Bug deBug Conference(Chennai) - Day1

I attended the Bug deBug conference at Chennai on 24th Mar 2012. This is my first conference on software testing and the experience is worth sharing. Overall I had a mixed experience,mostly good and a few not so great moments through out. I attended the general event on Day 1 and the workshop(on performance testing by Rahul Verma) on the following day, but in this post I want to share my experience of  Day 1.

I guess I might be one of  the very few people attended the conference from outside Chennai. I traveled from Bangalore the day before(fortunately it was a holiday for me because of Ugadi), reached  and relaxed so that I could attend the whole day program comfortably. Even though I was staying around 8km away from the location(Tidel Park), I started little early considering the fact that I was new to Chennai and the hostile behavior of the Auto drivers(a friend had warned me before coming, in Chennai the Bus conductors behave like CM and Auto drivers like PM). Anyway I reached the venue well before time around 8.20 AM. Even though Tidel Park was a well known place in Chennai, its difficult  for an outsider to remember the address.The conference ticket didn't have the address printed(I guess it was a defect, after all I am a tester :-)), the 2nd day workshop ticket had the same format and address was printed but in the 1st day ticket same place was blank.

There was no hoarding or banner at the main gate of Tidel Park, hence difficult to be confirmed that I  had reached at the correct place. But fortunately there were two courteous volunteers waiting near the security gate to help the participants get in. I could recognize them from their Bug deBug T-Shirts and they showed and directed me to the building where actually the event was happening. But again, there was no arrow mark for direction through out the way neither any banner visible at the building entrance. Neither the Auditorium number(Hall 1) was mentioned in the ticket nor I was told at the main gate by the volunteers, I had reached the same building(as directed by the volunteers at main gate ) but the security guard was not letting me in. Even though the conference was happening few feet away from the place, the guard was not aware of the same. Some how I could convince him, pushing through the typical language barrier to enter the building and found the auditorium. The registration process was about to start so I strolled around the building and had a fresh lime grape juice(I had never heard of that combination before!!) in the cafeteria.

The conference started little late(approximately 15 min, around 9.45 AM) with a brief introduction by the event director Mr Bharath followed by the Key Note address by Mr Uy Tran(Director of Product Development,QA Symphony). He had come up with a well prepared topic on methods of communication for a distributed team and how it contributes to project success. He emphasized on visual communication then verbal or written for far reaching effect as humans are more visual by nature. He talked about an interesting concept of "Cone of Learning". Over all it was good but his time was limited and he had to cut short his presentation.

Then the address of  Mr Vipul Kocher, President of Indian Testing Board(the title sponsor). He talked about ISTQB certification, the current and upcoming activities of Indian Testing Board. Interesting points announced were regarding sponsoring for book writing on testing. ITB had an elaborate event calender for 2012 of different testing events, book releases, prize distribution etc. ITB would help in conducting internal conferences  inside companies with larger QA group. Indian testing Board aims to reward testing professionals for their contribution to testing which would be regarded as Oscars of testing. The session was very informative and hope to see a better platform for testers to be engaged and interacted.

After this started the real speakers on specific topics. The First speaker was T Ashok (Founder and CEO of STAG) on a quite interesting and catchy titled subject "How many hairs do you have on your Head? Scientific approximation". He puzzled the participants with his witty questions around the title and tactfully made his point on how to make scientific approximation. When a baffling question like that hunts you, instead of making a wild guess we should use some rational calculations and approximations to reach a reasonable number. The exact number may not be absolutely correct but the way how you reach the numbers matters, with multiple iterations the number can be refined. The idea seems to be useful for people at a higher management hierarchy who have to deal with lots of numbers and unexpected questions and rationalization. Even though as a human being we make use of approximations in our day to day life(while driving your car in a parking slot or throwing or catching a ball), we have to make some conscious effort to extend that to our work.

The next speaker was Ramapriya Raju, a senior testing consultant talked about moving from the traditional testing to the modern approach and technologies. I think her speech was full of  latest and upcoming technologies and tools you can think of. She touched on cloud testing to SAAS to Unified Communication to Web 2.0 to Mash Up to Green IT. Then she named quite a few tools for mobile and cloud testing. She quoted few upcoming technologies from PC world magazine like wireless power transmission, 3D gaming, gesture based remote control devices etc. The topic was very futuristic and opens up so many opportunities for the testers to look into.

