How to Improve Tester Performance?

Many Companies don’t have resources or can’t afford to hire the required number of testers on the project. So what could be the solution in this case?

The answer is simple. Companies will prefer to have skilled testers instead of a army of testers!

So how can build skilled testers on any project?
You can improve testers performance by assigning him/her to the single project.
Due to this the tester will get the detail knowledge of the project domain, Can concentrate well on that project, can do the R&D work during the early development phase of the project.

This not only build his/her functional testing knowledge but also the project Domain knowledge.

Company can use following methods to Improve the Testers performance:
1) Assign one tester to one project for long duration or to the entire project. Doing this will build testers domain knowledge, He/She can write better test cases, Can cover most of the test cases, and eventually can find the problem faster.

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2) Most of the testers can do the functional testing, BV analysis but they may not know how to measure test coverage,How to test a complete application, How to perform load testing. Company can provide the training to their employees in those areas.

3) Involve them in all the project meetings, discussions, project design so that they can understand the project well and can write the test cases well.

4) Encourage them to do the extra activities other than the regular testing activities. Such activities can include Inter team talk on their project experience, Different exploratory talks on project topics.

Most important is to give them freedom to think outside the box so that they can take better decision on Testing activities like test plan, test execution, test coverage.

If you have a better idea to boost the testers performance don’t forget to comment on!

Recommended reading

39 comments ↓

#1 Pradeep Soundararajan

Hi Vijay,

I am happy to see you blogging about software testing in a serious manner.

If you are open to learning, here are a few things that you might want to learn:

So how can build skilled testers on any project?

You can improve testers performance by assigning him/her to the single project.

Assigning a tester to a single project. What do you mean by that?
Assuming that half of the testers in India work on one project over a period of one or two years, are they improving their skills?

What do you think are the skills required to test?

Due to this the tester will get the detail knowledge of the project domain, Can concentrate well on that project, can do the R&D work during the early development phase of the project.

You said tester will get detailed knowledge , not even the person who collected the requirement nor the customer has a detailed knowledge of the product or domain.

If I do not know a domain/product and yet find bugs that might be important quickly, do I belong to testing community?

Most of the testers can do the functional testing, BV analysis but they may not know how to measure test coverage,How to test a complete application, How to perform load testing. Company can provide the training to their employees in those areas.

A person who drives a car is provided one day training to fly an aero plane, can he fly the plane on the second day without further assistance or would you mind to board the plane if he plans to make you a crash test dummy?

Any tester who doesn’t practice testing, isn’t a tester anymore. If a person who has received a one day training on “how to fly an aero plane”, practices to fly in a simulator with assistance and de-brief from a skilled pilot is a person who might be able to fly better with little assistance on the 32nd day. Have you seen any tester in India saying, “I practice testing”?

3) Involve them in all the project meetings, discussions, project design so that they can understand the project well and can write the test cases well.

If your idea of involving a tester to all discussions, meetings and development is to help him a get a better understanding on the project, it might leave him *biased* to the information he has heard over developers and designers meet.

If he is *biased*, he might not be able to find important problems quickly. He might end up doing worse testing than what he was doing earlier.

4) Encourage them to do the extra activities other than the regular testing activities. Such activities can include Inter team talk on their project experience, Different exploratory talks on project topics.

When I was as young as you at heart, I thought software companies who claimed that they are R&D centre to be something like R&D labs I have watched in Bond movies but it was later I realized that even bond movies are for making money and it’s business that drives innovation and innovation, *that* drives business works!

Why should companies encourage you to do extra activities?

You form a group of testers during weekend, discuss on topics, share your ideas, share stories and learn from each other. If you want to improve, you do it.

Companies prefer and pay well to people who are self motivated than to people who join BIG brand names to motivate themselves.

Most important is to give them freedom to think outside the box so that they can take better decision on Testing activities like test plan, test execution, test coverage.

You are in India, asking for freedom and that too for thinking. Even before we got our national freedom, we had freedom to think and freedom to think brought freedom for the country.

Did you say, “out of the box”?
Define your idea of box you are talking about and I shall help you think out of the box.

If you have a better idea to boost the testers performance don’t forget to comment on!

I did it!

I wish you wonder, “What makes testers skilled?” and start exploring.

#2 Vijay

Well a good analysis of the topic.
Now let me comment on some of your points:

here is your one statement:
not even the person who collected the requirement nor the customer has a detailed knowledge of the product or domain.

So are you on the assumption that whichever products get released in the world are with the incomplete domain knowledge?

Unless and until the the person who collected the requirements has a complete list of do’s and don’ts how can a project architect or even a developer know what to do?

Here is your second point:
If I do not know a domain/product and yet find bugs that might be important quickly.

