Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Resizing Test Plan using Mind Maps

[Disclaimer: Experts! Please take a minute to rip me off, if you think this is the most ridiculous thing you have ever seen or if I wasted your couple of minutes with a dumb thought]
A lot of emphasis nowadays, is on moving projects to Agile methodology [or in many instances, pretending that project is in Agile model although in reality it is Short-Scheduled Waterfall Model]. Whatsoever is our thinking vs implementation may be, it is most certain that life cycle time is now reduced implying we have less time for execution (Testing) and even lesser / no-time for documentation of test artefacts. One such to be or not to be question on documentation is the existence of Test Plan / Strategy (given the minimalistic approach in projects the line that ever existed between these documents, I believe has long since erased).
Not a very long ago, this 40+ page document(s) which took a fair share of 2-3 weeks in the Test Inception phase for preparation and would go through a couple of review meetings (of an hour each?) and finally approved version would stay put in the project SharePoint folders until the Go-No Go day conflict arises to decide whether the defect threshold is over the limit or we are safe to sign off.
Although, I openly criticise over documentation, I strongly believe documentation should exist in any project albeit to only required levels. This was when I was struck with this idea of a one-page or a single slider Test Approach document (or to make it more apt! I would rather call it a Test Approach – Mind Map. Apologies! If someone already had this idea and documented somewhere, I just didn’t happen to search for it, for the sake of not to get influenced with the idea before I refine one of mine)
To illustrate my idea, I took a simple example of an E-tail App with Product Catalogue, Order Management and Payment Modules, which is implemented in 3 iterations to begin with.

This could be customised and enlarged and strung along with the Storyboard and could expand along to add points without putting a lot of effort on reviews and reworks. In real it might not as simple but I bet it is simpler than a 40 page document.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Guru – Creator of Ideas, Preserver of Sanity and Destroyer of Ignorance

Yesterday, [since its well past the midnight] happened to be the Teachers Day (traditional one of course, not Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan’s birthday) an Indian cultural festival dedicated to teachers and to pay them respects. Although the Anglicisation of the word ‘Guru’ has made it much lighter in the regular usage which refers to an expert in a field or a spiritual evangelist, but literal meaning of it (as I learnt) has a lot more weightage and splendour. Guru, one who stimulates the creation of ideas; one who preserves the sanity of disciple (or the student) to use the knowledge for betterment; one who destroys the ignorance and leads you in the right path.
What else could be a better reason to rewind back into good olden days I thought, sat down thinking about all the teachers I had in my life both in academic / professional and social streams. Memories started branching from one end to the other right from my primary school days my first academic teachers an Anglo-Indian couple to high school teachers to Professors during my post-graduation days to the mentors I had throughout the career. I was startled at the ability of recollecting many of their faces some of them vaguely though and many names right from the schooling days. [Whoa! What a lasting impact they had]
While the first ones to cross the mind were obviously the best ones who put their soul into teaching as if their lifetime achievement was only to make the students learn and do well in their lives, while the next whom I could either remember were the teachers who were good at their subjects and their association with the class was only to deliver the lecture and get the subject in the heads to pass the exam. And the last set were nearly someone who either had an incident associated with them like in ridiculing me in front of the whole class for drawing the solar eclipse from in the reverse order. This was not a pleasant incident but still it helped me to remember the order of things in the way they are supposed to be. After many such recollections of both good and not so pleasing ones. When I look back everyone was good and helped me in their own accord and abilities be what I am today.
I deep dived into why some had such a lasting impact that after so many years can still portray image, recollected something one of my favourites, Professor Subbarao quoting, “A good teacher is someone who will make you understand the subject while the best will inspire you to dwell into it and make you explore the nook and corner of it”. I reckon reading somewhere that the neural networks suggest the brain functions like a linked list (Thank you Maniza ma’m) which makes you traverse from one node to another with reference to the image captured at the moment and the more you recollect that image the more you tend to remember them in your cache. Well, I guess that sums up the whole gist of it, Guru is someone who resides in cache of your brain. Someone who tells you from the back of your head how to approach the solution to the problem. It could be derived with implementation of eight queens problem or a simple addition of numbers. Every decision we take has some reference point to the past learning which we have learnt, if we draw an image there is someone (with personification of world wide web as Tim Berners Lee :) ) whom you can associate it with.
Invariably, academic teachers are the ones officially recognized under the category, but it goes without saying that everyone plays the role of Guru in one way or the other to someone.
[Dedicated to the most inspiring 21st century Guru of India who passed his legacy to a billion people to live the dream and be humble enough after you have achieved it].

