Entries Tagged 'QA leadership' ↓

How to Lead a Happier and Successful Test Team – Test Leadership Part 2


We’ve established that managing a test team is a different ball game. It may not fit in within the boundaries of traditional management techniques, because of the mindset, environment and challenges faced by test teams.

Who is this article for?

This tutorial picks up from where the first tutorial left off. Out here we will discuss on how to have a happier test team. Whether you’ve been in this role or have been promoted recently, the few pointers below will definitely help in gaining Continue reading →

Leadership in Testing – Test Lead Responsibilities and How to Manage Test Team Effectively

The importance of testers and testing teams has been established time and again. An application or product success is largely attributed to efficient and effective testing techniques which forms the basis for valid bug exposure. Goes without saying that great bugs are found based on the testers’ skills and knowledge, a keen eye and the dedication of the test teams.

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A test team can comprise of individuals having varying skill levels, experience levels, expertise levels, different attitudes and different expectations/interests levels. All these different resources’ attributes need to be tapped rightly, also keeping in mind to fill in any skill Continue reading →

How to keep motivation alive in software testers?

Couple of months back I wrote an article on “How to keep good testers in testing position“. There I mentioned one point as to appreciate the testers for their good work.

“Reward testers for finding good quality bugs. Keep some weekly or monthly competitions such as ‘Bug of the week’ to reward them.  This will help to build a successful QA team”.

The same concept is used by Eric Jacobson – a software tester, to keep motivation alive in his testing team. Eric found interesting idea to reward good testers. The idea of holding a bug contest. And decided to award the ‘Mercury’ cap to the tester who could log the most bugs in a given week. See the winner of his contest.

A small tweak I would rather suggest to make this technique more effective is to award the testers who will find the quality bug, may be called as “Bug of the week”. This way quality bugs will be the main focus of software testers rather than running behind the quantity. Obviously you should not ignore those small UI bugs also :-)

I am really fan of awarding testers for their good work. It may be any kind of appreciation. May be a small gift or just few kind words of appreciation from the lead or manager. This will keep the spirit alive in testers to find new and quality bugs.

If you are a team leader, manager or even a team member, what do you think is the best way to keep motivation alive in software testers?


How to keep good testers in testing positions?

Few days back ‘Teresa’ asked me an interesting question.

“I was intrigued by your website because it seems you are truly passionate and interested in testing.  In my organization, we’ve found that it’s really hard to keep the GOOD testers in testing.  Many of the really skilled testers are always looking for change and want to get out of testing for some reason.  I would love to hear if you have any ideas on how to keep the good testers in testing?”

Teresa, first I will address this high attrition rate problem for all employees and then I will come back to addressing “How to keep good testers in testing positions?”

0% employee turnover is just a imagination and unrealistic in current competitive world. Employee turnover to certain extent is ok. However increased turnover in any company indicates some serious problems.

Though I am not a HR expert to reduce the attrition rate, I will suggest some common measures from employee perspective, which can minimize this turnover to certain extent. These measures will be applicable for every company and employee. Also we are in context of software testing so I will concentrate more on how to retain good testers in their positions.

I will address each and every solution we can try to keep low attrition rate. So sit back, get relaxed as this is going to be a long article.

Who will get help from this article?

This article will helpful to Company management, Managers, Team leads in development and testing and of course to the emerging testers who are tomorrow’s leads.

What are the effects of high attrition rate on company?

  • May lose projects in hand – as clients are not happy with high attrition rate
  • Financial burden on company
  • Cost to recruit new employees
  • Cost of new employee training
  • Time for ramp-up in new projects
  • Workload on existing employees
  • Low employee productivity due to unstable work and overtime

These are few important drawbacks of high attrition rate.

How to reduce attrition rate?

First let’s go to root cause of “why employee leave the company?”
The main reason is “lack of appreciation for their hard work”. I mean if company is not caring about employees then why would they stay in such company?

Keep in mind ‘more money’ is not always the solution! Nowadays employees are more concerned about quality of life and their family needs.

