8 November, 2017
Influencing the Testing Process
Having 100% control of a task that you are directly involved in is obviously a desirable situation to be in. Professionals within the testing industry are specialists, and as such have differing ideas of what the best method to approach a problem is. However realistically in a team, it is not feasible to instill a dictatorship, with only yourself pushing forward. Aside from the overt negative implications from this, having a sole person influencing the direction of a project will lack the perspective that a unified team can offer. Hence, the importance of a collaborative effort, where every member has a say and the potential to make decisions with a positive impact on a project.
So, what can we offer to this team dynamic, often found in the Agile environment, from a testing perspective? The test team that can prove themselves reliable and dependable, will allow them to influence the direction of a project and reap its benefit.
The next question would be, beyond the merit of the statement itself, what is it that gives a Tester’s input value? This value, is weighted from the Testers actions and presence within a team
A vital aspect of this is maintaining consistent communication, little and often, with the client. Regular communication with the Project Manager means that they are kept in the loop, with concise information and, they are aware of the critical details. It would not be productive to have occasional communication where the Project Manager is overwhelmed with an overabundant amount of information! The keyword is concise, the objective is to keep the Client informed, but to not drown them in information. It is likely that they are already receiving a vast amount of information, they don’t necessarily need to know the finer details of the test process, only the key points and results.
Therefore, it is crucial to build a relationship of trust, where the Client can depend on the test team to get on with the work in a practical manner, without the need to micromanage every aspect of the process.
This trust can be developed through this kind of communication, as well as offering feedback on the methods undertaken by the test team. When trust is established the Tester and the test team can influence the approach. As a seasoned Tester one can draw from their own experiences to justify their methods when attempting to steer the direction of the testing approach of a project. A Tester should be willing to offer input when they have something to say. It is a positive attribute for anyone to have, to want to have their opinion heard. This demonstrates that they are invested, and have a decent awareness of the purpose and scale of the project.
This is not only beneficial to the client, but also to the test team. If there is a degree of accountability, that the test team has proven in their work, then there will be a greater margin of flexibility for the test team to decide the best method of approaching the test process. If the test team can work with a comfortable degree of autonomy, while maintaining the involvement of the client, then this benefits both parties when delivering a complete product.
So to reiterate, the key factors to influencing the testing process are:
- Maintaining constant worthwhile and useful communication
- Build trust to establish influence and decision making in the test approach
By Lewis Thomson, Test Analyst at Edge Testing
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