Friday, February 23, 2018

5 Ways To Find Beta Users To Test Your App.

4:22:00 AM Posted by Prashant Hegde 1 comment

Successful Applications

Technology can maximize business profitability, but only if it is properly applied. For example, designing a software application for your business can be one of the best marketing tools. Additionally, the application may become an end unto itself; consider Snapchat, Instagram, Tinder, or any of the countless apps that have become socially relevant today.

But if you don’t properly test your applications in “Beta” phase before publicly unveiling them, you could miss some key operational errors that turn users off, and are very easy to fix. The last thing you want is a massive marketing campaign to be undermined by a sub-par product which could have been better if it were properly tested beforehand.

Accordingly, following are five tips to help you source beta users for your application. Such users will find problems with greater efficiency than you could internally—though that doesn’t mean you should totally preclude the possibility of sourcing internal Beta users.

1. Source Them Internally

This was just referenced: some of your Beta users should probably be sourced internally. You’ve got managers, tech people, employees, and those who aren’t directly involved with software design who are yet interested in what you’ve put together.

Such internal Beta users can be tasked with using certain features specifically, and finding where vulnerabilities are, without undermining your company directly through dissatisfaction or something similar.

2. Take Out Ads On Social Media

You don’t have to restrict yourself to social media, but you’re likely to find sympathetic audiences here. Generally, anywhere your products or services may find willing, interested, appropriate users, Beta testers likely characterize some statistical quotient of involved individuals.

3. Employ Professional Testing Solutions

Something else that may make a lot of sense is to seek professionals who can directly serve your operation, and who have some history of doing so for similarly situated businesses. Additionally, if you can’t directly acquire Beta users, at the very least you can acquire actionable information pertaining to application optimization.

At, you can learn more; according to the site, “Using a logging framework and monitoring application errors is critical. The problem is most developers log them to a text file or a database table. …. It makes a lot more sense to constantly monitor your applications for errors so you can identify and fix problems ASAP.”

4. Release Software Early In Specific Markets

Many times Beta testing is combined with profitability through limited release. With Google Glass, this happened. The innovation was eventually discontinued due to societal factors beyond Google’s control, though a special edition of the technology solution is still in the works.

Still, many Beta software applications are released in tech-savvy arenas with the proviso that a given app is in Beta. Interested users can buy and report back to you. You may even just post the new app on your website with the proviso that it is in Beta stage.

5. Don’t Forget The Possibility Of Digital Users—PaaS

PaaS stands for Platform as a Service. This is a cloud solution which basically surrogates digital environments. You can simulate mobile, desktop, and other digital environments (as well as their varying operating systems) on the cloud. Here, you can use the technology itself as a form of beta-testing.

Also, cloud computing solutions allow you to monitor cloud-based applications with greater ease than many internal solutions, making them worth considering in terms of continuing application management.

Designing A Reliable App

If you’re able to source the right kind of Beta testing, you’re more likely to see that which you’ve designed function as you intend. Be diligent about getting the right people on the job, and don’t rush things. You want to fix all the errors you can before you make your application fully public.

Monday, July 24, 2017


2:42:00 AM Posted by Prashant Hegde No comments
Certifications help us expand our knowledge base beyond that of our everyday tasks. I take online certifications, tests, and courses when I get spare time. I do not consider getting certified as an achievement but it is a great aid for learning and self-assessment. While many jobs might require one or more certifications, lots of tech pros have forged perfectly fine careers without them. Though some companies prefer certified candidates, a certificate can never replace actual knowledge but that doesn't mean they're worthless, either.

In this blog post, I am sharing few tips and techniques to clear PSM-I by self-study.

Ken Schwaber, the co-creator of Scrum, founded in 2009 as a global organization. To be effective, Scrum Masters need to have a rock-solid understanding of the practices and values of Scrum. The Professional Scrum Master (PSM) assessments allow people to validate and certify their understanding of those practices and values, and how they would respond to situations that challenge them.

I cleared PSM-I  with 94% within 2 weeks by self-study. I did not spend a single penny on classroom courses or question paper dumps. Passing the Professional Scrum Master-I assessment is not easy even with many years of experience in agile and Scrum.

