Interviewing our FailQonf Speaker Srinivas Kantipudi | Failure Stories, Community Importance, COE
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 Srinivas Kantipudi a few questions about Failures, Lessons learned, and a part of their amazing work in the Industry. We thank Srinivas for their time to answer these, and for sharing a part of their life with us.
About Srinivas Kantipudi: Srinivas Kantipudi is an experienced Software Engineering & Quality Assurance enthusiast with diverse experience driving the quality of products in the application development space. He has held a wide variety of roles ranging from Developer, Test engineer, head of QA CoE, Engineering head to Scrum Master, and Product Owner. He is passionate about testing, designed and implemented several tools/frameworks, always ready to try out new things, and constantly looks at ways to improve the process.
Deepan: If you recall your first professional failure, what was it and how did you respond to it?
Srinivas: In one of my earlier companies, we were getting close to the release date and I found a rather bad issue that I was not able to reproduce. There was a lot of pressure and during that waterfall (model) times, we also had to provide a big explanation if we found a bug late in the cycle. So I decided to ignore this and move on to other things. The exact same issue came back from the customer which seems to be a race condition. I could have reproduced it if I had spent some more time, two things stopped me – Release pressure and the explanation that I would have to provide for this. I acknowledged that I had seen this but could not reproduce, tried different ways, and then reproduced the condition. This taught me a lot of good lessons which I made sure to implement as a tester and as a Manager.
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?
Srinivas: This is actually everyday learning. I have this habit of looking at how things are done, how each member of the team is doing things, and draw patterns on what can go wrong. For example, look at how each person in the team is logging bugs, the kind of bugs logged, how are we writing our scripts, and then draw patterns to find missing pieces or things that can be done better. I then discuss this with the team or rearrange my work based on these findings.
Deepan: What is the most interesting failure you have experienced, which kicked hard, but once you learned from it you achieved double of what was expected in the next attempts?
Srinivas: Eat your own dog food – We hear this statement in our jobs every day, right? In one of the companies that I worked for, we acquired a company that has a web testing tool. I was so excited and rallied everyone saying, we should eat our own dog food, let’s use this tool and implement our automation. It was a disaster, the tool could not support many things in our application but we continued with workarounds initially. In six months, we had to scrap the whole thing. This was a good lesson, to not follow something because it is cool or because everyone is doing the same thing. Do your homework and due diligence before you take a step.
Deepan: What motivated you to join a startup after spending 22 years in big organizations?
Srinivas: I have worked in start-ups before and I have worked for 14 years in my last company. Last year, I was more active in communities, met amazing people, and the itch to do something new popped into my mind. I am in a Now or Never juncture, if I continue for a few more years in the company, I might never change. At this point, a wonderful opportunity came in where I can contribute with my experience and can learn a lot. That’s like a jackpot and I immediately said Yes.
Deepan: What would be your advice to Testers who still have not discovered Communities? Or have discovered but are not actively participating?
Srinivas: We have a phrase in Sanskrit called “Kupa manduka” which is called Frog in the well. You are knowledgeable and have seen two or three companies but there is a whole world out there. One community like The Test Tribe can bring you the experience of 100 companies, different stories, different failures, different experiences. This will accelerate your knowledge, make you more efficient in your job. We do not have to reinvent the wheel all the time. Start somewhere, it will not be easy at first. You might find a great mentor who can help you, teach you. Also, you might have learned from someone in your career, now is the time to give it back. Help the community that helped you.
Deepan: Where do you see COEs going? Will we see more of them or less? Why so?
Srinivas: When there is a new trend, people go after that trend without completely understanding what it gives them. This is what is happening with Scrum and SAFe now, many companies think that everything can be done in one or two weeks Sprint.
COEs will bring in a lot of value. For example, while you are testing in a scrum, all you think of is your test cases and a bit of NFRs and a bit of automation. A COE will go beyond, they build best practices, like creating a tool that can check memory leaks in your application, creating robust frameworks that can make your tests run in a stable manner. In the short term, we might not feel the necessity, but in the long run, these will cost us more, come back to bite us. A few companies have realized this and are going back to setting up at least a small CoE that can support the teams. SAFe (Structured Agile Framework) now has “System QA and exploratory testing” under “Shared services”. This indicates that everyone is realizing what was being missed within Sprints.
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.