Nidhi named to Forbes India’s list of 100 Great People Managers
by Pankaj Tejwani, on 10 November 2020
Infrrd’s Nidhi Bhardwaj has been named one of Forbes India’s 100 Great People Managers. Selected in a study by the Great Manager Institute from 6,334 managers across 1,158 organizations after four rounds and a year-long evaluation, she says she’s honored to be recognized for the work she and her team have put in. “We are not perfect, but we strive and work together to get better every day,” she says. “My team has been very receptive and conducive in implementing new ideas. They are a bunch of extremely hard-working and dedicated folks. Working with them has been a great learning experience for me.”
AI was a new field for Bhardwaj when she joined Infrrd in April 2017 as a Quality Analyst. There was just one other person on the team, which was just starting. She has gone from being one of two QA members to working with a team of eight.
Rising to the role of Lead QA, Bhardwaj is responsible for the creation of the first version of Infrrd’s in-house automation scaling tool. She also led knowledge transfer and QA training sessions for new joiners, many of whom were just starting their careers and didn’t yet have an understanding of manual or automation testing.
New skills, more ownership across the team
Today, the team handles product-related testing and client-specific testing for deliverables and POCs. “I tried to steer the team and myself in the direction of learning new skills,” she explains, adding that they’ve learned and implemented several new tools and technologies, including performance testing, UI testing using Selenium, and streamlining test case management via an open source tool. She has additionally put test processes in place, and given team members the chance to take ownership and grow as they lead meetings and express their ideas.
As a result of her efforts, their skill sets have grown with respect to coding and leadership. “I tried to ensure that every member got a combination of the daily usual work and something new that helped them increase their skill set,” she explains. “I started with small coding tasks, and with some motivation and support, they were able to complete those tasks. The members did a lot of hard work, and these small successes helped them strive for bigger tasks. We have seen multiple members come out of their comfort zones and learn new skills in the team.”
Communication and an open environment
Bhardwaj cites constant communication with team members at an individual level as key to understanding their concerns, being able to integrate their input and take the right steps to resolve them. “I am thankful to the team for communicating openly with me,” she says.
She also makes sure that the team shares project knowledge, and that no one is afraid to ask questions. “We started using a platform to post questions anonymously, without exposing project details. Many questions were posted -- we did a couple of sessions to discuss them. All the members participated by sharing their knowledge about these topics,” she says.
Implementing new ideas
Bhardwaj’s work and role at Infrrd continues to evolve, she says. “The best thing about Infrrd, that has helped me grow here, is the opportunity to implement new ideas. Infrrd is a place which gives you both the space to think of possibilities and the resources to make them happen.”
As for the most important lesson she’s learned at Infrrd, she says it’s about how work can ‘define you and redefine you’. “It doesn’t matter where you came from, what you do now can make a difference,” she explains. “This has motivated me to try and give my best shot at what I do.”
5 Keys to Success
- Make sure the team has well-defined processes to execute
- Get people to stretch their comfort zones
- Create a learning environment where it’s OK to try new things
- Make communication flow all the time
- Have fun!
Bhardwaj makes sure her team gets opportunities to succeed. “She dwells in their success, and has been the motivation for many in our organization,” says Priya Thampi, vice president of engineering and Bhardwaj’s manager. “She is a very approachable and also disciplined person. Her team looks up to her as a role model.”
Beyond her day-to-day responsibilities, Bhardwaj says she loves being part of Infrrd’s annual dance performance. “This is when many dance lovers from Infrrd come together to put up a show of sometimes good and sometimes bad moves, but always with tons of enthusiasm and joy!”