Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Inaugural CovTestersMeetup

I attended the first ever CovTestersMeetup yesterday. It was organised by Ranjit Shringarpure (@ranjitsh) and was hosted at ACUGMS's offices in Coventry.

One word that describes the experience for me would be 'impressed'. There was good turn out and everyone was keen to share and learn from each other. Ranjit wanted to dedicate the first meetup to Women as it was International Women's Day last week. It was a beautiful thought and as if to prove a point there were nearly as many women as men at the meetup and we all know that rarely happens! I was honoured to have presented a small talk about Pair Testing (more on this topic in a different post) on this occasion.

All the attendees were very friendly and eager to have conversations around test pairing. There were some really good questions and equally good answers. I walk away thinking that I have certainly learnt something from the attendees at the meetup. I met some lovely people and hope to see them again. I will be looking forward to the next one. Good job Ranjit!

Below are a couple of pictures for your enjoyment. I totally copied them from other's tweets as I forgot to take pictures myself.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Fake experience on CV's

This has been bothering me for the last 6 years! When I was testing novice, I was given sagely advice by many of my well wishers that it is almost impossible to get a job without adding fake experience on my CV so I should just add it. I have nothing against them as they truly meant to help me and gave the best advice they could. What I am against is the fact that people feel compelled to add such fake experience in the fist place.

I have been observing the trends in my own little way on this issue. I have been approached many times by people requesting a help in getting their career kick started. The requests for help varied from CV review to putting in a good word with hiring managers that I know of. The requests were varied, people were from varied backgrounds but unfortunately one constant was that almost all of them had some fake experience on their CVs. I should add here that many of these people have actually managed to get jobs with such CVs.

In my opinion, what this reflects is the sad state of hiring processes within our industry. Some of the important questions I see here are:

  • Why do potential candidates feel compelled to add fake experience on their CVs?
  • Why aren't there many jobs for novice testers? 
  • How do candidates with fake experience manage to sail through interviews and land jobs?
  • Are there any portals(for the lack of better word, my brain has frozen) where newcomers can get advice on such matters? If not, maybe we need to come up with some!
As I sad, these are just a few of the questions. Each question in itself leads to many more questions.

I have for my part tried my best to give advice to candidates in such situations but it is not always that such advice is welcomed.

In my opinion, the whole situation is not a candidates fault but in fact a bad reflection on our industry. I know that many people who actively mentor new comers and provide support and advice. But it needs more. 

I am open for your comments and suggestions on improving this situation. If you have never faced a situation like this, then maybe its just my bad luck. If you have however faced it, do let me know. If nothing it will help me understand how rampant this problem is.

After having read a few of the comments, I think it is time for a disclaimer :)
Disclaimer: This is purely based on my limited experience and is in no way a reflection of wider testing community. The purpose of this post is to see how relevant the problem is and what we can do to improve the situation.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Haitus from Social Media and Testing Community

Its has been quite a few months since I wrote a blog post, tweeted about testing related stuff or participated in testing community activities.

I am not going to go into why/how or any other reasons. Some of the reasons are personal and some are professional. Either way the 'why' is not important. What matters is that I restart these activities and start playing my little role in the testing community.

I don't know if others go through such phases, but if anyone would like help on getting out of such a phase, get in touch with me. I will be happy to help in any way I can. If nothing, I can be a good shoulder to cry on! :)

So all I am saying is that I will be back soon. Nothing too cheesy such as 'back with a bang' but watch this space......

Friday, 16 May 2014

What? Really? Are you sure?

That was my response when the organisers for TMF Summit accepted my request to facilitate a session this April (

At the beginning of this year, I had set out a few goals for myself which I wanted to achieve by year end. One of them was to speak at a testing related event. I imagined that I will perhaps speak at one of the local testing meetup. I realistically did not think that I will be speaking at a big event. Thus when the opportunity to facilitate a session at TMF summit came along, I couldn't believe my luck! TMF Summit is run by some of our industry leaders such as Paul Gerrard (@paul_gerrard) who is the Chair of EuroStar this year. This event is attended by some very talented and passionate test leaders and managers. It was a little daunting to be speaking in front of such a crowd but all my fears proved to be misplaced by the end of the day. The attendees in my session made me feel very comfortable and we had some very insightful discussions.

My second biggest achievement (also shock in equal parts) in terms of public speaking came when my proposal to run a workshop at Nordic Testing Days was accepted. I still feel surprised as it all seems a bit surreal. Nordic Testing Days is an amazing yet very much affordable conference packed with interesting & relevant tracks and workshops. If you haven't been to Nordic Testing Days before, I would very much encourage you to make it this time. Ok, you can skip my workshop, but attend some of the other woskshops and tracks. Just look at the line up!

More details can be found here: The event runs between 4th - 6th of June 2014.

This goes to prove that the testing community very much encourages first time speakers to come forward. If it were not the support of the testing community, my colleagues and my family, I would not be able to do something of this kind. So, here are my heartfelt thanks to everyone who has helped me along this path. There are just too many names that I can mention here but hey, you know who you are!

See you at Nordic Testing Days!

Thursday, 20 February 2014

I need more hours in the day!!

We had a sprint retrospective last week and our PO added a note to the 'Things I would like to have' category. He wanted more hours in the day! It probably reflected the amount of work that he had to do. As a team we laughed at his note and asked if he would like us to slow down the speed of Earth's rotation. In retrospective (ironic, yes I know) I probably should have asked for an explanation on his note. I should have tried to find out if there was something that we could do to reduce his work load. I will remember to raise this in the next retrospective.

