through slides. I think I have helped you do what you love to.

Mansi: Yeah, thats all there but I am using exercises that I learnt from you for a class on testing. I don't teach exploratory testing per se.

Me: Oh, you mean, you don't teach exploratory testing by using the title exploratory testing?

Mansi: You play with words.

Me: I am just trying to understand.

Mansi: See, this is what I was telling.

Me: I intimidated you?

Mansi: No, your view of things are different.

Me: So, is yours and thats why we are friends and have a lot to talk to each other.

Mansi: OK, so tell me, why haven't testers in India want to teaching exploratory testing despite you doing so many workshops on it?

Me: Maybe because they enjoy doing exploratory testing than teaching it. Maybe they are working on the skills and one of them might start to do it. Or just as you are doing, "Not by that title".

Mansi: ... or maybe they are intimidated?

Me: You are free to think anything but here is what I can tell to all people. James Bach and Michael Bolton didn't teach me how to teach but they did teach me how to learn things. I carefully observed how they coach testers and tried to ape them initially. I must have failed aping them but in that process, I also found my own style of coaching that appears to be working for me. If I had thought that James & Michael has set an entry barrier for me to teach exploratory testing, I would have been stuck with that idea and wouldn't have progressed at all.

Mansi: I agree but its fun to have such conversations with you.

Me: Convert the fun of conversations with me to some action.

_ end of conversation with Mansi_

So, to any Indian tester reading this. I have been enjoying a beautiful monopoly of teaching exploratory testing in India. Look at my workshops and events page, you'd know I must have done lots of them. Going forward, I am going to be doing a lot, too. I think I am going to go out of India this year and do these workshops. I am enjoying this monopoly not because I am a bully and have intimidated people or set an entry barrier for someone nor I am an approving authority. There is no certified exploratory testing coach certification that you should get to be able to do it. I am enjoying this monopoly because of people like you not seizing the opportunities dancing in front of you.

Here's how I started: I announced free 2 hour talk on exploratory testing on my blog and a couple of organizations invited me to do it. I got free practice doing exercises for testers and developers as my audience and in turn I faced a number of questions. After doing enough talks, I got an idea of what would work for me and then graduated to announce my one day workshop. After doing that for enough number of times and most importantly by gaining experience doing one day workshop, I moved to doing two days. I tried doing Rapid Software Testing, Testing Skills Workshop and Exploratory Testing. Found my sweet spot, worked on a few exercises of my own + borrowed some from James & Michael (with their permission) and tried things.

After a few months, my students started contributing exercises to my workshop. I started to recognize the problems that testers and managers face in India to get Exploratory testing mainstream into their projects and started to do "Accountable & Manageable Exploratory Testing workshop". Session Based Test Management got into mainstream of my workshop and this led to me consulting and helping organizations achieve this. Today, I have success stories with Indian testers, managers and most importantly organizations that beat the s*** out of all other testing training done in India. Again, its you, dear Indian testers, who make me feel like that. So, if you see me as a big ego out there, ask yourselves, "how have I contributed to it?". If you don't know the answer, then here it is, "You have contributed more to my success than what I have done to myself" although I appear to take complete credit. Jon Bach wrote a beautiful blog post on the testing moment around the same topic.

On the other side of my analysis is that more than 99% of Indian testers are not career risk takers. Most among them think, they have taken enough risk in their career by choosing testing.

So, someone coming out of their so called permanent job in India wanting to teach exploratory testing or becoming a consultant is so unlikely. It may happen but that would definitely be surprising to me. If you dare, get in touch with me, please.

While you would just continue to read or maybe enjoy my blog posts, I would continue to play a monopoly for exploratory testing in India. What a shame!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Why fake pilots scam is headlines in India while fake testers scam is not?

At home, while the whole family was watching a reality show, I happened to take the liberty of changing the channel to NDTV 24x7, a leading news channel. A news that had been making headlines over the last couple of days was a prime time discussion.

