Each of our FailQonf Speakers has years of experience behind them and a crazy amount of knowledge acquired over those years. It would be bad on our part if we restrict their stories to only their FailQonf sessions. We are as eager as you all to know them and their journey better, and hence this Interview Series.

We had a few questions in mind which we wished to get answers from all of them, and there were questions we designed based on the little research we did on their work and life. We so enjoyed the process and now as we have the answers with us, we are enjoying it even more. We are sure you will enjoy this interview too.

In this Interview, I (Deepan Kumar) took the opportunity to ask our FailQonf Speaker Ajay Balamurugadas a few questions about Failures, Lessons learned, and a part of their amazing work in the Industry. We thank Ajay for their time to answer these, and for sharing a part of their life with us.

About Ajay Balamurugadas: Ajay Balamurugadas, goes by the handle ‘ajay184f’ in the testing community and is continuously re-inventing his testing methodology. He co-founded Weekend Testing – a worldwide movement for skilled testing authored six small books under the theme “What If” downloadable at his blog. His latest book is available at www.leanpub.com/50mistakes. His friends associate the terms – ‘Change Agent, Idea Man, Motivational’ to him. He tweets under @ajay184f and loves to have long conversations on software testing and life in general. He is currently leading the delivery at Qapitol QA – Provider of Continuous Testing Solutions to DevOps Teams.

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Deepan: If you recall your first professional failure, what was it and how did you respond to it?

Ajay: Testing on the wrong build. Being super excited to test as soon as the build came, I did not wait for the entire build to sync from Germany to Bangalore. Instead of verifying the size and files of the installer, I went ahead and reopened quite a few bugs. Only after the programmers came rushing to my desk, I realized my mistake. I had to cut a sorry figure. At the same time, I learned an important lesson and never repeated it. 


Deepan: Any experience you would want to share wherein you learned from someone’s failure and based on that lesson you actually avoided a similar failure at work?

Ajay: Well, it was not a failure but a lesson shared in the Testing Computer Software book. The lesson was “Never work with original copies of data”. You can read more about it here: http://enjoytesting.blogspot.com/2009/06/simple-things-do-matter.html


Deepan: What is the most interesting failure you have experienced, which kicked hard, but once you learnt from it you achieved double of what was expected in the next attempts?

Ajay: Embracing automation. In my initial years, I was against automation – lost projects, bonuses, and learning opportunities. Once I embraced automation by putting in the effort to learn the languages, handle automation projects and also fearlessly ask questions on what I did not understand, the opportunities multiplied. My special thanks to Rahul Verma for removing the fear and Qapitol QA for providing me with the opportunities.


Deepan: What is the worst failure you have experienced, and you don’t want others to get into and fix it?

Ajay: There is no worst failure for me. Either I succeed or I learn. Both are acceptable to me. Maybe, stop comparing yourself with others.


Deepan: What could be some of the failures on the product delivery side even when you think it is tested well?

Ajay: Not understanding the use case, not mimicking the customer environment/usage, and to everyone’s surprise – not having a clear understanding of the requirements are common ways of how projects fail even if there has been a lot of testing effort into the project. 


Deepan: Could you share an experience where you find that your Test strategy went wrong during the eleventh hour and how you overcome it?

Ajay: I had tested everything except the main use case. Luckily, our product manager found the bug as part of his first few tests. We immediately fixed it and released the product after a delay of 15 minutes.


We hope you enjoyed reading this amazing interview. Let us know your thoughts in the Comments section.

We can guarantee that you are going to enjoy FailQonf even more. Have yourself enrolled here if you have not done it so far. Please note there is a Free Pass option for the ones who cannot afford the Paid one in these difficult times. See you there.


About the Host:

Deepan is working with SecureW2 India Private Limited, Chennai as QA Manager. He is a passionate software tester and avid learner. He likes to explore new tools, technologies and implement them in real-time to make life easier. He used to connect with like-minded people and learn from them.

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