08 December, 2013

A Decade in Software Testing - ISST

Doing it all wrong
What I was doing it wrong all these years is to not really build a colleague network outside India. I am fortunate to have a great network in India, I receive a lot of support and love for my work here. But I didn’t really reach out to global colleagues. It’s wonderful to interact with people from diverse cultures as it’ll help towards building broader perspectives about the world.

I had to just get out and collaborate with testers at a global level. I started having skype sessions with great leaders like Anne-Marie, Carsten and reached out to Maria Kedemo, Johanna Rothman, Steven Smith, Lisa Crispin for reviews. It’s been a great learning. All these people helped me recognize my blind spots, challenged me on my skills without insulting me and were willing to help again. People like Jean Ann Harrison and Teri Charles amaze me with their openness to appreciate good work. And all this without charging a penny. For the love of the profession. In One, we are truly One.

I have got a lot from the testing community since 2009. It was time to give back. I have given back by sharing what I know and also coaching/consulting testers who reach out to me [Not many know I have been consulting testers for last six months and helping some of them crack difficult puzzles at work.]  
When Iain contacted me to be a founding member of International Society for Software Testing (ISST), I found it as a great opportunity to learn more about the international testing community and also contribute in my own way. I asked very few questions, because I knew the kind of people who were going to be on the board.  So far, the discussions with the ISST group have been mind boggling. The kind of arguments testers in this group throw at each other, challenge it, the firmness and the Big Heady Audacious Goals that the group has are – Top Class!

Bhavya Siddappa, an android evangelist in Bangalore and an awesome women speaker I know recently chatted with me on how there are very few testing communities unlike Android groups, Mac forums and Python communities.  After speaking to Bhavya, one question kept troubling me. How do we make non-testers like her know more about testing communities? How do we let people from leadership teams in Development and Business know about testing? How do we make sure that more and more testers make it to CIO or CXO positions to ensure testing is taken seriously? Our profession has always got its due respects. It’s just that we don’t have enough big guys at the top (CIOs, CXOs, Directors) who can educate business stakeholders. This in turn made me think about reaching out to CXO’s/CIOs in some way. I did that in my own style by attending 2 non-testing conferences this year where I met several VPs and CIOs who are decision makers. I was happy that I spread the fragrance of testing to some of them. As testers, we need to be reaching out to C-level leaders and educate them about testing even before we move on to lower levels because most of the decisions happen at C-level. ISST has big plans here. Watch twitter space with handle @intsst for announcements.

About ISST


To promote an approach to software testing that emphasizes value and the role that skilled testers play in its delivery.


1.  Advocate for the adoption of the principles of context driven testing.
2. Encourage and support the development of testing skills, and of an international community of skilled testers.
3.  Oppose practices that are wasteful or that seek to dehumanize testing.

With this mission, ISST is set out on a journey to make a positive impact on Software Testing globally by bringing more decision makers to the testing forums and challenging them to make the profession better. Individually, many companies, testers, consultants have been fighting this war for a long time. What ISST will be doing is to bring a large chunk of this group together to fight common causes as a single team.

Why should you join ISST?
If you are a passionate tester and want to contribute and benefit from the global community, ISST membership may be a good option (purely personal view). If you want to spread awareness on testing, ISST could become one of the forums. ISST is very young right now and is setting things up. It will take a while until many people outside this group recognize the benefits. Let’s face it – any new group/entity will have its challenges setting up – it’s like building a startup.
You have to be at your work while the world is going to say a whole bunch of things about you. The good thing is you are too busy setting up that you hardly give an ear to it except for constructive criticism which is important.
Would you sign up for ISST?
My respect for Stephen Blower grew after reading his article around ISST here. He raises great points while he also has limited information on few other things which is why he has his doubts to pay the membership fees. Fair enough. I am sure a lot of testers out there have the same set of doubts, most of which will be answered in one form or the other by ISST – through its work, not just words. Some of the founding members themselves have been asking a lot of tough questions to the board. Discussions are going on. Processes are being set up. Things are being sorted. A cool set of webinars have started. Check out the first one in the series by Ben Kelly here. Some really cool things are gonna come. ISST is here to stay and rock the testing world.

