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So far Ali Khalid has created 240 blog entries.

Leadership, vision and conviction

By | November 19th, 2018|daily post|

The importance of leadership and believe in their vision

A lesson I was reminded of in the orientation today

In a presentation we went through the history of Dubai and achievements of the Emirates Airline

Born and raised in the Emirates, listening about it’s history from it’s elders, I’ve always had tremendous respect for the founders and specially Sheikh Muhammad.

The best line I felt was when he founded Emirates Airline while handing over initial capital for setting up and said something along the lines:

‘You should be self-sufficient, don’t ever ask for more again’, and to my knowledge the airline never had to..

The man had such a great vision, determination and conviction.

I’ve heard people say, “When money talks, bull***t walks”,

There are many other countries with massive wealth but are not successful.

It’s not just finances, having a vision and conviction to get it done is far more valuable.

As a reminder for myself and the reader, have GRAND visions, 10x your goals,

And then believe in them as they were the past, “UNSHAKABLE CONVICTION”.

IMHO this is the greatest recipe to success.

#QsDaily #success #leadership #goals

Don’t talk to my developers

By | November 18th, 2018|daily post|

Everyone feels it is necessary for testers and developers to collaborate,

But then why don’t we see them do it most of the time?

Off course there is no one answer to this.

Over the years I’ve seen many reasons, and will keep discovering new ones.

The one that I hate the most – middle management is not ready to loose control.

Sometimes management at both sides wants to ‘horde’ power and deliberately create these barriers.

“Your tester should not talk to my developer, there taking too much time”

“Developers should do their unit test and not ask testers to do that for them”

The root cause at most of these, afraid to loose control and give freedom to the team to act for themselves.

I can tell you from experience, loosing control is sometimes scary, but you need to have faith and build mutual trust.

With these silos the product suffers, and the workplace becomes an unpleasant place for no reason.

So build trust and have faith. You tried to hire great people, now give them the liberty and freedom to shine.

#QsDaily #testers #teammanagement

Java Vs JavaScript

By | November 15th, 2018|daily post|

Java Vs JavaScript for automation?

Here are a few factors I would consider:

– Community support: much more for Java

– Ease of coding: JavaScript code will be short and easier. However Java would be more capable to scale for very complex and large frameworks.

– Ease of learning: JavaScript. It’s a procedural language, Java would require learning OOP concepts.

– Learning content availibility: Java, since it’s the most popular language for automation

– Integrations: Java, most automation related open source libraries would interface with Java code

– Interfacing with AUT front end: (this means accessing front end AUT methods, running JQuery / JavaScript commands directly). JavaScript would win here naturally. However Java wouldn’t be that difficult either.

– Long term perspective: learning Java will create more career opportunities because of its wide use

At the end I must add, depending on how comfortable you are with programming, it’s a good idea to start with a simpler language like JavaScript and python, then move your way up.

You’ll never (or should never) get stuck with any one language. So pick the one that suits your current situation.

Deciding on an automation tool

By | November 9th, 2018|daily post|

Automation tool selection can be a big problem,

Here are a few fundamentals I try to stick to:

1. Goals of the project
– Be crystal clear on what you want to accomplish with the project
– While most automation projects might have similar end goals, not all would have the same priority

2. AUT
– The most important factor to dictate this decision, understand the AUT (Application under test) and figure out what you should value the most in your automation framework.

3. Integration
– Your automation framework might not (or should not) comprise of any one tool,
– Make sure it integrates well across the SDLC especially any CI tool (even if you have no plans for CI)

4. Support
– Automation tools have to put with a LOT of change,
– Make sure the community surrounding the tool / library is very active and on top of their game,

A few more points and further elaboration on the ones discussed here in linked article

#QsDaily #automation #automationtool #automationframeworkdesign

http://quality-spectrum.com/automation-tool-selection-dilemma/

When can you hand over automation

By | November 7th, 2018|daily post|

“How long before you typically ‘hand over’ automation”,

While THE question might be valid in certain circumstance, it completely misses the spirit.

Automation can NEVER be ‘handed over’ and be done with it (unfortunately),

Simply because as your application evolves, so should your testing, and so should your automation,

Wishing for the day when automation will become ‘automatic’ is an absoltely wrong goal to have.

Linking an article further elaborating on the subject.

#QsDaily #automation #testing #roi

 

Does Automation Save Money?

Plan what to test before automating

By | November 6th, 2018|daily post|

Building a test arsenal is THE MOST important aspect of automation,

Yes, that’s right for automation, because the automated scripts are as good as WHAT they are ‘checking’..

Often the focus shifts from inadequate testing practices to directly building automation,

While investing in automation is essential, equally important is ‘finding’ the scenarios to test.

Unless there is a great ‘Testing acumen’ built within the team, that automation is not going to give the desired results.

All automation will do is reduce the ‘checking’ time you spend, and if you are not very sure what to test, then what’s the point?

It’s like trading in a car for a jet, but not sure in which direction to go in..

#QsDaily #automation #testing

Employers and employees finding the right fit

By | November 5th, 2018|daily post|

A lot of candidates have a hard time finding jobs,

And employers have a hard time finding good employees too, here’s my thought on that..

Employers are looking for a very long (and many times invalid) set of skills, giving what’s really important a low priority.

Similarly, employees are not always clear on what they enjoy doing, and most end up hating their 9 – 5 jobs.

The answer, IMHO, is to find what you as a candidate are passionate about and love to work on,

And the employer to find our their core values and look for people sharing the same belief system and ENJOY working on that craft.

E.g., it’s not necessary every Java developer with 10 years of experience is passionate about working in that field (tragic really).

In the linked post (below) I talk about finding what you like doing and employers finding people who align with their values.