The issue is this. A pilot produced fake document to get and got to fly a commercial airliner. Once /a/ pilot was identified to be faking, the investigation began to check if there could be more. Eventually, a flying training school was identified to be helping pilots who wanted to fake their number of hours of flying experience in trade of money. It appears that the norms of the civil aviation mandate at least 250 hours of flying + a simulator test before a pilot is inducted. Turns out that those pilots who faked hardly clocked 40 hours.

An experienced pilot was invited on prime time to talk to share his views and he shared something like this, "I am more surprised how these pilots got through the simulator test. If someone fakes the flying hours, they should have been caught at the simulator test. So, there needs to be a scrutiny into how the simulator tests are conducted".

I listened to that and started laughing. People at my home for a moment shifted their focus from the television to me. This is not the first time they are seeing me react to something in a different way than what they thought someone would. Yes, I was definitely thinking about software testing and those who fake their experience. I guess, people at my home know why I laugh.

As you know, I am a strong advocate against faking. I have written a blog post against faking experience and also do have a podcast on it. If you go through the comments section of the blog post, you'd know how people have tried using all F words, B words and A words against me. What you don't know is that, there have been people who have written emails to me abusing me for not understanding why they faked. Most of these people were hoping the world would sympathize against them but they saw me helping them learn that they are spoiling the craft I respect so much. They couldn't tolerate me as much as I couldn't tolerate them.

I was laughing after I heard the news because a thought crossed my mind. I imagined a situation where all testers who have faked their testing experience are put on a flight where both pilots have faked their experience and then there is a thunderstorm and there is an engine failure mid flight. Pam Pam Pam!

Wow! I love to put a camera over there and watch how those fake testers are reacting to such a situation. Now, am I such a sadist to watch people cry out for their life? Not at all. I want to let these people know I care for them but how? It may appear from my previous blog post about faking that I have behaved like an aggressive pitbull and they reciprocate the same when we have bumped into each other.

After a couple of years of writing that post, I see that my focus has shifted from those who fake from those who facilitate people to fake.

Here is a story : Srividya (name changed) sent an email to me telling that she completed a testing course in an institute in Bangalore and she felt they were unethical. She also mentioned that the institute had provided certificates to a lot of testers in her batch and she suspected the same might have happened to hundreds of batches they churned out and to all future batches. Now, every student of that institute didn't buy the idea of faking immediately but to convince them, the institute organized a meet with their alumni (who had faked and got a job in top companies in India). I was so excited to be interacting with a person like her and then she invited me over coffee to talk more details.

On meeting her I discovered her story to be inspiring to a lot of people who would fake their experience as a tester. Most often, it is the desperateness to get a job that drives people to fake. She was the only earning member of her family and she had two brothers studying college. She was working in a BPO after completing her engineering degree and found out that she wanted to get into IT (a typical story). However, what she told me was, "Its easy for a person like me to give in to faking experience and getting a job but I don't want to do that because I have personal ethics that don't allow me to do. I would get in touch with all my friends over the next couple of months who may help me financially, till I get a job as a tester without the fake one".

I was so happy to meet such people. It also made me realize the fact that all these years my focus was on people who end up faking but not on those who opposed it and didn't give in to it. I would definitely want to hire such people for Moolya and I bet these testers would shine and help the company shine.

What I find funny is that NASSCOM is aware of such things or if they are not aware, its a bigger sin. They don't appear to have been bold enough to make a statement as beautiful as the one I am going to make, "All fakers, beware, if you are caught, you can never work in IT".

I see a chemical equation and I am going to help you see it. I have heard from sources who don't want to be quoted at all that faking happens not just by candidates seeking job but also by services companies. So, there goes the balance of the equation. Some clients insist that they need someone with some kinda tool experience for a specific number of years, irrespective of whether the tool exists that many years.