I opted for because I did not have to attend any classroom session in order to take the assessment. PSM-I is comparatively cheaper than other scrum master certifications. It is an online test that you can take any time. Several agile enthusiasts feel that passing assessments to be a much better indicator of scrum knowledge than the CSM or CSPO courses.

Enrolling for PSM is quite simple - 

1. Register on the and create a profile.
2. Pay $150 for the PSM-I Assessment.
3. They will send your password to access the exam within one business day.
4. Passwords have no expiration date but are valid for one attempt only.
5. If you pass the PSM-I assessment you will receive the industry-recognized "PSM I" certification, along with a PSM-I logo that you can use to identify your achievement.

In addition, your name will be posted publicly for colleagues, managers, and potential employers to see.

Below are 8 tips to clear your  PSM-I  certification: 

1. Scrum Guide is your Bible - Read the Scrum guide. Again and again! 

The only resource that you should trust is the scrum guide which is authored by the creators of the scrum Ken Schwaber & Jeff Sutherland. Read Scrum guide multiple times to absorb the content completely. It’s a 16-page document which is densely written. Read and absorb each and every line of the scrum guide. Every time you read the scrum guide you gain new insights and also keeps the scrum framework fresh in your mind.The questions in the PSM-I revolves around scrum guide and how you can apply the concepts you learn in a real life situation.

Download the scrum guide here -

2. Complete the 'Open assessment' consistently with 100% - 3 times in a row within 5 minutes before you attempt the real exam. 

The Scrum Open assessment is the best tool for validating your basic knowledge of the Scrum framework. Taking the Scrum Open will allow you to create a baseline of your current Scrum knowledge, from which you can start improving immediately. The assessment consists of 30 questions randomly selected from a pool of questions. Take the scrum open assessment multiple times to unlock all the questions in the pool.

Several questions(around 10-15) in PSM 1 exam are the same that you get in open assessment. So by practicing the open assessments, it will be an advantage for you in the real exam.  You can quickly answer the straight forward questions in open assessments and concentrate on more tougher ones in the real exam.This gives you surplus time and confidence during the examination.

Link to Scrum open assessments -

3. Complete all the open assessments - 'Product owner open', 'Nexus open' and 'Developer open'

Expect questions from adjacent areas. Although the exam is about Scrum, you can expect few questions about Scaled Scrum. I suggest you read the Nexus Guide before attempting the real exam.  I ensured that I scored 100% in Product owner open and Nexus open before attempting the real exam. I solved the Scrum developer open couple of times(Scored around 80%).

4. Understand the structure of the PSM I exam

In PSM I test you will face 80 question with a 60-minute time box. The questions are a mix of multiple choice, multiple answer and true/false. To pass you must score at minimum an 85%, which means you need to get 68 questions right to clear the certification.

Remember - The scrum guide is available in several languages. However, the test is in English only.

5. Be prepared to face questions beyond Scrum Guide.

Below are a few concepts that are not part of scrum guide, however, the final exam may feature a fair number of questions about them:

1. Burn down/Burn up charts
2. Cone of uncertainty
3. Planning Poker
4. Agile Manifesto
5. Scrum of Scrums
6. Nexus framework
7. TDD - Test driven development

6. Join the scrum forum.

Go through the discussions on Scrum Forum. You would find a lot of candidates discussing their experiences and queries on this forum. If you have any questions you can always find a group of agile enthusiasts answering your questions.

7. Note, Revise, Teach

Write notes and record important ideas from your textbook. Writing will not only help you learn more effectively, it will also help you revise all the concepts. Your brain has three kinds of memory cells: sound, sight, and feel. The best kind of learning occurs when you use all three at the same time. When writing notes you see the words, you say them in your mind and you are using your movement senses as you write them down on the paper.

People only remember about 20% of the information they read after 24 hours. So revision is the key to make sure that what you read does not slip away. Instead of highlighting or underlining the scrum guide you can:

· Produce mind maps
· Recall what you have just read and test yourself.

Form a study group and practice teaching your learning with your group. Roman philosopher Seneca said, “While we teach, we learn”. Teaching others is a good way to understand and therefore you remember your notes. You learn better, recall better when you teach someone whatever you have learned. 