Friday, July 10, 2015

ఆది తప్ప అంతం లేని వెఱ్ఱి -- వేలంవెఱ్ఱి

అదిగో పులంట ఇదిగో తోకంట
నలుచెరగల వెతికిరంట పలురకముల్దెచ్చిరంట
రాజుగారి గుడ్డలంట బహుబలంగ కుట్టిరంట
ఊరిలో పెళ్ళంట వీధికుక్కల పండగంట

Saturday, July 4, 2015

An Unforgettable Anniversary Gift

[Disclaimer: I always like the disclaimers to be at the beginning, it allows uninterested audience save a couple of minutes. Coming to the actual disclaimer; unlike the title suggests, this post has nothing to do with tags such as #romance, #feel-good, #love. I think this is enough of a spoiler alert and do not wish to reveal full suspense as yet.]
Having been a happy no strings attached “Pay-as-you-go” mobile phone customer all thru, I guess I was bored of having a normal life and made this stupidest decision of splitting the phone cost and going for “Contract”.
I hate playing chess for the sole reason of it being a game where you need to think a thousand permutations and combinations before each move (we were given a chess board to play, me and my friend Mastan invented a really-rapid file chess game called Chess-Carom where you knock off the chess pieces by striking action of caroms. Apologies to chess lovers, if that breaks your kings’ heart :P). Being such a lazy thinker from the beginning, I never thought twice about this decision I made, only to realise ten days later I would be spending a whole Saturday morning writing a repenting article. To add to the misery and make me feel more gutted about, I chose this to be Tin anniversary surprise gift for my wife.
Unlike any other day, I just happened to open the Carphone Warehouse website (the only reason to choose: it is on my way to work and hence I can pick the phone up on my way back home), selected iPhone 6 model (this could probably be another reason why I am in such a pity situation; I do not belong to iSheep community, but thought my not so techie wife would be happy with the quality of pics and really cool Slo-Mo video). Out of all that were in the website Vodafone 24 month contract sounded really good deal and within my budget. All happies, did a check out like I just bought a water filter refill from online store. I knew it would take a day to get the phone and hence ordered it a couple of days in advance just to make sure I have the phone for the anniversary with all the delivery hassles or me being late from work and store closing down, etc.,. Well, the inevitable happened and next day I get a mail stating my online payment was declined and I had to phone in again and redo the payment (Phew! Well thought about! What if I hadn’t booked it a day earlier? Self-appreciation for using my miniscule brain to avoid delays) and ensured with the support guy, the phone should be in store tomorrow for pick-up who doubly reassured “Yes, Mr. Mohammad, your phone will be at store tomorrow evening”. In a few minutes I get a text and email confirming the order and next day pick up in store. (Woo hoo! Well done!!)
The next evening, I started from office just at the stroke of 5 rushed into a flower shop picked up a small bouquet and enquired at the store (after nearly 45 minutes of wait) to find out the order was finalised very late the previous day and hence it did not arrive at the store today. ‘Damn it!’ I thought, gave an unapproved smile to the equally helpless lady at the counter and returned home. Rest of the day just happened to be very normal but I was deeply disappointed although she was so content with the flowers and blessed that I remembered the date.
Unfortunately, the tragedy did not end there, next day I got the phone and I managed to pull off a real surprise with another flower bouquet and this time with the all new iPhone 6. With a lot of excitement, we opened the box, inserted the Vodafone SIM (tadaah!!!) the iPhone started. After a while of flowery circle prompting me to wait patiently, it just displayed “No Service”. I thought I should restart and I did, but still no use. ‘May be we should give it a day to set up the account’, we thought and day finished there.
It has been 10 days since this happened and my wife’s iPhone still shows the same “No Service” message. I would have spent fairly 3-4 hours on call waiting, 1-2 hours of my other phone minutes, 10-15 calls to both Vodafone and Carphone Warehouse to at the least let me know what the issue is. Strange enough but not surprising to someone who has worked on CRM Call Tracking for a while to realise they do not have a clue of what they are up to. When I call, they assure me every time that it would be set up in a day’s or two which never materialised and when the phone gets disconnected I am just an SLA put on hold or customer inputs awaiting or whatever their state model diagram indicates them to push my call to be answered after only god knows (maybe) when.
I thought may be social media should work, like it did when my Sky broadband was down during last Christmas season, tweeted @VodafoneUK @CPWTweets stating my problem. Oh yes! Definitely got the response in a day but it just ensured the problem is back to square one. After exchange of 3 tweets and 3 personal email conversations , the Vodafone representative emails me asking for the contract papers (apparently he could not locate my account in his system). Really? Is your CRM so bad that you dispatched a phone and SIM card and you don’t have trace of it? Or you have no clue what you are doing?

