Test Meetup – Test Practitioner’s Club

In the testing world, as I look around, there is so much going on – in terms of trainings , conferences, networking events, blogging , twitter patronizing or debating – many a times meaningful twitter talks and yet it’s always a pleasure to connect with testers in real and not limit our discussions to only virtual world. I guess that’s why we still have people wanting to attend such meets and conferences.

Without making any claims of being a learned one on human behavior and psychology studies, I think I can still safely say – It always feels easier to work with people whom you have met and can relate to them as a face and as the vibes you share with them.
Also in cases – when you are not able to mobilize the volume of folks online that you wish for, it might help to step out and meet some real transformers who could help you build a network. This was my case 🙂

With the thought of building a network of co-learners , we created a linkedin group – Test Practitioner’s Club and planned for its first meet .
We finally met on 1st Feb and though I will accept I expected more people to join in and it disappointed me to see some of the people not turning up after confirming multiple times (and we had limited seats – we could have let waiting list folks attend instead 🙂 ). But it all got compensated –once the core team present there got engrossed in the discussions.

During detailed introduction (since we all were meeting each other for the very 1st time)- I was pleasantly surprised at the profiles of the people there and how much they were already doing to support the test community in their own big and small ways. Truly impressive set of people on the core team. I can’t feel proud enough to be part of such a rocking team!!

Each one who attended, participated 100% in the discussions and contributed their inputs based on their experiences. Participants had mixed backgrounds – testers, non – testers and non- testers turned testers.
Personally for me, it surpassed all my expectations in terms of learnings I received. And I am hoping all the attendees, enjoyed the session and found it as useful as I did if not more.

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It was interesting to see the room make heavy consensus on topics like lack of value that certain popular certifications like ISTQB or even CSTE create, changing roles and needs of testers in modern day projects and the key skills required as testers.

I am amused with the disclosures made at the meetup based on personal experiences – Most of us knew James Bach and wanted to study his RST class (was a happy student moment) ; more girls prefer testing as career than boys at the start of their careers (coming from someone involved in campus recruitments, you have to believe it – But how cool is that ?? – makes me happy atleast 🙂 ) ; development team and test team on the same project are given access to different set of software and testers are not allowed to choose their set (UNBELIEVABLE – ARE YOU SERIOUS…gggrrrrrrr) ; BBST is the only test course that we could get a unanimous consensus on, by testers, to have confidence on its value and relevance to changing needs of testers ( NOT SURPRISED!! ). And then this one too -ISTQB certified testers with 0-2 yrs experience fair well in entry level interviews compared to those not certified (to be precise – certified testers knew the terms and terminologies better). These are all personal experiences shared by members of the core team and should not be taken as a generalist theory for now. However, since these are subjects of our interest, we would like to gather more data on these to make informed conclusions. Please do share your inputs on these topics!!

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As a core team, some of the objectives we have & actions we need to take :

1. First and foremost increasing membership of the group on LinkedIn -targeting 1000 members ( by when??)
2. Offer to provide trainings and activities to develop skills of local testers and to guide them on how to be better at testing.
3. Trying to find Infrastructure and logistics support with organizations within our network for meet ups and training sessions.
4. Online events – meeting on Skype as and when required.
5. All agreed to contribute in terms of time and effort and subject matter to train testers in different fields,based on skill, training and availability mapping.
6. Appealing each one of us to add more women testers to the group and work together to support more women to attend the test events and conferences all across the globe. To start with, it can be our local meet ups. Let’s bring in as many and support them in any which ways we can, to help them grow. Sometimes, even if it means going out of our way, please.

For now – status of the group – and tempo of the members looks promising with huge possibilities of value we could create together.

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Where you can help us and maybe yourself too –
1. Please join the linkedin group – Test Practitioner’s Club and participate. Also joins us on the group’s facebook page. This will help us meet our 1st objective.
2. If you have any stuff on testing that you would like to share with others – online or offline – please post it on the group site.
3. If you need to learn something about testing and you don’t know where to go – whom to learn it from – post your need on the group and surely there will be someone who can help you.
4. If you have Testing related jobs to post – or are looking for jobs in testing – please use the group for posting both.
5. Finally – my personal favorite – If you have any women testers in your network, please please please – ask them to be a part of this initiative. If they are far off and can’t take part in the physical meet- ups – its fair. So many things we will do will be online and we can connect them to test networks closer to them – where they can meet locally too. And we can suggest them online trainings given by folks like James Bach, Ann-Marie, Karen Johnson, Michael Bolton, Paul Holland and many more.
I am unapologetic about my will to have a better gender balance across geographies in testing 🙂

Looking forward to contributing in growth of the test practitioners and building a sustainable community. If you know of a rockstar Test Practitioner, please forward them the link for the blog or our linkedin group – we would like to have them on our team.