So someone start testing of the project with incomplete domain knowledge he might come up with some UI bugs, right? How can then you expect from him to find the core bugs without the domain knowledge? so decide what is important, finding a quick UI bug or finding the core functionality bug with proper domain understanding.

I don’t know why you are stressing on finding quick bugs!

Also I don’t understand why attending a project meeting leaves a tester ‘biased’?
If you are thinking about competitive and skilled tester, even he can clear some points to developers if they misunderstood any concept.And no point of getting ‘biased’ what you mentioned. Ya it is correct if you are thinking of below average tester, who don’t want to go in that much details.

Again you question:Why should companies encourage you to do extra activities? When they are paying for you for whatever knowledge you have.

Well if this is the case all the Big brands will close their training centres and will directly assign all the employees to the project. Is it right? Definitely not.
Company should encourage not only to boost the tech skill but also the activities like communication, inter project team culture, to know each others and this is most important part for the company growth besides the individual knowledge.

Your next point about freedom to tester.
Ya still in some of the companies testers don’t have the freedom to suggest the points such as the project areas where team should concentrate well, risk factors involved in the project. This is due to thinking of testing as a inferior roll by some managers or management. ( And this is our responsibility to tell them what is a testing job and how risks are involved in this, to remove this inferiority thinking from their mind.)

Well these were my ideas to boost the testers performance. Can you add some more ..
thanks for the comments.

#3 Varsha

Excellent Debate!

Keep Posting.

#4 Mruga

Hey really ecellent debate..Keep posting!!

#5 Pratap

hi Belated NEW YEAR WISHES TO ONE AND ALL…CAN ANY ONE DEFINE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN “VALIDATION AND VERIFICATION WITH EXAMPLE.

#6 Pratap

PLZ DO WRITE ME AT action2006@rediffmail.com

#7 vijay

Yes company should promote test team member to Improve Performance : Few thing which can really benefit teat team:
1. Test team member should know how to make teat coverage.
2. Team member should know Issue list
3. Team member should know Project plan.
4. Time frame.
5. Good understanding of user story
6. Test case creation technique .
All above are common things which involved in any project test activity .
Apart from this we can improve performance in other area Communicate with client, Manage daily time for test activity .

#8 Arul Varman

To improve Tester Performance, these are suggestion
1. Acquire good skills in written communication – to be precise in description
2. Do not assume and presume (even if you have very good rapport with your colleagues, managers, onsite managers and client). Be precise and indicate all information eventhough it is repeated
3. Review twice by asking why I should include this bit of information / data or why I should report
4. Be detail to the core is best attribute of Tester and establish traceability
5. Do not accept anything until it is verifiable by you since ultimately you are responsible for product / software usability by the client

#9 Lakshmi

Hi Pratap !!!

Have you ever prepared DOSA ???? As this is a commonly known dish and if your answer is YES then I can proceed, if your answer is NO then atleast learn about the preparation!!!

Then coming to our point …………..

Read this patiently….

Let’s suppose that you know about the ingredients for dosa preparation….[requirements]

grinded dosa mix, onion, cooking oil, finely chopped green chillies etc., to prepare a tasty dosa…However this list of ingredients is not exhaustive!! I have missed some of the ingredients..but still we can prepare a delicious dosa..Apart from these, we need a frying pan, knife, gas stove, matchbox….as support items for our “project-DOSA”
Assuming that you already know the preparation of DOSA can you prepare dosa with the given ingredients????If your answer is YES I would urge you to think again!!!
What if I provide a tea-spoon of oil, a kilo salt and ask you to prepare 12 dosas with the about ingredients????Will you say still YES !!!

#10 Lakshmi

I guess not !!! The ingredients provided are disproportionate because a tea spoon of oil is not sufficient for preparing 12 dosas and a kilo salt is more than sufficient. So it is quite unfair to ask to prepare 12 dosas with the above ingredients.

So “Verify” your ingredients are in correct quantity/amount…..

Now If I provide with the ingredients in correct quantity can you prepare a nice dosa.. Please don’t say YES without a second thought.. If the grinded dosa mix is out-dated…Will you able to prepare a nice dosa out of it.??

So “Verify” the requirements are of good/enough quality….

After providing good/enough quality ingredients, let’s assume you have prepared a nice dosa and you are about to serve to your guests…I think you will taste a bit before serving because whether it tastes good or not..right!!!

So “Validate” your final product(Dosa) has been prepared correctly…

The verification of correct ingredients and quality of ingredients while preparing can be compared to as “Verification”process in software development and

Final validation of whether the dosa has been prepared correctly as per expected can be compared to as “Validation” process in software development.

