Interview with Lalitkumar Bhamare
Co-founder & Chief Editor - Tea time with Testers

Lalit spent 3 years with Barclays Investment Bank as Sr. Test Analyst and lead their L&D CoP (for testing) which was primarily responsible for rolling out latest testing practices in Barclays, as part of Innov8 (an organization-wide program). He has also worked as founder and director of Technology Excellence Group for Testers, under TCS-Cisco relationship. Has worked as consultant on demand for various project teams across Barclays group especially to implement CDT in testing projects, along with other things. Lalit thinks that his connect with global testing community & his volunteer experiences help him contribute back to the organisations he works for. That has helped him to contribute in building an intellectual testing culture at his workplace. He is a skilled Tester, Test Manager, Trainer, Coach and Consultant on demand, all packed in one single profile. His creative talent (that reflects from activities he does) is an additional skill that helps him sell/communicate ideas in an effective way. Check out Tea time with Testers here.
Hi Lalitkumar! Could you please introduce Tea-time with Testers Magazine and tell us a bit more about what led to your founding the magazine back in 2011?
Tea-time with Testers is a software testing magazine made for professionals across the globe. We have been publishing this monthly online magazine since 2011 and I believe our subscription base is around 40,000 testers across the globe. Our magazine is being read by over 190 countries as far as I know. This is an English language testing magazine with the highest subscription to the best of my knowledge, in recent times. Back in 2011, I was working in India with a giant IT service company where we used to face lots of different testing challenges with different kinds of customers and with different contexts. I used to discuss this kind of thing with one of my colleagues over our tea breaks and over time it became a routine for us to discuss testing and the testing problems, share our learnings, hatch new ideas and create projects all over our tea breaks. Then we started a newsletter within the organisation, called The Tester's Bucket, where we were sharing our information and learnings. It got a very good response and eventually we thought we could make this more popular in more places across the globe and make it a community project. That's why we created a magazine called Tea-time with Testers. Since then, we have been collaborating with others across the globe, including test practitioners, newbies and experienced testers.
How has the coverage and discourse surrounding the world of software testing changed since you first launched the magazine?
In fact, I used to ask the same question to myself whenever I was thinking about employing Tea-time with Testers to sell the company better. In that attempt, we ended up creating another project together with my colleague from Israel, who is an amazing guy. With him, we created a state of testing survey to analyse and figure out how the field of software testing has been changing. We have been working on this for the last six years. The results have been interesting, if anyone is interested in getting detailed answers for this question I recommend them to read the survey we publish every year. You can find it here: My personal opinion and observation is that, back in 2011 when we started the project, software testing was more of a service to the project teams. But now I believe this has changed and testing is more than just a service, testers are more than service providers to their project teams and they are also more about quality advocates. This includes getting project teams on software quality, testability, risk, automation and tool choices. Testers are more of a project quality adviser than just being the traditional gatekeepers of the quality and this is a very welcome change. I'm very happy that the value of testing is being recognised much more than it used to be in past. Check out the state of testing survey for more answers.
How has your work with the magazine intersected with your work at XING?
The interesting fact is my work with Tea-time with Testers is one of the key reasons I ended up being hired at Xing. I was already known by some of the passionate testers within the organisation because of my work with Tea-time with Testers and other activities I have been doing in the testing community. My work on the magazine enables me to collaborate with different thought leaders, testing experts and some of the best testers in the world. It means I'm able to continue learning, especially about solving problems. This exchange of information when I'm collaborating with them on different projects, helps me understand my profession better and it makes me a better tester. It gives me a broad spectrum of information and abilities to solve problems. This in turn, helps me to contribute back to the organisations that I work for. For example, at Xing I'm an active contributor to the community of practice for testers within the organisation. My work with Tea-time with Testers helps me gain the latest information, trends, the problems, the solutions, as well as who to reach to and for what kind of guidance. It also helps with finding out about sources and resources available that may help solve problems and enhance our skills. All this information definitely helps the organisations I work for and I believe that's how my work with the magazine has been intersecting with the work I do else where. In fact, because of the magazine I've been in touch with people like James Bach and Michael Bolton where I learned about Rapid Software Testing. Since then, I take internal workshops around Rapid Software Testing at Xing and and other workshops I'm conducting and it has been helping a lot.
What has been the response from the larger software testing community regarding the coverage of Tea-time with Testers?
The response from the larger testing community has been good. Running a monthly publication with high quality content and information that will shake the world and that will help people think deeply about their own work. It's not easy without the community support. Since this is a publication model, which is more of a community project and this has been running since 2011 every month, I would say without the community support we wouldn't have survived this long, in terms of quality or ability to make a difference and influence the community in a positive way. One example would be the allegiance from people like Jerry Weinberg, who expressed his will to join us. From the early days, he was part of our publication team and he was contributing regularly and he called this project an achievement of the highest order which is a big remark in itself. We have had contributions by lots of passionate testers across the globe. This is an example of the response and love we have received from the community. We have been the trendsetters. We have asked interesting questions. We were probably one of the first magazines who created special dedicated issues for women in tech, and women in the software testing field. We created lots of interesting initiatives asked interesting questions. We forced people to question their traditional thinking. The community of testers at large, wholeheartedly supported this project and appreciated the contribution we have been making since then.
What's next for your work with XING, as well as your work with Tea-time with Testers? What will be your main focus for the next year?
Regarding next steps for my work with Xing, I would say I would like to continue what I am doing as an individual contributor to the project teams, and I will continue to learn new things, share my learning with other testers and learn from them. However, another interesting initiative I have been working on lately, has been conducting workshops about testing for non testers especially the programmers and promoting the idea of Whole Team Testing through the workshops and the response has been great. I would like to continue making these contributions to the organisation, along with being a hands-on tester and let's see where it leads to. I am currently happy with the work I have been doing and the response I am getting from everyone around me Regarding Tea-time with Testers, the project is currently on hold. I would like to invest more time on figuring out better ways of providing information. I believe people are not that engaged with reading or writing the content but the way of communicating information is changing. It's getting more readable as with the LAMA app and video format of interviews itself is an example of that. I am investing more time on figuring out how to make the project more usable and more valuable to this changing context of consuming information. Next year, or maybe late this year, we'll be back with a bang and restart and that's currently what I'm working on and I'm hoping to make a big comeback with lots of good ideas and good initiatives. Doing something more time relevant and more useful than the traditional way of being a magazine publication.