Testing Smarter with Santhosh Tuppad (Full Interview)

This interview with Santhosh Tuppad is part of our series of “Testing Smarter with…” interviews. Our goal with these interviews is to highlight insights and experiences as told by many of the software testing field’s leading thinkers.

Santhosh Tuppad fell in love with computers when he was 12 and since then his love for computers has increased exponentially. He founded his first startup in 2010 and was part of growing the company to nearly 80 people.

In short, he is a passionate software tester, security researcher, entrepreneur and badass in following his heart come what may!

Santhosh Tuppad speaking in front of screen of text
Santhosh Tuppad

Personal Background

Hexawise: What drew you into a career in software testing?

Santhosh: I have loved computers since I was 12. My father enrolled me into a computer course and I got to experience Disk Operating System for the first time where I used computer using command-line terminal and also played Prince Of Persia game. And I was addicted to gaming during this phase.

After my gaming stint, I was introduced to the internet and picked up an addiction for IRC (Internet Relay Chat). Here, I met various hackers and used to communicate with them on various channels which were heavily moderated and were invite only. I had to demonstrate my interest in hacking to these folks to invite me to their channel. My first hack was to hack the dial-up network credentials and use them at my home when the internet shop used to close at night. We used to have Internet Packs at those times in India and I had to pay money to buy those: and I did not have money during my teenage years.

Without much ado, let’s skip to software testing part. After my graduation, I did not know what should I be doing (one thing I knew for sure was, anything that I do has to be with computers as I was passionate). I switched 5 jobs in 1 month and worked as IBM technical support guy, Creative Designer, XML Language Translator, PHP Developer and some other profession that I cannot remember as of now. I understood that, I cannot settle for anything which doesn’t synchronize with my heart. I was on the journey of finding which becomes part of me. And finally, I enrolled for the software testing course. And during the course days, I could connect my hacking skills (security testing) to software testing. This part of my life is what I call finding bliss.

And the story continued and I started growing in the industry as a tester, international speaker, participant in conferences across the globe, entrepreneur in software testing, keynote speaker, blogger, author and what not.

Hexawise: If you could write a letter and send it back in time to yourself when you were first getting into software testing, what advice would you include in it?

Santhosh:

Oh my dear soul,

I see that you have found yourself in a country where everyone is pressurized to become something else than they want to be. You identified something crucial and beautiful about yourself, that is you follow your heart with patience and kindness and don’t settle for something that doesn’t make you come alive. Like I know, passion is a variable and it may get boring at times; but being bored is just a temporary phase and an emotion which doesn’t mean your passion is dead. So, be rational and decide for yourself while you are kind to others. Accept yourself and forgive everyone.

You are stepping into what you love and I know you are confident about your journey and you believe in it. That’s beautiful.

It may be easy to fall into routine and get into monotony of things in your career. Nevertheless, you know how to sail through things and get out of them to start fresh or continue in a different path. You can swiftly shift based on your visceral.

Grow by following your visceral feelings and have no regrets. Be good at connecting the dots and growing out of them. The beauty of software testing has not been known by the world so well as of today, so work on your skills and demonstrate them to the world and educate professionals and students about the greatness of software testing. It’s not about you or me or anyone, it’s about next generation testers who could help their next generation and their generation to enjoy the fruit of invention which includes software. Let software make the life beautiful and not buggy.

I know that you know about your journey, but I am just saying.

With love,
Your other self

Hexawise: Describe a testing experience you are especially proud of. What discovery did you make while testing and how did you share this information so improvements could be made to the software?

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Examples of the Benefits of Using Hexawise at a Large Bank QA Department

Carrie Puterbaugh’s presentation at the Twin Cities Quality Assurance Association on using Hexawise to improve software testing at her organization (a large bank).