Verification was done when the dosa preparation is under way!!But you did not have final dosa in your hand while doing verification process.

Validation was done when the final dosa is in your hand..

So, last but not least,

Am I building the product right?—–Verification
Am I building the right product ?—-Validation

Thanks,
Lakshmi

#11 Jaykay

Hi Lakshmi,

Very interesting topic and an easy way to understand….
nice example and good explanation…

#12 Lakshmi

Thanku Jaykay

#13 Jaykay

Hi Lakshmi,

one more thing, can u give similar eg for sanity testing and smoke testing pls…….

Lot of members asked difference b/w those two….

#14 Jaykay

Hi Floks,

Suppose, if any bugs are found by clients(after the release of the project), then who is responsible for that?(tester/developer)..is this bcz incomplete test case coverage , negligence /any thing….?

#15 Devanand Bhaskaran

Hai to all,

Me, being a Test Engineer i strongly believe that a products Sucess/Failure lies to the max(above 70%) on the Test engineer…this is not a theory but a practical truth.Any comments i can explain in detail in due course.

#16 Lakshmi

May I know the exact meaning for

“Product success/Failure”

#17 Lakshmi

Hi Jaykay,

To the best of my knowledge,

Smoke test is performed by developers after completion of build and before giving it to tester’s hand.

Sanity test is performed by testers after receiving the build for the completeness and correctness of the build from the developers.

Smoke test is the last test (assumption for better understanding) performed by developers before giving ithe build to testers.

Sanity test is the first test or level 0 test performed by testers after receiving the build from developers.

If I am wrong , please let me know.

#18 selvam

Hi Friends,

Currently i am working in Non-IT field and planned to switch my career to testing.I had learned the basics of testing,and now i am very eager to learn testing practically with real time projects.
If any one interested to teach testing personally with real time projects , i will be more grateful, or else show me the right place in chennai.
Thanks & regards
selvam.ba@rediffmail.com

#19 shubhangi

what is test case coverage? how can testers do test case coverage? please explain by giving examples.

#20 Devanand

Lakshmi,

Nice Example for Verification and Validation process.

#21 srilaxmi

Hi friends i planned to switch my career to testing .I had learned the basics of testing,and now i am very eager to learn testing practically with real time projects.
If any one interested to teach testing personally with real time projects , i will be more grateful, or else show me the right website ,i am in US.
Thanks & regards
srilaxmi2004@gmail.com

#22 kupen

can u tell me about checklist and traceability testing with example….
if u know about that please send me that articles to my mail id:
kupen.sk@rediffmail.com

#23 Mukesh soni

Hi everyone,
my penny thoughts:
1) improve testers performance by assigning him/her to the single project.
Yes. This helps a lot. Over time, the tester working on single project learns about the areas of the product that is more prone to defects, understands the domain (and saves time of the developers in teaching him what is a valid test case) and becomes productive.
If you keep switching the projects/domain for a tester, (s)he will never be able to build the expertise.

2) tester will get detailed knowledge , not even the person who collected the requirement nor the customer has a detailed knowledge of the product or domain
Pradeep, I am surprised how are you holding your position in the organization with such thought process !! Attitude matters the most..esp for the testers. Question is NOT about understanding ins and outs of the product being developed… BUT about understanding 100% of WHATEVER requirement is available at ANY point in Time of product development. Haven’t you faced the req change during the development and both, developer and tester, adapting to the new requirement for the product development and testing ?

3) Quick bugs:
Anyone can find a bug – as no product is 100% correct. Does it mean the person qualifies as tester? depends – I have seen such defect also from a well seasoned tester – “if u click X button 100 times and then click on Y button 150 times, the application crashes”. The real question to be asked is what is the value addition for the customer/end user by fixing those QUICK defects. you will get the answer yourself.

4) Flight training for car driver:
Pradeep, you have been too harsh on Vijay. Even the car driver would have learned the driving by training from some one for a day/an hour or some quanta of time. Obviously, training is the starting point..after that one has to practice. I remember my company purchased chip design tools worth lacs and then sent the entire team (13 ppl) for 7 days training but there were not a single project to practice or utilize our training..result – the tools are in dumpyard..and so do that skillset of people.

5) Tester getting biased
its again mindset. The more the tester is exposed to product domain, better (s)he would be able to write test cases to catch CORE or high severity defects than the UI or cosmetic defects. If the tester doesn’t know about the product than it’s energy will be wasted (to a good extent) on finding defects that are irrelevant or invalid.

6) Why should companies encourage you to do extra activities?
to better their products and to avoid rework expenses. If you can show improvement in the quality, company would pay and encourage u to do so.
When companies want to make money..then why would you WORK for FREE on a WEEKEND for your COMPANY without ANY ENCOURAGEMENT?

