Here we are gearing up for another new year! As time flies by, we may start to feel stuck in one place, unable to move forward in our careers. Testers can get bogged down by too much to learn, too many directions to take, and so many tools and technologies.
But that’s no reason to stagnate. By making some goals now, you can aim to start improving yourself and your career development right away on January 1st.
The first resolution should be to create and maintain a healthy mindset. Mental peace and team harmony should be the goal.
There must be a routine, a drive to better oneself and a constant search for improvement. All testers must resolve to take up some kind of continuing education so they can always be adding to their skill sets. Learning cannot be a one-time activity.
Get Better at Networking
The next resolution a tester must make is to participate in the community in some way. The knowledge you have is better shared with others, and the pace of learning in a community will be much faster than alone.
The technical industry is characterized by high stress, long work hours as well as workplace pressure. This demanding environment blurs the line between your professional and personal life.
Your mental health suffers a lot in the constant social pressure to network and make a name for yourself. Here, are certain ideas to implement at your workplace to take care of your mental health.
Speak your mind
Speaking your mind can help you maintain your mental health. Don’t consider sharing your feelings as a sign of weakness; it’s a part of taking charge of your wellbeing.
Though it’s hard to talk about feelings at work, but if you have colleagues you can talk to, it can really help. Find your tribe at work who can be your peers with whom you can share your day to day problems, issues and seek advice, or open up with family and friends outside work.
Everyone has different triggers for anxiety in the workplace. It could be doing a presentation or writing reports or going to a company function. You must track situations that make you uncomfortable in order to prepare.
Exit criteria are a list of items to check off that define the end of any activity. Exit criteria can be defined for any activity you want to undertake: You can have exit criteria for cooking veggies to the desired doneness, or for a city tour to be sure you see all the sights, or for a meeting to assign action items for everyone! Exit criteria are helpful to tell you (and others involved) when to stop the activity. Specifically, for an agile project, having clear and concise exit criteria makes it easier to understand the scope and avoid going overboard while keeping a tab on your quality.
The first rule for exit criteria is to have them defined up front, before beginning the activity.
For an agile project, let’s say we want to have exit criteria in place for the end of the sprint. We will need to work on defining them at the beginning of the sprint, or at the release-planning stage. Once the activity begins, the goal is to achieve all exit criteria by the end. We cannot have people defining or changing the planned exit criteria during execution of the activity, since that will not be upholding the quality standards set in the beginning.
The second rule is to have standard exit criteria for all similar activities. So, exit criteria defined for the sprint level apply to all sprints in that release, and exit criteria defined for the user story level apply to all user stories in all sprints. This upholds the same standard of quality and expectation of work required for each of these work units.
In the article, I have discussed sample Exit Criteria for Sprint, User Story or Task level and also shown how to create your own exit criteria based on your project’s and team’s context.
The important things to focus on are having the exit criteria defined up front and ensuring follow-through by sticking to the criteria throughout your release cycle. Being consistent with checking off everything on your exit criteria list ensures a smooth flow of high-quality work.
Agile teams are constantly running toward goals, requiring constant planning, monitoring, and re-planning. Metrics can help support these efforts by providing useful information about the health and progress of the project.
There are a few common metrics we use in agile teams: sprint burndown charts, release burnup charts, team velocity. They’re common because they communicate practical information, but they’re not the only metrics we can employ.
In my recent articles for TestRail blog, I described 3 Uncommon metrics you can easily create that will be very useful for your agile team. I also wrote about 3 Metrics that are not useful and you must stop using now!
Metrics are supposed to help and support an agile team by providing useful information about the health and progress of their project. But not all metrics are always beneficial. Going overboard with them can sometimes cause more harm than good.
In this post I have described three metrics that can impede your agile team instead of motivating you.
Communication is the foundation of success for an agile team. Agile teams need to set up effective communication channels and have a culture of constant communication for complete transparency.
However, there are often several challenges that act as barriers to productive communication and may lead to people problems as well as delayed or failed projects. In my article for TestRail https://blog.gurock.com/agile-barrier-communication/ , I have discussed some of the most common barriers to effective communication for agile teams, as well as how you can overcome them.
Agile teams require constant communication, so it immensely benefits the team to recognize their barriers to effective communication and take some measures to overcome these barriers. Every step taken in this regard leads the team farther down their path to true agility.
Agile transformations can be a challenging undertaking, and many organizations struggle with what is probably the hardest part of the transition: adopting an agile mindset. It is imperative that teams embrace the agile culture before they can fully embrace agile.
As I always like to say, agile is more a mindset than a process. It guides you to a better way of working and collaborating in order to deliver the most value to your users. But how you choose to implement those guidelines is up to you, and most teams coming from a traditional style of software development find this aspect the most challenging.
Teams are left to find ways to work together rather than having a process forcing them to do certain actions, follow certain processes, or organize specific meetings. There are no templates or techniques to adhere to and no rules to follow strictly.
This may come as a surprise and leave teams guessing since they are used to being told what to do and how. Agile drives them to think on their feet as they plan and replan their way through the development process. Read More–>
Being Comfortable with Visibility & Exposure
Agile gives everyone a voice and values every person’s opinion. Many teams have been used to only the manager speaking for them or having one representative in most meetings. As a result, some team members may feel flustered now that they’ll occasionally be in the spotlight. People who are not used to voicing their opinion are expected to speak in all forums. Hiding behind the team is no longer an option in agile.
This also means team members are valued as individuals and everyone’s contribution is recognized. Agile treats all team members as equals, whatever their role or designation. They are expected to estimate their own tasks, pick things to work on, collaborate with other team members, and provide value by the end of each iteration. Continue Reading–>
A walkthrough is a great review technique that can be used for sharing knowledge, gathering feedback and building a consensus. Typically, walkthroughs take place when the author of a work item explains it in a brief review meeting — effectively walking the team through the work — and gathers people’s feedback and ideas about it. These meetings may be as formal or as informal as needed and may also be used as a knowledge-sharing session with many relevant stakeholders at once.
In my article published at https://blog.gurock.com/tester-agile-walkthrough/ , I have discussed three ways agile testers can make use of this type of review for their sprint- and release-level test plans and test cases to get the entire team involved in the quest for quality.
I have also discussed how I have used walkthroughs in my agile team as a mechanism to review our sprint test scenarios with the entire Scrum team. The main areas of application are-
Walkthroughs are a quick and easy review technique to adopt, and they can be especially useful for testers on an agile team to get reviews on their test plans, test cases, and scripts. Give this technique a try, even if in an informal sense, and see how beneficial it can be!