SmartQA Community

An email that broke a workflow

T Ashok, @ash_thiru on Twitter


When you are building large systems that transform other’s business, stay defensive. Don’t assume that every action will be done, be it by a human or by another systems. Some of these can break the chain and the business.

Last Friday the SmartQA site went into a blink, inaccessible, socially distanced to use the modern terminology! A story of how some simple choices made by software developers while implementing an automated workflow can bring down a business, especially when humans in support decide to become inaccessible.

Let me tell you the story. The site became inaccessible last Friday and after a few minutes, I discovered that the site was not down, but unreachable. That is when my tryst with support started. Telephone, chat, emails were unanswered and after five days of relentless pursuit it was sorted without the help from support. So, what was the issue and what can we learn from this?

Well, the issue seemed to be that the domain expired on Friday
despite it being renewed many weeks ago. The renewal process seems to have been botched up. A process that is completely automated, without any human intervention. What went wrong? After five days of being at it, I was given to understand that current domain registrar has possibly shifted his business partnership of buying domains to a different bulk domain provider. This required the new bulk domain provider to authenticate every domain owner with the current registrar. So an email was sent by them to each domain owner (I guess, as I got one) which was supposed to be responded to by a certain date. In my case, the email seemed to have found its way into the ‘read’ folder somehow and therefore I did not respond by the given date. So, on the date of domain expiry, the site went blink. All because of ONE email that I did not respond to! The email that somehow did not show up in my inbox. This email was never resent when response was not received. So, I as a customer never knew about this and my business stopped. 

All because of ONE EMAIL THAT BROKE THE WORKFLOW of automated renewal! Know what is the cost of renewal? About Rs 1000 ($12)!
Just imagine if this has been an online business. $12 shuts down the business! All because of a developer making a choice, of assuming that a critical action in an automated workflow is done. Never contemplating what if it is not done, how can I ensure that it is indeed done? In these times with businesses becoming fully digital, these kind of simple choices can break a business. In my case, I pursued the problem relentlessly, by analysing, by talking to a lot of people and finally a good samaritan helped me nail the problem and then poof, the solution happened. We all know that a problem is a problem, until the solution happens. And in most cases, the solution is simple!
On a lighter note with support going into quarantine, the site socially distanced, I went into the ICU 🙂 A happy Covid19 story this turned out to be at the end.

“A typical accident takes seven consecutive errors” quoted Malcolm Gladwell in his book “The Outliers”. In the chapter on “The theory of plane crashes”, he analyses airplane disasters where he says that it is a series of small errors that results in a catastrophe. The other example he quotes is the famous accident – “Three Mile Island” (nuclear station disaster in 1979). You may want to read a nice article that I wrote on this <Seven consecutive errors = A Catastrophe>.

When you are building large systems that transform other’s business, stay defensive. Don’t assume that every action will be done, be it by a human or by another systems. Some of these can break the chain and the business.
Have a great day. 

Efficiency -> Productivity -> Creativity

T Ashok @ash_thiru  on Twitter


Efficiency is a given now , high productivity aided by intelligent systems will become a norm, so what is our role?  In this age of automated & continuous testing, efficiency gains are given and productivity is on the increase. In this era of AI systems, it is time we shift from productivity to creativity. 

Over the years there has been an interesting shift in how we engineer software. Starting with emphasis on process systems in the 90s to ensure consistency and repeatability, we moved on to enhancing efficiencies with tools and Agile processes. Now the focus has shifted to productivity and value by fostering re-use(components, libraries, patterns, frameworks etc), cross-functional teams and more recently, using AI systems.

Efficiency is a given now, high productivity aided by intelligent systems will become a norm, so what is our role? The future is about creativity, a lot of people say. 

In testing with extreme focus on automated & continuous testing, efficiency gains are given and productivity is on the increase. With systems built using multiple frameworks, deployed in various environments, with high business criticality, high expectations of users, the demand of future demands tech savviness and serious creativity – ‘SmartQA , that implies how to get work done efficiently with value focus driven from creative angle’. 

Here is a short summary from two interesting articles on the Efficiency -> Productivity -> Creativity shift.

Focus on productivity, not efficiency

In the article Focus on productivity, not efficiency   Aytekin Tank says Ford reduced the manufacturing time of car from 12 hours to 2.5 hours by improving efficiency, breaking the company’s Model T automobile assembly into 84 distinct steps, with a worker specialising in a task and using power-driven machinery to do the work.

