Friday, September 5, 2014

Acharya Devo Bhava

On a day which connects a true sense of belongingness between a student and a teacher. A special day on which, we struggled big time to be in the shoes of a teacher (some of them truly mimicking them with their favourite mannerisms). It was a learning experience, to showcase what it is really to be facing the crowd which I never dared during my school days and was an utter failure when I finally managed one in my 1st semester of PG. The fumble I can still remember in my deepest of dreams.
Well I may not be from a crème de la crème IIM/ IIT but a microorganism in the zillions of IT crowd. Still everyone’s got a story and everyone gets inspired and I am still in pursuit of what inspired me and in the process of learning to become one.
In a country where 80% of the times it was predictable at the time of birth what is the extent you can study based on your family’s social and financial status (I am glad that this trend is on a decline now and I wish to be part of the society on the day it is disproved and invalidated). I witnessed this teacher in an education society who dared his guts to defy the odds and bring back these privilege deprived straying ducks back in the line of schooling.  A true example of actions speaks better than words and words do inspire many such actions. “Dear Mastan sir, May your soul rest in peace and be the guiding light for many who are walking your path”.
Stereotypes are well mocked in many a ways, but I have seen the flipside of it has given out too many positive results. A mathematics teacher; he would never need a compass to draw a circle or a ruler to draw an immaculate straight line. V.B. Vallabhacharyulu a name that has tagged many like me to a perfect 100 in the subject he taught and felt prouder than us when we achieved it. “I never took the cash prize you announced in the class but Sir I have taken more valuable lessons of life. I never stopped practicing basics since then. If not this world can have more teachers like you, may you be blessed with same energy and enthusiasm to make maths a subject to like rather than run away from it”.
In the era where intelligence of students is ascertained by marks aggregated rather than the consistency shown in the marks, languages as subjects still remain a burden on the students and let go off once you enter the university campus. Seldom does anyone realise the importance of developing a student in a language he/she speaks at home. I was shocked at my own observation when I was telling a bed time story to my kids that I have learnt 5why technique of 6Sigma in my childhood when my great-granny told me that story (A King and his 7 sons).  Learning mother tongue definitely improves rationale of thinking and makes you more logical. I may not be even eligible to make an observation in the current world which is vrooming at millions of miles per second, but give it a thought on where are we heading and how long does a foundation-less skyscraper can ever sustain (don’t believe? Read the newspapers again). “Dear N.V. Sharma sir, I can never express how fortunate I am today to have learnt a language from you”. After my schooling it took almost a decade and half to have seen Dr. Devdutt Pattanaik propagating similar ideology, hope this will turn our heads back to concentrate more on the foundation.
Another 65 year young gentleman (at the time he was teaching us) who looked at life utmost positive attitude than anyone else I have ever seen till date and my inspiration to be a teacher someday in life said ‘If you can inspire one person in your life, you are successful teacher’. “Yes Prof. Subba Rao sir, you did”. I was shell shocked and almost had a celebrity moment when in the evening crowd at Canary Wharf station a random guy stops me, says ‘I know you sir, you have taken a class on Software Testing at Cognizant Academy’ I recollected a moment later, which was like a 4 hour session, 8 years back? (I should be either too good or so terrible that he remembers me after so long. I am taking it on a positive note since he didn’t beat me up in the crowd and disappear :) )

Last, but my first ever teacher, “Dad, every time I made a terrible mistake you told me a story that made me think. Many of those, I still remember to date and I will tell my son when he reaches an age he can comprehend. I wish I had inherited 1% of your logical brain, lateral and rational thinking”. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Stay Technical – 3 ways to be technically inclined in manual testing projects

