How to Create “Good Testers”Slide 1Susan WindsorGerrard ConsultingLimitedsusan@gerrardconsulting.comWeb: gerrardconsulting...
Topics• What is a “Good Tester”?• Why would YOU want to be one?• How can you find, or become one?Slide 2
Good Tester? (Good Question!)Slide 3
Generic Attributes?• Able to identify what quality actually means in their contextfor their stakeholders. Think “fit for p...
Functional Tester Attributes• Relevant businessexperience!• Networked with businessanalysts, and users.• Challenge functio...
Agile Tester Attributes• Excellent communication .• Role in multi-skilled team .• Challenge all stories.• Use the relevant...
Operational AcceptanceAttributes• Lots of technical experience!• Networked with operations andtechnical support.• Challeng...
Performance Tester Attributes?• Understand architecture and ableto identify potential bottle necks.• Networked with archit...
Test Manager Attributes• Communicate with ALLstakeholders.• Manage ALL skill groups.• Manage troubled projects;• Specialis...
Certification• What do you think?• As an individual it can help your careerand provide a sense of achievement.• As a resou...
Beyond Good Tester?• Active throughout the projectlife-cycle.• Communicate with everyother discipline.• You’re the eyes an...
Good Testers Make a Difference• Be your own Guru!– Network; blog; attend events; absorb everything and retainonly what is ...
Create a Good TesterFrom within your own organisation!Slide 13• Functional• Agile• Operational• Performance• Test Manager•...
Time to Transition?• Purely by moving them into a new role and learning onthe job alongside experienced testers – about on...
External Candidates?• Direct Recruitment– Even if you don’t plan to dothis, the thought processand assessment assets wills...
Define Your Selection ProcessSlide 16SuperTesterTest Manager (50plus)Test Manager (20plus)Team LeaderSpecialistNon-functio...
Define Your Own TeamRoadmap• Sources exist (incomplete) e.g. BCSSFIA• Define base skills per discipline• Create a matrix o...
And Finally……..Why wouldn’t you want to be a Good Tester?• You have a very wide choice of test disciplinesyou can speciali...
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'How To Create Good Testers' by Susan Windsor

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During this presentation I will cover three key questions:

1. What is a good tester?
2. Why would you want to be one?
3. How can you create or become one?



Firstly, I don’t believe there is an industry wide definition of “good tester” that fits every situation; but I do believe good testers exist, and that they are very special and valuable individuals! So, I’ll share what I believe constitutes a good tester in some different situations and you can identify how this relates to your world. I’ll also give my opinion on how this relates to our obsession for certification.



As for wanting to be a good tester, I will ask why you wouldn’t! It’s our work that provides the most valuable management information on the planet; gives confidence to stakeholders that their system is going to bring the benefits they want; and the skills we need cover the entire project life-cycle. If only we could unlock our minds from the tethers others try to constrain us with.



Finally, I will share my experiences of how to create good testers. For each of the situations I defined earlier, I’ll expand on how your organisation can identify people to target for a career move into testing. Maybe you’ll identify how to improve your own career prospects too!

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  • There are a lot of potential mentors out there – probably a lot are here!Is that all it takes to become or create a good tester though?It certainly helps, but it’s nowhere near enough – and I’m a big fan of mentoring and coaching…
  • Mentoring and coaching comes later, first we have to understand how to find and grow people into becoming the testers we need and want them to be.
  • All depends on the Context of the QuestionEveryone (including YOU!) will have an opinion….BUT – Whose opinion actually matters?Who would you ask if you’re a good tester? How would you qualify their answer?What would they have to know for you to value their answer?It’s totally dependent upon which “flavour” of tester you are, and who your stake-holders are.There are some generic testing skills, but they are easy to learn – it’s experience and competencies that vary and are important.It’s not enough to have been a tester for 6 months and have ISEB certification.
  • If you consider yourself to be a good tester, you must be able to deliver against all these as a minimum.If you slavishly follow your favourite testing guru – you’re not a good tester in my opinion If you insist that your definition of quality is the one that counts, again you’re not a good tester for me.But then does my opinion count? Only you can judge!Note I’ve not included any generic testing skills here – they are the easy bit and can be taught, not even worth mentioning as the only make you a tester, not a good tester.
  • Challenge requirements (whether spoken or written), for completeness; relevance; and accuracyUnderstand how the system will be used:To identify business product risks To quantify the priority of functionsTo quantify the severity of defectsIF all you have is the ability to write and follow test scripts, you have a very limited career as these are commodity skills.You will be replaced by cheaper resources or machines.
  • Its usually during testing that problems become visible and projects become troubled.To a level where they can recognise who is an expert.
  • In every aspect of the project life-cycle, regardless of the approach being taken, there is test activity that can and should take place.So, if you’re SuperTester, you need to communicate effectively with every other discipline. You don’t have to know everything they know, but ask “stupid questions”. How cool is that?You’re the eyes and ears of the sponsors, you are the one person who actually knows the health of the project, regardless of what the project reporting states. How valuable is that
  • .
  • Where will the experience come from?
  • – certification within your company
  • 'How To Create Good Testers' by Susan Windsor