The tide changed in 2015 from being focused on productivity over efficiency. Efficiency is about doing more with less whereas productivity is about doing more with the same.

He then shares four tips on how to lead an organisation with productivity:

1. Team productivity > individual efficiency – Cross-functional teams work on one project at a time.
2. Get out of the way – Stop interrupting  the workflow of team members with meetings that don’t necessarily require their presence.
3. Maximize your MVPs – Do not box talented individuals placed in organizational roles that limit their effectiveness.
4. Lose the “more is better” mentality – Focus on impact not staying busy

Creativity is the new productivity

In the age of A.I and machine learning, just being more productive won’t cut it. The future belongs to the creatives says Scott Belsky in the article Creativity Is the New Productivity.

In his picture of Human Productivity Parabola , he says we have now passed the point — call it the “Productivity-Creativity Inversion” — where machines (algorithms, robots, etc.) have become a better investment for future productivity gains than humans. At this point, we as humans are better off spending our energy on creativity than on productivity.

From Creativity Is the New Productivity

Productivity, previously scarce and valuable, is now abundant and commoditized, and hence we need to creativity, a truly scarce resource whose value is on the rise, he says. He depicts this as a picture consisting of three phases – The Era of Productivity Scarcity, The Era of Productivity Abundance, and The Era of Creativity.

From Creativity Is the New Productivity

He continues on to state that AI will liberate creativity, by allowing machines to take over the mundane tasks, enabling us to be more creative.

The smart coverage framework

T Ashok @ash_thiru on Twitter


Coverage, an indicator of test effectiveness is really multidimensional and has not been dealt with rigour most often(excepting for code coverage). This article outlines a “Smart coverage framework” that looks at coverage from multiple angles summarising it as a beautiful picture. 

The original article is at CLICK HERE to read the complete article.

25 things I expect of a great tester

  1. Be disciplined, but stay creative.
  2. Ask questions, find answers. 
  3. Be helpful, but don’t do others’ work.
  4. Point out mistakes, don’t blame though.
  5. Find bugs, help get them fixed too.
  6. Communicate clearly, communicate crisply.
  7. Do good work, showcase value. 
  8. Do the mundane things, innovate constantly.
  9. Stay doggedly steadfast, but be flexible.
  10. Observe well, see things that are hidden.
  11. Stay focussed, but have a 360 degree vision.
  12. Have a system’s view, but know the internals.
  13. Think like end user, while engineering solution.
  14. Analyse like an engineer when working with end users.
  15. Do what you must, automate everything else.
  16. Document tersely, do voraciously.
  17. Find what you must, prevent what you can.
  18. Do less, accomplish more.
  19. Engineer in code, to enable finding issues.
  20. Have an user’s mind, engineer’s brain, eagle’s eyes and a businessman’s head. 
  21. Read, observe, analyse, explore, experiment, prove, disprove- Actively seek out. 
  22. Analyse quantitatively the engineering data, present qualitatively the business impact.
  23. Strive for clarity, visualise the flow, spot anomalies in mind’s eye
  24. Don’t settle, constantly churn and evolve, unsettle
  25. Learn constantly, unlearn continually

CIO views on Quality

This article is about views on quality from CIOs curated from a list of interesting articles. It is felt that solution quality is one of the Top-3 challenge doing DevOps adoption with reducing technical debt as a key focus area for 2019. Some of the interesting views from CIOs are “there’s no way you can satisfy the demands of digital transformation without DevOps, Continuous Testing”, “address testing and ensure it advances your digital transformation initiatives rather than holds them back”, “can’t risk disrupting frequent deployment,  this is where Continuous Testing comes in.”

Quality of solutions is a challenge during DevOps adoption
Based on Gartner’s 2019 DevOps Survey, ensuring the quality of solutions is among the top 3 challenges encountered during the adoption of DevOps. According to them,application leaders guiding a digital transformation initiative must make continuous quality the technical, organizational and cultural foundation of their strategy.

Many organizations are on a journey with DevOps, practicing continuous development and continuous deployment, yet a continuous approach to quality is often missing. Basic functional quality goals, is not sufficient to satisfy the quality expectations of the users, the business or the market. The growing pervasiveness of mobile, web, cloud and social computing scenarios has raised end users’ expectations for application quality. The notion of what constitutes superior quality has become much broader and includes overall user experience, quality of service (QoS), availability and performance, as well as security and privacy. It is no longer sufficient that the application just works. It must provide an optimised experience that leaves the user wanting to engage more and interact again. 