Spending years in software testing brings me to write this. One of the most common aspirations in a team which is involved in manual testing is, “When do I get a chance to do Automation or Performance Testing”? It also has a most common response, “We will see if there is a chance, we will let you know, meanwhile why don’t you get trained on some tools from the training department”. I do not have a count of it, but I have seen this kind of conversation in almost every catch all meeting with senior management. I also do not have statistics but I cannot be a million miles away if I say that its back to normal after the session is over and figuratively it would not exceed 5 – 10% of the instances would turn out to be that the person has met aspiration.
It is a good sign that thought of getting technically inclined has passed thru the mind but what is the effort put in to materialise that thought into action. Well, the most common excuse would be I have attended the trainings and repeated asked for change in the project but I was not allowed to pursue my aspiration due to project pressures. Given the fact that there are not many slots open for automation and performance even to these days (agreed, we are making progress in improving automation; but I would bet all my money on we are not where we wanted to be on automation front. Blame it on timeline pressures, cost pressures where management thinks any spending on testing is mere waste and testing is just done for the sake of it without any real purpose or objective. I would prefer to stay away from that discussion for now).
I believe that is enough said on the problem statement. Let us now move on to the section that matters the most. What are the alternatives? How can we stay technical even if the project does not have much to offer?
1)       Excelling in Excel: No matter what type of project we are working on, testing has something always to do with excel sheets. It offers great features if you can explore with VBA. For example, working on a project which has a lot of permutations and combinations of test data to be used and you need to write optimum number of test cases, generate them using a macro.
2)      Make your own reports: No matter how much of flexibility is provided by the Test Management Tools, there is a definite need of tweaking required in your daily reports, weekly reports or the test summary report. Often it is quite laborious and by the time you finish your report editing, there is a strong likelihood that facts would have changed in the tool, which makes the reconciliation task before sending the report quite daunting and often ends up in a night mare. Have you ever tried customising the reports with a single click using the querying features of tools? (This seems more relevant if you are using HP ALM or its predecessors, not to mention MS MTM which many test managers consider ghost in the nightmare for its reporting capabilities). All you need for doing this is basic programming skills and decent querying skills. Give it some fancy name and logo; add it to the organization’s assets. You are celebrity!
3)      Proof of Concepts: If you have spare time in projects (don’t bother if you are bragging about how difficult it is to manage with your “strict” deadlines), ever tried doing a small proof of concept using a freeware tool (please ensure you get appropriate permissions) to automate some of your daily tasks. Management wouldn’t see that as a big crime (as long as you get right approvals to proceed) if you can deliver them some time-off from the testing schedules. Moreover, you can always boast about the effort savings by extrapolating the figures. Win-win deal and you have some coding to do as well.

Well I guess enough of options for who actually want to give it a shot. For those who look for more, would never do it even with 1000 other options.  Better not bother about them. Apologies if that sounds to be sarcastic and pessimistic. I am paid to be pessimistic :) 

[Also shared on LinkedIn]

Thursday, July 31, 2014

padya rachana - 637

ఏకాంతంబున ఏకాంతబొగిడి 
న కళ్ళు నెత్తికెగసి ఆనకెగిరి నీ చె
ట్టెక్కును కాళ్ళును అంత పు
టుక్కున విరుగుదువుగానటే ఓ మునగా!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

బొమ్మకు పద్యం - 1

తర తమ భేద భావన లతండు నివారణ సేయగల్గెనే 
అరమరికం నెరుంగకనె అంత సఖ్యముగ జీవనంబు సే
సిరట రఘుకులం మనకొసంగిన ఉత్తమ రామ రాజ్యమం
దు రమతి లోకసృష్టి మనదవ్వ కనుందెరు చట్టదేవతా!

Monday, July 21, 2014

నన్ను వదిలెయ్యండి మహప్రభో

పాతీధి తూముదగ్గిర పనీపాటాలేని సన్నాసుల ఊసుపోని కబుర్లన్నీ ఫేస్బుక్కు గోడెక్కేహినియ్యంట
కాపోతే ఇంతకుముందేమో ఊళ్ళో రాజకీయాలు మట్టుకే... ఇప్పుడెమో పెపంచమ్మొత్తమ్మీదా పనికిమాలిన చెత్తంతా ఏరి పోగేసి మరీ గొళ్ళమీదెట్టెస్కుంటున్నారంట జనాభా...