Then came the dashing Pradeep Soundararajan, with his growing flab, he was resembling his coach James Bach physically as well(he has proudly quoted of copying his style of teaching and accent in his blog). He cracked an awesome joke(the whole auditorium was thundered with laughter and claps) to start his speech, but unfortunately I could not make out anything as it was in Tamil. He had not prepared for the speech with any slides and thrashed the  Indian testers in his usual way(I have got a hang of it from his blog) : how testers write their resume, how they apply automation, how they get interviewed, how they deal with their skills and their manager etc. But I was little disappointed as I didn't get any tips for testers(as the speech title suggests) and all his testers bashing was applicable for some 60%(applied some scientific approximations here) testers(mostly from service based companies). But there are many smart and sincere testers working in product based companies and start ups who don't come out and share their skills for  reasons best known to them. Hope in near future the trend will be reversed and Pradeep would change his mind. But Pradeep's style and sense of humor definitely commendable, his short speech received the most laughter and applauds among all the talks of the day.

Then it was lunch break, we had our lunch in the cafeteria with a long queue. After lunch there were parallel sessions happening in two conference halls. I had planned to attend all the sessions, but had to choose either one of them. I stick to the main auditorium and attended all the talks there. The next session was by Vipul Kocher on patterns in testing and how to identify and use them. He quoted an interesting analogy of the learning pattern between the first and second language. He suggested to make a diary and note down the issues and resolutions we come across in our day to day life, we can get a great insight into the root cause(probably some pattern ) of the issues, If we refer them at a later period of time. Similarly the patterns we see in testing or issues found can help us in finding smarter test cases or executing scenarios leading to detection of bugs easily. By looking into the patterns we enforce ourselves to look at the bigger picture and long term view. Finding the pattern will help us to find the root cause of the repeated or similar issues, hence some preventive actions can be taken.

Then the director of software engineering from QA Symphony, Vu Nguyen gave his talk on qsize technique for cost and effort estimation of testing projects. The approach seemed to be similar to complexity based estimation model but had lot more details.Its a bottoms up approach of calculating the effort from the test case level considering its complexity with respect to check points, test set up and test data etc then sum up for all the test cases or suits to reach at the test cycle or project level. His academic background was evident from his slides and techniques. He shared a simple excel tool for effort estimation using the technique.

The next talk was by Mr Somenath Nag, Director - Business Development & Marketing, Calsoft Labs. He talked about the challenges faced in testing mobile applications and devices and the best practices or guidelines to sail through. Some of the challenges as discussed by him were diversity of devices, application usage, UX designs, Application & device security, rapid application development & testing. He explained how the usage of mobile devices different from PC and hence the test strategy should also be  different. PC is used indoor but mobile anywhere anytime; simple data entry like key board or mouse but mobile has multiple options of touch,keypad,voice,video; low or zero interruption in PC usage but mobile has very high interruption during usage; usability pattern is fixed in a PC but the application behavior  changes by If the device is rotated. He emphasized on not to solely depend on simulator or emulator for testing and certifying a mobile device.

Then comes the last session of the day, automation framework and layered approach by Rahul Verma, Test Architect with McAfee. He discussed about an automation framework he had developed and successfully implemented by multiple teams in his company. The framework was impressive, he explained how it was satisfying most of the features of a robust automation framework like scalable, extensible, supporting script development environment, supporting multiple interfaces, cross platform etc. He also gave a small demo and shared some tips of using open source utilities like SQLite - light, easy and reliable SQL DB engine.

In between the  sessions, organizers had arranged for some interesting puzzles for the audience  with prizes to keep them engaged in addition to tea and light snacks. There were stalls by the sponsors regarding their product portfolio around the area. I liked the free distribution of qTrace licenses by QA Symphony. I had read about it in some blogs and really wanted to evaluate the product myself, so got one. participants had the options to write down their testing goof ups or testing queries to the speakers on the wall. In addition to that, there was an option for charity by buying small badges, the money was meant for dyslexia children.