Reducing technical debt needs increasing focus
When asked CIOs “What are your top priorities for 2019?”, reducing Tech debt was 2nd most popular response. CIOs say reducing technical debt needs increasing focus. It isn’t wasting money. It’s about replacing brittle, monolithic systems with more secure, fluid, customizable systems. CIOs stress there is ROI in less maintenance labor, fewer incursions, and easier change. (Ref:

CIO’s views on Digital Transformation
Here are some views from CIO on Digital Transformation, consumer expectations, and hence the changing expectations from testing.

Rajeev Ravindran, SVP & CIO, Ryder System, Inc.
“Oftentimes, when people talk about digital transformation, they are really talking about technology. For me, taking the company “digital” is both about technology and a mindset shift. As a part of this mindset shift, we are moving from an applications-focused environment to a product-focused environment. In our new model, we look at every application as a product that has a life cycle determined by a product owner, who is typically in a business function other than IT.”

“In IT, we are moving from a linear thinking perspective to design thinking, and we are moving from waterfall to iterative. The goal of these changes is to create a customer-centric culture, whether those customers are internal or external to Ryder. The customer centric culture along with a product mindset will help with operational efficiency and revenue growth.” (Ref:

Andy Walter (Procter and Gamble)
“I think Continuous Testing is going to be core to companies being able to dynamically evolve their structures, their M and A, joint ventures, all these types of areas. While we were doing the Cody divestiture, we started a covert project of “how are companies going to be structured in the future?” And there’s no way you can satisfy the demands of digital transformation without DevOps, Continuous Testing, and the speed and agility they enable.” 

Jennifer Sepull (USAA, Kimberly Clark, American Honda)
“I think the beauty of creating a DevOps model is that you have a powerful team that is empowered to really connect with the consumer. When those teams come together in that powerful way, and they own the entire end-to-end process, there’s opportunities for innovation. Application development and testing are absolutely critical to making sure that those innovations, or that connection with the consumer, can happen.” This means that you have to address testing and ensure it advances your digital transformation initiatives rather than holds them back.” 

Robert Webb (Etihad)
“.. I know that software testers can make the CIO’s survival rate higher—but they can make the company more profitable, make it safer, and help it grow faster. If they make your testing faster and get your new apps out there, you can be more competitive. And if they can do that while lowering costs, that’s remarkable..” “..Transforming testing is pivotal for accelerating how software is digitising the business.” 

Vittorio Cretella (Mars)
We have to really understand how the user is reacting and how to achieve this optimal customer experience..”  “.. To accomplish this, we need constant deployment. But we also have to ensure that deploying functionality daily or hourly always improves the user experience. We can’t risk disrupting it—so this is where Continuous Testing comes in.” 

Andreas Kranabitl (SPAR ICS)
“..I believe that the most important element in digital transformation is people. We cannot have people spending their time on software testing tasks that can and should be automated. There is much higher-level work to do. We need future-oriented staff, and we can’t afford to make them suffer by asking them to do needless manual testing.” 

Robert Webb ( Etihad Aviation Group)
“..Can you make my testing faster and get my new apps out there so I can be more competitive? Can you do that in a way that makes testing more automated and safer, and can you do that while you’re lowering costs? This is something that is very, very unique, and I think we all have a wonderful opportunity to be part of this revolution..” (Ref:

To express well, choose the right medium

The medium that we choose to express our thoughts that emanate from our language-driven thinking is key to expressing well. Good expression is key to being clear and ensuring clarity in communication to others.

Any friction that can impede the free-flowing thoughts is very unwelcome, hence the medium of expression plays a vital role in the final transformation of thoughts to actionable ideas. A loose frictionless paper medium is very suited for early-stage ideas whilst a strict template/tool is more suited for capturing ideas fully and clearly.

Click here to read the full article published in Medium.

Three communication approaches to brilliant clarity

Clarity is often a reflection of the mind and great clarity implies an uncluttered mind. The style & structure of sentence matters to the way we think, understand, design, act and analyse. How we string the sentences and communicate is key to seeing everything and spotting the missing.