ఫలానా జబ్బుకి ఫలానా మందని ఇదివరకు డాక్టర్లు చెప్పేవోళ్ళు... ఇప్పుడైతే మరి డాక్టర్లకి కూడా తెలీని జబ్బులకి ఎవడుపడితే ఆడు మందులు రాసేత్తన్నాడు మరి ఫేస్బుక్కు వాడ్డం వచ్చేత్తే ఎంబీబీఎస్ కూడా చదివేహినట్టే. మందేస్కునేది మనంగాకపోతే మనంజెప్పేదే ఆయుర్వేదం అన్నాట్ట ఎనకటికి ఎంకటసుబ్బి

గడ్డిమేటుకాడ గంగిరెద్దు ఈనిందంటే దూడనట్టుకొచ్చి దొడ్లో కట్టైమన్నాడంట... విండానికి పాతగా ఉందా ఈ మద్దెన కనపడకుండా పోయిన మలేషియా ఇమానం ఎన్నిసార్లు, ఎన్నిచోట్ల ఫేస్బుక్కులో  దొరికేసిందో మరి. ఈ ఇసయం దెలీక పాపం జనాలు ఇంకా ఎతుకుతానే ఉన్నారు...

(కాసేపు నవ్వు పక్కనపెట్టి అలోచించండి, అందులో మనకి కావల్సిన వాళ్ళుంటే లేనిపోని ఆశలు కల్పించినందుకు ఎంత బాధగా ఉంటుందో. ఇలాంటివి పుట్టించేవాడు ఎక్కడో ఏటికో కోటికో ఒక్కడుంటాడు, వ్యాప్తించేవాళ్ళు మాత్రం కోకొల్లలు)

మొన్నామజ్జిన పొరుగూరెల్లినపుడొరే, చూహేన్రా బాబు అసలా... కళ్ళు బయిర్లుగమ్మేసినియ్యి వింత చూసి. పిల్లి అచ్చు ఎలకలా ఉందిరా. ఫోటో తీసి గోడమీదెట్టేహేను నువ్వు చెప్తే నమ్మవనీ...
బాబయ్యా! ఫొటోషాపని ఆడెవడో కనిపెట్టి జనాలమీదకొదిలేసాడు. దాంతో ఏం చెయ్యచ్చో చెప్పడం కన్నా ఏం చెయ్యలేమో చెప్పడం సుళువేమో.

నేనుతెలుసా ఒరే మొన్న, రెందొందల కారెట్లూ ఓ వంద బంగళా దుంపలూ ఒక్కదెబ్బలో తుక్కుకింద కొట్టి చెత్త బుట్టలో పడేసేన్రా... దమ్ముంటే నువ్వు కూడా చెయ్యి చూద్దాం! ఛాలెంజ్ పెట్టా చూడు నీ గోడ మీద. ఒరేయ్ నువ్వు నిజంగా గొప్పోడివిరా అన్ని కూరగయలుంటే బయట దుకాణం పెట్టి ఈ పాటికి లచ్చాధికారినైపోయే వాడిన్రా నేనైతే, ధరలలా మండిపొతున్నాయి మా ఊళ్ళో... అయ్యాలారా! మీకు పనీ పాటా లేవని అందరికీ చెప్పుకోనక్కర్లేదు... మీ వీపు దురదగా ఉంటే ధారళంగా గోక్కోండి, ఆ గజ్జి నాకెందుకు?