7) Out of box thinking
My stand on this is to not to force the tester to follow a template (other than reporting)..let them be creative to find high severity and valuable defects at the earliest.

General comment:
I always see this -A wall between the testers and developers; almost no or very little information flow across this wall. This should be avoided. no one is biased if they are honest to themselves and their responsibilities.

Lakshim,
I really liked the diff between Verification and Validation -south Indian way ( I like Dosa / idlies).
just reiterating – Verification is against the requirements while validation is against the product in customer scenario.

A great forum..keep me posted.
– Mukesh Soni

#24 Bala

@vijay…

I have absorbed in many projects….one person work in same project for long time..he might end up with careless of doing the work since he believe he konws everythnig and he get bored of thinging and doing the same core functionalities and flow of work so his thinking process skill will not be improved.

#25 Chaitanya

Hi Friends,

Currently i am working in IT field and planned to switch my career to testing.I had learned the basics of testing,and now i am very eager to learn testing practically with real time projects.
If any one interested to teach testing personally with real time projects , ill be more grateful, or else show me the right place in Hyderabad

Thanks & regards
T.Chaitanya
t.chaitu@yahoo.com

#26 Ravi

Hi all,

Nice to see a good responses in this forum,

here is a small clarification on “product pass/failure”
As per the client this terms are very much important.
but as per the tester/developer every project is a challenge, and learning skill set for growth.
Its said like Team …which is responsible.

Regards,
Ravi

#27 Nitesh

@Jaykay and Lakshmi…

I have gone through many blogs and articles to find the difference between Sanity and Smoke testing.

Here is the difference:

1. Smoke Testing is a wide approach of testing and covers all major functionalities (areas) of a application where as Sanity Testing is a narrow approach and covers a few areas.

2. Smoke Testing is scripted means testers usually write test cases for Smoke testing so that he should not miss any functionalities where as Sanity Testing does not need any test cases as it is done for a specific area or functionality

So, as per my view both Smoke and Sanity Testing are more or less focus on whether the application is ready to test rigorously however the scope of Smoke Testing is all major functionalities whereas in Sanity testing its some functionalities.

#28 prasankumar

nice debate !!

#29 Janet

Glad I’ve fianlly found something I agree with!

#30 Vignesh

i have joined a company by showing relevant experience in TESTING but actually i don’t have real time experience in sw testing….but i have learned the basics of testing…Anyone can help me with any real time written TEST CASES …….. pls mail me to vikkiblakz@gmail.com

#31 Rising Star

Hi Vijay,

Very good article. And also good reply from Mukesh Soni.

#32 CoOl

@Nitesh

I think u hv copied n pasted dis difference between smoke n sanity from sumwer ,.,.,.,

#33 chanchal

Sanity testing determines whether it is reasonable to proceed with further testing.

Smoke testing is used to determine whether there are serious problems with a piece of software, for example as a build verification test.

#34 Karuvarasan

HI Vijay

Wow a great Debate I was expecting Mr.Pratap reply for Vijay’s answers all I scrolled down and found nothing. Lakshmi/vivek thanks for your input.

All test leader should have this broad mind of Vijay… This is what I too expect from my manager and in future if i become a lead I will follow the same.

Keep rocking Vijay….

#35 Karuvarasan

Sorry it’s Pradeep not Pratap

#36 experiencedtester

@ Pradeep Soundararajan

Point 1 : First question are you open to learning?

Point Two : If I do not know a domain/product and yet find bugs that might be important quickly, do I belong to testing community?

Testing is nothing but common sense, that we perform unconsciously in our daily lives when we buy vegetables, and fruits. You don’t need to know about agriculture, yet I can pick bad apples. So everybody is a tester, so there is no separate community called “Testers”, its a job that we do.

Point Three : If your idea of involving a tester to all discussions, meetings and
development is to help him a get a better understanding on the project, it might leave him *biased* to the information he has heard over developers and designers meet.

Bias can come even without involving in meetings. Bias can come because of co-worker relation, friend relation within the work place, co-worker is different, and friend at work is different.

For example I don’t know who you are, but when I read your comments I feel they are not useful, so even without know you. I am biased that all your comments are not useful. Even if you make a good comment I think it is not good. So if I ever meet you and you start giving “gayan” , I will thing it is not useful. Being biased is wrong for any one, not only for testers, for developers as well.

#37 Nero

I am new in this filed.

can u tell me about inbuilt software testing tools for particular browser of help full of testing.

#38 Ravi

I am new in this field.

can u tell me about inbuilt software testing tools for the particular browser of help full of testing?

#39 Ganesh

Mukesh Soni justifies everything. I liked it

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