I guess it was Michael Bolton who once pointed out in twitter that he saw a job ad asking potential candidates to have experience in a specific tool for many years while the tool just was introduced a couple of years ago. I wouldn't be surprised if someone applied to the job and got it because their resume' did show the experience asked for.

I am asking the same question, "Why didn't the simulator tests (interview) catch the fake pilots (testers)?"
Time and again, we have been debating a more stringent way of determining experience and what you might be seeing in STC Job board is a change I am happy to be seeing. If I were to write from the influence of the book Outliers ( Malcom Gladwell ), I would have to say, "I am so glad I was born at the right time to see the most important transition happening in testing".

So, coming to the question of why fake pilots scam makes headlines in our country while fake testers scam is not, is because most people in our so called industry think its not as risky as hiring fake pilots to hire testers who have faked their experience. I think its equally dangerous. It may not directly result in loss of lives but it definitely results in loss of a lot of business and hence a lot of jobs and hence a lot of lives are impacted.

Now, someone from NASSCOM is going to say, "Hey, Pradeep doesn't know anything.We have National Skills Registry in place". I don't know why such a powerful organization as NASSCOM isn't putting the red hot iron on such institutes who don't fear to announce in their class, "Students, go fake. You will still get a good life". Oh, by the way, some of the fakers I know got into some of leading companies registered under NASSCOM. So, dear NASSCOM, who is using your National Skills Registry and why don't you publish how many fakers are prevented from getting a job?

Once in a while companies like Wipro, Infosys, TCS announce they have caught the fakers and have removed them from their jobs. Don't believe? Read it here. OK, I appreciate it and what next? Has it stopped? I bet not.

Now, there is another pattern you notice. It's the Indian IT services companies that have caught a few fakers. What about the product organizations? Having worked at product companies (of whom some don't do any background checks) I know their interview process is stringent as compared to the IT services. Also, they don't hire in bulk as much the Indian IT services do. So, there you go. However, I know a few fakers who got through some product firms but I guess, they deserved it for the kind of interview process they had.

As you see from the news, it is a civil offence and I guess an organization like NASSCOM should make a press release. Well, well, well. Who wants to admit that our IT industry lacks a lot of ethics?

Almost everyone in the IT industry and a couple of years of experience on their belt earn sufficient money to make themselves look clean and good. There are definitely a lot of real good people but what's the use. They don't fight against the bad. I guess, the problem is that they are good but not good enough.

I had a false dream a couple of years ago that I could change this whole faking thing happening in India. I walked into a training center pretending to be a person who wants a fake certificate and recorded the conversation I had with the institute as a proof I could show it to the world. I then was advised to focus on people who deserve my time. I have been trying to do that but often realize that the institutes who promote fake experience also deserve my time and attention. I just lack the support I would have needed.

The students in such institutes have already demonstrated by being silent to the bad advice that they don't care . So is NASSCOM, appearing to me as ignorant in bringing a permanent solution to this.

If someone from NASSCOM is going to read this post (which is so unlikely) and is at least as bold as me, I want you to know that if there is one person in India who can help NASSCOM identify and put a permanent stop to this solution, its me. Do you care? I bet not. Will I continue to care? I bet yes.

I am not trying to project, "I am a hero, don't you see that" kind of an image through this blog post but I am trying to project an image that, "You may be a hero and if you are one, speak out. Most importantly, do in your own ways something to prevent the faking thing to grow bigger by each day. At Moolya, our hiring process doesn't ask for someone's CV in the first place. Its their skills and then more skills and then much more skills that matter. The world doesn't listen to small time businessman like me. I need to be an Azim Premji or Narayana Murthy. If I become one, I shall eradicate this whole faking business in testing.

We need to figure out a way to rehabilitate those who have succumbed to the need to fake. That's another thought which if new to me that I didn't have a couple of years ago.

This issue isn't headlines, yet. This shouldn't get to that point. That's all.