 

The passionate knowledge worker

API status codes

By | November 4th, 2018|daily post|

First, what are status codes?

For each HTTP request, there is an HTTP response generated.

There are some standard ‘status codes’ indicating if the server understood the request.

Common ones are 200 (Ok), 404 (Page not found), 500 (Internal server error) and so on.

While developing API’s sometimes they are not designed to be used by anyone other that the product’s own front end.

They can therefore become a bit sloppy in generating HTTP responses, since the front end code is going through the response body anyway.

This ‘might’ work for a handful of people, it’s generally not a great practice, and certainly makes things harder for API automation.

On that note, for automation folks even if the status codes are not used correctly, still do verify them.

Links to resources on understanding HTTP messages and responses.

The passionate knowledge worker

By | November 3rd, 2018|Management|

One of the biggest problem employers have is they are not able to find / or get their team passionate about what they do. And the biggest problem employees have they are not passionate about their 9 – 5 either. Quite silly if you think about it isn’t it?

So, I guess everyone should take a chill pill and get a compass to find what they really like. Off course that is easier said than done, but it’s not as hard as we often think it is either.

 

Finding what makes you happy

While we all would assume spending days on a resort sipping margaritas would make us happy, I think that happiness might not last long. We are driven by purpose, and just having fun is no purpose. As human beings we are wired to work towards a higher purpose, that’s how our species survived and how success is achieved.

To recap we need purpose which has to be selfless. So how to find that purpose? I wouldn’t imagine for there to be a silver bullet for this. However, here are a few ways that might help.

Find what activities you absolutely dislike or hate to do. I’m mentioning these early on as these are easily spotted. For example, for me doing brain dead work is something I hate. How do I know this? I tried doing brain dead work on multiple occasions and very diverse activities, the only common thing in them was brain dead, and it absolutely pissed me off. So, anything which does not have to do with deep thinking, that’s a big ‘no’ for me.

Next try finding what things you like to do. These are sometimes not as easily spotted but can be done with little attention. Again, I tried to figure out what activities made me happy (apart from watching Dwyane Johnson and Leonardo Decaprio’s acting). As a child I remember I loved to play with Lego or board games like monopoly. Growing up real time strategy was my thing. And during my engineering years I found my true love, programming. What was common in all of these though was building things (which off course needed thinking).

Having these few points, it was rather easy to find something I was passionate about. I must admit, I was not assertive in always doing what I loved, rather always played the hand I was given, but tried to somehow find something, in my subconscious, understanding I had developed for things I disliked and loved to do. And over time eventually I found an industry I could be passionate about and loved working in every minute of my life – Becoming a technical tester. Which meant not just learning automation and programming, but also learning how different software products were developed and worked inside out.

 

The employer’s dilemma

Now for the two groups we talked about earlier, the employee and the employer, how should they deal with this? Here’s my experience:

When hiring, employers tend to publish a ‘thesis’ of skills they’d like to see in the unicorn candidate, even if most of the skills mentioned might never be used in the candidate’s entire tenure. I find this to be very destructive and a waste of time for everyone.

Focus on the very few skills you want the candidates to be good at, and ONE they have to be passionate about. If they love doing the job you want them to do, they’ll be self driven and motivated. But the problem there is, not everyone has enough self awareness to know what they are passionate about. So, you’d have to judge for yourself if they are passionate about the subject matter you are interested in. My thoughts on hiring automation engineers can be read here.

 

For employees

Giving motivational talk about following your passion sounds very nice, but walking the talk is quite different. Finding a career that you love working in is not easy. I know passion does not pay bills. You have to play the hand you are given, but never loose sight of where you want to go.

A great example of this is James Dicks. I stumbled upon his profile by chance on Linkedin and was confused for a while going through his career history. On reaching out to him I found he was always passionate about flying. But to get there he needed a lot of money to get flight school training. So, he started working as a software developer. After years of writing code and injecting cash into his pilot training dream, he finally was managed to complete his flying hours and start commercial flying with Emirates and now Britsh Airways!

While this fairy tale might seem a far-fetched reality, it’s not as much if you think about it. The human body is highly adaptive to any circumstance. So long as you are moving towards your goal, serotonin (a chemical in our blood) will give the motivation you need from time to time.

 

Bridging the gap

Hiring a person or getting hired is not about if someone is good enough or not, it’s about aligning values and aspirations. Employers should give more weightage to attitude, which means looking for aligning values. For candidates understanding the company’s vision, values and culture would help them decide.

Monetary compensation is not mentioned here, because that’s a given. While this is a tricky thing to manage on both sides of the fence, fair compensation for the skill set needed and brought to the table can be used as a general guideline to follow.

While hiring passionate knowledge workers is the hardest part of running a business, it is the most crucial too. In the age of information, knowledge, experience and skill is the king. The only thing which will off-set that difference is attitude and passion. For an employer. having a team passionate about your goals, and for an employee, working with a team in alignment with your values is the ultimate prize.

 

Success is uncomfortable

By | October 28th, 2018|daily post|

Success is always uncomfortable

And it never reaches the point where it’s automatic.

Success lies outside the comfort zone,

That means we have to learn to be accustomed to being ‘uncomfortable’.

One might think after a while it might become automatic,

unfortunately it never goes to auto-pilot no matter how many years of practice you have.

It might become ‘very easy’, but never automatic.

And when I think deeper, I feel this is a good thing, it really is.

Life will keep throwing hardships and curve balls at us.

Unless we are in the HABIT of being uncomfortable, we might get knocked out in the first round.

“I don’t count my sit-ups; I only start counting when it starts hurting because they’re the only ones that count.” – Muhammad Ali