Today, I am excited to start a brand new interview series – ‘Know a Leader’, where we will be interviewing famous personalities from the Software Testing industry.
I am sure these interviews will immensely help and inspire our readers.
Our today’s guest is Neeraj Tripathi, VP of global QA at Infor.com
Neeraj, it is a pleasure to be conversing with you today. We appreciate you taking the time to answer our questions. Our readers will be thrilled to meet you and know your views, virtually, through this 14 Questions series.
Question #1. Hi Neeraj, Could you share more about you and your journey so far?
Neeraj: Sure, I have been in IT industry for 20+ years now and like many others I have witnessed & was part of a journey from legacy technologies to the world of IOTs . I was fortunate to start my journey building software in different technologies for clients located across the globe & leading large software projects & programs.
In last 10+ years, I have helped many organizations to build, nurture and transform their software quality assurance organizations.
My recent experience includes leading & transforming QA professionals from different LOBs for one of the fortune 10 companies into an enterprise shared services QA organization.
Question #2. How do you think testing has changed in the last decade? What can we expect for the future?
Neeraj: A lot has changed.
10 years ago, many organization didn’t even had formal QA/Test team members to verify and validate software and nowadays we see quality acceptance criteria, left shift quality, regression for incremental releases, focus on defects leakages, etc..
Many institutions now even have courses on software quality/testing & there are certifications for QA professionals.
Question #3. What can testers do to adapt to these changes?
Neeraj: If you are in a technology business then only thing which is constant is change and software testing is no different.
It is important for QA Professional/tester to understand how software is being developed and more importantly how will it be consumed by the end user. Keeping up with the changes in software development technologies and tools available for QA is very important.
I encourage testers to attend or read topics from software testing conferences to understand trend and solutions. Also, it is good to participate and contribute to software testing blogs/communities.
Question #4. Do you think QA teams are still struggling to prove to the management that they do generate positive ROI? If yes, what works in our favor?
Neeraj: I don’t think so but QA being value added services you should have metrics and data, not only to prove your point, it is also important to set goals for your team members and keep them motivated by demonstrating their contribution as QA professionals in the overall success of the organization.
What really worked for me during initial phases of this journey is to gather details on what problems (time to market, security, quality, customer retention, etc.) are we trying to solve and how QA can help to solve those problems.
Neeraj: You may be surprised but many organizations are still pretty much waterfall for their large programs. What is really important for QA team to have a process and deliverables aligned with the organization’s software development life cycle.
For waterfall, early active engagement of QA is critical and for agile while active engagement is important having a robust regression for frequent deployment is very critical.
Question #6. Will there be more testing jobs or less in the future?
Neeraj: Software testing is here to stay as long we keep building software.
It is important for QA professional to keep up with the technology because skills required for these types of jobs is going to continue to evolve.
Question #7. Testing is a field where we see resumes with inflated experience and skills. When you hire someone, how do you decide if they are right for the job?
Neeraj: Hiring process is critical irrespective of BA, QA, PM, Development, etc. resources. In addition to cultural fit, skills, etc. hiring manager should be evaluating candidates on responses & problem-solving approach for close to real scenarios for the job they are interviewing.
Question #8. With your experience, I am sure you have seen it all, done it all and solved it all. But, has there been anything that has challenged you and ‘stirred the pot' more so than the others?
Neeraj: There are many things and sometimes sequence of things which helps in building your thought process and motivation but if I need to pinpoint one thing which really amazed and challenged my thinking is the opportunity QA team has in recent times due to exposure of your organization’s brand image in social media/digital transformation and scary security breaches.
Question #9. At the other end of the spectrum, what gave you tremendous amounts of professional joy over the years?
Neeraj: Keeping your customers happy, reducing cost on penalties, if any and retaining more customers by delivering a superior quality product is what gave me joy over the years and I equally enjoy helping and educating organizations on quality and how best we can use and transform existing talent to deliver quality software.
Question #10. If there are 3 skills you would advise testers to invest on, what would those be?
Neeraj: There is a long list :) but if I need to pick top three, I would say:
- Customer Experience – Understanding your end user/customers is very critical for QA/test team members. When I say customer experience it is different than user experience, customer experience is to understand how your customer is consuming or using the information provided by your software
- Automation Skills – Speed to market is critical and it important for QA/tester to keep finding ways to increase test coverage and reduce testing cycle time by automating test scripts, eliminating redundant processes, automate data creation, continuous integration, etc.
- Analytical Mind – While this is important for all resources in IT but having an analytical mind is one of the key quality to be a good QA/tester. Having analytical mind helps to observe data, think & challenge logic, resolve problem, etc.
Question #11. I am sure you get this a lot. What keeps you motivated?
Neeraj: I find it exciting to implement new process & ideas in SDLC, especially in QA and see them through to realization.
I find the most satisfaction in building COEs, empowering QA resources & transforming QA organizations to prove their value. Great companies & leaders I worked for have allowed me to work at my best.
Question #12. What are the trusted sources for testers to improve themselves professionally? Your favorite personalities, books, blogs etc?
Neeraj: I like StickyMinds.com, James Bach’s Blog and reading other available testing resources. Attending testing conferences are another great source for learning industry trend and networking.
Question #13. If you have to summarize your mantra for success in the IT QA field in one line, what would it be?
Neeraj: Keeping up with the industry trend and persistent about solving problems.
Question #14. On a lighter note, I have to ask this – Is work-life balance a myth or does it exist? What are your tips?
Neeraj: It may vary from person to person & how they perceive work-life balance. If you enjoy what you do at work then that certainly helps in your work-life balance.
Thanks again Neeraj for answering all these questions. I am sure your thoughts will motivate our readers!
Follow Neeraj on LinkedIn here.
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