Saturday, March 17, 2018

Measuring Consumer Quality - The Missing Feedback Loop

I spoke in vodQA at ThoughtWorks, Pune on "Measuring Consumer Quality - the Missing Feedback Loop". 

This talk address the why and how from my earlier blog post on "Understanding, Measuring and Building Consumer Quality". I recommend you read that first, before going through the slides and video for this talk.


How to build a good quality product is not a new topic. Proper usage of methodologies, processes, practices, collaboration techniques can yield amazing results for the team, the organisation, and for the end-users of your product.

While there is a lot of emphasis on the processes and practices side, one aspect that is still spoken about "loosely" - is the feedback loop from your end-users to making better decisions.

SO, What is this feedback loop? Is it a myth? How do you measure it? Is there a "magic" formula to understand this data received? How to you add value to your product using this data?

In this interactive session, we will use a case study of a B2C entertainment-domain product (having millions of consumers) as an example to understand and also answer the following questions:

  • The importance of knowing your Consumers 
  • How do you know your product is working well? 
  • How do you know your Consumers are engaged with your product? 
  • Can you draw inferences and patterns from the data to reach of point of being able to make predictions on Consumer behaviour, before making any code change? 




Friday, March 9, 2018

MAD-LAB - Capabilities & Features - Agile India 2018

I spoke about "Build your own MAD-LAB - for Mobile Test Automation for CD" at Agile India 2018.

Though I have spoken on this similar topic answering the question - "Why I needed to build my own MAD-LAB?" before at vodQA in July 2017 at Vuclip, quite a few things have changed since then.

Knowing the value of "being agile", a day before my scheduled talk in Agile India 2018, I decided to revamp the content substantially. To add to my challenges, (and thanks to "testing" my slides before the talk in the conference room), I also realised the slide size format I was using is incorrect, and also the projector was not "setup / configured" correctly, making all my slide colours go haywire.

So after last 10 minutes of scrambling before the talk time, I managed to get this done correctly (at least that is what I think now in hindsight.

Moral of the above story - do a test / dry-run of your slides before your audience comes in!

That said, here is the abstract of the talk.


In this age of a variety of cloud-based-services for virtual Mobile Test Labs, building a real-(mobile)-device lab for Test Automation is NOT a common thing – it is difficult, high maintenance, expensive! Yet, I had to do it! 

The slides are part of the discussion on the Why, What and How I built my own MAD-LAB (Mobile Automation Devices LAB). The discussion also includes the Automation Strategy, Tech Stack, Capabilities & Features of MAD-LAB and the learnings from successful & failed experiments in the journey. 


Below are the slides from my talk. The link to the video will be shared once available.

Some pictures

Friday, January 26, 2018

Agile Testing & Patterns for a good Test Automation Frameworks

2018 started with a bang! I got an opportunity to speak and share my experiences in 2 rocking meetups.

Patterns of a "good" Test Automation Framework

TechnoWise meetup on 13th Jan on Patterns of a "good" Test Automation Framework went very well, with lot of interaction and discussions along the way.

What is Agile Testing? How does Automation Help?

Then, there was an impromptu meetup setup by a very proactive ISQA community at GO-JEK office in Jakarta, Indonesia on 16th Jan. The topic there was What is Agile Testing? How does Automation help? In this meetup, I also covered aspects of Career Path of a Tester, and QA Skills and Capabilities.

There were many amazing experiences from this meetup -

  • The ISQA community is very active. The meetup was setup in literally a few days and there were over 150+ attendees
  • The GO-JEK office space is a very fun place. They actually have an auditorium in the office to host meetups and similar activities, apparently, once a week!!
  • The questions / interactions with the attendees were very insightful

Here are slides shared in the meetup. I will share the link of the video as well once available.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Understanding, Measuring and Building Consumer Quality

It has been a long time since I posted anything on my blog. For those who don't know, I am working in Vuclip, a B2C company in the OTT space, where we have millions of consumers using our product via Android and iOS native apps, and the Browser too.

In the past few months, I have been in deep water taking on a new and very exciting initiative. Before I share what that is - here is a traditional approach to Quality.

Typically practices, processes, tools are chosen and implemented to help build a good Quality Product for the end-user. Evolving from Waterfall methodology to Agile methodology has been challenging for many (organizations and individuals), but has proven to be a huge step forward to achieving the goal of building a good and usable product.

In this course of time, we have (thankfully) changed the thought process of considering QA to be the "gate-keeper of Quality" to QA being a "Quality Advocate and Quality Enabler" for the team and the product. A very important change as a result has been changing the focus of QA from "finding defects" to "preventing defects".

