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Do we really need QA department?

I have been running business for the past 11 odd years and went through many different phases where I felt QA department is a must and now I am at a stage where I have realized that it’s actually not needed. Let’s first understand the whole scenario.

There was a phase when our company was on rapid growth path, many projects in hand, many bugs in hand as well. So basically, I was in a situation where I felt, the projects are getting delayed due to too many bugs and client has to spend time in testing bugs and get back to us with bug list. Which was unfair and I really did not like that.

That’s when I thought, let’s hire a QA guy and see if it helps us or not. My imagination of the QA guy was like a soldier who would kill all the enemies quickly and make the king happy.

Well, that was kind of true. It worked really well for smaller projects. I was happy, developers were happy. clients were happy.

As it worked out, decided to hire few more to offload the work from one guy’s shoulder and within few months, I had a QA team of around 7-8 team members including a team leader.

Like earlier, I was liking this team, the soldiers with shining armor who would kill the enemies very quickly. But then came larger and complicated projects, obviously these guys came handy at that time too but it took more time than expected. Multiple testing rounds, back and forth with developers. Gradually, the modules kept going in loop of development, testing and bug fixing. This delayed the projects.

Apart from this, a new type of problem started. “Who will take the responsibility for the bugs?” According to QA, the developers did not do the job properly and according to developers, QA guys did not understand the scope properly.

We made few changes in our internal flow to overcome this but what I realized was, no matter how much you explain to QA guys, their understanding is not going to be as clear as the ones who have developed it.

But this was late realization. This was actually the worst time for me. Developers and QA both were working like dumb robots, modules got stuck in QA for 1-2 weeks and this was affecting the projects.

Gradually, I reduced the size of QA team and decided to give this responsibility to the developers. I did not work well with few of them so I had to perform a clean up job there too. Basically the ones who wanted to work like a robot without thinking of business logic were cleaned up.

The remaining guys did the job fairly well, obviously there were hiccups in the start but hey, I never expected a smooth ride.

I won’y say it was a 100% successful experiment but I am on the way to make it perfect.

So to summarize this:

Take time in hiring the developers, keep tough tests and filter out. Currently more than 90% of the developers are used to working in environment where they have to work on the given task without thinking about the business logic. Skip those guys. It will be difficult to find such guys but definitely not impossible.

Note: This kind of problem is mostly faced in Startups or SMEs. Larger companies generally prefer dividing everything in fragments between large number of developers / testers where you really don’t need to understand the business logic. But this process will be costly and would require more manpower. I really don’t think it’s a good idea for Startups or SMEs to follow that process.

 

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Honda, Arya Honda and My Honda (City)

Honda launched new version of City in January 2014. The car I was waiting for since quite sometime. At that time, even though I wanted to buy the car but was not ready for it.

I made up by mind after reading user experiences. Though, it took me 3 months to decide. Around 25th April, I called up Arya Honda showroom at Bhandup and asked for test drive.

Fixed the time and place for the test drive. Since, I wanted to gift this car to my parents, so decided to go for test drive bit away from my house. The guy was supposed to reach place by 12 in the noon, we (My friend and me) waited for the guy. Called him up after 10 minutes, the guy said, he will be reaching there in next 15 minutes.

We waited for another half an hour, this time he said, he was stuck with one of his clients in Mulund so he will reach in 10 minutes.

We waited for another 15 minutes, got reply saying, he is still stuck with his client. At this time, I was totally pissed off but still waited for another 10 – 15 minutes and called him up saying, if you don’t turn up within next 10 minutes, I am leaving. He promised me that he will be there in few minutes.

Obviously, that did not happen, I left the place. I get call after half an hour from the guy, saying, he is ready for the demo, he has left too. I deny as he kept us waiting for an hour, I hate guys who do not value time. After this, I sent mail to Honda with the feedback about the whole experience.

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Customer Service and India

I have absolutely no idea why Customer Service and India do not gel well. No matter what product you buy, no matter how costly or premium it is, the customer service is always going to be bad.

