Test Practitioner’s Club – 2nd Meetup

It gives me immense pleasure to share this post. For reasons that will unfold in the post.

Our founding objective was – we wanted the local testers to meet more often and find better ways to test and learn testing.With this in mind – we started a linkedin group called Test Practitioner’s Club –  http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Test-Practitioners-Club.

We also created a presence on Facebook – our FB page – https://www.facebook.com/TestPractitionersClub. Thereafter, we planned on fulfilling our promise to make test meet ups happen locally (to startwith @NCR region ). Our first meeting happened and it gave us a direction and a core team of superb testers and enthusiastic team players.

As we were going for our 2nd meetup – almost similar questions cropped in (as we had during the 1st one) – how do we get more testers to participate, also – how to get more female testers to join in. Should we make it a paid event ? If yes then how much should we charge – will this impact participation seriously and positively or will it impact us negatively. Are we going to be able to afford it in a way where we don’t need the participants to pay for it. The efforts were being made towards keeping it free – so that no one has to turn it down for the sake of money- worst scenario in our case (money being a roadblock for interested ones). Will come back to this – what worked for us this time.

We first tried for Performance Testing meetup but had to postpone it for multiple reasons. So we moved on to finding next topic. And mobile apps testing was something being discussed at every level in our world. Also, as discussed in our first meet up, Mobile apps Testing was one of our early topics to be taken. So we got our topic finalized.

Thereafter, we looked out for speakers – we got lucky here. We really got very keen and learned folks to speak. Testers who understood modern day challenges of software and software testing – beyond being masters of mobile apps testing.

The first speaker – Bharath, who is a Test manager with Expedia, presented on the essentials of mobile apps testing (which also included mobile devices). Superb set of information collated and we wanted more of it. We may just have one full session with him again to get through all of his content which we could not in this meet up due to lack of time.

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Amitabh, our next speaker, is a Director at Impetus, over QA, and presented on Automation of mobile apps testing – challenges and how various different tools come in picture and how these tools evolved over a period of time. He presented a live demo of a very smart test automation tool for mobile apps testing – mAutomate. He had himself worked on the tool and his passion and pride showed through his presentation. Being the senior most test professional in the room, he also supported Bharath and Kapil well on their respective presentations. Truly a leader.
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Our final speaker for the day were – Kapil and Vaibhav, are Test manager and test engineer – respectively and have tremendous hands on experience as testers. They presented to us the HOWs and WHYs of Calabash – a very simple, effective and powerful test automation tool that takes its input scripts in plain English language (and other 57 languages too).

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They – also showed us a live demo and shared details about the tool that he knew only – out of his experience. Calabash has a very poor documentation available online and a poorer query resolution amongst the user groups. But with sheer grit, personal endurance, innovative approaches and brains of a tester – Kapil could build a good database of information on the tool. Thanks for sharing your details Kapil.

Once we had the speakers and schedule for half day meet up set, we began to look for venue. Something that would not be chargeable or had minimum rates.

Amitabh Srivastava from Impetus rose to our support. And we cant thank him enough for making all arrangements needed – we got a perfect sized room and tea/ coffee and snacks and all the required logistics got set.

We had close to 25 registrations due to facebook and linkedin and emails registrations until about 5 days from the event. This made me comfortable because that was the number I was looking for. We wanted this meet up to have about 20 -25 testers. That would be a gradual scaling up. Amitabh and Kapil asked me about the numbers and on hearing the statistics – both suggested should we move the session further by few more days. I was wondering why would they say this. And Amitabh explained his observation- if you really need a crowd of 25, you need 50 testers to sign up. And at the meetup he told me 50% for live sessions and 60% for webinar is the actual attendance. I still cant digest the accuracy of this prediction in our case.

To double my count – I took advises given by Srinivas Kadiyala and Kapil and others to use “Meetup” (www.meetup.com). I signed up for it and set it up and worked towards making the link known to the testers who follow Test Practitioner’s club. And whoa – registrations begin to flow – I started with 40 seats – increased it to 50 then 60 and then to 70. Final count of members was 61 and RSVP to the event was 58. This is an awesome tool for conducting events – just superb and very economical – I consolidated my list of members and those who RSVPed yes and I could download the list of my attendees in an email sheet directly – how cool is that, now?? Full marks to you Meetup team for your support.

