Thinking Visually

Featured image of "Thinking Visually" blog post

nanoLearning on “Thinking Visually” using Sketchnotes from Anuj Magazine, Citrix.
The video of this smartbits is available here.

Ashok : As an avid visual thinker who uses Sketchnotes to communicate, please tell us the importance of visual thinking and how it can help us understand/think better and influence people?

Anuj : I think, one of the ways Visual thinking has helped me is to find a way to better stay in the moment and what I mean by that is when we are in the moment, we will be able to appreciate life even more than what it is. So, staying in the moment in one of the big benefits. While I don’t claim to be a big one, every artist seeks inspiration from life happening around them and the quest of seeking that inspiration itself is one that lets you live that moment better than in a condition without that, so that is one. 

The second way visual thinking I believe has helped me is – One of my online friends is Tanmay Vora, a very good Sketchnote artist. One of the blogs that he wrote and that stayed with me, talks about one of the principles he follows  – to consume less and create more. In essence, what he means by that is, people with all the revolution which has happened around smart phones are always consuming content. We can blame apps for it – in a way they have been designed to create that stickiness, but we are always in the consumption mode. What happens if we start eating lot of food? It shows up on our body. Ironically, consuming lot of content does not show up as visibly in our minds. We can feel our minds getting bloated up, getting overwhelmed with lot of stuff, but you got to catch those signals. So, in order to balance it out, one of the principles of consuming less and creating more comes into picture. How it helps the visual thinker in me is that if I read stuff, I try to restrict myself to reading good stuff, and whatever I read I have a kind of pact with myself that I will create something out of that, be it a blog, a sketch or some other consumable form. That really creates balance because you are not holding up information for too long and getting it to stale in your mind without it being put to the right kind of use.

Third way visual thinking has helped me is – I will tell you an instance where I had organised one of the sessions on quantum computing. As complex a subject as that is in today’s times, it was equally important for people to figure out how to explain it simple. So, one of the things that I had set myself to do in that session was to Sketchnote the session live. Eventually, it turned out to be a good summary and in doing so, I realised that Sketchnoting is helping me actively listen to the speaker. What I mean by active listening is that again I am not consuming the content for the sake of consuming the content. I am creating something out of it and also actively removing the noise out of the whole experience of listening. You can’t write each and every word in a Sketchnote, but you can write the key points and summarise it. I did present it to the speaker after the event. So, bringing in the ‘intention’ in the listening is one of the key traits that I learnt. 

Overall, the main areas where visual thinking has helped me, is to be more aware, be more present in situations and listen intently and balancing that continuum of creation and consumption which is important.

Ashok: So what you are saying is it does help you certainly be more mindful, absorb better and obviously assimilate it and keep up with the most important things so to speak and do it very continually along with the person who is doing his job.

Anuj:  I would like to add how will it help QA professionals.More often QA professionals find themselves in a situation where the bug reports, unfortunately still are considered as the key output. In absence of any innovation happening in creating new bug reports, they are again thought of as one of the predictable outputs from the profession. What if you create a Sketchnote out of a bug report? I think that might help people look into your bug with more interest and getting more motivated to fix them.

Signup to receive SmartQA digest that has something interesting weekly to becoming smarter in QA and delivering great products.

CIO views on Quality

CIO Views on Quality Featured Image

This article is about views on quality from CIOs curated from a list of interesting articles. It is felt that solution quality is one of the Top-3 challenge doing DevOps adoption with reducing technical debt as a key focus area for 2019. Some of the interesting views from CIOs are “there’s no way you can satisfy the demands of digital transformation without DevOps, Continuous Testing”, “address testing and ensure it advances your digital transformation initiatives rather than holds them back”, “can’t risk disrupting frequent deployment,  this is where Continuous Testing comes in.”

Quality of solutions is a challenge during DevOps adoption
Based on Gartner’s 2019 DevOps Survey, ensuring the quality of solutions is among the top 3 challenges encountered during the adoption of DevOps. According to them,application leaders guiding a digital transformation initiative must make continuous quality the technical, organizational and cultural foundation of their strategy.