A judicious mix of unstructured human friendly(descriptive) storytelling approach with structured action-oriented prescriptive (rule/criteria based) approach and fact-rich visual approach expands the cognitive abilities enabling us to see the expansive full picture and also allowing us to swoop down as necessary.

Click here to read the full article published in Medium.

3 failures of poor system operationalisation

Successful large system deployment failures is not merely due to poor testing of software. It is about poor operationalisation of software. This article outlines three major failures – Poor transition of software to end users, messed up business procedures and Data issues, the result of poor operationalisation. These have been curated from two articles.

FAIL #1 Avon : Poor transition of software to end users

In 2013 Avon’s $125 million SAP enterprise resource planning project failed after four years of work, development and employee testing.

ERP software can brag all it wants about functionality and all of the magical modules and apps you can use to make your business processes easier, but that won’t mean anything if your software isn’t actually usable. It’s all about aligning your software to your business processes, and if you can’t get staff to use your ERP, they won’t be carrying out the processes necessary to keep your business running. Make sure your employees are properly trained and transitioned into the new software, and that they want to use that system in the first place.

Read about this in detail at

FAIL #2 Woolworth : Business procedures messed up

The Australian outpost of the venerable department store chain, affectionately known as “Woolies,” also ran into data-related problems as it transitioned from a system built 30 years ago in-house to SAP. 

The day-to-day business procedures weren’t properly documented, and as senior staff left the company over the too-long six-year transition process, all that institutional knowledge was lost — and wasn’t able to be baked into the new rollout.

Read about this in detail at

FAIL #3 Target Canada : Data issues

Many companies rolling out ERP systems hit snags when it comes to importing data from legacy systems into their shiny new infrastructure. The company’s supply chain collapsed, and investigators quickly tracked the fault down to this supposedly fresh data, which was riddled with errors -items were tagged with incorrect dimensions, prices, manufacturers, you name it.

Thousands of entries were put into the system by hand by entry-level employees with no experience to help them recognise when they had been given incorrect information from manufacturers, working on crushingly tight deadlines. It was later found that only about 30 percent of the data in the system was actually correct.

Read about this in detail at

About SmartQA The theme of SmartQA is to explore various dimensions of smartness to leapfrog into the new age of software development, to accomplish more with less by exploiting our intellect along with technology.  Towards this, we will strive to showcase interesting thoughts, expert industry views through high-quality content as articles, posters, videos, surveys outlined as a SmartQA Digest weekly emailer. SmartBites is “soundbites from smart people”. Ideas, thoughts and views to inspire you to think differently.

3 Ideas to Staying Agile – “Compass, Cadence, Ownership”

T Ashok @ash_thiru

In today’s world of constant change, staying agile is paramount to meaningful response. This article outlines how a Compass tool, the practice of Cadence and mindset of Ownership can help you stay agile.

We all know that change is constant. We also know that adapting to change is hard. We resist change. An adaptive system responds. Responds rapidly to change. In nature, this is key to survival. And also key to delivering high performance. Change is challenging and worrisome. We resist because we are typically afraid. Afraid of possible bad outcomes. Afraid the risk it puts us in.  To adapt to change requires information. Information that we can use confidently to respond well.  

What is agility?
“If we take a very pure sense of what agility means, it is actually an organization’s innate capability to survive and thrive in the long run” says Tathagat Varma  in the SmartBites video “Agile  What is it really?…

Change in Business, Career : Compass vs. Maps
Anuj Magazine in the SmartBites video “Reinventing yourself in these changing times” says:

“A extremely successful company like Nokia was wiped out when Apple launched iPhone. Why? My hypothesis is that companies that followed a compass approach as against a map approach survived. 

Compass is something that gives a sense of direction of where you should be headed to and that sense of direction comes from knowing what is happening in your vicinity, whereas Maps tell you to go from point A to point B and not worry about what’s happening around it. 

The same analogy works very well with careers as well, when we talk about careers, it is if you follow compass approach, we will be encouraged to figure out what’s happening in our ecosystem and define the next step accordingly. If we follow the map approach the career paths tend to be more map-like ‘move from SW Engineer to Sr Software Engineer’ whereas the world around is changing and you’re still happy, scaling probably the wrong ladder.”

