Steve Barriault

April 11, 2017

Another one done! I am on my way back from India, waiting for my flight to take off in an hour or two from Delhi International Airport. That one was a quick one too - 5-6 days - which means that I put some serious mileage on my shoes. My team has been busy and prepared a demanding schedule, which is what I asked for, and what I was more than happy to have them partake in!

The government of India has a slogan for tourists called Incredible India. And indeed it is incredible in many aspects. Nice people, LOTS of software activity, and of course the legendary challenges that come with traffic! Wonder how this usually goes? 

Well, it usually starts with a flight in. This time around, it involved a transit through Zurich, Switzerland. Not a bad place to switch flights either. Take a look at this picture: the airport lounge has an observation deck. All that was missing for a true picture of Switzerland: the mountains. I am sure they are there somewhere. 

You usually land late evening or very early morning in India. This is, believe it or not, a big plus since it means the ride to the hotel is traffic-free. There is usually no dearth of comfortable hotels at reasonable rates, which is a plus. The morning after, first stop at a prospect that is very innovative in automation but who says automation means lots of software, and this company wants to hear about how to make sure software testing is more efficient. Lots of ways indeed: unit test your software to ensure the building blocks are sound (took the time to start the evaluation too), system testing automation too. On that note, with our new owners (Vector Informatik), providing that extra automation becomes easier.

For the next three days, I went to visit a number of automotive and avionics clients. At each site, different technical challenges. I have a query to support a compiler we never did before (downloading it right now sir!), organize the delivery of help to achieve standard certification, provide ideas as to how to improve efficiency... India has indeed an incredible variety of software testing needs. 

Then there are the traffic challenges. Like this one: Google Maps decided to give us some pretty wrong directions to the client site. We ended up traveling on an unpaved road right next to a power station with the voice of the application (an Indian lady) insisting that we turn left in that alley. Really, lady, in that alley?! Well, I guess that software can be written from anywhere!

Also, because of the traffic, you always want to find a place for lunch not too far from the next meeting's location. In my experience, India has relatively few restaurants that tend to be concentrated in a few areas, however (employees often have canteen service or just bring in their lunch, which ensures they meet their dietary requirements). Hunting for food can be tricky at times. Still, on that specific occasion, we found a Chinese restaurant (which serves Indianized Chinese specialties, which is pretty good) and also a place called "Stoned Monkey." In Indian English, that apparently means an ice cream parlor (but perhaps they should refrain from using this trademark when expanding state-side... just saying.

Of course, at night, after a hard (but exciting) day at work, nothing like a refreshing drink on a deck. Turned out, it was happy hour and the waiter happily announced we were "upgraded" to that contraption. Finance will be happy how far $6 can go during happy hour. 

Incredible India!