Riding, coding or testing – equipment matters!
Last Sunday I took part in Trivandrum city’s first ever Cyclathon event. I competed in the champions’ category by riding 40 kms. The time limit was 2 hrs and I finished the ride in about 1 hr 50 minutes. Although this is good pace by my own standards, I was probably the slowest of riders in the category since the top 10 finished in under 1 hr 25 mins. Looking back, I’m no newbie to cycling having ridden for last 4 years and some of my longest rides being in the 100 km mark. But yet I was one of the slowest. Why? Of course, physical strength, stamina and practise matters in events like these but there is one key factor – the equipment; the bike. Majority of the top riders were on road bikes which only weighed around a quarter of my MTB, and they also had higher gear ratios. This meant for lesser or same energy spent, the road bikes would achieve much greater speeds and travel longer distances.
Using this as an analogy, I like to state the importance of using the right equipment / tool on a day to day basis as a software solutions provider. Be it software development or testing, the right tool will always give us an edge over our competitors. Take for example the case of software testing. It is very common for test scenarios, scripts, execution summary and defects to be maintained in Microsoft Excel and word documents. I mean no disgrace to these tools, being a big fan of them myself. However my preference would always be to use tools like Quality Centre, Redmine or TestCase DB which are tools built for the purpose. Just like how road bikes are built for the road and speed, these tools are built for purpose of software test management and so, make teams highly productive by removing overheads which tools like Word or excel bring into the test management process.
Moving higher up the software dev pyramid, the whole software management in many cases are done using spread sheets and documents. Although this may work for small organization with tiny teams, it will be inefficient for large teams. Tools like Trello, Jira, Zoho and Basecamp to name a few are built for these purpose and are highly effective in various stage of software dev lifecycle. These tools work in increasing the productivity and efficiency of large distributed teams by removing overheads of collaboration and software management.
I only aimed to participate in cyclathon, and so was content with my equipment/bike and performance. However as a software solutions provider, developer or tester, we should always strive to have the right equipment or tool even if it needs an investment. It will only be a matter of time before the benefits of the tool outweigh the investment and put us ahead of the competition.
I got the medal in picture for completing the ride and it is not gold.