8. During the exam...

  • You need to complete 80 questions in 60 minutes (If you divide your time - you have 45 seconds per question). You need to manage time effectively, keep checking the time left on your exam wizard.
  • Remember that every question carries only 1 mark. If you are unable to solve any particular question don't waste too much time. You can Bookmark difficult question and try to answer it after completing more straight forward and easy questions. There is absolutely no reason to answer the questions in the order they appear in the exam. I would recommend answering the easiest ones first.
  • Read the question twice before you mark the answers. Keep your eyes open for the words like NOT, NEVER. Some questions specify you to select multiple answers like - Select 2, Select 3 etc so be observant.

Technical considerations

  • Use the latest version of either chrome or firefox to take the exam.
  • When you reach the last question, the Submit & Forward button will be replaced by a Save and Finish button. Your assessment session will immediately be submitted and graded once you click the Save and Finish button. Be careful not to click Save and finish if you have bookmarked questions that you need to review before submitting.

  • Ensure you take the test in good internet connection.
  • If you find that the timer continues to count down but the page is not properly loading during your assessment session, users have found that reloading/refreshing the page can help to resolve this issue.


Management Plaza's Scrum master training manual.

The 'scrum masters training manual' is less technical than the official scrum guide and provides a good insight into the framework of the scrum. It is easier to understand and more practical than the scrum guide. It is recommended that you glance through this resource if you have limited practical knowledge on scrum.

Beware - This manual is not accurate on some concepts. During the exam, you have to be very accurate.

Link to Scrum master training manual

Mikhail Laphsin’s test.

Do not try to take some random quiz and questions available on the internet, it will only confuse you. M. Lapshin has done a wonderful job of creating a mock test. The quiz has 2 modes called Learning and Real. Use these tests to maximize your chances of clearing PSM I exam.

Link to Mikhail Lapshin test -

Read the Scrum Glossary

Scrum glossary is meant to represent an overview of Scrum-related terms. There is a probability that you get few questions regarding these terms.

Link -

Scrum: A Pocket Guide.

If you are new to scrum and have no prior experience of working in an agile environment then I strongly recommend reading Scrum: A Pocket Guide by Gunther Verheyen.

Buy on Amazon

Share your PSM certification experiences with me! Good Luck! 
Feel free to comment.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Shivaji's Epic Escape - Lessons testers can learn.

3:00:00 AM Posted by Prashant Hegde 1 comment
Chhatrapati Shivaji (Maratha king) was one of the most progressive and sensible rulers in the history of India.  We have heard countless stories of his victories where his tactics and practicality helped him win battles even when he was outnumbered.

It was the time when Shivaji was annexing empires and had taken over most of India. The Mughals (rivals of Marathas) were losing their grip and were threatened by the increasing power of Shivaji. Aurangzeb(Mughal Emperor) was constantly devising plots to capture and defeat the invincible Maratha. Aurangzeb summoned Shivaji to Agra for a peace treaty on his 50th birthday. Shivaji was companied by his six-year-old son Sambaji and a small contingent of his forces.

Aurangzeb had made all the plans to humiliate the Maratha king and his son in every way possible. Aurangzeb sat on the high throne and the rest had to stand. Shivaji was also asked to stand in the second row of the officers. Shivaji objected this status and protested. The Emperor did not utter a word, Shivaji was led to the back of the hall. By now, it was clear that it was a trap and Shivaji and his son were captives. According to the court’s etiquette, all his weapons and swords were taken away before entering the court, so Mughal army took over Shivaji and his son easily and he was put under house arrest. Shivaji was sent to the guest-house which had very strong walls and high gates. Shivaji was totally cut off from outside world.  Shivaji learned that Aurangzeb planned either to kill him or send him to fight in the Afghan frontier. 

Despite the gravity of the situation, Shivaji did not lose heart.  After few days Shivaji portrayed to be ill and he claimed to have an acute stomach ache. Day by day Shivaji feigned to have a fatal disease which cannot be cured. None of the mendicants could diagnose or could improve Sivaji’s condition. Security Guards were convinced that Shivaji will never recover from this and so was Aurangzeb. Aurangzeb was happy as Shivaji was dying but did not want to be blamed for the same. So, he left out the plan of executing Shivaji which might have led to a revolt from the Marathas.