Alas! All I realise at the end of a grilling 10 day period. I am just a speck of dust in the dumping yard named “Customers”. I guess I am still under 14 day trial period and will cancel the contract as the Monday strikes and back to Pay as you go where I can just dump the SIM card if I don’t like the service. A quick note of thanks to Vodafone UK and Carphone Warehouse who made me realise what I am worth for them. 

Friday, July 3, 2015

చిన్నీ - నీకు ఆత్మశాంతి కలగాలని

పాల్గారే పసిబుగ్గలకేంతెలుసు
మనవి పెద్ద చక్రాల క్రింద నలిగే 'చిన్ని ' బ్రతుకులని
అమ్మ ఒడిలో అనంతలోకాలు చేరిన ఓ పసికూనా
వింత లోకపు వికటపు మనస్తత్వాలనుండి నీకు విముక్తి

Wednesday, June 24, 2015


నాకులము నాకులమంచు కక్షముల్నాకేవు
చట్టుబండలయ్యే నీచదువు నీతికన్న కులకక్ష్య మిన్ననుకునేవు
ఏపాటి మానవత్వంబది మంచికి చెడుకి మతపురంగు పూసేవు
సాటి వానిని తూలనాడగ యేధర్మంబు బోధించేను

ఏకులమైననేమి చట్టముల్చుట్టములైన వానికిన్
పట్టెడన్నంపెట్టే రైతుబిడ్డల రోదన కానరాని వానికిన్
ఏ దైవంబు కానవచ్చున్ పసిగుడ్డులజంపు రక్తపిపాసికిన్
భావితరమ్ముల భవిష్యత్తున్ కాలరాచు కలికాలపు గులపురుషులకున్ 

