"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, 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.


Ajoy Kumar Singha said...

Well done Rajesh. Could not find a way to contact him via his blog. I though we could ask him to use his creative skills for Testing Circus Magazine.

We all are born to witness this beginning of the golden era of software testing in India.

Pradeep Soundararajan said...


That would be a smart move. I shall email and connect you both.

Gaurav Khanna said...

Another good blog. :) Inspiring me to give new ideas. I have been reading this blog the day i started testing. Eventually, I am reading the best blog.

Andy Glover said...

Good post.

I wonder if we can solve the problem of:
"that didn't solve the problem of testers within their organization being able to see Andy working with them"

Pradeep Soundararajan said...


Smart guy. Well, actually, we did solve it. "Andy" was a metaphor there rather than noun.

BTW, there is an Indian IT company wanting to hire you in future and you know them? They are called "Moolya" :)

Shrini Kulkarni said...

Interesting idea....

Did any client ask you to predict number of bugs that would be encountered in first three months of production?

BTW -- those cute diagrams mean? I am sure Rajesh and Moolya can come out with interpretation of the diagrams.

On seeing the diagrams, I am first tempted to interpret them.