(మీ దయవల్ల గూగుల్ లాంటి కంపెనీలు ఇస్త్రీ బట్ట నలక్కుండా కోటానుకోట్లు సంపాయించేస్తున్నారు, ఆళ్ళని కూడా కొంచెం ఒళ్ళు వంచి పనికొచ్చే వస్తువులు కనిపెట్టే అవకాశం కల్పించ ప్రార్ధన

ప్రార్ధనంటే గుర్తొచ్చింది, కవితకేదీ అనర్హం కదేమో కానీ హాస్యానికి ఎప్పుడూ హద్దులుంటాయి అవి మీరితే అంత మంచిది కాదని క్లుప్తంగా నా మనవి! )

Thursday, June 5, 2014

What happens next? I am clueless!

I got reminded of a short story from childhood, since I believe it is anonymous, tweaked a little to make it more relevant to the context.
Just like all the stories, this one started long, long ago there was a beautiful video titled “Grand Saga” which awed every internet literate and social media user with its amazing storyline, soothing background music, finely crafted CGI and Impeccable acting stood out in every fame. It was considered one of the wonders that ever existed on YouTube and it reached a billion hits in less than a month. Everyone who worked on it became rich and famous. Its director was conferred honorary academy award, assistant directors invited to replace big ticket directors in high budget films. It reached a high that even a statue which appears only in one shot of the movie is made to play a lead role in a Hollywood action flick. It inspired everyone like a daily EpidemicallyUninspiringInspirationalQuote on my friends Facebook wall. Every wannabe director dreamt of making a video like that, half of them started off with the idea of making another one. Some of them like SmartDevelopers made copies of that and changed the titles and re-uploaded the same video. Within no time the number of copies of the video and its replica videos crossed the number of hits on the original video.
As it is often said, only change is constant. Netizens got bored of these, found another interesting subject within no time, every one moved on to their NewIsAlwaysWow habit. All the characters and technicians who remained in the fizz created by the video started to feel the bubbles popping out slowly. VultureWaitingForCorpse media house soon entered the scene to ‘grab’ opportunity, made a documentary in their series AllWeCareAboutIsTRPsEthicsCanGoToHell on “50 Great Mistakes of Grand Saga”  highlighting the goof ups in the story line which was once considered as next only to Godfather plot, blurred pixels in long shot frames otherwise comparable to Avatar CGI. If you are determined to find bugs, who in this world can produce a defect free code? After all, God could not escape a bug when he hit the Y key on the last chromosome field trying to shoo away the fly from his keyboard.
It was down the wire and all imitation copies were being viewed more than the original one, now that everyone can make a movie at fairly lower costs, given that there is abundance of supply of manpower and SearchEngineLearnEverythingYouDontNeedBecuaseWeKnowWhatYouDidWhenYouWereStillAnEmbryo. All the leftover junkies who missed their chances when they had offers and now repenting thought there is only one way and decided to persuade the director to rescue them. After all it was his creation and his people, he felt sorry for them and realized it was they who made this happen and he should never let them down. He grabbed his megaphone again, dusted his director’s hat which was resting on Madame Tussad’s wax statue of the director.
As soon as he started making another video, one of the members of the crew fell sick and had to leave the sets before it was called pack-up. NotoriousReporterWeAreMoreCorruptThanYouCanEvenDreamOf saw someone leaving the studio before it was called a day, approached him for a casual chat recovered key information that he was actually hit by another co-star of the team by mistake causing him a mild concussion. He soon called up his studio to cut the teaser on “Big Fight” at the “Another Grand Saga” sets. Soon rest of the media houses like AfterTomorrowWeAreTotallyBrainless gathered around the studio and started making 30 minute programs on the failures at 20 minute video.
Neither the crew, nor the director or even the reporter had any clue on what would have happened or what is happening. Director wanting to salvage the situation put an iron curtain around the sets, no one talks to anyone outside or inside the sets. No one has an authority to question, you have to take permission from the senior most crew members to even attend a nature’s call. You cannot smile unless it is a smiling shot, you cannot be serious unless it is a serious situation; all the way you have to have an expression less face throughout the day. Frustration grew like USD value against INR during DumpaRegimeYouNeverKnowWhatHappened and every started to leave to the other sets. Competing video makers got benefitted by the senior actors who joined them, junior actors who did nothing but made merry during the hay days got benefitted with calls to other video makers, media houses  earned a lot of TRPs for their programs.
 Well it fairly seems to be ALLWIN situation here.Who are the losers then?