Monday, March 30, 2015

A Solar Family

One of the techniques I follow to either understand it better or elaborate to others about any concept is by trying to simplify it by comparing with concepts we are already comfortable with or things that are very obvious. This makes me to relate my understanding and bring the missing pieces together to complete a jigsaw. There are exceptions while doing so that everything in one concept cannot be similar in every aspect and well that’s probably why they are two different concepts and hence they are just metaphors. Being an IT student, OOPS (Object Oriented Programming) was something I benefitted a lot with this approach. Classes, Objects, Methods, Attributes, Polymorphism, Inheritance, etc. name a topic, I can wake up from a 3rd level of inception dream and talk about it fluently. (Ahem! I got to revalidate that statement after a long gap but yes, there I can still use my own medicine).
When I woke up in the middle of the night (3 a.m. on a Saturday morning is barely early morning) and started comparing Solar system with family and relationships [Nothing to do with Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus, honestly you might find my reading habits so bad that I could not read more than 4 pages of it, neither 50 shades for that matter]. Don’t you dare asking me now, which one I was trying to understand comparing to what? It goes without saying, I found no soul in a mood to discuss this with and hence pulled my slave (? Or probably the other way around) out and started typing…
Here we go cruising on a snail pace to the topic. If we assume Earth to be the relationship or marriage, two most important constants the Sun and the Moon would be man and wife, now who is who? My inborn male chauvinism led me to first instinct of attributing man with Sun (head of the solar family and hence, proved!) but it only took me a split second to realize that it’s a falsified attribution. Even in a single income family where the man works; he is definitely the moon. I could (or you could) convince myself I am really the Sun, but I am sure of dishonesty with self. I said moon, the reason I function is because, of the source of light energy she gives me to do nothing but going around the marriage and still appear to be bright in the night. And working for livelihood I compare with nothing, one; it appears to be miniscule given the magnanimity of the task of managing the family and two; as someone (famous?) said ‘No one recounts that he/she should have worked for an extra minute on the death bed’. Yet, I do love my work because that’s the only nothing I can be good at. Waning and waxing may not be as regular as fortnightly but yeah, waning are the days when my boss pats me for doing nothing (remember, that’s work!) and waxing, you can guess it. Just two more significant events probably are New moon days, when you abruptly wake up in the middle of a night and start writing something which no one cares of its existence and on a full moon day I would have sumptuous three course meal and hit the sac blissfully without resorting to Netflix or YouTube.
Now, the most awaited part: The Sun, how much can you write about the supremo of any species. She manages the system, earth rotates around her and hence the moon. We might start under the assumption that Sun is taking rest during the night, but as you start realising the fact isn’t so. The moment Sun rests our solar system ceases to exist, this is neither an understatement nor an overstatement. What about the seasons? They are probably different moods of the Sun; it starts with spring when the Sun is in real good mood. Everything seems to be so beautiful; daffodils, lush green trees, bright days, and all good things we can ever imagine. It is warm but not hot, cold but not chilly, drizzles but does not pour down. Then comes summer, burns down a bit of energies, when it appears to work hard and sweat a lot, still feels good maybe that’s when earth is more productive and you wait for autumn to arrive. Yet another beautiful season, it starts getting cold and gives a break from working out; things will start changing again, it may look beautiful and relaxing but constantly reminds of the winter setting in at times with heavy downpours and flooding. And then arrive cold freezing days, a different pasture on the canvass of life, its white but not so bright, looks good but feels chilly. A calm period probably the days when we don’t talk. Hence, they are different moods helping the relationship in their own way of revolving around the circle of life. Every season has to start and end like any mood there is no escape; sometimes it is wintrier and sometimes it is torrid but there are fillers in between which soothe in every season, we know for sure the tide will change and days will become better.
The next interesting part in a family are obviously the kids, bloody hell they are like tiny meteors. They create a bang on impact on the earth, they often create tremors but they do leave beautiful patterns on the earth which makes it look more meaningful. The moon is usually very concerned and edgy about these eerie creatures as they always creep the moon out of the mind, making it think like facing a bullet point blank but in reality that would be missing the moon at least a million miles away of which the Sun controls meticulously to land in the right areas to create a meaningful pattern. Once they whizz past the trembling moon, moon is the proud owner and gets a blush every time it sees them (always from a fair bit of distance).
Then comes other planets who are the family and friends who observe from a distance, and keep moving on in their own orbits. An honorary (pure pun) mention about the Haley’s comet (the in-law factor) which comes in regular intervals and scares the hell out of everything but never really endangered.
As the Saturday morning gets bright and my head becomes light; it is worth mentioning about my own beautiful and loving Sun that she is the best Sun in the world that happened to exist and I love her every bit. The meteors seems to be waking up; I better get back to sleep!