In one example she discusses in the video Carrie’s team used Hexawise to create an optimized test suite and provided that to the software vendor to have them run it prior to delivering the software to her bank. In this example historically they vendor was finding 67% of the defects and Carrie’s bank was finding 33%. Now that the vendor is using the Hexawise test suite the vendor is finding 98.5% of the defects and fixing them prior to delivering the software.

Based on these results her team was able to move staff off of testing this application and onto other testing needs of the organization. They are saving 90% of what they used to spend on QA on this project.

Another project she talked about was a high priority and high risk release that they used Hexawise on and achieved the highest quality software release they have ever had.

It was great…
We were able to go to management and say “we reduced the amount of test cases we ran and we got a better quality application.

Related: Combinatorial Software Testing at Fidelity Using HexawiseHow to Think about Test Inputs in Software Testing

How Do You Know You are Executing the Right software Tests?

How Do You Know You are Executing the Right Tests? This video shows a few tools in Hexawise that help answer this question and share the reasoning behind prioritization decisions in software testing (coverage chart, coverage matrix).

Related: How do I understand the testing coverage achieved by my Hexawise-generated tests?More Coverage, Fewer Tests™

Why are We Paying to Run These Software Tests?

The Hexawise coverage matrix displays pairwise coverage as each test is run in the test plan. The Hexawise created test plans also put the tests in order that provides the most coverage as quickly as possible (so if you have to release before you finish the test plan you have achieved as much coverage as possible with the tests you managed to execute).

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Related: Introducing the Hexawise Coverage Matrix!How do I understand the testing coverage achieved by my Hexawise-generated tests?

Combinatorial Software Testing at Fidelity Using Hexawise

Kathleen Poulsen of Fidelity Investments gave a presentation at STAREAST 2017 sharing her experience using Hexawise to improve their software testing performance.

We were able to reduce from over 12,000 test to 600 tests.

Those 12,000 tests provided unknown but less than full pairwise test coverage. Using Hexawise Fidelity generated just 600 test cases that provided complete pairwise testing coverage.

A big gain for Fidelity was that the testing teams using Hexawise were able to compare and coordinate testing coverage. For example, previously the UI and services teams could not effectively communicate test plan coverage and that resulted in a great deal of duplicated testing. Now they can communicate with each other easily and coordinate their testing plans using Hexawise.

Related: 2 Minute Introduction to Hexawise Software Testing SolutionMind Maps – What, Why and How

Testing Smarter with Mike Bland (Full Interview)

This interview with Mike Bland is part of our series of “Testing Smarter with…” interviews. Our goal with these interviews is to highlight insights and experiences as told by many of the software testing field’s leading thinkers.

Mike Bland aims to produce a culture of transparency, autonomy, and collaboration wherever he goes, in which “Instigators” are inspired and encouraged to make creative use of existing systems to drive improvement throughout an organization. The ultimate goal of such efforts is to make the right thing the easy thing. He’s followed this path since 2005, when he helped drive adoption of automated testing throughout Google as part of the Testing Grouplet, the Test Mercenaries, and the Fixit Grouplet.


Mike Bland

Personal Background

Hexawise: If you could write a letter and send it back in time to yourself when you were first getting into software testing, what advice would you include in it?

Mike: When I first started practicing automated testing and had a lot of success with it, I couldn’t understand why people on my team wouldn’t adopt it despite its “obvious” benefits. One of the biggest things that experience, reading, and reflection has afforded me is the perspective to realize now that different people adopt change differently, at different rates and for different reasons, and that you’ve got to create the space for everyone to adapt accordingly.

As I say in my most recent presentation, “The Rainbow of Death”, metrics and arguments are far from sufficient to inspire action in either the skeptical or the powerless, and the greater challenge is to create the cultural space necessary for lasting change.

Oh, and you’ve got to repeat yourself and say the same thing different ways multiple times—a lot.

Hexawise: What change management lessons did you learn while driving adoption of test automation methods at Google between 2005-2010? Which of those lessons were applicable when you were involved in the recent U.S. federal government effort to bring in talented tech people to bring new ways of working with technology into the government? Which of those lessons were not?

