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Growing Great Test Analysts


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This presentation was given at ANZTB 2009 and STANZ New Zealand in 2009. In it I discuss how to develop effective test analysts through cultural architecture, much like a gardener grows plants through environmental architecture.

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Growing Great Test Analysts

  1. 1. Growing Great Test Analysts
  2. 2. Cowboys• Have you ever heard a Test Analyst call a Developer a cowboy?• 50% of test organisations use formal test design in their planning and analysis• Of these, only 25% use more than one formal test design technique• If we don’t use formal methods are we any better? Department of Internal Affairs
  3. 3. Defining the problem• There are few formal university qualifications in testing• People come into testing from a wide variety of backgrounds, often almost by accident• People learn testing ad hoc on the job, they are constrained by the knowledge of those around them• It is possible to achieve of moderate degree of success with native cunning Department of Internal Affairs
  4. 4. A solution• Fundamentally effective software testing requires effective software test analysts• Software testing is about people and relationships• We need to recognise that those around us can be viewed in one of two ways: o As resources capable of certain tasks and not of others o As people capable of any task Department of Internal Affairs
  5. 5. Whose job is it?• Fundamentally it is everyone’s job• Start with yourself – how can you grow?• A model for discipleship o Show them o Have them show you o Release them• Everyone can and should be doing this and expecting it Department of Internal Affairs
  6. 6. Cultural Architecture• People are like plants• The gardeners job is to create an environment the plants will grow in• Gardens are designed to grow some kinds of plants and not others• What kind of environment will cause great testers to grow? Department of Internal Affairs
  7. 7. Light – Inspiring your team• Without vision the people perish• We must take time to articulate vision; many people don’t really understand why they test• Three levels of vision o Personal o Team/Organisational o Professional• Tie them all together Department of Internal Affairs
  8. 8. Fertiliser – Investing in People• We must invest in the people that make up our team, we have to feed them• They need us to commit the following: o Belief o Time o Effort o Money• The Principle of Reciprocity: the more we invest in others the more they are motivated to invest in us Department of Internal Affairs
  9. 9. Stakes and Pruning• It is better to provide a plant with a way to grow rather than cut off unwanted growth• Give people a recognised structure to work within• Stop unwanted behaviours early• Be clear on what is, and what is no, desirable• Test Analysis should be the industry focus Department of Internal Affairs
  10. 10. Water - Enculture• Plants grow together and influence each other’s growth• Be what you want them to become• The only thing you have any degree of real control over is yourself• If you want to change a relationship/situation, change yourself Department of Internal Affairs
  11. 11. What’s in a name?• We are commonly called testers?• What is testing• We are Test Analysts• We do Test Analysis• To my mind: o “Testers” = “Cowboy” o “Test Analyst” = “Professional” Department of Internal Affairs