Building Successful Test Teams


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“People are the most important asset of any organization.” Even though we hear that a lot, leaders and managers actually spend very little time focusing on the people side of testing. The skills and makeup of a test team are important and must be managed and cultivated properly. Individuals are very different and will react differently to various situations. Lloyd Roden describes the “tester’s style analysis questionnaire” and four types of testers—the pragmatist, the facilitator, the analyst, and the pioneer. When we recognize and acknowledge individual differences, we can use the individual’s strengths rather than dwell on the weaknesses. Lloyd examines how conflicts arise and how this style analysis questionnaire can help defuse conflicts to bring out the best in teams. Recruiting can be difficult, too. How do we recognize good testers during interviews? Once again, the style analysis can help. Lloyd provides Seven Top Tips for motivating your team to become more productive. Join Lloyd and take back ideas to help you assemble your most effective team.

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Building Successful Test Teams

  1. 1. T1 Test Management 5/2/2013 9:45:00 AM Building Successful Test Teams Presented by: Lloyd Roden Lloyd Roden Consultancy Brought to you by: 340 Corporate Way, Suite 300, Orange Park, FL 32073 888-268-8770 ∙ 904-278-0524 ∙ ∙
  2. 2. Lloyd Roden With more than twenty-eight years in the software industry, Lloyd Roden has worked as a developer, test analyst, and test manager for many different organizations. Lloyd was a consultant/partner with Grove Consultants for twelve years. In 2011 he created Lloyd Roden Consultancy, an independent UK-based training and consultancy company specializing in software testing. Lloyd’s passion is to enthuse, excite, and inspire people in the area of software testing. He has spoken at conferences worldwide including STAREAST, STARWEST, Better Software, EuroSTAR, AsiaSTAR, and Special Interest Groups in software testing in several countries. In 2004, he won the European Testing Excellence award.
  3. 3. teams-1 Building Successful Test Teams 1 Contents The concept of “team” Tester’s style analysis Recruiting the right people Top tips for motivating your team 2 Building teams 130224 © Lloyd Roden
  4. 4. teams-2 When we think of “team” what comes to mind? what do they have in common? 3 Successful and productive test teams “Success breeds Success” Source: “Peopleware” Tom DeMarco & Timothy Lister “Productive harmony breeds more productive harmony” “People work better and have more fun when the team comes together” As a test team which are we more like? 4 Building teams 130224 © Lloyd Roden
  5. 5. teams-3 The problem we have today where exactly are our team? ! ! ! ! !           centralised distributed off-shore outsourced insourced and we have to manage them! and what about the various lifecycles !  !  !  traditional iterative agile Acceptance Business Requirements Testing System Specification Design Specification Code System Testing Integration Testing Component Testing 5 Common distracters ! ! ! !         physical separation being unfair communication breakdown duplication of effort !  ! ! ! !         leads to frustration lack of management support time constraints adopting blame culture failure to appreciate 6 Building teams 130224 © Lloyd Roden
  6. 6. teams-4 Key components of a ‘jelled’ test team !   good communication !   trust and support for each other !   strong leadership !  !  identity – sense of direction provides lots of satisfying “closures” !   move from independence to interdependence !  collaboration is key !   appreciation of the stages that the team go through !  forming, storming, norming and performing !   recognition of the strengths within the team 7 Contents The concept of “team” Tester’s style analysis Recruiting the right people Top tips for motivating your team 8 Building teams 130224 © Lloyd Roden
  7. 7. teams-5 “Tester Styles” - the questionnaire things to note !   there is no or wrong answer !   try not to think too much !   it helps us to assess our strengths !  can be used with other psychometric questionnaires (e.g. Belbin, Myers/Briggs, 16PF) !   two parts !  !  answer questionnaire and plot the values on the graph 9 The questionnaire - how to complete (x axis) X - Axis Friendly Approachable Casual Open Unstructured Social Intuitive Random Warm Perceptive Building teams 130224 x x x x x x 6 Formal Retiring Business Like Guarded Organised Introvert Logical Focused Cool Insensitive x x x x 10 © Lloyd Roden