And rightly so! After-all, why should the QA be the gate-keeper and -
  • take the responsibility and blame of someone giving poor / incomplete requirements? or,
  • someone writing bad code during development?
The QA is not a scavenger meant to clean up mess created by others. The QA instead is an enabler who -
  • helps bring all stakeholders together through the life-cycle of the product - from conceptualization to end-delivery, 
  • asks a lot of questions to find gaps, clarify assumptions, etc.
  • helps find and radiate information including risks, and,
  • is an active part of doing whatever it takes to prevent defects coming into the system
The Agile practices help do this in a collaborative way, getting features to completion in an incremental fashion, and iterating / pivoting based on the feedback received. This is also what practices related to Continuous Delivery enables us to do well.

But this is nothing new, at least for me. After all, during my fantastic journey at ThoughtWorks, I would say that these were basic tenets of why and how we worked.

That said, my eye-opener in the past few months has been to take this thought process many steps forward.

My agenda has been - how can I help influence and raise the bar of quality in such a way that we not only build a quality product, but also be in a position to predict how our millions of consumers will be able to use it.

This initiative we are calling as Consumer Quality -
  • how do we understand Quality (= value) of the product as perceived by our Consumers, 
  • what data can be relevant to understand this, how can we be proactive about looking at this data while building a quality product, and,
  • the Nirvana stage - how can we predict what actions taken will have desired impact on Consumer Quality!
I hope to be able to share with you more of this in 2018!

Happy New Year everyone! Keep Learning, Keep Sharing!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Analytics - the forgotten child!

After a long time, I spoke about What, Why and How of Analytics Testing at Selenium Conference, Berlin 2017.

This talk was initially supposed to be focussed on Web Analytics only, with impact on / of IoT (Internet of Things) and Big Data, but my recent experiences made me realise, the learnings could easily be applied to Analytics from Mobile native apps as well.

So against better judgement, a full 30 minutes before I was supposed to go on stage, I started a revamp of the slides to include more content, which also meant a complete change of flow of the talk / slides. Talk about making stupid decisions, but thankfully, it turned out pretty ok!!

Abstract of the talk:

What is Web Analytics and why is it important? We'll walk through techniques for manually testing your data and automating the validation process.
Just knowing about Analytics is not sufficient for business now. There are new kids in town - IoT and Big Data - two of the most used and well-known buzz words in the software industry! With a creative mindset looking for opportunities to add value, the possibilities for IoT are infinite. With each such opportunity, there's a huge volume of data being generated which, if analysed and used correctly, can feed into creating more opportunities and increased value propositions.
There are 2 types of analysis that one needs to think about:
  1. How is the end-user interacting with the product? - This will give some level of understanding into how to re-position and focus on the true value add features for the product.
  2. What are the patterns in the data? - With the huge volume of data being generated by the end-user interactions, and the data being captured by all devices in the food-chain of the offering, it is important to identify patterns and find out new product and value opportunities based on these.

Video from the talk:

Slides from the talk:

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

NullPointerException from RemoteWebElement in Selenium via Appium Java-Client 5.0.0-BETA9

As you may be aware from my previous posts about MAD-LAB, we are using Appium, with Java-Client 5.0.0-BETA9 to automate user journeys of the VIU app on Android & iOS devices.

Last week, suddenly, while in the middle of doing another round of significant changes to support more capability in the test framework for the Android app, the tests started failing. All infrastructure pieces were working fine, but when the App launched, I started getting this error:

ERROR AndroidLanguageScreen:16 - [5203bb1ae2771425] - ERROR in clicking on androidElement - ' tv_one' - exception - 'null'

The code in question was - driver.findByElement(myElementLocator).click()

On further investigation, it seemed that there was a problem in doing any interaction with the app, not just "click".

After lot of racking my head, asked a colleague to see if the problem reproduces on her machine. As she had not run the tests on her machine since a few days, as soon as she ran the test execution command, soon the same error happened on her machine as well. Interestingly though, we observed the following trace in her machine's console logs:

Packages that were updated:

:buildSrc:compileJava UP-TO-DATE

This trace meant that something had changed in the dependencies (automatically), and gradle was fetching newer versions for the same.

This was a smoking gun we were looking for. On investigation for selenium 3.5.1 with appium java-client 5.0.0-BETA9, it quickly showed only 1 hit in search result - which was a bug reported on Java-Client 5.0.0-BETA9 - Warning: Selenium 3.5.1 breaks java client 5.0.0-BETA9

The solution / workaround was also already provided by QAutomatron

configurations.all {
    resolutionStrategy {
        force 'org.seleniumhq.selenium:selenium-support:3.4.0',

This resolved our issue for now.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Why I needed to build my own MAD-LAB

I spoke about "Build your own MAD-LAB - for Mobile Test Automation" at vodQA - The Saga Continues! at Vuclip in collaboration with ThoughtWorks on Sat, 29th July 2017.

Join the vodQA group on facebook / LinkedIn to be part of the vodQA community.

Here are details of the talk:


Building a real-(mobile)-device lab for Test Automation is NOT a common thing – it is difficult, high maintenance, expensive! Yet, I had to do it!