Shivaji requested Aurangzeb to allow him to send sweets to saints and fakirs as offerings to get well. His request was accepted by the emperor but he made sure that each and every sweet box was thoroughly checked by the guards. Sweets were prepared in huge quantities and carried out of the guesthouse in two large bamboo baskets, each carried on a pole by two persons. For the first three or four days, the guards checked the sweet baskets leaving the guesthouse. This went on for many days till it became habitual for guards to check those boxes and find out nothing but sweets in them. Bored of checking guards paid little attention to those boxes. Afterward, they let the baskets pass without checking. The guards who had been examining the baskets were convinced by long custom that they contained nothing but sweets.

Shivaji found the right moment and escaped with his son Sambaji in a sweet basket. A horse was waiting for them. Instead of proceeding southeast towards his kingdom, he moved north. He eventually reached his capital in a disguise of a Holy man. After this incident, Shivaji's fame spread all over India and the greatest schemer like Aurangzeb was humiliated. 


Testing software involves a lot of repetitive work which is tedious to do manually. People become bored and make mistakes when doing the same task over and over. For first few days the guards checked the sweet baskets that were leaving the guesthouse thoroughly and as days past they started being negligent as they were convinced that the boxes have only sweets and nothing else. Similarly, testers also might miss issues and leaks to production if they get bored testing the same features again and again.

Prashant Hegde Blog

Mundane repetitive tasks are not fascinating to for a guard nor to a tester.

There’s a mechanism in our brain that plays with our ability to repeat tasks. Our brain is always trying to identify new patterns that will reward us with a nice dose of dopamine, which, of course, is impossible when our brain is searching for them based on old patterns (i.e., the repetitive tasks).To bypass this mechanism, we must introduce new angles every now and then to keep our repetitive tasks fresh and interesting. This is necessary to keep yourself engaged and be effective in testing the same features again and again. 

People tend to do the same task differently when they are repeating it. The guards picked up some sweets for themselves for the first two-three days until they got bored of eating them. Then they started checking the very first sweetbox that was being carried. They did not have a specific pattern/procedure to check the sweets boxes. A tool will exactly reproduce what it did before, so each time it is run the result is consistent.The guards were not fortunate enough to have a machine that would scan the sweet boxes for them those days. But we can rely on test automation to reduce a lot of effort that is involved in regression testing which is perfect for repetitive tasks.

 Prima facie True; verify further to be certain!
During the escape, Shivaji left out one of the servants behind. The servant disguised himself as Shivaji and slept on the bed.This gave Shivaji additional time to escape as the guards never even doubted this possibility as guards could still see a person resting on the bed through the window but none of them had a clue that it was a servant in disguise. 

One of the first lessons I learned in software testing is "Do not assume anything!" An old saying in the military - “Assumptions makes an ass out of you and me.” - ASS|U|ME.
Do not accept as correct until proved otherwise. Does this mean we should never trust anyone and anything? Of course not, we should be able to trust but we should also be able to verify our assumptions. Bring your assumptions to light by re-examining what you know from a different perspective.


Saturday, March 25, 2017

Top Seven Trends In Software Testing To Watch.

9:27:00 PM Posted by Prashant Hegde 7 comments
We are witnessing an overwhelming evolution in technology which is demanding QA teams to upskill beyond traditional functional testing and gear up for integrated testing of embedded software, devices, IT solutions and big data. Here are some of the top trends in software testing that QA teams must be prepared for to help their organizations to create reliable products and services that elevate the digital customer experiences. 

1. Agile is Ubiquitous

Digital transformation is revolutionizing the way business is done. Organizations need to rollout their products and services out in market in the fastest possible time using the latest technologies and ahead of competition. Majority of the companies adopt agile methodologies to achieve this.
Screen Shot 2017-03-20 at 11.52.07 AM.png
According to the survey conducted by Saucelabs one year ago, agile development was already ubiquitous with 82% of organizations reporting they had adopted the methodology. This number grew in the past year to 88%.

2. Adoption of Dev-ops and Continuous Integration (CI) Grows

Dev-ops and continuous integrations help companies to push releases on a more frequent basis. Managing and implementing the quality and test measures are an increasing challenge. Organizations are struggling to achieve speed with the right level of quality. Testing will move to become more iterative, progressive, and seamlessly integrated with development.
Screen Shot 2017-03-20 at 11.55.06 AM.pngAccording to World Quality report, the use of DevOps principles has continued to grow, although it is still very much in an emerging stage. Just 12% of CIO respondents this year say they are not using DevOps, compared with 18% in previous years.
Continuous Integration also saw growth in the past year. Saucelabs say that the CI increased from 70% in 2015 77% in this most recent survey. This trend looks set to continue and grow in the future.