Mike: The top objective is to make the right thing the easy thing. Once people have the knowledge and power to do the right thing the right way, they won’t require regulation, manipulation, or coercion—doing things any other way will cease to make any sense.

Most of what I learned in terms of specific approaches to supplying the necessary knowledge and power has come from trying different things and seeing what sticks—and I’m still working to make sense of why certain things stuck, years after the fact. The most important insight, as mentioned earlier, is that different people adopt change differently, for different reasons, and as a result of different stimuli. Geoffrey A. Moore’s Crossing the Chasm was the biggest eye-opener in this regard.

Then, years later, when I saw fellow ex-Googler Albert Wong present his “Framework for Helping” to describe his first experience in the U.S. Digital Service, I instantly saw it snapping in place across the chasm, describing how the Innovators and Early Adopters from Moore’s model—who I like to call “Instigators”—need to fulfill an array of functions in order to connect with and empower the Early Majority on the other side of the chasm. Of course, through the filter of my own twisted sense of humor, I thought “Rainbow of Death” might make the model stick in people’s brains a little better.

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2 Minute Introduction to Hexawise Software Testing Solution

This short video gives a quick overview of the Hexawise software as a service solution and a very high level overview of software testing with a focus on interactions between parameters/factors.

Learn more about pairwise and combinatorial software testing practices: Introducing the Hexawise Coverage Matrix!How to Pack More Coverage Into Fewer Software TestsCreate a Risk-based Testing Plan With Extra Coverage on Higher Priority Areas

Too Much to Test and Not Enough Time to Test It All

beginner videoJustin Hunter’s presentation at the 12th annual international software testing conference in Bangalore, India, December 2012.

The techniques discussed focus on how to reduce the amount of time spent selecting and documenting test scripts, reduce the amount of tests needed for execution by creating unusually powerful tests and thus increase the thoroughness of software test suites.

The talk explored the significant risks, for users, companies and employees of failing to catch software application failures before release (for example, looking at releasing Apple Maps with significant failures). And discussed how combinatorial (also orthogonal array or pairwise) software testing can be used to create test plans that test a large number of parameters/factors quickly.

The slides from the presentation:

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Mind Maps – What, Why and How

beginner videoIn this video Justin Hunter shows how to use mind maps to clearly and concisely organize and communicate information about your software tests.

You can quickly see mind maps in action by logging into your Hexawise account (it is simple to setup a free demo account, if you don’t have one yet) and open one of the sample test plans. You can make changes to the test plan and export a new mind map and see how the changes are reflected in the mind map.

The video is using Hexwise v 2.0 which is slightly different than the current version on the public site (v 1.x doesn’t have the option to email yourself the mindmap). The main Hexawise site will soon be using Hexawise v2, which includes many enhancements.

As mentioned in the video help.hexawise.com provides guidance and tips on using specific Hexawise features to create software test plans and documentation. As shown in the video to view the mind map you click on the Export option which is in the upper right of the screen. The export option provides several export options including the option to generate mind maps.

Hexawise also can import mind maps that you have already created.

Related: How to Think about Test Inputs in Software TestingUsing Mind Maps for Test Planning

Detailed Example for Creating Pairwise Test Plans Using Hexawise

beginner video

This is an 8 part series of videos showing, in detail, various steps that can be used in creating a pairwise software test plan. Many test plans will not require many of these optional steps. Most of the videos have run times of 1-4 minutes.

The series of videos looks at how to create a set of functional test cases for customers purchasing products on Amazon.com using the Hexawise, a tool to create software test plans with pairwise and combinatorial test coverage.

Video 1 of 8, getting started creating up a new test plan.


Video 2 of 8, marking invalid pairs. This allows a test planner to avoid pairs that are not sensible – for example, if a certain product is not available for payment with a check (perhaps a service that requires a monthly payment). Hexawise will then avoid creating any test conditions that contained the invalid pairs that were identified.


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