Similar to software development, vital components are also necessary in software testing, for its growth and maintenance. These components contribute significantly to continuous improvement.
Team Building is one such critical element. When forming the perfect team, the emphasis should be on key aspects like Roles & Responsibilities, Knowledge Transfer, Domain Knowledge, Career Trajectory, Technical & Domain Certification, Team Dynamics & Group Trips, etc.
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We will examine each critical component in detail.
What You Will Learn:
Team Building in Software Testing
Roles and Responsibilities
Different groups have varying hierarchies of Roles & Responsibilities in the QA team. Nevertheless, at a higher level, there are two tiers of role in the software testing team. The first is the test lead or test manager, and the second is the test engineer or QC tester or QA tester.
Test leads take on responsibilities like resource allocation, test planning, defining project scope, assigning testing activities to team members, monitoring the software testing lifecycle, preparing status reports and sharing with senior management, participating in customer interactions, etc.
A test engineer is predominantly responsible for understanding & analyzing the requisites, creating test scenarios, test cases & test steps, prioritizing each testing activity, performing testing & reporting bugs, keeping the lead informed regarding the testing status, etc.
It’s crucial for the Software Testing team to have a structure where each member’s roles & responsibilities are clearly defined & understood.
It’s critical for team members to grasp what they’re required to do. Alas, this is frequently not communicated or discussed with the team.
If every team member understands their role & responsibility, it becomes easier for the team as a whole to reach its goal quicker & more effectively.
Before the project begins, team members should be informed about the routine tasks that they will be performing daily for their respective roles. Whether a tester or a test lead, setting the expectations and clarifying what is expected of them will deliver correct results without unwanted delays or mistakes.
The following points need to be clarified to the team:
- Project’s Scope
- Expected Roles and Responsibilities from everyone
- Key aspects to focus on like Deliverables, Schedule, etc.
- Explain the Strategy and Plan.
In addition to the above, team members have the primary responsibility to remember their career aspirations, growth, learning, etc. These can be the key motivators to perform in their current roles and excel in the same.
For testers, understanding the domain as well as the application’s functionalities is crucial. This understanding allows them to comprehensively test the application under examination.
Knowledge Transfer (KT) sessions are crucial to aid them in understanding the core functionalities and logic that can be employed during testing. Brainstorming sessions are vital to propagate a collective understanding of applications and domains.
There should be a constructive knowledge-sharing environment in the team where all can learn & grow.
Testers should be included in discussions right from the project’s initiation. Initial discussions usually comprise business individuals, architects, developers, database professionals, etc.
Involving testers during these early stages of software development provides valuable knowledge and understanding about the software that is going to be developed and tested.
Knowledge transfer should occur in the following parts:
- Preparation: Key personnel with knowledge should be identified and inspired to share their knowledge.
- Understand the Client: A business person or the client themselves can impart this knowledge.
- Get familiar with the application: It’s crucial to understand the application you’re going to test. Proper documentation of the application should be provided.
- Get familiar with the teams, processes & systems: You should be made aware of the development lifecycle model adopted in the project (Agile or others), the testing processes, and the testing management tools being used. Get a basic understanding of all tools & processes used in the project.
- Study the application environments: Different application boxes like development, certification, test & production. Knowledge of these environments should be imparted.
- Provide feedback: Once all KT sessions are concluded, feedback about the KT process should be provided. This feedback is critical for future process improvement.
Understanding the application’s Domain (for example, Healthcare, Insurance, Education, Banking, etc.) is crucial and can assist testers to verify the functionality from various perspectives. A tester should be able to assume the role of an end-user as well as a subject matter expert (SME).
Building domain knowledge takes time, and only over a period of working in a specific domain will the resource be able to acquire substantial knowledge of the domain they’re working in.
Sometimes testers get the opportunity to test different applications within the same domain, which makes testing easier and more meaningful if they have knowledge of the overall domain.
Technical and Domain Certifications
Having a skilled pool of testers is indeed a significant asset for the project. The emphasis should be on training the team and getting them certified in their respective working areas by nominating them for internal certifications. Additionally, there are numerous external certifications that the team can be nominated for and trained & certified in these areas.
Certifications will certainly provide moral support and maturity to the testing team, enabling them to perform testing activities confidently. Resources certified in the domain will leverage the intellectual knowledge gained, which can be showcased to prospective clients for new business opportunities.
It’s crucial that the testing team members collectively possess the appropriate mix of domain knowledge & technical skills needed to attain the team’s shared testing objectives.
It’s not sufficient to create a team of testers possessing various skills, but it’s significantly important to provide them with opportunities to ascend their career ladder. Create career-building programmes for them or nominate them for frameworks that will help shape their careers and qualify them for their next stage of role.
Preparing them for the next stage of their role will undoubtedly meet the need to identify and allot resources to the project as needed. Team meetings can be effectively used to discuss their roles and responsibilities for the next stage.
Educating them about various skills needed to perform in their next roles is beneficial and also promotes continuous process improvement. Every Manager has the obligation to explain the tasks expected to be performed when resources are promoted.
This will ensure that not just a set of resources are promoted, but responsible and skilled individuals ready to work are being promoted.
Team Dynamics and Group Trips
It’s key to ensure that there’s a level of healthy team dynamics established and adhered to by the team for effective teamwork, meeting common goals, finishing planned targets and achieving objectives on time.
It’s vital to make them understand that “Project” is the common objective for everyone involved in the project and completing what the customer needs is the “Priority”.
To achieve this, everyone should work together as a “Team”, leaving all differences behind, and completing the planned tasks should be the primary “Target”.
During weekly team meetings, team members should receive information about Tasks and Priorities for the forthcoming period and share a common understanding of the work to be carried out.
Team building exercises and team trips are essential to alleviate stress and rejuvenate the team. This also facilitates a better understanding of team members outside of project work and in a different environment.
A small token of appreciation can be presented during team meetings to acknowledge talents and to encourage and inspire others to perform better.
Contributor Info: This is a guest post by Baskar Subramanian – a Test Manager at a multinational corporation.
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