Sunday, October 23, 2011

Let's Get Rid of the QA Team

one end of the spectrum

What if you walk into work and your boss walks in and tells your group that, we need to make some cutbacks and we will get rid of the testing team. No conversations, no explanation. What do you think will happen? Do you think your company's velocity will grind down to a zero? Will the development team beg your boss to get the testing team back again? or will it be business as usual?

the other end

Lets say that you achieved everything that your testing team has ever dreamed of? You have a crack team of Exploratory testers that has a very good understanding of what can and should be automated. Everyone in the company recognizes the value that your team gives, what now? Can we just sit back lie on our laurels?

some thoughts

As a test manager, one of the biggest questions lingering at the back of my head is the value my team brings to the company. Sure, I try to mentor each and every member in my team and spend weekly 1-on-1's even with my offshore members. I even went as far as getting everyone AST memberships so everyone can take the BBST course.

Are all of that enough? Is there still room for improvement? The answer I always give myself for the above questions are NO, no amount of improvement or training is never enough because one can never test everything, and YES, there is always room for improvement.

Testing vigilance is not a talent that everyone has, as a matter of fact it is not a talent either. Testing vigilance is something that you have to do. As a test manager, one of my primary roles is to promote to the rest of the group the value my team can bring to the rest of the company. Another role is to make sure my team understands what is valuable for the company that they are working for at any given point in time. For myself and the members of my test team, I expect everyone to have healthy discussions with the projects we are involved with and not just wait for something to fall in our laps.

I have been on that first end of the spectrum and there were a lot of blame that went around. It is a place that I would never want my team to be in but that is something I cannot control. What I control is setting up an environment so my team can strive and be the best that they can be and be able to serve the team and thus provide value.

In closing, when my team does get to the other end of the spectrum, I just need to remember that a great tester named James Bach once said, "Your team maybe called 'Quality Assurance'. Don't let that go to your head. Your test results and bug reports provide information that facilitates the assurance of quality on the project, but that assurance results from the effort of the entire team."
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