Why did I pay?
I have invested a large part of my life and resources on two things – one is self-education, two is people. I believe that investing in these two are the biggest investments one can ever make in one’s lifetime. I bet Warren Buffet can’t deny that!

I paid to be part of a great team of founding members. I paid to learn from this team. I paid so I could be a significant part of a movement that gets to change the world for the better. I paid to give back to the community. I paid to take all the awesome stuff I create as an individual to a larger group who can critique, challenge and make it harder for me to excel. I paid because I needed to become a ‘BETTER ME’.

Do you want to be a part of this journey to change the world? I Dare You.Oh Yeah, I Dare You!

Wanna Join? Come on up here!



  1. I am speechless.

    Last post you talk about gang wars and this post you go on to say this? -> "If you are a passionate tester and want to contribute and benefit from the global community, ISST membership is a good option"


  2. @Sharath
    Knowing you, my dear friend, I knew you would say this :)

    I would like to share a story with you. For almost 6 years, I worked as if I was a solo tester in Bangalore without networking with anyone. I met Pradeep, you and many others which I consider fortunate. We created our own group, we founded Weekend Testing together, we still touch base while we are on different continents right now - this is a community in itself. A private community where we are spreading our own cool-ness if I may so call it.

    As years passed by, I felt the need to spread my wings and reach out to many more like minded people who share the same passion as I did. I was selfish because I expected to be a better me and I have always found collaboration at a global level as a great option to learn faster and better. It has worked well for me to a certain extent. Not many know that I am part of a few tiny groups of testers who I help and who also support me in many ways. I continue to believe that people as committed groups can accomplish great things. I am sure you'll agree with me on this one.

    What was incorrect indeed was the sentence, "If you are a passionate tester and want to contribute and benefit from the global community, ISST membership is a good option". When I re-read it, I realized that it sounds hypocritical in a way that all passionate testers must be on ISST which is not what I meant. I have now changed the sentence to "If you are a passionate tester and want to contribute and benefit from the global community, ISST membership may be a good option (purely personal view)". I hope that helps the rest of the readers.

    Despite the gang wars I talked about in previous blog post, I continue to believe in the power of communities, but I may not personally enjoy the gang wars. I got into ISST because of the people in there. The team sounds great. As I replied to your comment in previous blog post, I'll figure out if things work out mutually for both of us and if it doesn't we know what we need to do.

    Please feel free to voice your thoughts. I am so glad you are reading my blogs and are voicing your concerns.

  3. Yea, it sounds sort of right now (apologies it's my sceptic brain).

    Here is my story which you already know - I thought I knew it all, I went to become a test manager from a fresher in about 3 years, went into a bigger company to challenge and prove myself and they appreciated my work. But deep down I knew I wasn't happy because I wasn't challenging myself. This is when 'tester tested' tested/challenged/questioned/embarrassed my skills, and I forever became his student. (he has even made me cry not just once, bugger)

    Now if Pradeep had said well Sharath you need to be part of XXX group for me to meet and share this with you I might have never met the most amazing human being. That is how I see it.

    Let's look at our developer friends. Have you had a look at code academy, Udacity, etc? I am shocked at the effort that has gone into building it and it's FREE. The vision - is to encourage more people to Develop.


    And hey I read all our blogs I just don't comment on each.

  4. When i visited the website on its launch, - I thought its a new group.But after going throught - I felt, if its for passionate testers and who want to contribute back to society. There can be free membership and there can be few paid things like IIST (which is similar in Shortform of ISST).

  5. @Sharath
    In response to your comment, " (he has even made me cry not just once, bugger)"
    Oh, I can relate to that. Imagine me :P.

    In response to your comment, "Now if Pradeep had said well Sharath you need to be part of XXX group for me to meet and share this with you I might have never met the most amazing human being. That is how I see it."

    All I have to say is this - Imposing rules doesn't go down too well with the way brain works. Btw, it's clinically proven through research.

    Thanks again!

  6. Could you please pass on the full names of the following leaders mentioned in the blog? Anne-Marie, Carsten.

  7. @Mujahid

    It's Anne-Marie Charett and Carsten Fielberg!