Change in the Organisation Structure
In the SmartBites video”The changing facet of our discipline/industrySudhir Patnaik says:

“There is a tremendous shift towards a customer-backed approach. Everything that we do is keeping our customers in mind , the extreme mindset of product ownership and the one scrum team mindset is driving phenomenal change in how we deliver product. 

I think days are gone, when you have to develop, somebody else has to test and  somebody else has to deploy. It is evolving in such a way that every single member of the team owns every responsibility. So if I am a developer or test engineer, I own development, I own testing, I own deployment, I own support. That’s the team extreme ownership. That’s a disruptor.”

Change in SW Dev Practice
“The trends which are taking over software development, the whole software space, is in being Agile. People want to be able to deliver faster and with a lot more flexibility.

So what the tester needs to understand is that he has one big constraint and that is time. So you can try and reduce, squeeze as much time as you want if attention is being paid in the right places, you’ll still get the best bang for the buck. So I think that’s where we need to look at. We need to understand what’s happening in the world outside. We need to be able to focus, plan our work and execute to the plan in whatever limited time we have”,  says Vivek Mathur in the SmartBites Video “The changing landscape of dev – What does this mean to SW testing?

In cycling/running there is an interesting concept of cadence. In the case of cycling, cadence is about how many times/minute you rotate the pedal. When you move from a plain terrain to a climb (change), the speed will drop. So the natural response is expend more power by pedalling harder to maintain the speed. The challenge is that leg muscles work harder and tire out quickly. 

This is where cadence comes handy. Instead of expending higher energy, shifting to lower gears and rotating the legs (pedals) faster results in maintaining the same speed on the incline. So it is typically recommended to spin at a higher cadence to compensate for the change. Cadence is about continuous motion to enable a good response to the change. High cadence implies nimbler movement and using information about the terrains as we ride enables one to respond  well. 

How does this relate to what we do? Break the problem into smaller chunks (lower gear) and keep the problem solving rhythm going good. 

Stay agile to respond, be alive
Constant adaptation is wonderful as it results in fluid continuous motion. A beautiful feeling of aliveness. And that is what nature is about. Continuous morphing, resulting in improvements. 

“Use a compass. Stay in a rhythm with high cadence. Own, see the big picture.”

About SmartQA The theme of SmartQA is to explore various dimensions of smartness to leapfrog into the new age of software development, to accomplish more with less by exploiting our intellect along with technology.  Towards this, we will strive to showcase interesting thoughts, expert industry views through high-quality content as articles, posters, videos, surveys outlined as a SmartQA Digest weekly emailer. SmartBites is “soundbites from smart people”. Ideas, thoughts and views to inspire you to think differently.

Role of human intellect in the digital age

T Ashok @ash_thiru

Over the last few months, as a producer of SmartBites for the SmartQA channel, I asked a question to EIGHT senior software folks spanning across the roles of management, technology& architecture, QA and development.

“In this digital age, what do you believe is the role of human intellect in QA?”

The answers were different and very interesting, summarised as :

  • Increased need for QA intervention at back end
  • Intelligent UI automation requiring less human intervention
  • Focus on back end
  • Intelligent systems will augment our capabilities
  • It is QA as a mindset that will prevail, may not be the department
  • AI/ML may not understand business context, be the voice of customer
  • Tools cannot come up with negative scenarios
  • Intellect systems will foster more test innovations
  • To suspect everything, think like Sherlock Holmes
  • Intelligent systems will assist in making decisions
  • Intellect is needed to judge adequacy
  • Behave as first client
  • 1000s of configuration, 1000s of customer varieties

Now continue reading in-depth from the horse’s mouth!

Sudhir Patnaik says:
With the way AI & ML coming into the play, my instinct says that there will come a time where a developer doesn’t need to write code. You just tell the chat bot the business logic and it spits out the code. In fact, to some extent it’s happening today – where the template code is ready  and you just plug in the business code. I think even in the testing world that is going to happen. Someday automation is going to be SO intelligent, point it to the URL (UI) and it will do everything. There is no need for human intervention. It self-corrects whenever the things change in the website or URL!

I think that’s where it is headed. Sometimes when we say test automation, we unfortunately focus only on UI automation. A big work piece is platform automation and companies around the world are transforming themselves to be known as platform organizations. There is more technology on the platform side. I think the human interface on the UI side will minimise, and this is where the transformation is. I see it more on the back end, as the front end is going to be driven through intelligent systems. So, our intervention as quality engineers on the front-end side will get minimised over a period of time. 

