While most testing professionals have the technical expertise needed to test their solutions, forming and maintaining a strong test team with diverse skill sets requires additional individual skills that are equally important.
In this article, we will focus on the essential skills individuals need to contribute to the formation of a great test team and the criteria for selecting testers to join the team.
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What You Will Learn:
How To Form An Effective Software Test Team
Developing 6 Major Skills for an Effective Test Team
Skill #1: Tester’s Knowledge Base
Testing cannot be taught to individuals; it is an ongoing learning process. Testers continuously upgrade their knowledge through experience or training in various work areas. Some key areas to focus on include:
- Understanding of different software systems
- Domain Knowledge
- Familiarity with various Software Testing phases
Testers who have knowledge of different software systems have a better understanding of software behavior, functions, operations, common failures, and expected system responses.
Testers with domain knowledge can better comprehend functional requirements. For example, in Industrial Automation, if a tester has domain knowledge of industrial products, they can easily identify any gaps between product requirements and software development. This helps prioritize test cases and testing activities.
Basic understanding of the Software Testing process includes identifying specification requirements, creating test cases, risk analysis, executing tests, and reporting results. Test managers should also have knowledge and skills in test planning, control, progress tracking, and status reporting to clients.
Skill #2: Interpersonal Skills
Interpersonal skills are crucial for a tester’s role and contribute to a positive team dynamic. Testers with strong interpersonal skills effectively communicate with colleagues, customers, and clients.
To build a strong test team, fostering good rapport among testers is essential. Interactive sessions can facilitate interaction between team members, where discussions on defects, automation tools, projects, and innovative ideas can take place.
It’s important for each team member to have a defined role, and for the team to balance strengths and weaknesses to optimize performance.
Skill #3: Independent Testing
The organization should identify independent testers who contribute to delivering high-quality solutions. Independent testing can involve:
- Testing by developers who did not write the code
- Testing by testers who are not part of the development team
- Testing by testers from other teams
- Testing by a specialized test team
- Testing by an external team from a different organization
The level of independent testing depends on various factors, such as schedule, cost, software development model, and priority. Hiring a test team from an external organization also presents challenges related to cultural differences, knowledge transfer, employee turnover, cost estimation, quality, skill sets, and communication.
Skill #4: Motivation
Motivation is crucial for a high-performing test team. Recognizing and appreciating individual efforts boosts morale and helps maintain interest in the work. Demotivated individuals can adversely affect the team’s quality of work and other team members.
Ways to increase test team motivation:
- Show respect among team members
- Recognize the value of inputs
- Encourage positive remarks and actions from management
- Reward quality work
Individuals earn respect and recognition from their peers by making valuable contributions to the project’s development.
Skill #5: Effective Communication
Effective communication is a fundamental requirement for all the aforementioned skills. The success of a test team hinges on communication.
Test Team communication often involves:
- Documentation of work products to ensure alignment between requirements and understanding
- Providing feedback on functional documents, specification requirements, and estimates
- Creating and maintaining test documentation such as test plans, test cases, and defect reports
When reporting defects to the development team, communication should be professional, precise, diplomatic, and effective in the interest of the project.
Skill #6: Team Bonding
Ways to improve team bonding:
Every team faces occasional challenges that can affect morale. Organizations with strong morale tend to have high productivity. Here are some ways to address low team morale:
Potential causes of low morale include poor leadership, communication barriers, inflexible work conditions, team turnover, difficult colleagues, losing significant clients or projects, heavy workloads, and stress.
To address these issues, consider organizing brainstorming sessions, maintaining regular contact, organizing project launches, expressing appreciation, rewarding quality work, providing learning opportunities, and setting objectives and goals.
Daily communication with clients, developers, different teams, users, and customers is a requirement for testers. Therefore, the basics of effective communication, interpersonal skills, and knowledge are crucial for maintaining strong working relationships.
A test team consists of individuals with diverse personalities and backgrounds, both professionally and personally. Successfully managing a test team is undoubtedly a challenge as no one is perfect.
However, the goal in any organization should be to deliver effective work and make positive contributions.
About the Author: This guest article was written by Meghna Jadhav, a Senior Software Test Engineer in an MNC.
What skills do you think are most important for forming an effective test team?