"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.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Self critique your testing skills

Hi Reader,

It is interesting to know that we all have had a common problem in our career. I do not want to call it a problem, perhaps, it is a situation, which makes most of us uncomfortable to handle it.

It is a situation, we seek out for help and it is frustration that makes us seek out. You may agree if I say "There is a smart way of dealing it without asking help from others".

Now, Pradeep, what is that situation?

If there are no one to give a feedback about our work and we do not know; how good is our work?

_ Self critique your testing skills _

This is a way, I am adopting, to self critique, my own work and I am sharing it with you, to learn from you, if I could revive anything, for my self improvement. Just in case, you had missed this in your work, time to take it up.

Lessons learnt from people who kept appreciating:

I did work on a project X, for quite sometime and of course, there were no one to say "Pradeep, you could have done it better" but there were people to appreciate my work, which in a way, is a curse, if you would like to improve yourself as a tester. As a fresher, I thought, I am the best at doing it and to leverage my career, I started applying for jobs and attended a couple of interviews.

It was shocking for me to note that, I was rejected technically, in quite a few. I looked back at those appreciation mails I got in the company and was another shock that the interview results was not matching with the appreciation I got for the work.

It was only then I realized, there needs to be someone, who keeps saying "Pradeep, I think there is a better way of doing it and you can improve" and luckily I found a guru for that, Mr Ravi Joshi. He is a perfect guru I could have found at that time. He made me cry for many mistakes I did and more important of all, he did teach me a way of doing things in a possible correct way. ( I did pick up/grasp things rapidly, of course)

Wait, I am sure, some of you might ask "Pradeep, how do we find such good people? and what if we dont get such people to guide us?"

Today, I am self reliant, because sometime back, I thought, "Hey how long should I keep disturbing Ravi Joshi to avoid mistakes?".

I framed a strategy:
  1. I ask the questions, myself, and having understood Ravi's mindset, I get out with answers, without his help, many a times, it has been as wise as what Ravi would have said.
  2. I thought, "if I keep asking the Ravi inside me, when will I get to become Ravi Joshi?" and then I started to experiment with things. I was careful with my experiments and did continue to get answers for the questions I have had, I have done better.

Example -

I was given a task to write test cases for a new project. I did think on my own and came to a conclusion that, I shall write use cases and then develop test cases from it. Of course, the requirements document was not updated and not a good one to refer.

I did get to see, I wrote better test cases. Wow ! ( Hope you get a clue out of this)

Lessons from being passionate about testing:

Every passionate tester, wants to become one of the best testers in the world and he does enjoy a lot learning things in testing. Also, as a passionate tester, I have a fear that I may not become one such, if I do not work hard. So a passionate tester, is a person, who enjoys learning testing and fears that he may not become one such if he does not work harder than what he is working.

I fear a lot, hence I work hard. Simple!

I read many articles in testing, and try to evaluate it. I always want to experiment, ( which is a quality of a passionate tester) before I believe something that I read.

One such experiment is with Cem Kaner's Article : Interviewing Software Testing Candidates ( A right click and open would be better :D )

After going through the article by Cem Kaner, apart from me falling in love with his thinking, I did experiment it in some interviews I conducted and also in some interviews, where I was a candidate to believe his thinking and writing.

Similarly, to believe my writing too, you should experiment and not go by the fancy associated with it.

Note : No one guided me to that page of Cem Kaner, I did search it on the web. If Google is your best friend, then you have a friend who can make you the best tester in the world.

So let us summarize -

  1. You need to find someone, who can mentor you. ( If you find a wrong person, you are screwed up further)
  2. You need to become your own mentor after sometime.
  3. You need to read a lot of articles, books and experiment with it, carefully.
  4. You need to write your own articles, it could even be information about your mistakes in the past, yet, helping the community in making new mistakes.
  5. You need to crave for more and redefine your goals. ( not reducing the road length to reach the goal)
  6. Compare yourself, when it comes to work and skills and say yourself "Being naive, I could get to this point in one year, now I should get to the next point in 3 months or less".
  7. Self proclaim yourself as a "good tester" and work very hard to prove it, each time.
  8. Never get carried away when someone appreciates your work, feel unlucky when people do that.

_End of _Self critique your testing skills_

"A passionate tester, never knows, he has become a good tester. He keeps learning as though there is lots pending"

Thanks and Regards,

Pradeep Soundararajan



Mysorean said...

Point taken Pradeep!

Will learn from this article. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

"A passionate tester, never knows, he has become a good tester. He keeps learning as though there is lots pending" is the best I have ever come across.

Rocking writing and rock solid testing skills

Anonymous said...

Hi Pradeep,
Congrats once gain for writing very informative article.
but i could not get last point it says "Never get carried away when someone appreciates your work, feel unlucky when people do that." agree one should not get carried away by appreciation but why should i feel unclucky when someone do that?

Pradeep Soundararajan said...


Its a tricky thing, you have put up as a comment.

You appreciated me at the first line and did put some thought provoking question.

What is important to me is your thought provoking question, which carries more value for me.

As you yourself said, one could get carried away. Had I got carried away, would you have written the first sentence you wrote in the comment?

Feel unlucky; unluck is the most encountered thing for a person,in this world :-D

Unknown said...


"You need to find someone, who can mentor you."---Can you please permit me to consider you as my mentor?

Please do reply:)


Pradeep Soundararajan said...


You could e-mail at pradeep.srajan@gmail.com

Keerthana said...

Thanks for the post. I was a student of non-context-driven, conventional kind of test training center. But i used to read a lot of articles & blogs at that time also.obviously that has helped me to perform good in my interviews.