Mistakes…

Thought to note some mistakes I have done in my career. I wish at that time someone had shaken me and told me not to do these. So hope someone will learn from my mistakes.

In many occasions in my career at the edge of my promotions, I have moved away from the company and joined another for the same position. Why you may ask. At that time, I was telling everyone that it is time to move on. If I stay here, I will not be able to do what I want to do. That answer had in me so deep and I did not feel I am doing badly for myself.

However, when I turn back now I know I was running away. Every time I move on, I sow how disappointed my managers are. They say that I can do great things. I am one of the best people they had worked with and I have skills to move in to senior positions very easily. Promotions came to me quickly. However, I was scared to take a risk. I always thought they are just telling these just to retain me. May be they are. Nevertheless, I know some did not. I was happy to be in my bubble and move away to another company when I feel my world is about to change.

How wrong I was. I think now I understand that I have done great mistakes in my life. I was scared to fail when everyone had high expectations for me. I always wanted to be that person everyone praise but never wanted to be a reason for a failure.

When I move to UK, I had to start everything from the beginning as I started looking for work after 1.5 years. I had to take a career break. Again, everything changed. Different culture, people and expectations. Within the first 6 months, I had become a key member in the team where everyone respected my decisions and judgements. Within a year, they planned to promote me. Here it goes again…Do I move? Do I stay? I had to think hard and decided I am not moving and I will take the challenge. It is almost 5 years since I started in this company and I should say it was never dull a moment. The challenges, the failures and the success grew me stronger. Now I am working towards my next promotion. Building up my profile in the company. Taking pet projects to challenge myself more. Managing and mentoring people.

If I have taken the challenges in the 7 years before I move in to UK, I know I would have been very successful. There were no mentor for me at that time to understand what I am going through and advise me what is right or wrong.

I share my story with the people I mentor because I think it is my responsibility to tell them what not to do. The advice I never got. Therefore, I hope if you are reading this as a new starter then you will learn and understand what not to do. Not hold back and take risks. Believe in yourself. If you are, an experienced person may be you can share my story or ignore it completely 🙂

After all… Life is all about choices…

You should never give up!!!

This is a note to myself appreciating the fact that I have not given up…

There was this bit of functionality that I have not covered in the regression test suite I need to attend. Simply because the functionality is becoming complex and risk of the solution to the business is increasing.

So I started.

The application is a scheduled task which generate zip files. My task is to check the format and data on different xml files inside that zip. To trigger the functionality I have to trigger a bat file. All these are in a remote machine.

I have not done this before and I didn’t want to attempt because I did not know where to start.

So the mission started about 9 days before.

So,

I Googled and ask the fellow developers how to do this. My husband suggested I should try Psexec. With the help of one of the development team member in the team I got the bat file run through the test.

Then…

Read the generated files in the remote folder. Again I Googled, asked my fellow developers. They said its possible but they haven’t done it before to help me. I was going in loops in same documentation for few days…

Yesterday I found how it needs to be done…

Finally,

I am in the process of writing the complete check now.

Lesson learn… never give up. Even though you are at the edge of giving up, never stop thinking. One way or other you will find the solution. These are the things that keep me motivated to be a Test analyst…

 

Why effective communication matter?

Have you ever felt that it is difficult to pass your message to others? Have you ever felt that some people do not understand you? Feel restless when you talking to some people?

It is all about effective communication. Understand and practice below and you will be amaze how powerful it is. At least I did.

For the communication to be affected it should be a two-way conversation, well we all know that. You must prepare, structure the content, and adhere to correct body language. However, can we use the same tone, body language to every one we know and for every situation? Of course not.

Different parts of business have their own language and focus. For example, language the technical team is using may not be understand by the top management unless they are technical too. In addition, the level of information one need to know is different from person to person according to their position in the team.

Example situation:

There is an issue when the users login to the application from checkout cart page.

How above will communicated after investigating the root cause.

Development team reports back There is an issue in the A&E library where when we call the login object from the checkout class a timeout happens. This can be due to the latest refactoring we have done.
Testing team to Project management There is a high priority blocking issue in live where users cannot login from the checkout page.
Project management to Top management The login from the checkout page is currently unavailable and this will affect only the users who require to login from Checkout page. Customer services and sales teams are aware of a workaround. Fix to be deployed within x number of days.

 

Not all want to know the detailed technical explanation – not every time. There can be situations where technical explanation is the only way to describe the solution. Again, the explanations should tailored to the audience. It is just because you are excited about a certain technology/solution that does not mean you can tell everything to the audience. You have to think what their backgrounds are, what do they need to know to take decisions, how much detail you want to give to keep their attention.

I was in many meetings with business where tech team start to discuss the solution in technical level rather than in a language/context known to the business. Moreover, they try very hard to focus and then they reach out their phone, or start write down something or read their mail or excuse themselves and leave. There are number of times I have jumped in between such conversations and ask them to take that conversation outside the meeting – well in a polite way. There were times they agree and there were time they just ignore me. Every time they ignore me, they lose valuable time to confirm requirements with the business as they are continue to focus on the solution.

As a tester communicate effectively is very important to me. In current project, I have a positive relationship with the editorial, sales and customer services teams. I deliver both good and bad news to them over the site and I need to make sure those teams understand the issue but not overwhelm them. Again, within those teams the level of information they need to know is different as well. Customer services and Sales teams needs to know how to explain the issue to the customer, work around if possible and/or when is the delivery date. Therefore, before I go to each team I need to structure my message tailored to them. Use their language. Ask them whether they understood the issue or the new feature. Repeat some words if they need more emphasis.

With words, body language and tone of voice comes in. There are some tips on https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/Body_Language.htm. Learn them, observe them on others and practice them.

If you are listening to someone who is talking in same tone, will that person able to keep your interest over what he/she has to say? Same rule apply when you talk to someone else as well. Use pauses, tone variations according to the message.

Be mindful about both positive and negative traits you use when communicate. Observe how successful people use their words, body language and tone of voice. Observe how your colleagues communicate. Practice the positive traits and try move away from the negative traits. Start slow, see what is successful for you, and enjoy your progress…

There and back again : A note to myself…

I was going through a period where I was thinking whether I should keep going as a tester, change my career as a Business analyst, or project management. I was in two states of mind. I was not sure.

I have tried business analysis and I have tried project management in smaller scale while being a tester. Did I do well? Yes I did. Did I like the job? Yes I did. Do I want to go for a job change?  Hmmm…

I like being technical. I like to change configuration values and see how application behave. I am happier when I find a bug where no one thought of or create a test or a small application to help day-to-day work. I like to put my nose in to code and see how things work.

If I become a business analyst, I know I will always go and dig the database. Even if I become a project manager, I will want to brainstorm over test strategy. I will circle around the world and will come back to testing.

Being the one tester in the team is not open up many doors and I felt everyone progress in their careers except me. However, I know it is not true because with time I realise being the only tester in the team or one of the testers in the team I can make an impact. Mentor and inspire other testers.

I have started helping out with the tester’s chapter at the office and realise how much I can do to help and how much I enjoy being able to help and inspire others.

So am I going to change my job? Nah! Why? Because I am a hard-core tester…