  8. 8. teams-6 The questionnaire - how to complete (y axis) Y - Axis To the point Challenging Quick Insistent Lively Impatient Adventurous Confronting Competitive Strong Minded x x Indirect Accepting Leisurely Thoughtful Relaxed Patient Cautious Receptive Co-operative Analytical 2 x x x x x x x x 11 Plot your score on the grid X (6,2) 12 Building teams 130224 © Lloyd Roden
  9. 9. teams-7 The Model The Pragmatist The Pioneer The Analyst The Facilitator 13 Key words for the ‘Pragmatic’ Style Tester ! ! ! ! ! !             Likes strategic / goals positive results / brief practical efficiency tasks ! ! ! !         Dislikes indecision vagueness time-wasting unproductiveness The Pragmatist 14 Building teams 130224 © Lloyd Roden
  10. 10. teams-8 The Pragmatic style tester will… •  be good for setting and monitoring short/long term goals for the team be good at documenting factual ‘test reports’ remain positive through pressure be keen to adopt a prioritised/risk based test approach be a strong driving force - ensure a task is done want to implement efficiency into the team be self-motivated and task oriented make quick decisions enjoy challenging testing tasks be content to work on their own •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  15 Key words for the ‘Pioneer’ Style Tester ! ! ! ! ! !             Likes new / ideas change openness results/efficiency involving others risks ! ! ! !         Dislikes standards detail ‘norm’ paper-work The Pioneer 16 Building teams 130224 © Lloyd Roden
  11. 11. teams-9 The Pioneer style tester will… •  be good at non-systematic techniques: bug hunting / error-guessing / exploratory testing be good at challenging and improving things to make more efficient and effective enjoy testing in different ways •  •  •  •  iterative lifecycle model be good at brainstorming “test conditions” and “what-if” scenarios share ideas about different ways to approach testing identify and take necessary risks when required have creative test ideas - how to find more faults be keen on process improvements and making changes •  •  •  •  17 Key words for the ‘Analysing’ Style Tester ! ! ! ! ! !             Likes accuracy attention to detail proof standards reliable all alternatives ! ! ! !         Dislikes new / change untested / risks brief / speed letting go The Analyst 18 Building teams 130224 © Lloyd Roden
  12. 12. teams-10 The Analysing style tester will… •  •  •  •  •  be good at defining and documenting test cases be good at producing test standards and procedures analyse problems and finding root cause produce work which is thorough enjoy logical / systematic tests scenarios •  •  •  •  •  •  •  traditional lifecycle model provide proof when faults are found document detailed test reports complete work regardless of what it takes challenge requirements pay attention to detail implement changes to process improvement 19 Key words for the ‘Facilitating’ Style Tester ! ! ! ! ! !             Likes networking positive team oriented consensus / sharing building bridges status quo ! ! ! !         Dislikes pressure / deadlines confrontation isolation dictated The Facilitator 20 Building teams 130224 © Lloyd Roden
  13. 13. teams-11 The Facilitating style tester will… •  •  •  •  be good in an “agile” development environment or a ‘buddy’ test team often ask opinion before raising issues be good at documentation co-operate & communicate well with other departments •  •  •  •  •  •  agile lifecycle model often see the ‘other side’ be good at defusing ‘us’ versus ‘them’ syndrome be popular make things happen - eventually! will provide support in testing to other team members 21 – mentoring and coaching Tester Style - patterns !   usually operate within a certain boundary !   what it you are on the line or in the centre? !  !  flexible between styles can be difficult to manage !   opposites repel !  maybe the reason for team tension !   analysts and pragmatists tend towards ‘tasks’ !   pioneers and facilitators tend towards ‘people’ 22 Building teams 130224 © Lloyd Roden
  14. 14. teams-12 What is the ideal test team? !   a mixture of each style would be good !  but it depends on your objectives !   individuals should be prepared to adapt !   assign work which complements their style but there is a need to have a team which adapts readily to the other styles when needs dictate !   recognise your own limitations !  and other people’s strengths 23 Contents The concept of “team” Tester’s style analysis Recruiting the right people Top tips for motivating your team 24 Building teams 130224 © Lloyd Roden
