Tuesday, January 12, 2016

35 points from my talk at Amadeus Inc.

I recently had an opportunity to talk at Amadeus Inc.'s internal learning forum. I got an invite to talk sometime in Nov. 2015 but some of the prior commitments made me to defer delivering the talk till 11th-Jan-2016. In the end, I was glad that I made it and enjoyed delivering the talk, which I titled as- "Taking the Plunge- Lessons Learned in an Evolving Testing Career". It was an hour long talk that I had themed more based on my experiences. In this session, I focused on some of the mistakes that i have made in my career and shared a perspective on how not to do stuff.

I have long observed that in most of the conferences, the professionals do well to share the innovation and creative stuff they are doing. There is nothing wrong in this sharing but what i find dearly missing is that there are almost no talks focused on sharing the mistakes that professionals have done. 

I do considering sharing mistakes as an apt means to contributing back to the profession because sharing them, in a way, makes sure that the next generation of professionals won't do the same mistakes as you have done and hence leading to betterment. One day, i do hope to see a conference organized in which people just share their mistakes and talk about how they went about correcting them. Always sharing achievements and super efforts is plain boring and if repeatedly done, becomes less inspiring too. Below is the summary of key points that i spoke.

Key points I shared:

Opening thoughts:
1. Taking the plunge means-
              Venture something, commit oneself, 
              To begin an unfamiliar venture, especially after hesitating
              To decide to do something
              To devote oneself to or undertake an activity earnestly or wholeheartedly
2. Two main ways to contribute back to one’s profession,
              Do innovations and share with others
              Do mistakes and share with others.
              Having been in conference circles for a long time, what I noticed was that people are sharing their innovations but they aren't doing as much on sharing the mistakes front. I just feel that has to change for the betterment of the profession.
3. The hard thing is not making mistake and correcting it. The hard thing is making mistake, correcting it and be open, bold and courageous to share the learnings with others.

Some of the factors that makes one great- professionally:
4. Greatness in testing or any other profession is not a matter of doing exceedingly well for a session or a day or a year. It’s a career thing.
5. “Will someone else (not you) attempt to acknowledge your own legacy?
6. A viable test for greatness- "Are you the reason people join Software testing?"

Basic thoughts on Software testing:
7. No Job is inferior or superior, only our thinking is.
9. Good engineers first understand the “why” and the “what”, bad engineers jump straight to the “how”.
9. Fact: Software testing is not complete till it is communicated
10. If I want to get better at testing, I must read and apply plenty of testing books alone. This a wrong notion.
11. Learn broadly, Apply specifically

People relationships do matter at work:
12. Good relationship tip: If you want something from someone, never reach out to them for the first time when you need that very thing.
13. Good relationship tip: Use Praise genuinely, intelligently and at the right time

What trends are impacting Software testing? (Will write separate blogs to explain these)
14. Amazon makes changes to production every 11.6 seconds on average in May of 2011. Facebook releases to production twice a day. Many Google services see releases multiple times a week, and almost everything in Google is developed on mainline. Continuous delivery is the buzz word.
15. One of the main uses of continuous delivery is to ensure we are building functionality that really delivers the expected customer value. The idea is that- even if you build a project on time, on budget and with high quality, it still isn’t sure to be a success if the customers don’t consider it valuable.
16. Gmail was launched in 2004 and was in beta till 2007. Users did bulk of testing.
17. Companies doing code reviews post push to production. It was unheard of earlier but is happening now. From Quora's engineering site-At Quora, we generally do post-commit code reviews. That is, the code goes out live in production first and someone comes and reviews the code later. To give you an idea of the scale, yesterday 48 of us pushed code 187 times in total. Post-commit reviews are great since they unblock the author to push code and move on to other tasks.
18. Software testing facing pressure from Revolutionary development methods like lean start-up, Rapid release velocity like in the case of Amazon, Architecture evolution like Platform style architecture, Software appearance evolution like the advent of invisible software, And the direction from visionaries.
19. Consumers are fast taking up the role of testers.
20. Automation becoming mandatory part of test job description.
21. Will software eat software testing ?
22. What got you here won't get you there ? The skills of past that made us successful may not make us successful in future too.
23. The core question everyone should ask is- “what am I doing to prepare myself, my practice, and my company for this new reality?”
24. If the company grows, then there may come a time later down the line when the company outgrows an employee because the employee still has the same skill set that he had when he first joined. Employees need to develop foresight to avoid this trap.

Manager-Subordinate relationship
25. Manager-Employee relationship is one of the most talked about, yet ironically one of the least understood relationship. Almost everyone you know is a boss to some people and subordinate to some other. We play dual roles in the organizations i.e. that of subordinate and that of a boss.
26. The two core questions- a) What does your boss owe you? b) What do you owe your boss?
27. When your consciousness and focus in any relationship is driven by what the other person owes you that what you owe that person, that is asymmetry. Asymmetry means you are giving less than what you take out of that relationship. This asymmetry exists in most of subordinate-employee relationship and is the root cause of strife and disappointment. Hence, it is important for any good subordinate to think about the boss’s needs as much as he or she would like the boss to think of his or her needs.
28. There is a great deal of literature available on how to be a good leader or a manager but very less information that exists on how to be a good subordinate.
29. Aristotle once remarked- “The true test of a first class mind is the ability to hold two diametrically opposite thoughts in the mind and yet be able to function.”

Thoughts on Career management:
30. The most dangerous phrase in the language is "we've always done it this way."
31. When was the last time you did something that completely changed the course of the way you test?
32. Can you write your own version of “Lessons learned in Software testing”?
33. We are becoming slightly obsolete every single day.
34. "Life is on an incline. You either go up, or you come down."
35. A normal career is around 30-35 years or around 8085 days or around 1820 weekends. One of the weekends just passed by, other one is coming. Respect time and how you use it, it’s just constantly passing by. Doing more in a stipulated time leads to satisfaction, Doing less leads to regret. Choose your path wisely!


Garima said...

hi Anuj,

I am still wondering what happened to that hanky which disappeared from your hand in the beginning? :)


Anuj Magazine said...

Thank you for attending the session and for remembering the trick :-)