I originally started the “You in the Private Cloud” series as a way to introduce our talented team to each other across our many geographies. I knew it was important for us to know each other as more than email addresses or voices during meetings.
But I didn’t realize at the time that it would become one of the favorite parts of my job. I truly love settling in for great conversations with the terrific people working on IBM Analytics offerings across the globe.
This time was no different. Many of you know that we have a vibrant presence in Krakow, Poland. And while there recently I got the chance to visit with Piotr Gnysinski who works as Test Lead on the Information Governance Catalog, a key part of our InfoSphere Information Server offering.
I know you worked for a while for Comarch whose founder is Janusz Filipiak -—a famous, larger-than-life tech founder. What was it like working there?
When I joined, Comarch was already a big company. It was my first job in IT and the first time I experienced emotions from customers coming our way: real people on the receiving end of my work — sometimes with real joyful reactions, sometimes with irritation as a result of bugs that made it through to the field.
I had to switch to real proactive thinking. I would say this attitude —this deep and strong engagement for customer advocacy and not just technical skills — is the most important single characteristic that can help someone do well in our business, or any business for that matter.
You’ve got a reputation for designing robust testing frameworks that cover a lot of ground. I think testing can seem like a mystery to many of us. Give me a sense of how you approach things.
It depends on what you’re testing, but a big tool for us across the board is the idea of pair-wise testing. We know from studies that most defects can be discovered in tests of the interactions between the values of two variables (65-97%). A factor could be the browser vendor, the underlying operating system, and so on.
So, when you have an almost infinite number of tests you could run and very limited time, you first think of all those possible factors and figure out their possible values, then you classify these into groups called “equivalence classes”. You know that testing a single value from a class will probably give the same result as testing any other value in the group, so now you use algorithms that make sure each pair of classes is covered at least once — and you make sure to mix up which specific values are getting tested in the different pairs. That gives you good coverage.
I’ll send you a link to some information about Combinatorial Test Design if anybody wants to read up some more.
What do you do on weekends for fun?
Almost every weekend, my wife Justyna and I take our son and daughter on some adventure: water park, bike riding, or visiting the playground. But my favorite is to bring them to visit Henrykow, which is a small village with about 30 people. My aunt and uncle have a farm and I used to go there every summer when I was a kid. I collected so many fantastic memories from there.
So now, whenever I have a chance, I pack up the family and two hours later we are in ‘Neverland’. They still keep livestock and they still work the land, so my kids get to see and do all that as well. For instance, not so long ago, they witnessed a calf being born, they very often get to ‘drive’ — being on my lap — a tractor, play in the hay for hours, or we go through the woods or the swamps, which always ends up with at least two of us all wet and muddy.
It looks like you also make it to the gym once in a while. Am I crazy?
Ha! Yes, I do weights mostly. There is something very satisfying in pushing yourself over imagined limits and doing completely exhausting training sessions, after which you can barely move. Yeah, gym is fun!
I’ll also get ideas for work at the gym, usually related to current work stuff: how are we going to approach creating our environment matrix for an upcoming release or how can we improve a process that was raised during a Lessons Learned session. Nothing revolutionary that would change the IT world, but very down-to-earth solutions that help us get better and better at what we do.
Favorite programming language: JavaTM
Top 5 authors:
- Terry Pratchett
- Andrzej Sapkowski
- James Whitaker
- J.K. Rowling
- Wiktor Suworow
Dinesh Nirmal – Vice President, IBM Analytics Development
Follow me on Twitter: @dineshknirmal
- IBM Haifa Research Laboratory Combinatorial Test Design (CTD) http://research.ibm.com/haifa/dept/svt/papers/The_value_of_CTD.pdf