Learning from Collaboration

How many of us remember the story of “The Wise Pigeon” from Panchatantra? If you do not here is a quick recap. As in the classic we are all aware of the fact that we could learn, focus, share, deliver, and create magic when we learn and work together. Find below some of the events, forums, exer cises I have been to or involved in which demonstrate the power of learning together and why we should have more such platforms.

Zappers Community

This is one such rare event for testers I am aware of where we “test” and not speak about testing. Isn’t that great? It’s fantabulous.

I was looking forward to this event for quite some time. I had missed the inaugural Zappers event at Bangalore but did not want to miss the second one. The event rules were simple and similar to our weekend testing. An application is handed to each team 5-10 minutes before the testing session. ID’s for the bug tracker is created for each team. One hour is provided to test the application and to log bugs in Bugzilla. The team with maximum verified bugs win. 44590_435718838584_284565268584_5043306_4838087_n

Pradeep Soundararajan and Santhosh Tuppad were my team mates. The testing challenge at Zappers drained the juice off my brain. I still recollect Pradeep cheering us to push ourselves for one more bug at the last minute. The feeling was that of a great workout at the gym – you seem to be tired, drained out but feel that gusto of pushing your body (brain in my case).

Our team had a simple strategy “communicate”. We chose the fastest, clear, easiest way to communicate with one another during our testing session which helped us achieve good test coverage, inspire one another, avoid duplicate bugs, share test ideas and win the competition. HurrayJ! Add to this the free beer, gala dinner, prize money and a chance to meet many more testers.

Why would any tester want to miss it? Beats me.

I thank TCL India for bringing Zappers community to Bangalore and arranging a delightful evening. Thanks again.


Many a times when I have tried my hand at learning a testing tool or a scripting language I have failed. Not because it’s complex but because I lost interest in learning them over a period of time. This was my usual routine - scout the internet for tutorials, blogs, books, forums, etc. Start from chapter 1 and practice for minimum 1hr per day. The first chapter is always exciting, and then comes the second, third, fourth. By the time I reach chapter 9 or 10 I am bored. I then look for quizzes, challenges, exercises to practise my learning’s but most often have failed in looking for such information.

With this experience in mind I did not want to take the same track when I decided to learn Selenium. This time around I pinged a few testers if they were interested to learn Selenium together and got a reply from Swetha Ghorp. She used Selenium at her organisation and was excited to share and learn with the group. Swetha also encouraged me to take up Ruby and talked about the potential of ruby with selenium. This is how the study group LSRG (Learning Selenium & Ruby group) was born.

We (currently only 5 of us Allmas, Kavitha TD, Anand, Swetha and I) meet once a week for an hour or two to decide upon the missions and we meet again the next week to discuss on the progress, challenges traps. There have been high tides and low tides but the study group has helped me to focus on selenium and ruby even when there have been low tides.

Mark Crowther has been instrumental in keeping the excitement at LSRG high with his very helpful guides, tips and plans/rewards for the future.

Want to be part of the LSRG? Email me.

Test Ideas in 30 min

Often we search for test puzzles, challenges, exercises in the internet but fail to identify the numerous test exercises around us. Last week posts in STC on “How to test an alarm clock” – had me thinking – why don’t I put some time and think how I would test an alarm clock? Before I could think of a test scenario I questioned myself how much time shall I allot myself to think of the tests 1hr, 2hr? Shall I do this alone or will 2 testers doing this together double the number of test scenarios? Could we think of better test ideas together?

With these questions in mind I looked at my gtalk and saw Santhosh in available status. Asked him if he is game for a 30 min challenge and the answer was YES. The next 30 minutes was fantastic we shared with each other approx 32 test scenarios. For the metrics lovers – we took 0.93 seconds to think of a test idea. The pdf file is available @ http://tuppad.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/How.pdf

I felt I could use this idea with more testers and so tried this approach with my team at office. The team was astonished with the number and quality of test ideas we could come up with in 30 min for a system we have been testing for couple of months. I plan to extend this idea – will keep you posted more on this may be in the upcoming posts. Until then if any of you want to run a 30 min test idea exercise with me? – email me.


Want to learn a scripting language? What if you had the opportunity to learn with 160 participants from 30 different countries for free? Imagine the kind of discussion a forum such as this could have. Well, I would consider myself very fortunate to have found this link on the internet. I thank Satish Talim for providing us an opportunity to learn in such a big platform.

The courses are conducted in similar to BBST and is very interactive. The code samples each participant paste in forum and the discussions that revolve around it have been brilliant. I have completed the first week of the course and I am looking forward to the next week. I shall definitely write a more detailed experience report after completion of the course.

Until then for those who are spending your precious earned money on bogus training institutes here is a place you could learn a share ruby.

Weekend Testing

In one year Weekend Testing has appeared in many magazines, conferences, blogs, etc. If you are still not part of it or wondering what weekend testing. Head to our site http://weekendtesting.com/

Do you see a pattern in all these events, groups, platforms? The one thing I find in common with all of these is that together we are more successful in learning and delivering as humans. Also I see most of these platforms outside an organization and not within organizations. Is there a specific reason to it? I shall explore about it in my next post but if you have seen such successful platforms within an organisation please email me.


Allmas Mullah said...

Hey Sharath,
Excellent post!!!
I have been 100% convinced that collaboration is the key to efficient learning and growth. Also, such collaborations work well outside of organizations bcoz there is no competition among peers as opposed to office where somebody if always evaluating and comparing our performance (this is my view).
Your post gives information about active groups that readers can join, this is valuable :)
Im definitely going to check out Satish Talim's group.
Thanks for taking time out for this post.

Shiva Mathivanan said...

Simply brilliant. Excellent test ideas on a short 30 minute span. On the whole its a great job, well executed by Sharath & Santhosh. [http://tuppad.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/How.pdf]

TCL India said...

Great post Sharath. Will ensure the Zappers is organized again, soon!

Anyone can sign up to our meetup community and keep track of future events.

Sharath Byregowda said...

Thanks for the comments

Also, such collaborations work well outside of organizations bcoz there is no competition among peers as opposed to office where somebody if always evaluating and comparing our performance (this is my view). – I also have a similar view on this anyways will keep it for the next post ;)

Feels good to know that you liked our test scenarios we could think of in 30 min. yesterday I did a 30 min exercise with sudhamshu. Will post the report soon :)

@TCL India
Will look forward to the next event :)

Caroline said...

Great post. Very inspirational. Let me see if I can get atleast a few souls in my teams interested in some of the cool things you are doing!

Santhosh Tuppad said...

Every tester has to learn to collaborate with testers. I love to meet testers and talk to them about Software Testing.

Collaboration is a skill that testers has to practice. Sometimes, when testers gather some testers are talkative and some are very quiet and some are listeners. But, by consistent practice you get involved in discussions and then starts a cool collaboration where knowledge is the outcome :)

So keep collaborating and sharing :)

Santhosh Shivanand Tuppad

Mark Crowther said...

Hiya mate,

Zappers! Looks like fun, I have a lot of time for Pradeep Soundararajan and glad to hear you got to time with him.

The LSRG is in its early days and will pick up speed as we all get into to the flow of what we're trying to achieve.

Collaboration is the key, working together to encourage, support and challenge each other.

I agree that reading through manuals or doing online courses that are self directed can be very tiring, easy to get bored and stop. I'm glad I'm not the only one!

We're fortunate in London there's a lot of tester meet-ups and gatherings that are free. It's a great opportunity to meet other testers, share ideas, gain new perspectives.

Looking forward to doing more on the LSRG and building up our knowledge on all things Selenium and Ruby!


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