3. Selenium - King of Test Automation Tools

It is quite clear now that the more and more businesses are embracing open source tools for efficient execution of Agile, DevOps and Test automation.
Screen Shot 2017-03-20 at 11.56.55 AM-1.png
Selenium is skyrocketing in the automation tools industry and is the world’s most popular framework. Selenium is getting huge adaptation over other proprietary tools. The most surprising fact regarding Selenium in the United States is that it’s almost 300% more demanded than QTP/UTF which has made to second place.

4. Technology Trends Brings Flood of Challenges to the Testers

Machine learning and Artificial intelligence - In software testing, for every input there is an expected and defined output. We test the application and verify the actual outcome with the expected. But things have changed now, there is no defined output when testing complex machine learning systems.In such cases testers will have come up with objective acceptance criteria and understand the architecture of the network as a part of the testing process and describe their confidence in statistical terms.

Big Data - The amount of data that’s being created and stored globally is almost inconceivable, and it just keeps on multiplying. Testing of Big Data is an enormous and complex process. Testing Big Data application is more a verification of its data processing rather than testing the individual features of the software product. Big Data Testing challenges include virtualization, test automation and dealing with large dataset etc

Internet of Things – IoT Technologies offer amazing user experience and this is one of the prime reasons for user acquisition and growth. Unlike traditional systems, these advancing systems will need rigorous level of QA and test procedures to avoid defects in quality, security and performance. API testing and will gain significant importance in the era of connected devices

AR and VR Testers need to equip themselves with new techniques pioneered specifically for VR hardware and software to effectively test these devices. VR’s includes a full-body immersive experience as opposed to the usual mobile app or a website. VR/AR devices are still at its infancy, so there are no safety guidelines/regulations to be compliant with. It is necessary to minimize discomfort while using these devices, testing becomes inevitable as there are physical consequences of wearing VR/AR devices such as eye strain, motion sickness, headache etc

5. Popular Python

For Testers who are new to coding, Python remains the first language choice as it is easy to learn and is very powerful. Jobs requiring Python skills have increased by over 300% in the past three years. Close to $7,100 gets added to your salary when Python is listed in your resume
Screen Shot 2017-03-20 at 12.02.05 PM.png






6. Security Testing Will Be More Significant

Security testing is not an emerging trend, it’s evergreen.
  • Recently there was vulnerability found in Facebook Notes which would let a malicious user delete notes from anybody’s account.
  • One bug in Slack, the popular work chat application, was enough for a security researcher to design a hack that could trick users into handing over access to their accounts.
  • An Indian security researcher successfully discovered and hacked to get a lifetime free Uber rides anywhere in the world.
Tech giants Google and Microsoft have raised the value of the pay-outs they offer security researchers, white hat hackers and bug hunters who find high severity flaws in their products. Security concerns are also rising for Internet of Things devices and security testing of IoT devices will gain prominence.
 MarketsandMarkets predicts that the global security testing market is expected to grow to $4.96 billion by 2019 from $2.47 billion in 2014.

7. Rise in Formal training and Certifications

Testers to stay relevant and to improve their competency level either get trained on their jobs, opt for formal training, take up certifications, attend conferences and so on.
Screen Shot 2017-03-21 at 4.45.43 PM.pngAccording to ISTQB’s testing practices report: testers besides training on the job (72%), organizations are improving the competency level of their test teams by encouraging their employees to undertake relevant certifications (51%) and formal training (46%). This means that learning theory and practicing hands-on activities are both seen as important and should be used in combination. Formal Training and Certification are used in combination by 31% of responders.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

3 Ways To Spice Up Your next Retrospective

7:23:00 PM Posted by Prashant Hegde No comments

Sprint retrospective is an opportunity for agile teams to reflect on their way of working, and to continuously improve in what they do. No matter how productive or successful your team is, there’s always room for improvement. There are always ways to do things better. The Sprint Retrospective is an opportunity for the Scrum Team to inspect itself and create a plan for improvements to be enacted during the next Sprint. The Sprint Retrospective occurs after the Sprint Review and provides a formal opportunity to focus on inspection and adaptation.

