Name: Lalitkumar Bhamare
Title: Manager, Lead Innovation and Thought Leadership QES Accenture DACH
Oranisation: Accenture Song
For the past 15 years, Lalit has been a driving force in the realm of test engineering and software quality leadership. His expertise spans the entire spectrum of testing, from conceptualizing to the post-production phases of software delivery.
Currently serving as a Manager at Accenture Song, Lalit wears multiple hats, simultaneously leading the Innovation and Thought Leadership group for Quality Engineering Services at Accenture DACH. This strategic role encompasses operations across Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.
Lalit excels in leveraging testing as a catalyst for business and digital transformation, a skill that has earned him acclaim in the form of his proprietary delivery framework, Quality Conscious Software Delivery (QCSD). This framework received prestigious recognition at the EuroSTAR 2022 International Conference in Copenhagen.
A long-time active contributor, Lalit is recognized for his noteworthy contributions to the community. From his non-profit publication, "Tea-time with Testers," to his role as Director at the Association for Software Testing, and his engagements as an international keynote speaker and testing thought leader, Lalit has left an indelible mark.
Throughout the past decade, Lalit has collaborated closely with industry experts and leaders worldwide, actively propelling the craft of software testing forward.
Explore more about Lalit's professional endeavors on his website: https://talesoftesting.com/
Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!
I hope Lalitkumar's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?
The most challenging part of being a testing and quality engineering leader is managing stakeholder expectations, the absurdity of which oftentimes has no bounds.
Software testing as a profession has existed for over 60 years now but quite a small portion of the tech industry has understood the true essence of meaningful testing and its transformative power. Many organizations still view testing merely as a cost center, overlooking its true nature as an investment deserving of careful consideration. In their efforts to deliver software faster and cheaper, they often make compromises with quality. Also, the fact that quality means different things to different people under different contexts, it is hard to establish an all-encompassing understanding of it.
Now, imagine being in a position where you must do the right thing all the while having to convince your stakeholders why it is the right thing to do so. That too, often against stringent timelines and with the commitment of producing results that must stand up to scrutiny.
Welcome to my world, Jonno!
2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
Well, it has been a journey that started quite early on since I was a school-going kid. I do not think there was one defining moment or some opportunity that made me a leader overnight. The leader in me has been shaped by different lessons I learned while growing up.
Being a captain of the Gully cricket team taught me how to operate and perform within constraints. It taught me how to make do with available tools and resources. As a cadet in NCC (National Cadet Core, India), I learned discipline, teamwork, stewardship, and servant leadership at the same time.
As a treasurer of the local Ganesha festival pandal, I learned how to raise funds and utilize them effectively. As a Vice General Secretary of the department during my bachelor’s of engineering, I learned how to represent fellow students and be their voice.
When I entered the corporate world, my confidence, performance, team-building skills, and go-getter attitude helped me stand out as a lead material, which gave me opportunities to prove it further.
I failed, I learned, and at the same time, I was fortunate to get mentors and colleagues who wanted to see me grow and succeed. I am deeply grateful for all that I have been through which only helped me become a people person and the leader that I consistently strive to be.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I like to keep things simple and so is the structure of my typical work day.
I wake up around 6.30 AM. I express my gratitude and start my day with the promise to myself to complete at least two tasks from my priority list. This gives me a sense of purpose and focus for the day (and also a reason not to go back to bed again haha).
I do basic stretching, some dumbbell play, and get ready, together with my 6-year-old son. We offer our prayers together and do 5 mins of meditation before I kiss him and send him off to school. These are some of those father-son moments that I am deeply grateful for in life.
My work day typically starts at 8 and involves meetings with my amazing team, and stakeholders, problem-solving, unblocking people, and working on my personal deliverables. I stop somewhere around 6:00 PM. I make sure to take small coffee breaks in between and go out in the garden for fresh air.
In the evening, I take my dog for a walk in the woods nearby. This is kind of a daily therapy session for me which helps me connect with myself and nature.
Then I spend time with my son trying to keep up with his questions and giving satisfying answers, sometimes doing things with him together or just playing. After dinner with family, I sometimes watch something interesting on Netflix or NatGeo or watch funny reels (thank you internet) and later I go off to bed, making weekend plans in my head and staying curious about the next day.
But hey, as they say, “Not all days of the week are the same”, this routine is subject to change but I try not to.
4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
Leading yourself is important if you are to lead others successfully.
I consider myself a people person and I deeply care if certain circumstances are impacting my team and their wellbeing. I recently realized that while working in complex, demanding contexts and helping my team perform, I was left with very little time for investing in myself.
I learned that investing time in evaluating myself and making conscious, continuous efforts to become a better leader is essential. You cannot take your leadership skills for granted forever. Changing contexts demand context-appropriate leadership skills. Without you knowing how to lead yourself through it, you cannot lead others successfully.
5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
Actually, there is one book and one poem and I will tell you about both :)
When I was a teenager, my father taught me the “If” poem by Rudyard Kipling. That poem has left a deep impression on me. In fact, I have it hung on my office wall and I often get lost reading it.
Let’s be honest, growing as a leader is not a cake walk nor do we get leadership served on a silver platter. One has to also go through setbacks, and handle political situations and toxic people who will try to set you up. Navigating through such hurdles without getting sucked into it, at the same time leading by keeping your virtues, is hard, very hard! “If” by Kipling always shows me the light when I fear losing myself in the darkness of toxic situations.
Not only that, but the “man” (or woman) Kipling asks you to be is nothing less than a true leader we all would like to have for ourselves. I aspire to be that man in Kipling’s poem.
And then comes the book. It’s Bhagwat Geeta, an ancient Indian epic filled with timeless wisdom and great leadership lessons with Krishna being a great role model for leaders himself. From Duties to Dharma, Self-awareness to awareness of your surroundings, and Resilience to Retaliation it teaches you everything.
I firmly believe that doing what is right is the right thing to do for leaders. And Bhagwat Geeta has taught me how to do it right. Every time I read it, I learn something new.
6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?
Something that I always tell myself which was once told to me by my teacher! It's a quote by Allama Iqbal.
Endow your will with such power,
that every turn of fate it so be,
That God Himself asks of His slave
" What is it that pleases thee? "
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?
I consider myself quite fortunate to come in contact with the late Jerry Weinberg and learned from him from time to time for around 8 years. This story is about a great leadership lesson I learned from Jerry when I was struggling hard with a particular situation around 10 years ago.
When I co-founded and started “Tea-time with Testers”, an international journal for software testing and quality professionals, I merely had 2 years of experience in the corporate world. This community project became a direct competition with one of the well-established commercial publications back then. There were attempts to discourage me, propaganda was being run, false information was spread, and what not.
This indeed affected my motivation and I started questioning my ability to lead this project. “Tea-time with Testers” was started with the intention to give voice to professional testers, and take the craft of testing forward. However, the incidents mentioned above made me doubt my ability to fulfill that purpose. I was no longer sure if people in the global testing community would support me and choose “Tea-time with Testers”.
Jerry Weinberg was part of this project as a mentor and guiding angel. I shared with him what I was going through and he advised me to keep doing what I was determined to do and let people decide for themselves. I followed that advice and people chose Tea-time with Testers. The magazine is still active and being digitally circulated over 200 countries worldwide with thousands of software professionals reading and contributing to it.
I learned from Jerry that your ideal form of influence is to help people see their world more clearly and then let them decide what to do next. I followed his advice, I did my thing and people made their choice.
This particular leadership lesson that I learned from Jerry will stay with me forever and has become my own leadership style. I could not be more grateful.