Setting the stage - I am coordinating all Testing activities for VIU - an OTT (over-the-top entertainment) product available on Android, iOS and WAP platforms. This product delivers high quality, popular video content in various different languages for consumers in various different regions. One of the main items in my charter is to implement functional test automation for consumer / user functionalities, and to provide quick feedback to the team and stakeholders on the “true” state of the product on all supported platforms for VIU.

In this talk, using the above set context, I will be sharing the following:
  • The automation strategy
  • Chosen tech-stack
  • How (and why) no cloud-based solution worked for me
  • Implementation details - MAD-LAB - which arose from the learnings of the failed experiments - which resulted in setting up my own real-device in-house lab.
  • The core implementation (code) of MAD-LAB (already open-sourced)

Takeaways for attendees

  • Learning from my experiments (what worked, or didn’t)
  • Approach to testing an OTT (entertainment domain) product
  • How to build a Test Automation Framework using cucumber-jvm / Appium
  • Implementation details to Manage Devices, Optimizing Test Execution via distribution, Appium server, Custom Reporting etc., enabling automatic test execution via CI on each new app build, and more.


Video (talk starts at 04m:45s)

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

vodQA - The Saga Continues in Pune!

After a long break, vodQA returns to Pune. This time, ThoughtWorks & Vuclip are jointly hosting vodQA.

At vodQA, we have always strived to focus on the art and practice of Testing. This edition of vodQA is no different. Hence the theme for this vodQA - "The Saga Continues"

We welcome all roles interested in the (Software) Quality to participate in this conference.

The event will be held on Sat, 29th July 2017 at Vuclip office in Pune

Agenda is as below:

1st Floor, 
Nanasaheb Gaikwad Information Technology Park, 
Sarjaa Rd, Aundh, Pune, Maharashtra 411007
Above Croma

Friday, June 9, 2017

Changing logcat buffer size in Android devices ... almost works

My (debug-build of) app under test logs extra information about test execution to system logs which is accessible via logcat on Android devices. This is very powerful as now I can run my cucumber-jvm / Appium tests, copy the logcat file after the test execution completes, parse it for relevant information, and do appropriate assertions on the same.

The default buffer size on Android devices I have seen is 256kb. This is less for me - as I end up losing the earlier information, and hence my assertions fail.

Thankfully, there is a programmatic way to change the logcat buffer size in the device before running tests. The command is

adb logcat -G 3M

This adb command works in the Motorola devices in my MAD LAB, but does not work in Samsung devices. The error I see on running the above command is "failed to set the log size"

Any idea why this would not work in Samsung devices? or rather, what do I need to do to change the logcat buffer size?

[UPDATE] - Interestingly - this works on Samsung Galaxy S7, but NOT in Samsung J5 Prime OR Samsung J7 Prime

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Criteria for setting up a Mobile Test Automation LAB

I recently got asked this question related to the MAD LAB (Mobile Automation Devices LAB) - "Would like to understand how can we setup something similar in our organisation?"

Since this question is applicable for all those thinking of, or have already set up their own lab, thought I would share my answer here.

To setup your own LAB for Mobile Test Automation, multiple things need to align:

Supportive management who -
  • allows experiments (within reason of course) and encourages learning through failure, 
  • willing to invest in infrastructure ($$)

Skilled and Passionate team members who -
  • understand the domain well, 
  • willing to learn, experiment, re-learn and fail fast, 
  • keep looking for innovative solutions to solve problems on hand, 
  • do not reinvent the wheel. 

Philosophy aside, our MAD LAB has the following: 
  • Mac Minis (8-12 devices per Mac Mini), 
  • Powered USB Hubs (I use the ones shown below - and they are working pretty well)

  • High-quality USB cables (I use the ones shown below - and they are working pretty well)
  • CI (Jenkins) setup correctly to keep running tests continuously, proper reporting  in place (else whats the use of running tests if you do not look at the results)

You could start with similar IF it fits your product-under-test context

After I answered this on LinkedIn, I realised, there are more parameters to think about, than just the above.
  • Knowing which devices to use in your Lab
  • Having good, reliable Internet connection
  • Devices should be "seen" easily
  • Should be easy to work on / with the devices as and when required
  • Know how you the devices will be placed in the lab. We tried the following:
    • 2-way tape - that didn't work. Devices used to stay up for a few days, then "drop" suddenly. Of course, that also depends on the back surface of the devices.
    • We tried many mobile stands / hangers (shown below) - but each had their own limitations

    • Finally I found an industrial-strength velcro (1" velcro tape that could take a couple of pounds of weight) - and my devices have not budged since. PS: Please be careful when putting on this velcro on the devices. IF it gets on your hand, you will have a velcro tattoo for a long long time.

What other parameters would you consider for setting up your own Lab? Looking forward to the comments below.