01 December, 2013

A Decade in Software Testing - Community Gang Wars

Indian CDT
Indian Context Driven Community has been awesome in recent years to say the least. Long before Weekend Testing was born, there were testers who were context driven in their own small world. Pradeep Soundararajan is one of the pioneers in driving CDT in India. He is also the only biggest inspiration for all of us who founded Weekend Testing. We all know where Weekend Testing is today. People from different parts of the world continue to run it with passion despite some of us co-founders who moved on to greater objectives.

It was the passion for testing that brought testers in India together and not the money. We live and breathe testing – so much that I am writing this blog post while on a vacation in a tiny town in Tamil Nadu. Working with like-minded testers only makes us stronger in vision and values. Today, a large number of Indian testers are a strong team of individuals who raise the bar quite often and consistently. We have our fair share of challenges. We are doing great so far and will continue to do so.

Two Context Driven Communities from India & Community Gang Wars
At Let’s Test 2013, at least three people who I respect asked me about “Two Context Driven Communities” in India. I have lived in India and haven’t know about TWO communities all along. How dumb of me? I was playing SET game with a super-cool tester when he brought up this topic again. I asked him to elaborate which he did. James Bach had told something similar in this keynote the same day. It was shocking to see how the global testing community was perceiving Indian Testing Community.

The first question that came to my mind is this – “Wont’ people in same community argue, fight, disagree and in worst cases go separate ways?” How would it become two communities? It would still be one community, but with different goals.   Oh, different goals don’t make ONE community! Really?

I have one question to the global testing community – “Are you on good terms with every tester in your country or continent or even testing companies in your region?” I have witnessed a lot of back biting happen at conferences about some people who have done real cool work, but have an evil side to their personality. What’s the big deal? Each one has an evil side. The good ones are good only because they have been smart enough to hide their evil side. As simple as that. My point is every region, community, country, continent has a good mix of great testers and not so great testers. Even amongst great testers, some people don’t see eye to eye. It’s a personal struggle between thosepeople. Why make it a national sensation? Why break the community? Why see it as two different communities?

The gigantine task will be to figure out how to proceed from there and what actions to take. Sometimes, some struggles take years to settle down. However, if the involved parties have the same vision for the Community, someday they are going to share the same podium. On that day, the world will know who was caring for the community and who wasn’t. On that day, the world will know who stuck to the vision and who gave up. Until then, we must wait. This wait, I am sure is worth it. Until then, let them be. If world was such an ideal place, World Wars would have never happened.

The Silent Rainmakers
While there are people talking about broken testing communities, while there are people like me who write blog posts on the topic, there are some great testers who are quietly stuck to their vision, testing their heart out without worrying about what the world thinks about them or their work. These people constantly push themselves to excel without worrying about how many times they will be ‘retweeted’ or ‘facebooked’ or get written about in blog posts/articles.

The good thing about these people is that they are trying to bring in a great change in the system there are in, early on – even before they head to change a bigger world. Someday, a hero or a shero will emerge under the tutorship of these rainmakers who will go on to change the world on a massive scale. Even then, these rainmakers will continue to bring in a change quietly – just like the HULK was living doing his own thing. Every time, I get talked about or get a mention in the web world, I think of all those people who haven’t got any credits despite knowing that many don’t work for credits. Tell me one thing, how many of you have really heard about Ross Collard? Oh, you are running to Google. That says it all!

Work for yourself, not for credits. Credits will follow if you do great work anyway! As for the community – there are still lot of great people in this world who can carry the community torch higher! In short, there is hope and hope is the most beautiful thing in this world.