I was invited by @LeadDev organisation to be a part of a webinar where we had a panel discussion on “Building a better testing culture“. I was elated to be a part of this great group pf panelists alongside Thayse Onofrio from Thoughtworks and Marcus Merrell from Saucelabs. We had a spirited and interesting discussion and shared some meaningful ideas on the topic. I would also like to thank our host Amanda Sopkin for her really on-the-nail questions and for directing the conversation, and our organiser Olivia Christian for inviting me and for her support throughout the event!
The webinar panel was live, lasted for 45 minutes and then we had some time for Q&A. There were some great questions and discussions over the LeadDev slack channel as well.
Here is a bit more insight into the event-
The world of software testing is changing under the pressure of ‘speed to market’. The pressure to quickly get products to market means we are starting to see a significant shift towards automated tests during development. This will likely cause socio-technical complexities for orgs and teams currently involved in testing.
In order to be successful through these changes, orgs will need to have a clear strategy and processes in place that will ensure testing is a vital part of the delivery process. In this new age of testing, how can engineering leaders prevent pitfalls such as friction between teams, a culture of blame, and outdated processes?
In this panel, we examined how shift affects traditional testing set-ups, covering what a healthy testing culture looks like and how to avoid the anti-patterns that lead to uncommunicative teams and project bottlenecks. We explored how engineering teams can best work together and how to encourage a shared vision of quality and the importance of efficient and effective tests.
Define clear roles and responsibilities for quality and testing in your org
Encourage QA to be seen as necessary, rather than inhibiting release times
Understand which tests to automate, and which to not
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Many software teams were forced to work remotely because of the onset of the global pandemic of COVID-19. Months in, most teams have now found their pace and made their peace with it. Hopefully, you’ve gotten comfortable and set a routine for yourself in your new work-from-home setup.
But are you engaging enough with your colleagues? Or are your conversations limited to virtual meetings and video calls? It’s important to have other ways of staying connected with your team.
As an organization, it is important to realize that however close-knit or small your team may be, not having a proper open channel of communication may make people feel out of the loop. In my article published at Testrail blog, I have discussed some tips on how to keep yourself and your team engaged when working from home.
Bump up communication
Before, it may have been enough for the manager to have one-on-one conversations with team members once a month, but our new remote situation calls for a little more. Managers should increase the frequency as well as the quality of the conversations they have with their teams. Strive to understand what teams are struggling with, remove their impediments, and ensure a smooth workday for each person.
As a team member, you too now have the responsibility to stay in touch with your peers more often. It is important for you to participate more in conversations with others rather than just being a spectator in your group chats or calls. A simple greeting and an update about what you are working on today is a good start that helps others peek into your day, and it increases the chances of their doing the same.
Provide clear directions
Managers and leaders need to focus now more than ever on setting up open lines of communication within teams. Give clear directions about what is expected of everyone, share what you feel about their work in the form of constructive feedback, and ask them their opinions. It is important to be empathetic and understanding and to have a listening ear.
In the middle of this chaos, it is important for people to have specific instructions, tasks, and goals so that they can focus on achieving objectives and have some structure to their days. Achieving these small tasks will make their time more productive and motivate them to get more done!
Agile leaders are supposed to get the maximum amount of quality work done with minimum control of the situation. The team constantly needs support and guidance while remaining independent and self-motivated.
How do you get this done within the tight deadlines? Do you have the team’s trust, and do they have yours? How do you know if you are a good leader for your agile team?
In my article for Testrail blog, I discussed the challenges of Agile Leadership and shared some tips for aspiring Agile Leaders to excel in their team management! Here are some areas to focus on:-
Communication is the backbone of agile. Open, clear and frequent communication breathes life into the agile team.
As an agile leader, you will be required to be big on communication, stressing its need, ensuring it is happening, and keeping it open and constructive at all times. You may even need to get over your own fear or reluctance if you are an introvert! A good agile leader needs to constantly encourage people to work together, discuss issues, and enforce good communication practices.
As a good agile leader, it is imperative to maintain a clear vision for the project. Since agile requires teams to deliver working software frequently, most of the team’s time is spent concentrating on different tasks and activities to make the release happen.
But since requirements change often, it is easy to lose sight of the overall vision for the project amidst all that chaos. It falls to the leader to keep the team aligned, maintain the overall vision, and help everyone zoom out periodically to look at the bigger picture.
An agile leader is required to be a constant problem solver. They need to look for problems before they happen and resolve them as early as possible.………
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.