AS A LEADER IF THERE WAS ONE ADVISE YOU HAVE TO GIVE TO THE TESTING PRACTITIONERS , WHAT WOULD IT BE?

Software development as we know it is changing with the advent of agile and devops methods. The focus today is on how fast value can be delivered. Speed is achieved by eliminating waste from the value stream – wait time, handovers, manual work, defects and related rework are some of the wastes that exist in the concept to cash value stream.

Testing practitioners need to ensure that they are able to reduce these wastes. This can happen by way of multiskilling themselves so that there is reduced handovers, upskill themselves to avoid manual ways of working, build quality in the value stream such that there are lesser defects and related rework. Understanding the customer and customer experience is also something that becomes key for a testing practitioner as they need to understand what the customers care for and why – so that they can use the same knowledge as they are building quality into the product being developed

IN THE NEW WORLD OF “INTELLIGENT DIGITAL MESH” WHERE AI AND ML IS DISRUPTING TECHNOLOGY, WHAT ARE THE SKILLS AND ROLES FOR THE FUTURE TESTERS?

I think testing becomes important in the new world of Intelligent Digital Mesh – because essentially you are now giving customers what they want, when they want, through multiple channels and interconnected devices. So not only is there the perspective of testing across these various interfaces and endpoints, there is also the fact that there will be integration testing as and when the mesh grows. Plus the entire digital experience will be key in the new world, so proactively identifying issues and resolving them fast for improved customer experience will become key. I think testing will become more and more complex – you will now have devices playing a key role – so mobile testing will become important. Security testing will become important from a data and device perspective. Crowdsourced testing is yet another trend that we see – Wipro’s TopCoder platform has many projects which crowdsource specific testing requirements of their projects. All in all, I would say it is a brave new world

PLEASE EXPLAIN ABOUT YOUR TOPIC FOR THE SUMMIT AND WHY IS IT RELEVANT IN 2-3 LINES

My topic – Building Leadership skills in the Digital World – focuses how we need to upskill ourselves in the new world order. In the Digital world, the ability to react faster to external stimulus become of utmost importance. You are moving from stage gated way of working to an iterative model, from a fail averse mindset to a fail fast, learn faster mindset, from siloed organisations to a more networked fluid organisation. In such a world, leaders across the three key organisational layers – the front line or executioners, the mid management and the senior management, need to understand the new ways of working and understand how they play a role in making that a muscle memory across the organisation. Moving to the new normal, will require newer technical and leadership skills, and my key note will focus on the same.

HOW DOES PARTICIPATING IN SUCH CONFERENCES HELP PEOPLE?

The most obvious answer is that people get to hear of the different experiences that their peers have, of their successes, failures and lessons learnt, and are able to carry those lessons back to their own workplaces. But I think such conferences help people understand that they are not alone in the change journey. I have often seen professionals who believe that their challenges are unique, that their failures are bigger, they are the only ones struggling. When they attend such conferences, and hear from their peers – they realise that they are not alone in the journey. That many of their peers are struggling to imbibe the change – within themselves and within their organisation as well. And I think this gives people a lot of hope. When they hear about organisations they can identify with making great strides, it will make them realise that they too can align to the external changes that are bombarding them.

WHAT CAN WE DO TO IMPROVE THE STATURE OF TESTING IN ORGANISATIONS?

A lot of times testing becomes the last line of defence for an organisation. The biggest change that I have seen happening is when testing becomes a partner for prevention when the software is being developed. The silo-ed organisation structure of developers and testers are soon becoming a thing of the past. We are now in an era where testing is being democratised – to the extent that it is not the last thing on people’s agenda…but the first thing when they are developing products. So you have a world, where on receiving the client requirement, the discussion immediately moves to what is the requirement supposed to do, how will it work, how does it need to perform so that we know what to test for etc. Building quality upstream and constantly working towards it is something that I personally believe will improve the stature of testing. Where those developing believe that working hand in glove with their testing counterparts is not only the smart way to work – but possibly, the only way to work

WHAT WAS THE BEST DECISION THAT YOU TOOK IN YOUR CAREER?

I don’t know whether it would be fair to call it the best decision, but a philosophy that I have always adopted is to ensure that I am constantly upskilling myself. Unlearning and relearning has been my mantra. And whenever I have played a role where I believe that there is nothing new for me to learn, I have proactively sought out different roles. The Peter principle says that individuals get promoted to their level of incompetence. So the way to survive is to ensure that you don’t reach that level where you are not competent for your role, and constant learning and upskilling (including reskilling in some cases) is important

WHAT MOTIVATES YOU ON A MONDAY MORNING?

Monday morning, or for that matter any morning, is an opportunity to make some more changes, to strive for improvement and deliver better value to the customers. 18 years, and having worked across different divisions in an organisation makes me realise that process decay happens fast, and it is up to every one of us to identify those bottlenecks that cause the process to decay and resolve them. It is an ongoing process, and one needs to have almost a missionary zeal of wanting to make a change.

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e-interview with Rituparna Ghosh