Who should answer this question?

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Pedantic Integrated System Services– Committed to PISS you off

Not very long ago all you needed to do some administrative work was Excel. Blame it on population (read IT jobs) explosion from a few thousands to hundreds of thousands in big league players; or the increase in half-baked programmed robots who cannot think of next step without being spoon fed on what button to click next. Simplicity, uniformity, process orientation whatever buzzword the product might have been sold on. It remains the fact that office automation has created lot of jobs within the organisations, well this is a good sign in many ways. But like every aspect in life it has its share of darkness.This post is an attempt to take that on a lighter note with these surreal situations. One such call to Service desk.
(It is needless to say how many times you have to press the numbers on your telephone pad and how much of time you have to spend listening to the same on-hold tune :) )
Me: Hello, I just realised my payslip has only got half of my half salary.
(I don’t think it is weird fact, since everyone is aware of the other half goes into WeChangeYourLivesToBeBeggarsForever and WeAreHereToServePeopleIfYouBribeUs trusts bank accounts for the welfare of calamity stricken next 7 generations of their heirs.)
WhoCaresAboutYourPayDesk Representative: Wait a zillion minutes while I retrieve your details from our MayDayPaySystem
(after Einstein’s Theory of Relativity proved e=mc2th time)
Rep: Well! The system says you have not come to work for 5 days this month and hence you got paid only half.
Me: How come? I have been working all the month, in fact I had to cut short my long planned Sunday afternoon nap to attend a GodYouWillNeverGetThisDealCuzWeWantItForFree proposal call.
Rep: I don’t care if you did work but system says you were not working for 5 days
Me: How does it know that I did not come to work?
Rep: It is StronglyIntegrated with our YourFutureIsInOurHands Attendance system, which did not detect your DNA sample in the loo.
Me: But I was working at one of our client location for 5 days. But I have not got any warning mails about my attendance records.
Rep: Is it? Okay, I have released those mails. They should be in your inbox now. Do you have any other questions?
Me: Hang on a minute, I don’t want the warning mails now. I need to know what happened to my salary.
Rep: You got half of half your salary, what else do you need?
Me: Okay, why deduct half salary for 5 days?
Rep: Our MayDayPay Systems are designed to assume if employees do not turn out for work for 5 days there is more than 0.001% chance that they may not turn up for another 5 days. So it deducts 15 days of your salary. We will pay you back the rest in 200 equal instalments of arrears if you make it to work for next 2o years without such un-notified absence.
Me: But 5 + 5 is not 15
Rep: Don’t teach me Biology, we also deduct 5 days for paying taxes in the period which you did not earn.
Me: Well, I guess this is unnecessary topic, while I have actually worked for those 5 days. Whom to contact if I have to get this corrected?
Rep: As I said, it is not my job, but since you are persistently asking the same question and I feel pity on you and giving the information. Before that let me fill the application form nominating myself for GoingExtraMileToMakeYouSmileSomethingWrongWithYourFaceIfYouDidnt award.  . If you were at client location you need to call AlwaysFoundInCafeteria employee welfare team. I need to join my team in LavishBarForHardlyWorkingServiceReps for celebrating the award for being most courteous service desk beyond the universe awarded by WeDontCareWhatYouThink opinion poll survey.

