Test team management is the process of leading and managing a team of testers. As a tester, you may be responsible for managing your own team or reporting to someone who does so that you can focus on testing. Either way, it’s important to understand what test team management entails and how it can help improve your work performance and overall job satisfaction.
Building a high-performance test team is an ongoing challenge, but it’s a journey you can take steps to improve and grow. In this blog post, we have discussed the best practices for building a high-performance test team, including how to recruit the right talent, how to build team cohesion, and how to create a positive team culture.
1. Define clear roles and responsibilities
A high-performance test team is made up of individuals who have clear roles and responsibilities. This can be a challenge when you’re working with individuals who haven’t worked together before or with people new to testing, but it’s essential if you want your organization to achieve its goals. When it comes to defining clear responsibilities, there are two important points to be considered –
- Define the scope of the project: Before you start recruiting anyone, determine what kind of tests need to be conducted in order for your company’s products or services to meet customer expectations. The scope should include at least two major areas: functional testing and non-functional testing (such as security). The first step in defining these roles is understanding where they fit within existing organizations and how their performance metrics are measured against those metrics.
- Define Scope for Test Team Members: Once you have defined these roles, think about what skillsets each person brings into play during his/her day-to-day activities; this helps keep him/her focused on achieving results rather than getting distracted by interpersonal issues that might arise from working closely together for long periods without supervision. Setting up clear goals for the team can be achieved through the following –
- Define clear metrics for success, including: how many tests you want to run per day, how many new features or enhancements are in scope for your product or service, what percentage of existing customers would be satisfied with a particular feature change (e.g., 80% vs 90%), etc.
- Document your test requirements, including: which features will be tested, what the expected outcome is (e.g., bug fixes, performance improvements), how many sprints of testing are necessary for each feature or bug fix
- Create a testing schedule, including: which features will be tested when and by whom
- Create a test environment, including: which browsers and operating systems will be used during testing, what software tools are needed to run the tests.
- Establish a communication channel between developers and testers so that each group knows what’s happening in the other
2. Recruit the right talent
When hiring for a testing team, you should focus on attitude. You want to hire people who are excited about what they do and have the curiosity and motivation to learn new things. You should also look for candidates who:
- Are self-motivated
- Are organized
- Have positive attitudes
- Are open to feedback
- Have a desire to improve and learn
- Are patient and flexible
- Are proactive and good listeners
- Have a desire to learn new technologies and skills
- Most importantly, have strong communication skills
3. Foster team cohesion
The best way to build a high-performance test team is through fostering team cohesion. It’s important that you make sure that everyone on your team shares the same goals, values and approach when it comes to testing. This can be done by having regular meetings where everyone gets together for lunch or coffee, but it also means ensuring that everyone has access to whatever resources they need, whether that’s technology or just one another’s expertise.
It’s also important for your organization not only to communicate externally about its mission and purpose but also internally where there are opportunities for improvement in terms of process efficiency (e.g., saving time), quality assurance processes (e.g., improving defect prevention) and data collection practices (e.g., collecting metrics such as bugs, customer issues logged, etc).
4. Provide continuous training and development
It is of utmost importance to provide ongoing training and development to the team members to boost the productivity of the team. As you build a test team within an organization, it can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking that all of the knowledge needed for test quality has been covered. However, this isn’t true! There are always new challenges coming up in software testing–and those challenges should be addressed through training and education on a regular basis.
The key here is ensuring that each member of your team has a grasp on the latest technologies being used within their organization (e.g. what automation frameworks/languages have been released) as well as how these tools affect their work life day-to-day; this way they’ll know what information needs updating when something changes.
5. Establish effective communication channels
Be it remote, hybrid or on-site work, when it comes to working with a team, it is crucial to establish effective communication among the team members. The following are few of my view points on the same –
- Establish an open plan environment that allows for easy access to all team members at all times. This can be as simple as having email addresses available on an excel, or it could be something more elaborate like a shared calendar with designated time slots for key meetings and events throughout the week. In either case, make sure that everyone has access to this information so they do not have any reason not to know what is going on in your organization.
- Have regular check-ins with stakeholders about their feedback on testing activities and how you are progressing towards solving their problems or meeting their goals (e.g., “What do we need from our next release?”).
- Make sure that everyone is on the same page about what needs to be done and when. Regularly check in with stakeholders about their feedback on testing activities and how you’re progressing towards solving their problems or meeting their goals (e.g., “What do we need from our next release?”).
- Have regular 1-1 connects with your manager or if you are a manager then with your team members. Share feedback which will help the team grow.
- Have a retrospective meeting post every release. This will help give clarity to the team on what went good with the release and what the team could improve in the next release. A retrospective is a great way to encourage the team for the positive aspects in the release. Moreover, it helps to understand the team’s perspective on what next we can do to improve the processes to release better quality releases.
When it comes to testing, having a high-performing team is more than just about the technical skills of individual members. It’s also about their ability to communicate effectively and work as a team. The best way to ensure that you have a healthy and productive working environment is by setting clear guidelines at the beginning of the project, and making sure everyone follows them exactly.