With respect to a piece of code, unit testing requires you to focus on code. And it is not easy for any computer system to understand the piece of code and magically spit out unit test code.

An intelligent software can write positive and negative test cases, but that may be about 50% of the coverage with the remaining 50% from a human. I think that is where the intellect is still needed. I don’t think chatbots will take over. Click here to watch this smartbits video.

Anuj Magazine says:
That’s an interesting question and I’d like to answer this with an analogy. Playing chess is often associated with great deal of mystique as someone having a great deal of intelligence. Garry Kasparov who was the world champion in chess for a long time wrote a very insightful book titled “Deep Thinking”, where he captures a part of his journey. He talks about his experience when he decided to play with computers for the first time despite being a world champion on a public stage in 1980s. The first match was a walkover, the first series he won without much effort and that proved that humans are still superior to computers. He played a few public matches till around 1988 and 1989 and then a computer named “Deep Blue” beat Kasparov. People wrote obituaries of Kasparov, his skill as a chess player and also of chess as a sport . We are twenty years from that time and we have the champion Magnus Carlsen who is winning almost everything that chess has to offer and a lot of people are terming him as the greatest chess player of all-time. 

If you rewind this whole sequence of things, first humans fought with the machines and won, and machines kept getting better and then machines were able to beat humans at that time. And then we are at a stage where especially in sports like chess where Magnus Carlsen, Vishwanathan Anand use computers to augment their already supernatural abilities that they have. Machines and humans are working together to make the whole sport better with lot of invincibility and lot of new people players are emerging. So this really tells a lot about what is going to happen in the existing professions as well. 

So the role of human intellect is not going to go down in any way. What will happen is, with all the automation that is happening (my hypothesis), it will return more time back to the human beings and it is up to the human beings to utilise that time to make them more better at what they do,  their professions. 

Interestingly from what I have read and observe like machines don’t need to mimic human beings to get better than them. If you look at aeroplanes, they don’t need to flap their wings, helicopters don’t need wings at all. So they will find numerous ways to get better than what we do. The engines replacing bullock cart was another example so we don’t need to have someone pushing the engine like the bullock used to do earlier. In order to stay relevant, human intellect is going to be really important. 

Even from QA standpoint it is very important for QA professionals to adapt QA more as a mindset than a department. Let me give you an example gleaned from interacting with one of the departments in my organisation hat takes care of FedRAMP certification a security certification needed to sell to the Federal Government in the US. If you look at the structure of FedRAMP certification, there are criteria that are stringent, criteria that has to be met and the people who do the certification for you are the people who are well read and well aware of the criteria and what happens around it and they follow the procedure as well as apply their knowledge to certify.

They do a lot that a QA person will do in a different context, but they are not called as QA Engineers, they are called as the enablers of certification. People should be using their intellect to enhance the QA mindset and apply that while going in different direction that QA mindset is not going to get extinct, may be department may get overhauled depending upon the way the different organizations think about the value of it. Click here to watch this smartbits video.

Vivek Mathur says:
Understanding the business context, acting as the voice of the customer are things that are not reproducible as yet and ultimately may never be because AI, ML will depend on the quality of the data that you get. What we get is a biased data, that is not representative sample of the world, but a sample of a certain subset of people and if you try to extrapolate that to everybody, you end up pushing that bias into the system and into the results of the AI as well. So it’s that human understanding, the ability to say whether this is the right thing, it is ethics of the situation, it is the humanness, it is the empathy, the emotional connect with the end user , which is the problem that we as intellectuals need to solve and that’s what we need to propagate, and that’s what we need to be the as spokesperson for, as part of the QA function. Click here to watch this smartbits video.

Srinivasan Desikan says:
Human intellect cannot be replaced at all. We talk about negative testing, we talk about positive testing, and the plethora of tools & processes can assist in positive testing, not the negative testing.  None of the case tools cannot give you the negative test scenarios. If we look at the Boeing crash that had happened, it was not a testing failure. It was only a failure of a negative scenario, which was not explored while developing the product itself. It was a nose problem, the autopilot that was running the aeroplane was trying to adjust the nose so that it gets the elevation. Rather, it put the nose too much down, and it went into a crash.

