Monday, April 16, 2018

Essence of Testing - A new beginning

In my career so far, I have been very fortunate to have got great mentors, and a variety of opportunities to learn, add value, and share my experiences with others around me.

Here are some of these experiences:
  • Worked in various sized organisations across the globe in the past couple of decades
  • The teams have been big and small
  • Played a variety of roles - Quality Analyst, SDET (Software Development Engineer in Test), Product Quality Engineer (PQE), Automation Engineer, Consultant, Coach, Project Manager, Director - Quality, Support Engineer, etc.
  • Worked with teams having products in different domains - Health care, eCommerce, Banking / Finance, Retail, Entertainment (OTT), Research, etc. 
  • With in organisations (B2B and B2C space): WebMD, Borland Software, Microsoft (Redmond, USA), AmberPoint (USA / India), ThoughtWorks, Vuclip 
  • Shared experiences with other via Meetups and Conferences world-wide
  • Created opensource tools like WAAT, TTA, TaaS
After working as an employee in these organisations for almost a couple of decades now, I have taken a plunge to do something different.

I am now looking forward to work with Organisations and Teams, to help co-create optimized solutions towards shipping a quality product. Leave me a message on my blog, or send me an email at to talk more on how we can work together!

As part of this journey, even before I was able to buy my own laptop, and warm it up, I got an interesting consulting assignment, thanks to a dear friend.
This assignment was exactly what I needed to get started - it was a Discovery Workshop, with the following objective:
  • Learn and understand the current state of the team and the product they were building
  • Understand current (perceived) challenges
  • Suggest improvements for the team in areas of:
    • Tweaks in the current processes
    • Practices to be adopted / got better at / or stopped (as anti-patterns and not adding value)
    • Identify opportunities to Test better, and early
    • Suggest a Test Automation Pyramid that is fit-for-purpose for the team
    • Suggest strategy, tools and approach for end-2-end (e2e) functional automation

As I usually do, I started off the workshop with my favorite tool for note taking - Mind Maps! As the conversations evolved and got specific, I started with a Balanced Mind-Map  to Fishbone Mind-Map.

Eventually I consolidated my thoughts and created the Discovery Workshop Report for the client in the form of a slide deck, using the following approach.

  • Learning from Discovery
    • Talk with the Team members
    • See & understand the project management tool, quality of requirements, etc.
    • See the code - understand complexity, types of tests written, quality of tests, etc.
    • See the Testing related artifacts - test cases, test execution strategy, exploratory testing, etc.
    • See the CI server - how deployments happen, what causes the builds to fail, etc.
  • Recommendations
    • For all the above areas, I created recommendations on what different aspects may help the team move ahead in a better way
Discovery and Recommendations were based on each specific activity:
    • Process
    • Architecture
    • Requirements
    • Development
    • Testing
    • Deployments

Once the learning from the Learning and Recommendation stages were well understood (by me), I then created a Suggested Plan of Execution (in phases / milestones)
  • From the recommendations, I created milestone based plans on what can be started immediately, and what decisions the team needs to take to move forward in other areas

In this 2 week time, unknowingly, in retrospect, the whole engagement was quite agile. There were periodic demos of the POCs, regular progress sharing, and changing direction of discovery and recommendations based on learning.

The Client also appreciated the quality of conversations, and the results that were shared.

All in all, a very satisfying beginning to my new journey with Essence of Testing!