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Test Leaders Live Webinar Q&A from Johanna Rothman

  • 16/10/2012
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  • Posted by EuroSTAR

Oana Oros: If you have multiple small projects can you have testers multitask on multiple projects? or how can you manager best that ?

You have some options:

1. Have the tester work on one project for an entire week at a time, making sure to work in-depth with the entire team. Once the tester has made progress for one week on one project, the tester moves to project 2 for an entire week. Then the tester moves back to project 1. You do this project “ping-pong” between two very important projects until the projects are done. Are either of the projects less urgent? Don’t do one of them.

2. Take two testers. Have them pair with each other, so they get the benefit of two heads. Now, they build a backlog of what they need to do for all the projects. They decide what to do. Let them.

3. You, as a test manager decide which projects you are *not* going to put a tester on. Not all of these projects are equally worthy. Decide which projects you are not going to staff. Say No. Or, say When. Stick with your decision.

Jonathan Aibel: Just to clarify, would you recommend that we treat “process” as optional?

Process is fine. Make sure that process doesn’t become a recipe where you don’t think. I’ve seen some test teams use process as an excuse for not testing or for not thinking.

Dodan Vojtko: will customer come back, when we say NO? What is your experience? thanks…

If you do great work, the customer will return, because you provide valuable information.

Ionut Gavaz: Question: if testers should not think about quality then who should?

Testers should think about quality, but should provide information, not judgement. Use release criteria to help *everyone* understand what quality means for this project.

Siim Sutrop: What resource do you recommend to read on training young testers and how to coach them?

Oh, there are so many! To keep up with current writings, and Then, it’s a question of what is the biggest issue: testing, integration, development, project management, what? Find the book(s) you like the best, and do lunch-and-learns with the entire team or give the tester the book and discuss. Many times, the best learning is self-guided.

Karen Li: What is the key difference between agile testing and traditional testing?

In agile, you must automate. It is not optional. Otherwise, you have no idea what has happened in this iteration and if anything has changed since that previous iterations.

Teresa Sousa: when the project is long, more than 1 or 2 years, when can we say that the tester should change project to avoid accomodation?

When the tester is bored or when the team no longer wants the tester on the project. But my experience is that if the project’s goals are clear, and the tester is competent, the tester will want to see the project through to the end. Don’t take teams apart unless the team members want to leave. It’s expensive because the team has to re-form.

Thomas Klein: does “time-boxed” multitask make sense? like in “day #1 only project A, day #2 only project B”

You can try that, but one day is not long enough to make progress. You want the tester to work with the entire project team. One week is the minimum amount of time, unless the people are really good at splitting stories.

Diana Gomez: can you ask developers to create automated tests while testers do exploratory testing? having agile development?

You can try. The problem is that developers are not good at testing their own code. When I was a developer I only tested the parts of my code that worked. (I still do that!) You need testers who can write automated tests as well as testers who do exploratory testing. Now, the developers can write automation under the testers’ direction. That works, too.

Galina Novozhilova: What you can suggest to scrum master in managing of distributed teams where time difference is 1 working day?

Be agile, but don’t use Scrum. Scrum might not be the right agile approach for you. I suggested a number of other lifecycles on my blog this year. See

Smita Mishra: Should we stop calling Test teams as Quality gate keepers if the release decision shall be entirely Business Decision?

Yes! Unless we are willing to pay the test teams the Big Bucks to make the release decision, they should not be the gatekeepers.

Ram Dantuluri: Do you recommend switching a tester to different platforms like iOS & Cloud CRM inshort term?

That depends on the product. If you mean, “Should a tester acquire experience testing in the cloud?” Sure. It couldn’t hurt.

Marcin Złotowicz: Question: Do you think it’s a good idea to have strict roles in test team? For example, testers that do automation and manual testers, and testers that do reviews of documentation etc. If yes why, having in mind the costs of trainings?

I almost never advocate the use of experts. I almost always want people to be able to do everything. That said, some people are going to be better at automation and some will be better at doc review. But that’s because people are people. I don’t like putting people into boxes, so I don’t like strict roles on teams.

Thomas Klein: Nowadays we have a tendancy to say “stop writing testcases – test instead”. I agree, but how can we report progress/quality indicators/coverage to management? Any idea?

Provide a dashboard, and if management doesn’t like it, ask what they want instead. Ask why they want coverage. Progress is different from quality indicators. You can use progress against release criteria instead of quality indicators. Coverage can be a red herring. What kind of coverage??

I suspect management wants to know this: When will the project be done and will the product be good enough to release? Use release criteria to know if the product is good enough to release. Use progress against the release criteria to know when the project will be done. My original article is here, My updated work is in Manage It!,

Gerrit Jan ter Harmsel: How to deal with a project environment in which the client only needs a green traffic light from QA on getting a Master Testplan, but doing nothing with it after all reviews and approvals, but going on living by the day? You then feel disappointed as test manager, spending so much time on the plan…

Ah, you have a disengaged sponsor. Show the sponsor demos or interim milestones.

Emma Steer: When we talk about testing, many people only consider getting to done for functional testing. In your experience, how do you see intergrating UAT into the process.

UAT is different for many organizations. Not everyone has it integrated. If you need it to be integrated, then how can you start it earlier and get people doing it earlier? That’s how you get it integrated. Not waiting until the very end.

Oana Oros: What are the best practices for managing often changes and poor anallisys in agile in order to prevent re-writing the test cases over and over again?

Why is a tester writing test cases in agile? In agile, there should be acceptance criteria on each story. If you don’t have acceptance criteria, you don’t have good-enough stories in the backlog.

Michal Sierzputowski: Do you think that the same tester can effectively work on automated tests and perform manual testing in the same project?

If the manual testing is exploratory, yes. Otherwise, why would the tester do manual testing?

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