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!