Exclusive Interview of Bhaskar Sivanathan of Thought Frameworks. Edited by Powered Magazine
Bhaskar Sivanathan is the founder and technical head of Thought Frameworks, he surely showcases an unmatched sense of dynamism, ardour, and synergy when it comes to anything QA and QC. Bhaskar has been driving the quality wheel at the heart of Thought Frameworks, a forerunner in providing exceptional quality software across all domains. And has significantly helped establish several partnerships with key vendors, making sure that all client partnerships are always about “quality that meets customer satisfaction”. He has been influential in harbouring several successful businesses and joint ventures across the world over the last two decades.
Tell us about yourself and your business.
I am Bhaskar, a seasoned automation architect by profession, bringing in about 22 years of hands-on experience in the field of software quality assurance and testing that's further backed by years of building automation frameworks and performance testing teams for leading startups, SME's, and enterprise-level applications using both commercial and open-source tools. I started my journey as a Java developer for a US-based organisation during my initial years after completing my degree in mechanical engineering. Later, while delving into programming, I discovered all the SDLC processes that further pushed me to move towards automation. I had mostly specialised as an individual contributor till 2003, then I joined Ionidea, where I got the opportunity to work as an automation/performance lead, where my forte was starting a project at a client location as a single resource and building an offshore team. On a similar note, while working at client location Scantron in 2009, consulting opportunities continued to expand offshore businesses, which marked a stepping stone in September of the same year to start my own self-financed business that I had been waiting for for the last 9 years.
What were your biggest challenges when starting your business?
Starting out, there was always a latent fear, especially towards the initial few months, even after having a successful background and nine years of experience in this industry. The biggest challenge by far was getting the second client. Outreaching and getting more customers was not my forte; however, we were very strong on the technical side of things, and managing all our client deliverables well was never an issue. Over the years, I learned to strongly believe that finding the gap always resolved the challenges. As we initially focused mostly on automation and performance testing, we slowly discovered more challenging aspects on the functional side of things. The ability to understand these latent gaps was a slightly challenging period, but we took notice of it at an early stage, and now we provide over 15 services, successfully analysing several latent QA challenges like these. And have never looked back since.
What strategies do you use to stay competitive in a changing market?
Practising the art of a consistent self-learning process, competitive analysis, market research, and analysing and adapting recent market trends Keeping all communication channels open. Building a team with good leadership skills, enhancing our entire team management strategies, and optimising our project management skills Scrutinising the minute areas of self-correction is necessary for achieving a larger yet more detailed scope of improvement. Lastly, it all boils down to managing all our client deliverables with the utmost perfection.
What motivations drive you to keep pushing forward in the face of adversity?
Whenever I don't have tasks at hand, I keep getting these constant ideas in my head that keep motivating me further. I would say that self-introspection, critical thinking, and having no regrets are essential. To add to it, challenges and problem-solving are the two absolute key motivators that have kept me going over the years.
What advice would you give to someone just starting in their chosen field?
It's simple: just love your job. That's it.
As I strongly believe, if you like your job, you just do what others are saying. If you love your job, you will do more than is needed.
How have technological advances affected the way you conduct business or operate your venture?
In the year 2023, we will all know one thing for sure: productivity is key. Especially when it comes to all software applications. With the newfound love for all things digital, web and mobile apps are essential and possibly unavoidable at this point thanks to the AI onslaught. But guess what makes them function better? A good independent QA drill For us, upscaling productivity comes to mind first when dealing with all the software applications of our clients and stakeholders across varied domains, and that's what sets us apart in the industry. We know the utilitarian aspect of QA very well, and that's exactly what we leverage via our services.
In what ways has customer feedback or response influenced how you prioritise goals or objectives for your business or venture?
I feel QA is becoming increasingly relevant for all industry domains, without a doubt.
And Software testing, as you may have heard, is a fundamentally integral process for creating reliable and usable software products. It is seldom the only process for re-evaluating and verifying a software application to ensure that it's working as expected. It helps identify underlying defects and reduce errors and flaws while elevating the overall quality of the software system in its entirety. Our clients have been highly appreciative and have consistently maintained our long-standing partnerships to further highlight the positive difference that our services have made towards their product's functionality and system performance.
What trends do you see emerging in your industry that are likely to shape its future growth and development?
The software testing life cycle is becoming increasingly important, as it is the only way to fully ensure the quality and reliability of all web applications out there. Identifying and fixing any leftover defects or errors in the code is the turnkey process that enables all software developers across the board to deliver quality software that meets the end users' utilitarian needs and expectations at the same time. Likewise, digital transformation has become a driving force in the software testing industry, revolutionising traditional approaches and paving the way for innovative automation testing methodologies and tools.
What have been the most rewarding and difficult aspects of your chosen career or business path?
Within 3 years of starting my business, we had a team of 55 QA engineers who were managing versatile projects globally.
We had always been strong on the technical front but never focused much in terms of sales and marketing, except for hiring one insights salesperson, and that was it. We mostly targeted midsize companies and startups, building long-term associations lasting over 6 years. But outreaching, getting more clients, and carving a niche in terms of our service offerings is still a work in progress.
Are there any skills or areas of expertise that you think are essential for success in your field?
Patience is an essential component of this business.
As software testing and QA processes can be time-consuming, monotonous, and oftentimes frustrating, a successful QA analyst must have the requisite patience to work through all these managerial issues and keep a positive mindset amidst all constraints. Always.
How has working remotely or online impacted your business or venture over the past year?
The pandemic, I think, made me change perspectives. About nine years after what we started with, we have now changed our strategies completely. We launched Thought Frameworks 2.0, which solely focused on building the nonfunctional side of our team like sales and business development, digital marketing, content and communications, etc.
And now we are a team of 95 % ISTQB certified individuals and a CMMI Level 3 service provider.
What tips would you like to offer to others who are in a similar position to you but looking to take their careers or businesses further?
Stay agile (literally), self-motivated, and always open up for conversations.