Most frequently heard problems with traditional retrospectives:

  • Engaging the team to actively participate in retrospections can be challenging -Some people never speak up and retrospectives are dominated by a few members of the team. If stakeholders participate they dominate the retrospectives.

  • Lack of creativity in the retrospectives makes the activity very boring.

  • Retrospective becomes monotonous and tedious as they happen after every sprint. Think about the short sprints(like 8 or 15 days sprint).

  • Retrospectives do not add value as they are just done for the sake of doing it and no plan is done to remove impediments that are identified.Actions items get accumulated and they are never taken up, they just remain in a document. Many times action items are themselves are very vague.

  • No one from the team is willing to take ownership of the improvements that are identified.

  • Some people use retrospectives as a platform to praise/promote themselves or criticise other teammates.

Let’s look at some fun sprint retrospective ideas that will help you to overcome some of these issues.


This is one of my favorite visualization techniques used in retrospectives. I use this with my team and this works really well for us. This technique was introduced by Luke Hohmann, who presented it as one of the innovation games in his book “Innovation Games”.

The Sail Ship technique is quite simple. Draw a picture on your board as shown above.

1. The Ship represents the sprint team.
2. The winds(represented by the gusts of wind pushing the boat forward) are allowing the team or the project to proceed.
3. The anchors represent the impediments/hindrances to the team or project.
4. The island represents the goal.

The team members will individually write the positives(winds) and negatives(anchors) in the sticky note. This will make sure that everyone has contributed to retrospection and is not dominated by a single person. Later sticky notes are collected and grouped. The team later will come up with action items to remove every anchor that is listed.

There are different variants of the same activity like
  • Speed Plane
  • Hot-air Balloon
  • Speed Car


The starfish retrospective technique helps agile teams by getting them to reflect on varying degrees of things that they want to bring up, without having it fit into ‘What Went Well’ or ‘Not So Well’ so it scales a little bit better. This concept was introduced by Pat Kua.

Draw a starfish that will create 5 partitions as follows:

  1. Keep Doing – something the team is doing great and you recognized the value of it.

  1. Less Of – something the team is already doing; you see some value, but you rather reduce a little bit.

  1. More Of –  something already being done; and you believe will bring more value if done even more.

  1. Stop Doing – something that is not adding value or causing hindrance to the team.

  1. Start Doing – a new idea, a new development practice, a new tool or something that might add value.

Getting people to either write things up under the starfish in this manner gives you a scattergram of sorts and at one glance tells you the health of your project. Once again identify the action items and work on the improvement areas.

Three Little Pigs

The Three Little Pigs is a fun retrospective activity that is based on the fable featuring anthropomorphic pigs who build three houses of different materials. A wolf blows down the first two pigs houses, made of straw and sticks respectively, but is unable to destroy the third pig's house, made of bricks. This activity was introduced by Steve Wells.

1.Draw and explain the participants the 3 columns:
  • House of straw – what do we do that just about hangs together, but could topple over at any minute.
  • House of sticks – what do we do that is pretty good,  but can be improved.
  • House of bricks – what do we do that is very solid and we need to continue doing it.

The participants write their opinions on sticky notes and post it under respective columns and later are filtered and common entries are grouped. The action items are identified and assigned to respective team members.

Another similar approach is

Thirsty Crow

Based on the story of a thirsty crow that comes upon a pitcher with water at the bottom, beyond the reach of its beak. After failing to push it over, the bird drops in pebbles one by one until the water rises to the top of the pitcher, allowing it to drink.

  • Straw(assume the bird can use a straw to drink water) – What we are doing is awesome and we need to continue doing it.
  • Stone/Pebble –  What do we do that is pretty good,  but can be improved.
  • Cork(Floats) – What we are doing is not helping us rather blocking us from reaching our goal.

Retrospectives do not have to be serious all the time. Make sure retrospectives become pleasant and an enjoyable activity. Make sure you celebrate small successes or accomplishments no matter how small they are.

So what are you waiting for? Try out any of these creative techniques and spice up your retrospective.

You can find more innovative ideas for your retrospectives here:


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