Shobhit Sethi, Associate Director / QA Practice Head, InfoBeans Technologies
What role do traits like empathy and vulnerability play in your leadership?
As a leader, I firmly believe that empathy and vulnerability are invaluable traits for effective leadership. Empathy allows me to understand and connect with my team members. It helps me create a supportive and collaborative work environment where everyone feels valued and heard. And vulnerability, I believe, is the biggest catalyst for trust.
Demonstrating vulnerability creates an atmosphere where team members feel comfortable sharing their ideas and concerns. I am not afraid to show my human side, to admit my mistakes, and to learn from them. By doing so, I can inspire my team to do the same. Ultimately, I believe that empathy and vulnerability are key components of successful leadership. And I strive to incorporate these traits into my leadership style every day.
2. What are some risks you might have encountered when creating automation and QA project proposals, SOWs, estimations, etc.?
There are several risks when creating automation and QA project proposals, SOWs, etc. A few that I have encountered are:
● Application stability
● Timely deliverables
● Lack of transparent communication
● Inadequate performance, availability and skill sets of team members
● Attrition rate
The key is to proactively identify and manage these risks to ensure a successful outcome and deliver high-quality results.
3. Describe the testing strategies you have found to be the most effective.
As a leader, I have found that there are several testing strategies for delivering high-quality results. Firstly, it is important to plan and start testing early in the project lifecycle. It is also critical to define a testing approach that aligns with the overall QA/project objectives. Breaking down work and tasks into smaller, more manageable pieces is also key. Developing a comprehensive plan and identifying areas where automation can save time and costs is critical for project success.
And, you need to think from the client and end user’s point of view. Break the system and identify all the issues by doing exploratory testing. Documentation plays an important role in each phase of testing and keeping the document up-to-date in real-time is essential. Lastly, communication and reporting play a significant role in ensuring that all stakeholders are aware of the progress and any issues that arise.
4. In your opinion, what is the most interesting thing about client relationships?
Of course, client relationships are a very important aspect of any business. It all starts with building trust with the client in order to establish a long and lasting relationship. You need to hear their problems and provide cost-effective solutions to benefit their business.
Tell them how you can add value before the committed timeline. One-to-one connections are vital. Take the time to get to know the client on a personal level. This will help you better understand their business needs and tailor your services to meet those needs. It also fosters a sense of loyalty and trust, which can be invaluable in retaining clients.
Greetings and responsiveness are other aspects that I never ignore. Being responsive to client inquiries and concerns, even if it is just a quick email to acknowledge their message, goes a long way in building trust and maintaining open lines of communication.
You have to communicate honestly, accurately, and frequently in order to maintain the trust and confidence of the client.
5. How do you ensure the client's priorities are met effectively?
Firstly, I make sure that I have a thorough understanding of the client’s priorities. I ask several questions in order to understand their expectations and goals. Asking questions helps me evaluate priority versus actual need.
Once I’ve established the priorities, I draw up a plan that outlines estimates, milestones, resource allocation and expectations. It is important to track and review these priorities multiple times in a day until closure is met. And I always keep the client updated on the progress daily with all the necessary details, like the percentage of progress and the level of confidence (high/medium/low) on each activity.
6. What do you consider to be your key accomplishments or initiatives?
I have a set of accomplishments to share. First, I took the Advanced Management for IT Professionals certification course from the Indian Institute of Management, Kozhikode. While working in the USA, I managed a team of over 40 team members.
I also identified over 300 vulnerabilities (including critical ones) in the customer-facing web application for a top logistics company in the world. This helped the company improve its security posture. I saved thousands of dollars in licensing costs for several clients by replacing licensed tools with open-source and time-efficient software and processes. I also helped automate thousands of manual processes, which reduced time and costs by more than 40% and increased productivity by over 50%.
Additionally, I set up a Test Center of Excellence with several specialized subject matter experts in different test skills across several domains. I identify performance bottlenecks on a few client-facing websites that had traffic of millions of transactions each day. Finally, I designed open-source automation frameworks on web, mobile, API, and non-web interfaces that can plug into any existing projects. These accomplishments reflect my expertise in IT management, security, automation, and cost-saving solutions.