Be Prepared…

My previous post Focus on Defocusing ended saying “Problems unfold over time in ways that are often not predictable”. That is the fourth principle of  Context Driven Testing. You can never avoid problems, all you can do is be prepared to face unpredictable problems. Similarly you must be prepared to grab the opportunities that knock the door that are often not predictable.

How to prepare oneself for such situations?

Let us look back at the Journey of A R Rahman and learn from the legend how to prepare oneself for such situations. He lost his father at very young age,Since the pressure of supporting his family fell on him, he joined Ilayaraja‘s troupe as a keyboard player at the age of 11 and dropped out of school. Then he composed jingles for advertisements , later he moved into film music by Mani Ratnam. The salary he got for composing music for his first film Roja was 25,000INR. He would have earned this in a day or two by composing few jingles. He never thought about film music by then, it was his passion towards music and the opportunity, to perform and experiment at different level, were the reasons for accepting the offer. Well, the rest is History and  all knew his journey from then on and winning the Oscars in Feb 2009. Wait, did I say we all knew his journey? No, most of us do not know about the journey.

A R Rahman never agrees to all the offers. He always has a time slot left free to grab any great opportunity that comes up unpredictably.  The clear balance between the business motto and purpose motto helped to grab the Oscar opportunity. When Danny Boyle contacted him to compose music for Slum Dog Millionaire movie, he was able to grab that because he was prepared for such situations and he was ready to sacrifice a few business motto. If he was just having business motto he would have agreed for few other usual films and wouldn’t have time to accept this golden chance. If you notice his purpose motto of achieving something better and preparation were the keys for winning the Oscars. And now Mozart of Madras journey to conquer the world music starts with Journey Home World Tour 2010 today and this post is to celebrate that :), wait the journey didn’t start today, it stared at his very young age.

The purpose motto gave him better returns than what his business motto would have paid. So I strongly believe for both individuals and for companies, the key to success is

Striking a correct balance between business motto and purpose motto.

As an individual you should have a clear vision about your purpose motto. Don’t just run behind salary and the job that doesn’t satisfy you. In James Bach’s words

Reputation = Money. Build and protect your reputation.

Similarly companies achieve nothing great by just pressurizing employees with too narrow measurements of productivity and maximum utilization. If companies allow correct autonomy to employees, I am sure they will come with some creative ideas and that will help to achieve better returns than what could be achieved by focusing only on business motto. The number of Oscars received by ARR can be counted, but can never count how many were missed by others, who were not ready for such situations. Similarly the ideas implemented can be counted but never knew how many were missed because of running behind business motto.

Here are few pointers that will help you to get prepared yourself as a better tester Skilled Investigator to handle unpredictable problems and grab wonderful opportunities:

1.    Practice, practice, practice at Weekendtesting.

2.    Debate with people who have contrasting ideas. Note: Debate against ideas not against individuals.

3.    Always question useless practices, I strongly believe questioning leads to progress and questioning is not an easy to achieve skill, this again needs practice.

4.    Wait why am I typing all these? Am I going to offer better ideas than Michael Bolton’s? No. So why don’t you read Michael’s wonderful post and start Preparing.

Happy Preparation!

— A R Rahman Fan Devotee.

Note: All the incidents of ARR narrated here were from my memories, those were read over a period from various authentic magazines, articles and interview by ARR and\or his close associates.  So these may not be cent percent correct.

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Dear Rahman,

Yes,   your music wakes me up, makes me to think and heals me .You and Your music keeps inspiring me. I enjoy  listening to different types of music depending upon my mood. But only you and your music has the power to change my mood. Thank You Once again for all your wonderful music.

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Don’t dig your own grave

I have seen people who are very enthusiastic, work very hard and are smart enough. They come up with interesting ideas and share with the team and earn lot of respect from their team members.

Mr. Grumble is one such smart guy, who comes up with new ideas, is always proactive and innovative. Reads a lot on internet and books which is reflected in his work as well. He was appreciated for whatever he did, from clients and even from development teams for making their tasks easier in terms of deployment and through pair testing with developers. As a result, he was very confident of getting a good raise and\or a promotion. But what was shown to him was a Bell curve and Normalization theory. Mr. Grumble was totally upset and he decided not try out anything new.”Why should I innovate and implement new ideas when I am not appreciated with a good raise”. He lost his interest in reading, learning new stuff, or researching tasks like he did earlier.  Mr. Grumble was dumb. He did not know how to project his tasks in numbers (MBN – Management by Numbers). But Mr. Mumble understood just numbers.

Some of us are like Mr. Grumble and some are like Mr. Mumble. Honestly, which one do you want to be? If I were you, I would choose neither 😀

Did you realize that Mr. Grumble dug his own grave by setting high expectation and rewards to himself? When his expectations weren’t met, he stopped himself from learning anything at all. Mr. Mumble is no where responsible, it’s Grumble who chose to bring this turmoil on himself. He did great work, but set unreasonable expectations too. It would have been better if he set a goal for himself and be his own judge instead of expecting others to reward his work. The best way to celebrate ones achievements is by gifting to oneself. It could be a beer, cappuccino or a chicken pizza. This way, Mr. Grumble could have continued to be his usual best and still be happy with whatever he gets in his professional life.

And yes rewards are definitely waiting for you. I started this blog just to write down my understanding on automation for my own reference and an alternative way to show my skills than doing a useless certification. Look! Now I am dancing in James Bach’s blogs and Vipul Kocher’s blog.

There are people out there to appreciate and motivate. I was stunned and really didn’t know how to react when James in Skype asked “I need to know your name for the purpose of adding your blog to my blogroll and also I want to blog about you”. I somehow typed my name correctly and then typed “Thanks” and “I am honored”. I am yet to find words for James’s reply  “ I thank you for giving me something to praise” .So they are great soul like James Bach,Satisfice Inc, Vipul Kocher ,Co Founder of Puretesting and many others looking for passionate testers  to appreciate the effort and motivate you. So, don’t worry about Mr. Mumble, his mumbling will hardly be heard anyway.

Set your own goals and appraise yourself before someone else does it for you. Bell curves are just that, making lot of noise with the wind, but of no long term use.

Jerry Weinberg reading my post and amplifying it on his blog is the greatest appraisal I can get (for)ever. I am blessed http://jerryweinberg.amplify.com/2010/04/28/i-test-everything-and-i-build-credibility/

A Disclaimer here: I am not blaming everyone, there are exceptions

Happy Appraisal!

Dhanasekar S

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