Well, that’s my personal experience with many brands I have been customer of.

For example, few years back I had purchased Samsung’s 3D LED Smart TV, their display panel stopped working properly couple of times, I had to fight with them to get the replacement. They did once but denied it for the 2nd time. (Quoted me Rs. 40,000 for it)

A year back, I had purchased a shirt from Zara, the shirt’s color started fading out after 2nd or 3rd wash. They completely denied to accept the fault at first, it took me 3-4 months to get the replacement. This was, after I sent them legal notice. The cost of the shirt? Rs. 2,500 and mental torture? Endless.

Recent example include, a Coffee machine purchased from Cafe Coffee Day. It stopped working within 3-4 months of purchase. Raised the issue with the branch from where we had purchased, no action, raised it on Twitter, no action. Office guy had to literally yell at them, talk to their branch manager and what not to get this simple thing fixed. BTW we are still trying to sort this matter out.

The last one is from Apple’s authorized service center Maple. Had given my iPhone 5 for battery replacement. I was supposed to get the phone today, went to their service center to collect it, I was told, they have not received the battery from Apple. This is after numerous calls to their useless customer support helpline and waiting for 40 minutes at the service center. Had to yell at them and the result? They replaced the battery in 15 minutes flat. When I asked how did you get the battery? You did not have it? The answer? Sir, we got the battery couple of hours back and it wasn’t updated in our log.

The common factor in all the above example is, the customer needs to talk tough to get the work done from these brands. I have read several tweets, blog posts on people contacting company’s top management to get things sorted out etc..

But why these kind of things are needed? Why do we have to go higher ups to get simple things sorted out?

According to me, this is mainly happening because every customer support representative is worried about his / her job and do not want to take any risk by promising anything quickly. Or the people who train them are simply brain dead and do not know a single thing about how to treat customers.

In most of the examples, I am sure people at mid level designation can easily take a call and sort out the matter but none did. In most of the cases, I had to go higher ups to get the matter sorted.

I am not sure if this kind of problem exists in other countries or not but in India, it does exist almost everywhere.

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So, we named her Aarohi

Aarohi – derived from musical term “Aaroham”, meaning, the ascending octave in music. It also means, rising, the one who climbs upward. This meaning is mainly used in mountaineering terms.

Our life is full because of her, she will keep rising and as parents, we will keep watching her with tears of joy in our eyes.

Whenever I look at her, I forget all the sadness and worries. I just keep staring at her and she keeps staring at me. I have never found this happiness in anything else.

I always thank my wife, Megha for her, she went through lot of pain, she still goes through lot of pain, understanding new born kid, keeping herself awake no matter how much tired she is. But apart from all this, she enjoys the parenthood much more than me.

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Fatherhood

The Angel

Yes, I have become a father. Father of a baby girl. 23rd February, 2014 was the day.

We were basically expecting the delivery to be around end of Feb anyways. The actual due date was on March 11th but generally the baby is ready after 37th week and can come out anytime after that.

Megha felt some pain on 22nd but everything was normal. Not expecting the delivery on the next day. But on 23rd, around 7 AM, she felt water breaking. We rushed to the hospital, doctors confirmed it and then actual process of “waiting” started.

Finally, the wait ended at 3:45 PM, the doctors took her to the labour room and another round of “waiting” started. Finally we got the good news at 7:53 PM.

I really cannot explain this feeling in words, everyone dancing in joy, tears in eyes. Holding baby in my hand for the first time, her eyes open, trying to look through those tiny eyes, blurred or almost no vision and trying understand what’s happening around..

It took good amount of time to believe that the baby I was holding is actually my daughter.

Brought Megha and Baby home on 28th.. the sleepless nights started the very first day. Trying to understand baby’s sleeping patterns and adjust ourselves with it.

BTW, being a parent isn’t a scary thing. It’s just beautiful feeling. Yeah, raising a kid is not a easy job but who said life is going to be easy?

Ok, I need to rush now, the baby is crying..