[To be continued…]

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Helpdesk – Has got nothing to help [Inspired from Dilbert and self-experienced] - Part 1

Helpdesk – Has got nothing to help [Inspired from Dilbert and self-experienced] - Part 1

Me: (After pressing 200 buttons and waiting on hold with some lousy music) Hi, I am xxx employee id: yyyy. I just realized my mail box is blocked to send any emails, can you please tell me why is that and what should I do to get that resolved
CSR: Your outlook is blocked because you have not submitted HighlyRedundantExtremelyTimeConsumingUtterlyStupidAbsolutelyNonsenseForm and that is why you cannot send any emails until you do that
Me: But I have filled that long back but the IllogicallyIntegrated ERP system does not allow me to submit the form gives an error that “You have not updated nonsensical database before submitting the form”. But I have entered all the nonsense I can think of and updated it
CSR: Oh is that so, in that case you have to log a service request
Me: I did that 7 days back and no one from the service desk responded and they have put that SR on low priority and now that SLA date is in the next millennium
CSR: You have to give me absolute information, what do you mean by next millennium?
Me: Ok. Its 31-12-3014
CSR: Thank you for that, I will see what I can do for you. Can you please tell me the request no.
Me: Yes, its I120000384849488884888848488848884993947772377737773773N-1223/399485*23oo9944#9938388
CSR: Oh its too long can you please send me that in an email?
Me: Sir, I believe you forgot something. If I could send my emails I wouldn’t be talking to you now
CSR: Oh yeah! I forgot. Let me get a pen to notedown, my system is hanged for not doing anything for last 48 hours. I guess I have to get my Id unlocked before I can help you. But I will note down the number for you. Please hold on I need to get a refill in my pen from stores
Me: Ok
(after 30 mins)
CSR: I am back, I had to wait in queue and write a requisition slip signed by my manager with a note that I need a pen for doing my work and not to scribble his caricature during meetings, get it approved by my CEO and Chairman. So I managed to sneak in a charcoal piece from stores guy have to return it back after noting down your number. There are 2000 other guys waiting for this piece of charcoal
Me: So here is the number again I12000038484948888488884848884…

CSR: Wait a min, this code doesn’t belong to our group. You have to call other group called HighlyUniterestedToSupport Group.

Monday, March 24, 2014

A Tribute to Manduvaa logillu

మా ఊళ్ళో మండువా లోగిళ్ళు

నలుచెరగుల బాటసారులకు విశ్రాంతినందించిన చల్లటి అరుగుల ముంగిళ్ళు
పెళ్ళిళ్ళూ పండగలకు శోభయమానంగా ముస్తాబయ్యే వాకిళ్ళు 
అతివల సొబగుల రెట్టింపు చేసేందుకేనా అన్నట్టు విరగబూసేను పెరళ్ళు
నిత్యం చుట్టాపట్టలతో కళకళలాడేవి కావా అవి సంతొషాలకు ఆనవాళ్ళు  

మొన్నటి తరాల వైభవాల మచ్చు తునకలు
మరుసటి తరాల నిర్లక్ష్యపు వైఖరుల చేదు గుళికలు
నేతి తరాల పట్నపువాసాల, ప్రవాసాల వలసలకు మిగిలిన మొండి గోడలు
చరిత్రను గూర్చి తెల్సుకునే తీరిక లేని రేపటి తరాలకు అవి అర్ధంలేని ప్రశ్నలు 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

corporate dalaarulu

చెదలు పట్టిన మెదడు పొరల్ని అలోచనా నాగళ్ళతో దున్నించి
అక్షరాలనే విత్తనాలు నాటి, రేయింబవళ్లు నిద్రలేమికి వచ్చే కన్నీటితో పొలం తడిపి

మునివేళ్ళు రక్తమోడువరకు మీటలతో కలుపుదీసి, 
అలుపనక సొలుపనక గొంతు చించుకు కాపుగాయిస్తే
తీరా పంటచేతికొచ్చె పండగ నాటికి 
రాబందుల దళారుల్లా, ఎవడబ్బ సొమ్మని మన పొట్టలు గొట్టేరు వీళ్ళు
పనికి రాని వాజమ్మలు, మూడే అక్షరాలు తెలిసిన ముదనష్టపు త్రాష్టులు