And guess the number of attendees – 30!!! Hats off to you Amitabh!!

But my personal high did not come from just being able to put such an impeccable set of speakers and bring in a very interested and curious and learning audience. My personal high was to see 4 women testers in the crowd. I was so happy to finally move from 1 (just me in the 1st meet up) to 5 in our 2nd meet up. I am so thankful to these young girls for making it and giving us a hope that we could, may be bring some change – though it may be in the form of baby steps.
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We are thankful to our speakers and attendees for putting up such a wonderful show (still cant stop laughing on jokes being cracked by Kapil, Dwarika, Amitabh and a team of 4 testers – there were 4 super testers from Steria and they had great sense of humor and had a fair understanding on mobile apps testing ). A special mention to the hidden star – Rama Kaushik (Tester in blue Indian dress above) – who came out as a hidden talent on Mobile Apps testing. We look forward to her participation as a speaker soon.

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Our next steps :

1. We try out mAutomate and Calabash and share our feedback and queries with respective speakers. All contact coordinates will be shared with attendees in separate mail.

2. We bring in more women testers to the forum.

3. We get more testers to sign up for our linkedin group and facebook page and Meetup.

4. Next event and topic for it to be decided based on the poll sent by me (Smita) to all of those registered at Meetup / Linkedin / Facebook

5.A detailed session to be planned with Bharath, again.

Thats all for now. Please share your feedback in the comments below . Looking forward to hearing more from all of us!! Thanks Speakers.

 

Women on Top

“Either you find us a woman director for our board or I will be forced to perform a sex-change operation on one of us,” was the desperate plea of the HR head to the managing partner for India of EMA Partners International, a global executive search firm. Evidently, the MNC chairman was keen to hire a woman to showcase board diversity at a global investor meet. – -This is what I read in my news paper – Economic Times.

I felt so happy and privileged for a minute to be a woman and specifically – working woman who could avail the opportunities arising from this desperation in future.

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However, it only took me a minute to come back to reality – any such forced hiring – favoring a particular gender, religion, race or caste simply means – talent and competitiveness compromised. And higher is the position compromised , bigger is the risk taken and greater the chances of failure.  Hence not surprising many leading Indian women leaders seem to be rejecting the idea, rightly referring to such attempts as short- sighted since these are not based on merit. As a woman, I myself dont think I would be comfortable moving up the ladder knowing that I have been given the position as some statistics correction drive and I may not be the best person suited for the job at hand.

Lets read another comment in the same article that said – “Companies have the intent. But to a large extent, it is forced. Indian companies that are taking cues from multinationals find it fashionable to talk about equal opportunity and gender diversity. But the point is that in certain types of job roles it is difficult to get appropriate women talent”. This kind of made sense to me. A study in 2011 revealed that women constituted only 5.3% of the total number of board members at the top 100 most valuable companies on the Bombay Stock Exchange. But this skewed statistics should not be just  tried to be fixed at the top positions.Such cover up acts in a knee jerk reaction can be very damaging to the corporate fabric , internal team motivation and overall performance.

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Few things that could help India Inc improve its brand image as an equal opportunity organization with respectable gender diversity :

  • Increase the base and mid of pyramid-  Encourage more women to work and remain working
  • Provide relevant corporate support – Flexible working hours, Permissible breaks for child care, Attractive comeback options, Trainings aimed at grooming women to handle family and work both (time management / stress and anger management / Being Smart and Efficient )
  • Training Men / Women at different levels of Educational  and professional life for supporting all women around them for working
  • Eradicating gender bias from root level – female foeticide / female education, female participation in all  key social / economical aspects
  • Training families to extend support as much as possible ( even if part-time ) in the increasing form of nuclear families in the society

All of these backed up with a conscious intent of more women in board rooms and continuously working towards it in a bottom up approach may take a few years to show results in the “gender diversity” status. But the results will be more meaningful, stable and a true reflection of the society at large and India Inc. And obviously a broader base will constitute for healthy competition and promotion at merit. Also, once we get the ball rolling, it will set the trend for future generations to follow. And India Inc can be an equal opportunity employer and yet achieve gender diversity in boardrooms.

Share, if you got some good ideas too, to have more women on top 🙂

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Ref for Pictures used :

1. Pic 1 – Outlookindia.com

2. Pic 2 – Topnews.in

3. Pic 3 – Sheknows.com