So the testing is something which should be left to 90 percent automated and at least 10% manual so that we can catch those kind of errors. So the human intellect in QA will continue to grow and we are going to have more and more automation. We are going to have more and more innovative testing that may not be in an ‘automated way’, but in a ‘manual way’ because innovative testing happens only once in a while. It is not something which is mundane that you will repeat, for if you repeat it is not termed innovation. So from that perspective the human QA intellect will continue to not only survive but grow. Click here to watch this smartbits video.

Jawahar says:
Our industry is not like other parallel Industries where after the design and validation, pretty much things can be manufactured . Machines can do this job. There are predictions that quite a few things will be taken up by machines  even in the software industry, but I strongly believe that  the ultimate deliverable of our industry is something still produced by humans and it has to be validated by humans. Pretty much the validation team will have to behave like Sherlock Holmes and the kind of intellect that he has is what I would expect the teams to have – “to suspect everything”.  It is not a lack of trust , it is trust-but-verify principle there. So I think intellect plays a very important role in both teams – construction as well as for validation teams for a long time to come. Click here to watch this smartbits video.

Arun Krishnan says:
I always maintain that analytics is a platform, AI or ML is a platform that is going to enable humans to make decisions. For example, there are already models that can predict based on looking at X-rays, the propensity of somebody having a cancer for instance, but would we  completely stop using human intellect? I think that would be a mistake, in any field. 

Recent case in point is the air crash that took place in Ethiopia, where the plane completely controlled by an algorithm. If only the humans had disengaged this, the crash may have been averted. A recent Twitter spat between Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg was if AI will be beneficial or pose an ethical issue. Well I am the side of Elon Musk, while Zuckerberg has a very rosy vision, which I don’t think it is at all. 

I grew up reading Asimov, the robot series, and the three laws of robotics got into me when I was a kid.  In the book the those laws of robotics were circumvented in very unique ways in certain circumstances. I read that  Google is starting to think about the ethics of AI, which means you do not only build in the ethics programmatically, but also have the human override.

 While I am all for AI helping testing, I think it still is a role for human intellect.  It might sound a little wishy-washy but I think you still have to ensure that human intellect has a veto power so that you can shut off the AI switch if you think it is isn’t telling, if it can be catastrophic. Click here to watch this smartbits video.

Sriramadesikan says:
It is always needed, it plays a great role irrespective of whatever be the level of automation, people are talking bringing in a lot of machine learning, artificial intelligence and so on, but in the end as ultimately one needs to put their brains to see what the adequacy is,  how much of the flexibility is needed in the given time with the accelerated development. Click here to watch this smartbits video.

Raja Nagendra Kumar says:
Today’s products are used by thousands of folks, here the QA role has become 10X.  QA has to start behaving as a first client themselves. It is not just about getting into the requirement, it is about wearing the customer which in this digital age which could be 100s of different varieties of customers. It is not more about “I have complied to SRS”.

Second, the cloud has given us too many configuration approaches. How do you deploy? How do you scale? How do you perform? we need to consider both the software side and the hardware side. Now all these configurations are not easy to be done,  even by QA if they want to do it manually, they have to become coders. So basically, DevOps are QA.

Need to use one’s intellect to handle so many varieties of deployment ,so many customers intent to bring to developer’s notice.. If they have any problem in testing it they have to communicate to development saying that, this is a requirement I am not able to test. Make sure that the developer addresses it because that is a good input for a great developer. If it is not testable, if it is not maintainable  which means it is not verifiable, which is not a good way to say ‘I have done’, as a developer. 

Lot of information in enterprise is coming from various sources, one is the QA, one is the support, other is production, all  they are supposed to do is the first level of filtering . “Why they were not able to capture that” and then give it in a way where developers are able to consume it faster. If they can really do that well, they are fulfilling not just a QA job, they are  representing 1000s of varieties of customers, 1000s of configurations in the cloud. All this complexity requires a lot of intellect. Need to have a dev mindset, know to comfortable with  coding. Click here to watch this smartbits video.

About SmartQA The theme of SmartQA is to explore various dimensions of smartness to leapfrog into the new age of software development, to accomplish more with less by exploiting our intellect along with technology.  Towards this, we will strive to showcase interesting thoughts, expert industry views through high-quality content as articles, posters, videos, surveys outlined as a SmartQA Digest weekly emailer. SmartBites is “soundbites from smart people”. Ideas, thoughts and views to inspire you to think differently.