Here are some solutions on high attrition rate:

  • Hire the right people in right positions
  • Understand the employee needs and provide it to them
  • Respect them
  • Always appreciate good work
  • Regularly ask for employee input and take appropriate action
  • Offer training opportunities to gain advanced knowledge
  • Better to become employee oriented
  • Pleasant working atmosphere
  • Career growth opportunities
  • Value employee creativity
  • Job security

Last one is very important. Your employees should feel secure about their jobs. If you can’t provide job security or at least feeling of job security in employees mind then your company deserve for high attrition rate.

These are some one liner solution. Let’s take some practical solutions.

Motivation:
Any software team should consist of highly motivated and skilled people. Good motivation comes from good leadership. Good leadership provided by team leaders and managers can bring down the attrition rate. In my career I observe employees leave the company just because of their boss. Some unrealistic demands or lack of motivation and leadership can make employees think over their position and career.

So leaders should motivate and energize colleagues when they lost all hopes.

More Money:
Give them a good compensation and benefit package.

Fun at work:
As I said money is not always the solution, fun at work is also important. Only more money can’t motivate the team if you don’t have fun culture in your company. I believe in “Work hard, Play hard” culture, so plan some sporting activities, outdoor trips, different competitions between different teams etc etc… There can be so many such activities, which can act as refreshment for employees.

Help to settle employee life:
What I mean from this is to help employees providing stability in their life. I know this is not going to be a simple task but company can help employees by providing medical insurance, medical facilities to employees. Housing is the first priority of most of the employees. So help them getting good accommodation.

‘Teresa’, you asked about retaining testers in good positions. So let’s come to testers problem.

What are the common complaints from testers?

“Sometimes developers ego as they are better than testers”
“Tester is responsible for every fault”
“Schedule slips due to testers”
“Testers are not getting the respect”
“Management don’t consider them equally with developers”

These are some common complaints from testers and this makes them feel insecure in their job, affecting their daily work and may result in high attrition rate.

Management needs to address these complaints early before testers leave the company. The solution is – organize your teams effectively, improve communication between developers, testers and management. This will lead to better understanding and addressing of testers needs.

Below are the baby steps, which can retain good talented testers in their positions:

Provide them training:
Train all your testers. Provide them training for free, if not possible then with cheap cost. Make available some remote courses, seminars and books to study. Sponsor and help them to get the software testing certifications.

Appreciate the good work:
Don’t go behind the quantity of bugs. See the quality of bugs and appreciate those testers working hard to find it. Regularly comment positively on good work from the team.
Reward testers for finding good quality bugs. Keep some weekly or monthly competitions such as “Bug of the week” to reward the testers.  This will help to build a successful QA team.

Set finite boundaries to everything:
Your goals should have clear boundaries and completion criteria. Setting goals, those not having end can become a boring task. Don’t let feel the team that this testing work is going forever without any insight goal.

Take every bug as a learning opportunity:
Don’t bother testers about the bugs that slip through. Make these bugs as a learning opportunity. Let them know why they overlooked that bug. This way they will learn from their mistakes and will not make the same mistake again at lest for the same bug.

Don’t make testing a repetitive task:
Some times we get bored doing same thing again and again. Testers job involve with repetitive task. So take care to distribute your work so that no tester will execute same test case repetitively on any project. Randomize the testing work in team, this way team will get knowledge of whole product, helping to find more bugs.
Good solution to avoid repetitive work is to rotate the experienced employees internally in different projects.

Create good relation between testers and developers:
Testers need encouragement and support to find more and more bugs so that the final release is bug free. Build a good team of testers and developers. Treat everyone similarly.

Don’t forget to celebrate:
Celebrate each and every success moment. This will help to build good team spirit. Host product release parties to recognize accomplishment.

Conclusion:
Show your appreciation to those employees who work hard. This is a key to successful business. Show your employees that you are committed to fulfill their needs.

Over to you:
These are my personal thoughts to keep good employees (testers) in their positions. I am not a HR expert but I have mentioned here everything what I feels from employee perspective to stay on the job.

I want your views “What keeps you on the job?” You can share your personal thoughts, your expectations from employers or any personal experience in this matter.

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