  15. 15. teams-13 Typical scenarios setting up a new team •  state objectives of the team when recruiting some choice •  establish the team structure •  identify skills needed adding to an existing team •  awareness of group dynamics no choice •  understand current strengths/weaknesses •  identify skill gaps 25 No choice - some tips !   probation period (if possible) / secondment !   set clear objectives !   recognition of their feelings – promote testing !   training and mentoring !   identify strengths early !   be clear about what constitutes being successful and unsuccessful !   don’t carry - for the sake of team and the individual 26 Building teams 130224 © Lloyd Roden
  16. 16. teams-14 Recruiting the right people !   skills !   past experience, test qualifications(?) !   references !   telephone & written !   relevant work to review !   test specs, plans, reports, projects etc. !   talk to the rest of the team !   their impression is important !   psychometric tests ! Belbin, Myers-Briggs, 16PF, Testers Style… !   aptitude test / questionnaire 27 The tester’s aptitude test !   not everyone can test!! !   tests the approach people have to testing !   broad view of testing !   viewed as quality gate (but no guarantees!) !   adapt this to suit your needs !   include a small application to test 28 Building teams 130224 © Lloyd Roden
  17. 17. teams-15 Contents The concept of “team” Tester’s style analysis Recruiting the right people Top tips for motivating your team 29 Tip #1: support for your team !   fight the tester’s corner !   …but choose your battles !   career, remuneration, recognition !   staff development !   training, conferences, testing roles !   recognise their strengths and your weaknesses !   listen to them and take notice !   strike the right balance of hands-on versus hands-off !   test managers must test !   increase your knowledge (technical and testing) Building teams 130224 30 © Lloyd Roden
  18. 18. teams-16 Tip #2: provide a variety of testing work !   variety of work is required !   bug hunting afternoons !   use of different techniques !   try to allow time for experimentation what bugs can I find today? !   play to their strengths !   assign work to compliment their testing ‘style’ !   recognition that we are different !   enjoy testing and have fun !   provide “slack” in the project 31 Tip #3: tools to help - not hinder !   recognition that humans are ‘creative’ !   the best at detecting bugs !   assessment and implementation of appropriate test tools at appropriate times !   for more effectiveness and efficiency !   tools should be available to assist tester in the work they are good at… !   “tool support for testing” !   be mindful of testers loosing testing skills test tools do not make good testers! Building teams 130224 32 © Lloyd Roden
  19. 19. teams-17 Tip #4: provide a mentoring programme !   managers beware of the ‘guilt trip’ !   positive comments needed when faults are found !   guidance and help needed !   e.g. when key/serious faults are found too late !   feedback (good and bad) is vital !   encourage the team to take more responsibility !   introduce an apprenticeship programme !   let us learn from other industries !   let us learn from each other 33 Tip #5: create a unique selling point… !   what makes you/your team different from others… !   that are cheaper? !   that are faster? !   your USP is so that you thrive…not just survive !   example USPs ! recognising and eliminating waste !   being able to find those “nasty” bugs quickly !   measuring and reporting the value of testing !   having a positive attitude at work !   collaborating always !   constantly improving efficiency 34 Building teams 130224 © Lloyd Roden
  20. 20. teams-18 Tip #6: promote the value of testing !   objectives !   assessing software quality !   investigate weakness and build confidence !   help achieve software quality !   finding and removing of the faults !   preserve software quality !   regression testing prevents quality "slip-back” !   provide timely, accurate and relevant information !   identify and reduce risks !   help save production costs !   every bug we find and fix during testing saves the company money…report these savings 35 Summary !   right balance between task and people issues !   four types of tester !   pragmatist, pioneer, analyst and facilitator !   how to overcome disputes and recognise strengths within the team !   consider using an aptitude test to recruit the right people !   constantly look at ways of motivating the team 36 Building teams 130224 © Lloyd Roden