Many organizations are on a journey with DevOps, practicing continuous development and continuous deployment, yet a continuous approach to quality is often missing. Basic functional quality goals, is not sufficient to satisfy the quality expectations of the users, the business or the market. The growing pervasiveness of mobile, web, cloud and social computing scenarios has raised end users’ expectations for application quality. The notion of what constitutes superior quality has become much broader and includes overall user experience, quality of service (QoS), availability and performance, as well as security and privacy. It is no longer sufficient that the application just works. It must provide an optimised experience that leaves the user wanting to engage more and interact again. 


Reducing technical debt needs increasing focus
When asked CIOs “What are your top priorities for 2019?”, reducing Tech debt was 2nd most popular response. CIOs say reducing technical debt needs increasing focus. It isn’t wasting money. It’s about replacing brittle, monolithic systems with more secure, fluid, customizable systems. CIOs stress there is ROI in less maintenance labor, fewer incursions, and easier change. (Ref:

CIO’s views on Digital Transformation
Here are some views from CIO on Digital Transformation, consumer expectations, and hence the changing expectations from testing.

Rajeev Ravindran, SVP & CIO, Ryder System, Inc.
“Oftentimes, when people talk about digital transformation, they are really talking about technology. For me, taking the company “digital” is both about technology and a mindset shift. As a part of this mindset shift, we are moving from an applications-focused environment to a product-focused environment. In our new model, we look at every application as a product that has a life cycle determined by a product owner, who is typically in a business function other than IT.”

“In IT, we are moving from a linear thinking perspective to design thinking, and we are moving from waterfall to iterative. The goal of these changes is to create a customer-centric culture, whether those customers are internal or external to Ryder. The customer centric culture along with a product mindset will help with operational efficiency and revenue growth.” (Ref:

Andy Walter (Procter and Gamble)
“I think Continuous Testing is going to be core to companies being able to dynamically evolve their structures, their M and A, joint ventures, all these types of areas. While we were doing the Cody divestiture, we started a covert project of “how are companies going to be structured in the future?” And there’s no way you can satisfy the demands of digital transformation without DevOps, Continuous Testing, and the speed and agility they enable.” 

Jennifer Sepull (USAA, Kimberly Clark, American Honda)
“I think the beauty of creating a DevOps model is that you have a powerful team that is empowered to really connect with the consumer. When those teams come together in that powerful way, and they own the entire end-to-end process, there’s opportunities for innovation. Application development and testing are absolutely critical to making sure that those innovations, or that connection with the consumer, can happen.” This means that you have to address testing and ensure it advances your digital transformation initiatives rather than holds them back.” 

Robert Webb (Etihad)
“.. I know that software testers can make the CIO’s survival rate higher—but they can make the company more profitable, make it safer, and help it grow faster. If they make your testing faster and get your new apps out there, you can be more competitive. And if they can do that while lowering costs, that’s remarkable..” “..Transforming testing is pivotal for accelerating how software is digitising the business.” 

Vittorio Cretella (Mars)
We have to really understand how the user is reacting and how to achieve this optimal customer experience..”  “.. To accomplish this, we need constant deployment. But we also have to ensure that deploying functionality daily or hourly always improves the user experience. We can’t risk disrupting it—so this is where Continuous Testing comes in.” 

Andreas Kranabitl (SPAR ICS)
“..I believe that the most important element in digital transformation is people. We cannot have people spending their time on software testing tasks that can and should be automated. There is much higher-level work to do. We need future-oriented staff, and we can’t afford to make them suffer by asking them to do needless manual testing.” 

Robert Webb ( Etihad Aviation Group)
“..Can you make my testing faster and get my new apps out there so I can be more competitive? Can you do that in a way that makes testing more automated and safer, and can you do that while you’re lowering costs? This is something that is very, very unique, and I think we all have a wonderful opportunity to be part of this revolution..” (Ref:

Signup to receive SmartQA digest that has something interesting weekly to becoming smarter in QA and delivering great products.