Please feel free to add your notes to the comments below or add them to the group.

Many thanks for your time!!

Like/ Unlike – No Dislike ????

The title sounds familiar – right ? I guess one of the most popular social media site – Facebook – has these options – Like and Unlike. But has no feature to Dislike something. I was reading a joke somewhere that Facebook is so popular because it seems to be built on an age old truth that people are more interested in others lives than their own. I am not sure of either of this – whether the age old truth is really a truth and whether FB is actually based on it.

But I do like the stand that the Facebook team has taken to provide a Like Button and then another one to Unlike the thing you liked some time back. I dont know their reason to not have “Dislike” option so far.  And I also don’t know if that is on their road map in near or distant future plan. But I respect them for following the art of social behavior and not allowing negativity flow through them.

I love to think of the underlying and subtle statement that this gives out. And it may hit you powerfully too if you think of it.  Specially if you have been a judgemental kind of person (like I was – I would like to think I am getting better at not judging others anymore).

There is a society and then there are individuals.  And though its a complex relationship and difficult to decide whether Society is dependent on Individuals or is it the otherway round – a healthy balance is a reasonable outlook – most of the times. There are rebels and traitors and conformists and age old social stigma(s) and Taboo(s)  – all existing as the components of the ecosystem.

Lets look at some cool features of Facebook vis-a vis our social behaviours-

  • You can like something – that people do.
  • You can view something that people you are indirectly related to but cannot intrude to give a good or bad comment. But are free to take your learning or happiness out of it.
  • There are learned people, leaders and motivational people and people with great sense of humor who share their thoughts with you and you can share them within your circle of influence.
  • If you keep commenting bad on someone – that is not appreciated – you get reported as SPAM (The moderator of this life is the society at large and God within ones self).
  • You get pleasure on sharing your experiences with your loved ones about different events in your life , your trips, your achievements , your awards – some people like to share about the food they eat every time because that food makes them happy. And your loved ones love to talk amongst themselves and also with you about these. They learn too from your experiences and have fun too.
  • If you continue to harass people or say something that’s not good to hear – you are at risk of being dropped from their list of friends.
  • You like something today but you realize you don’t like that person or activity the next day – you can unlike.

But NOWHERE CAN YOU DISLIKE. Why?

  • If a person shares something about his life or experience – you can like, unlike but not dislike – because you dont have the rights for it.
  • Even if the event is related to some you dislike – its between those 2 folks – you can respectfully keep out.
  • If the event is about you and you dont agree to what is being said – you can report it out or even better – drop that person from your circle – so he takes his negativity with himself and lives with it.

Dislike here represents the negative emotions .  And disliking something about others which is not illegal or unethical is not welcome. People eventually distance themselves from such folks. One has the right to  choose with whom he interacts but he has no right to show down or judge others lives or acts that are not otherwise condemnable under law.

One of the funny things said about Dislike or lets use a stronger emotion here – Hate , is  – One should be careful in choosing the person whom he hates – Because you eventually become the person you hate.

Great Mahatma Gandhi – Father of our nation said – about negativity – Dont Speak bad, Dont See bad and Dont Hear Bad. Famously depicted as his 3 monkeys.

And I used to always wonder what harm are WE doing by listening if someone else is talking negative – I myself am not saying the bad things- so where is the problem – I can relate to not seeing bad or not talking bad.  But whats the harm in listening- I found my answers based on my personal experience of few years – When someone talks bad in front of you – If its about you – Its equivalent to violence against you and by tolerating it – you are becoming part of the violence. And if its not about you – you are being imparted that negativity that can grow in you and you are now a carrier of violence – Mental violence – a deep form of it.

So like someone or something – unlike if you don’t agree but don’t dislike – you are not authorized to – its ones own choice of how he /she leads their life – as long as its law abiding- keep away from people who unnecessarily cross the lines of social behavior and constantly dislike others – it will corrupt you and make you as unlikeable as they themselves are.

A positive outlook, self belief and a fighting spirit are key to be successful in life. Disliking something constantly or being surrounded by people who dislike you constantly – makes your mind practice negativity – which interrupts in all these key aspects – positive outlook/self belief/never  say die spirit – of an achiever. So beware !! Be conscious of your thoughts.

Lots of love and appreciation for all you great folks!! You are doing just fine…Smile again 🙂