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5 Ways to Make Life Easier for Testers

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23 Mar 2017

Software creation is an involved process that requires the skills of a number of individuals in order to be successful. Quality assurance testers have traditionally been given the short end of the stick in terms of available time to complete their tasks and tool provisioning. However, QA and test management have become more of a business priority due to the fact that these elements can often determine the value of software projects, making it important that professionals in this area are handled effectively. 

Here are a few tips to help manage a team of testers efficiently: 

1. Develop a collaborative environment Testers have often been set aside in a bubble of their own - given the blame if something doesn't work properly or having to go through numerous steps to have any changes enacted. Software Testing Help contributor Sneha Nadig noted that although test teams may identify risks proactively, management might not understand the implications of these issues and may require additional work before any adjustments are made. This can put a lot of pressure on testers, especially when schedules are becoming tighter than ever. 

However, by creating more collaborative operations, testers will be enabled to be more efficient. Working with developers, for example, could help cut down on bugs and meet deadlines even if code delivery is delayed when sent for testing. In addition, test management tools will allow testers to work together across projects - even if they are not in the same physical location - while leaving a history of changes in real time. This ensures that everyone is on the same page and that testers are able to easily work together. 

2. Encourage Self Organizing teams Agile teams are self-organizing. The team members should be allowed to self-organize and distribute the work among themselves. 

3. Build T-Shaped skills The developers and testers should strive towards building T-Shaped skills for effectively supporting each other. 

4. Automate repetitive tasks Nothing is more frustrating and time-consuming than repetitive processes. Across software lifecycles, and even different projects, the same test cases may be used on a regular basis. However, coding these and manually running them can become tedious and eat away at precious time. Methods &Tools contributor Lloyd Roden stated that duplicated testing can often feel like a waste of time, making it necessary to automate some of these cases. This will allow test teams to focus on other important tasks and maximize their efficiency. 

"Simple techniques like reviews, allocation of tests and paired testing can alleviate this problem," Roden wrote. "Time spent planning who does what at the start of the project is time well spent.

Although not everything can be automated, reducing the amount of required manual testing can take a lot of pressure off of testers. Teams can also create a schedule for the automated tests, ensuring that they will be executed when required. This capability not only saves time and reduces the overall workload on testers, it also allows them to be more efficient. Rather than slogging through the same tests all the time, they're being done with technology, reserving time for other necessary activities. 

5. Set fair goals Testers are already under a lot of pressure, so putting lofty objectives on top of them is not likely to make the quality of their work improve. While test management can certainly help identify and mitigate issues early, this does not mean that all vulnerabilities will be caught. Defects may still appear even well after an application is released, making monitoring and testing important initiatives throughout the software's lifecycle. 

By setting goals that are achievable, testers will be more motivated. These benchmarks will set expectations and encourage teams to work toward them. However, management must also understand that these objectives rely on the capabilities of the testers. 

"If the duration of testing is reduced, consider reducing the scope of testing; don't just rely on the old fallback of working longer hours," Sarah Rees wrote in a Software Education discussion paper. "This sets an expectation that the team will always agree to work long hours, and reinforces the concept that testing is a low-skill activity that can be squeezed into a shorter timeframe without any impact on the quality of the task.

Testers are an integral part of software development, so it is important that they are managed efficiently. By following these tips, testing teams will be effective while also ensuring that the quality of their projects lives up to standards. 

Sources: http://www.softwaretestinghelp.com/test-lead-respo... http://www.methodsandtools.com/archive/archive.php... http://www.softed.com/resources/docs/testteammanag...

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