    1. 1. How to Create “Good Testers”Slide 1Susan WindsorGerrard ConsultingLimitedsusan@gerrardconsulting.comWeb: gerrardconsulting.com
    2. 2. Topics• What is a “Good Tester”?• Why would YOU want to be one?• How can you find, or become one?Slide 2
    3. 3. Good Tester? (Good Question!)Slide 3
    4. 4. Generic Attributes?• Able to identify what quality actually means in their contextfor their stakeholders. Think “fit for purpose”!• Able to define what information is important to theirstakeholders and then deliver it, on time, and in the relevantformat.• Able to identify examples of industry good practice that arerelevant and incorporate in pragmatic way.• Able to recognise the value in different flavours of testers. Noteveryone will be in the same discipline as you.• Able to be productive; seek to continuously improve;understand their value.Slide 4
    5. 5. Functional Tester Attributes• Relevant businessexperience!• Networked with businessanalysts, and users.• Challenge functionalrequirements.• Understand how thesystem will be used.Slide 5
    6. 6. Agile Tester Attributes• Excellent communication .• Role in multi-skilled team .• Challenge all stories.• Use the relevanttechnology.• Able to understand (andchange?) code.Slide 6
    7. 7. Operational AcceptanceAttributes• Lots of technical experience!• Networked with operations andtechnical support.• Challenge (and help define)operational acceptance criteria.Slide 7
    8. 8. Performance Tester Attributes?• Understand architecture and ableto identify potential bottle necks.• Networked with architects,operations and communications.• Challenge (and help define)performance requirements• Interpret the results in plainlanguage.• Able to use the relevant testingtools.Slide 8
    9. 9. Test Manager Attributes• Communicate with ALLstakeholders.• Manage ALL skill groups.• Manage troubled projects;• Specialists in one or more testdisciplines.• Understand all test disciplinesSlide 9
    10. 10. Certification• What do you think?• As an individual it can help your careerand provide a sense of achievement.• As a resource provider; or resourcepurchaser (who aren’t testers) it’s usedincorrectly as a meaningful measure.Slide 10
    11. 11. Beyond Good Tester?• Active throughout the projectlife-cycle.• Communicate with everyother discipline.• You’re the eyes and ears ofthe sponsors.Slide 11Super Tester!
    12. 12. Good Testers Make a Difference• Be your own Guru!– Network; blog; attend events; absorb everything and retainonly what is relevant to you.– Don’t be seduced by industry Guru’s! There is no “bestpractice”.– Realise that your experience is just as relevant and valuable asothers.– Become a mentor to other budding testers; seek out a mentor foryourself.• Identify your relevant stakeholders and ask them:– What do they think makes a good tester?– What information do they need to make decisions?– What are their expectations of you and how will you know whenyou’ve met them?Slide 12
    13. 13. Create a Good TesterFrom within your own organisation!Slide 13• Functional• Agile• Operational• Performance• Test Manager• Business users• Developers• System Support• Systems Analysts• BusinessManagers
    14. 14. Time to Transition?• Purely by moving them into a new role and learning onthe job alongside experienced testers – about oneyear to be as effective as an experienced contracttester• By providing 4 weeks intensive assessment andtraining up front – about 3 months to reach same level• Either way, after one year, they will be more productiveand effective than any contract tester can be as theyalready have key productivity factors in place:– Relevant business or technical experience– A network of contacts within your organisation– Experience of “how to make things happen around here!”Slide 14
    15. 15. External Candidates?• Direct Recruitment– Even if you don’t plan to dothis, the thought processand assessment assets willsupport other externalresource provisiondecisions.• Contract Agencies– Build a relationship with asmall number (one!) you cantrust.• Service Suppliers– Your selection processshould drive their servicelevel and your commercial Slide 15
    16. 16. Define Your Selection ProcessSlide 16SuperTesterTest Manager (50plus)Test Manager (20plus)Team LeaderSpecialistNon-functionalRolesJunior TestersFinalInterviewPersonalityTestStructuredinterviewInterpersonalSkills TestPracticalTestTelephoneInterviewCVAptitudeTestApplicationScreen out candidatesRecruitment DecisionY NY Y YY YNYY Y Y Y YN NYYYYY Y Y NY Y Y Y Y Y Y NYYY YY YY YY YYYYY YNNNNNYY
    17. 17. Define Your Own TeamRoadmap• Sources exist (incomplete) e.g. BCSSFIA• Define base skills per discipline• Create a matrix of roles• Manage career development towardsgoals• Establish recognition of achievement• Establish mentoring/coachingprogramme Slide 17
    18. 18. And Finally……..Why wouldn’t you want to be a Good Tester?• You have a very wide choice of test disciplinesyou can specialise in, depending on your careeraspirations and experience.• You get to provide the Intelligence that facilitateseffective decision making.• Ultimately, you’re a Trusted Advisor and maybeeven an Industry Guru or SuperTester!Slide 18

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