An officer and a gentleman.

*Proud to be an alumnus 🙂

SANJAY KAUL'S WEBLOG

 

Sainik Schools  are one of our best experiments with regimental learning. They have produced sterling candidates – both soldiers and citizens. In a time of growing shortage of officers in the armed forces, why are we so short of such schools? 

Just 86 cadets joined the Indian Military Academy at Dehradun in 2008 against a course strength of 250. And, instead of 300 applicants, just 192 turned up at the National Defence Academy, Khadakvasla, at Pune. Defence Minister AK Antony has admitted that the shortage of officers in the Army is around 11,500. In the Navy, the shortage is 1606. The number of vacancies in the Air Force is 1342.

There is an element of irony to the figures of shortage of officers that has been put out by the Ministry of Defence for some years now. The irony is that the shortage has only widened after the deficit…

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Tryst with Moolya

Who I was as a professional?
 
Fresh from college, with high hopes and excitement that I ll earn on my own and can spend what I earned without seeking anyone’s permission, I joined an Indian MNC IT firm (glad that the firm gave me a chance to work there). There was 3 months of training, followed by induction. I got trained in testing and was assigned to testing projects.
 
What I did for the first 6 months?
I was executing the test cases drafted by my senior colleagues in the team and reporting any discrepancies (as per the script) I found in the application I was testing.
 
What I did for the next 2-2.5 years?
I was drafting test cases on my own and executing the same and looking for any deviations from my test cases, which was drafted as per the requirement/functional specifications provided by the customer.
 
What I did for the next two years?
I drafted test cases, executed test cases and made phone calls to onsite coordinators to clarify all my queries. Apart from these routine tasks, I was also drafting test plan (during the start of the project) and test report (when the project completes). I ll be given exclusive 3 day to draft test plan and test results, which were never referred later. I was also acting as test lead, which involves coordinating offshore activities related to testing.
 
How I was after 5.5 years?
All that I did was verify whether the application under test was in accordance with the specs. (only functional). I never bothered about UX, Performance, Security…etc as there were exclusive teams for these activities. I also learnt something related to Six Sigma, Lean and Agile (We tried implementing)
In toto, as a tester I was dumb. Adding fuel to this were the programmers/developers, who show off their ego, which results in testers getting sidelined and not looked upon with dignity. I never felt proud to call myself as a tester (until I joined Moolya). When someone asks me what I do, I would say I am a tupperware (improvised dabba) tester. But I was enjoying, in the sense, very less work and more comfort.
 
 
How did I proceed further?
My long term aspirations were different. I aspire to be an entrepreneur, build my own company. I wanted to come out of the comfort zone and experience the startup environment. I googled for startups in Bangalore and selectively applied for a few starups. Glad that Moolya was one among those. I m not flattering. Prior to joining Moolya, I had visited ThoughtWorks a couple of times. ThoughtWorks describes itself as “…A social and commercial community whose purpose is to revolutionize software creation and delivery while advocating for positive social change in the world.” They pick very extra ordinary and brilliant programmers, put them together and see what can happen. As a result, they have contributed so much to the open source community.
 
Ok, coming to the point, what I realised after joining Moolya. Moolya intends to do the same with testers, what ThoughtWorks does with programmers. Create a pool of extraordinary, rebellious and cool testers, to change the way testing is done and is supposed to be done. I learn’t good and real testing after joining Moolya. (I still have a lot more to learn too). I in am small way for now, helped my customers, see some value of my testing. Here I never look at the count of bugs I reported but at the way the product has improved. I tried pair programming. Whole heartedly followed the agile manifesto ‘Individuals and interactions over processes and tools’. For now at least watched how security testing is done, tried my hands on performance, learnt bug advocacy and started using oracles and heuristics for testing. One such heuristics is my defect reporting mechanism in an easy and cost effective way. I collaborated using the Google docs. for bug reporting, where we followed the Colour code:
 
No Colour – Reported and yet to be worked upon
Red – Critical and requires urgent attention
Amber – Partially fixed
Strike through – when the product owner rejects the defect
Green – Fixed
 
And I conceptualized this with the theme go green, which means, as the sheet becomes greener, the product becomes better. Apart from testing, as a value add, I did a competitor analysis for our customer, broadly based on the Product, Segment, Geography, Features/Offerings,  Key highlights, Threats, Rates/Pricing, Demo/Free usage, Menu tour to give a better picture to the product owners.
 
I am very glad that testers (now I m proud to say that I m a tester) in Moolya are encouraged to be courageous, crazy, learn a lot, follow and read blogs of famous testers around the world, play and have fun, providing us a happy and cool work environment. Moolya has instilled the pride in me as a tester. I have gradually started practicing testing as a craft 🙂 
 
Now I propose the ‘Dignity of a Tester’
“If a man is called to be a tester, he should test even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should test so well that all the user of the web and app will pause to say, here lived a great tester who did his job well.” 

which I have tweaked and adapted from Martin Luther King Jr’s quote

“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”
“Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.”– Steve Jobs
 
P.S. This is not an attempt to flatter my company neither am I demeaning my previous employer)