Of late I have been having the same feeling. I have so many things that I want to do that I just cant find time to finish all of them. The list of things to do keeps getting longer and longer. Of course the list includes work related stuff as well as professional development stuff. To try and manage my list better I have started to add post its on my wall under different columns for different kinds of work. I have even used different coloured post its for different columns.
This is helping me identify what is important and what needs to be done first. This in effect is my personal Kanban board. By the way, the above pic was taken after I removed a lot of post its simply because the columns were getting too long!

However it is not lack of organisation that is the problem here. The problem is that I simply want to do too many things in a short span of time. Its time to slow down and identify what I really want to do, not forgetting that I have family to take care of too. This obviously means that I cannot complete all tasks on my lists but on the bright side I will complete some of the tasks that have been ongoing for some time.

I wonder how everyone else manages their work life balance? Don't forget to add the element of self improvement to this equation. Be it professional improvement or personal improvement.

The reason I am writing this post is that no matter how much I try to organise my time efficiently, there will always be something that has to take precedence and something that has to be taken off the list. This is not necessarily a bad thing but something to be aware of. If there are others out there who have the same problem as me, have solace in the fact that you are not alone.

I am rambling as usual.....time to get back to work as lunch break is now officially over!

Friday, 7 February 2014

My first attendance at UKTMF

This week I attended UKTMF for the first time. I was accompanied by my colleagues Andrew (@CoyleTester) and Rob (@Rob_Lambert). In this post I am going to pen down my experience of  attending the event. I will not bother describing the agenda, speakers etc as all this can be found from the link above. Instead, I am going to focus on what I took away from attending.

As it was the first time I was attending, I was not too sure of what to expect. I was informed beforehand that it is not a standard 'Speaker will present - you sit and listen' kind of an event. It is an event where a facilitator introduces a topic for the first 15 mins and for the next hour everyone in the audience is expected to take part in an active discussion on the topic. It sounded like a good format but without witnessing it I was not sure if everyone does participate.

The event on the 5th of February was organised by Paul Gerrard and Susan Windsor. Getting to the event seemed a little difficult when I set off from home due to train cancellations owning to bad weather and of course the tube strike in London. Thankfully I managed to make it and it was well worth the effort!

The afternoon kicked off with a welcome note from Paul where he stressed that if the attendees were not prepared to be involved in discussions then this was probably not an event for them. Each attendee could attend 2 sessions and there were 3 tracks to choose from for each session.

I chose the 'Step up your career!' track by Susan Windsor for my first session. Susan had come very well prepared with a power point that had 86 slides!! Of course we didn't go through all of them, Susan gave a quick overview of what she intended to cover and the audience chose a couple of topics that we would like to discuss further. When the session started I was a little unsure of how involved the audience were going to be. However it didn't take long to see that there were a few very passionate people in the crowd who were more than happy to discuss the various topics. This session gave me a lot to think about and also a few tips/suggestions that I could well use.

The second session that I sat through was 'Addressing the apparent under-supply of SDETs: Take two' by Richard Neeve. You can find his blog and full slide deck here. I did not know much about the under-supply of SDETs (Software Development Engineer in Test) and this was real eye opener. Richard had presented the current situation, reasons that are likely to be behind this and his ideas on how this can be rectified. Again, the attendees took an active part in discussions. It was very interesting to see how people reacted to the topic based on their experiences of recruiting, level of management etc. What hit me more than anything else was that everyone seemed to agree that this situation was indeed very true, however there was an assumption that 'manual' testers do not like to code and hence the prospect of training manual testers to be able to take on these roles was being ignored. I personally feel that there are many testers out there who will happily learn to code such that they can fill these roles (including myself). What do you think?

Friday, 10 January 2014

Exciting times ahead

Many of the peeps whose blogs I follow have written about New Year Resolutions, changes they are going to make in 2014, what they have achieved in 2013 etc. Hats off to all of you who have done this including those who may not have written a blog but have these stored in their minds.

I personally find it difficult to write such resolutions or make lists of things that I would like to achieve. Maybe it has something to with my fear of failure. I have instead decided that 2014 is going to be an amazing year and that I will do some wonderful stuff! I will write blogs each time I think that I have done something to make the year amazing.

To get things started, I have submitted a proposal for CAST2014. I hope to submit another one tonight before the deadline. There a few more conferences which I would just love to attend let alone talk at! I have never spoken at a peer conference before and by the end of this year, hope to have done so at-least once. Keeping my fingers crossed! (so tight that I hope it doesn't stop circulation).

Another initiative that I am very much honoured to be a part of is the STEP program from Per Scholas.

This is what they say about the program:

The global software testing market is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 21.15 percent over the period 2012 – 2016. The STEP curriculum is tailored to prepare students to compete for these entry-level software testing roles that are in high demand. The intensive course is lab-based, instructor-led training supported by exercises, field studies, industry experts, and exposure to leading edge software testing tools.
By the end Per Scholas participants will have acquired industry leading testing skills and techniques, be given access to real life projects, and participate in field studies to learn alongside working professionals and be given the opportunity to interview for jobs for openings with our corporate partners. Get started by applying now!

Now, who wouldn't want to be a part of that! At the risk of repeating myself, I am thankful to have been given the opportunity to give something back to the community. Software testing is not just a career for me, it is my passion. If I can share this passion and hopefully inspire others out there, what more can I want? Its a win win. The kick off meetings start next week and I simply cannot wait to get started!

Thats all I have to say for now folks. Hope to write many more such posts during the year :)