Finally the closure of the day 1 happened with distribution of mementos and prizes to speakers and other participants. The over all arrangement was really awesome, the organizers and volunteers were on their toes to help everyone. Except some minor glitches here and there everything was fine considering its the third edition of Bug deBug in Chennai. Some suggestions my side as per personal  experience of the event : As the event is getting traction among testers from India(with lots of publicity in Facebook and other networking sites), they can expect growing number of outsiders in subsequent editions, hence make little extra effort for their convenience as well who are new to Chennai. I could see the organizers were more or less testing professionals and trying their hands in organizing an event, so they should have hired some event management specialists especially the hosts(master of ceremony who handled the event through out)  to give it a professional touch. I saw hardly any speakers using the remote to navigate through their slides, it could have saved lots of their speaking time during the presentations. The participants and speakers were mostly from IT services companies, there should be an equal participation from product companies and product start ups to expose that side of the world as well. Kindly network and invite testers or speakers from the Googles, Amazons and Flipkarts of India for future editions.

So this is in short, my experience in Bug deBug day 1. I will share my Day 2 experience soon. Unfortunately my camera ditched me after few clicks, so very few photos I have.


  1. Nice article about the conference. Appreciate your critics and feedbacks to improve the quality of the conference. Our organizing team will take a note of them and implement some in the upcoming conference. Lets all contribute towards building an engaging testing community.

  2. Sure, thanks for taking in right spirit.

  3. Thanks for the blog Prasanna :) We will definitely work on your comments :), Thanks for being at Bug deBug, You can get more pics of the conference from www.facebook.com/bugdebug.

    ~ Bharath

  4. I am the one who disappointed you and I also happen to read about this in the post it notes you put up. What I actually did through my talk is to create a platform for the audience and me to interact over testing. I took the risk of starting my talk in Tamil when I knew some people were actually not from Tamil Nadu. Some of my own colleagues at Moolya did not understand the joke but mostly people liked :)

    For the copying of James Bach - no - I didn't say I copy his accent. I try to mimic his voice but is hard. I never try to do that on stage. People love my talk because I am myself. Teaching style, yes, to a degree where I have seen him coach me. A lot of my teaching style has evolved. As you may have read, copying J & M style was a starting point but its been years since I have my own.

    Some people in India have come to think that I am a copy cat of James or Michael. Thankfully, I am not a copy cat of ISTQB as most testers here are and I have a higher standard of copying :)

    Only few people know I am 100% original and not copy and I just need that many people to make my life happy.

    If you are in Bangalore, we should meet. For the flab, it ain't intentional :)

  5. Thanks Pradeep for reading through my post, It was my personal experience of the conference. I have recorded both good and not so good experiences through out.
    I just happened to come across your profile in Linked few months back and then following you in your blog, seen & listened to you in the audio and video podcast so had a high expectation from your talk in the conference. What you talked about was mostly I had read some where in your blog or comments so expected something new and different.
    Anyway what ever perceptions I have formed about you from your online presence may or may not be correct. I am based in Bangalore, but now out of India on an official assignment. It would be a privilege to meet you over a cup of coffee may be after a couple of months once I am back.

  6. Very good personal view of a conference, I hope more people share this via blogs in the future.

    I never had the experience of no signs or banners and always found my directions here in Europe, so to read that was very strange.
    And more, great that you write about the good and the less good experiences in your blog. Not all praises, but that would be impossible for a conference organizer; to make all people happy.

    As far as I can see from here in the Netherlands India is going the right way with their test conferences.

    Thanks for sharing

  7. Thanks Rob for your feedback, I am sure with time we will catch up with the other more popular conferences of the world.

  8. I Am trying for java developer postion with 2 years of fake experience. I have completed my java course. Is it really hard to survive in IT with fake experience? Please do reply.

  9. Hi Chaitra, it's difficult to survive and you may face problem in future. If you have really learned Java try as intern in some start ups, there are so many websites for interns like letsintern.com or try in startup groups in Facebook. There are huge demand for Java developers and If you are good at it, smaller companies or start ups recruit without minding what you were doing before. Just that the BIG IT companies create so much of fuss about career, gap etc but slowly things are changing. So it's better to struggle a bit during your initial days than be in that dilemma or fear through out your career for that fake experience. All the best.


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