Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Reflection on the testing mission

Manager should ...
... have personality of a leader
... clearly explain to other members of the team what is project mission and its objectives
... be able to inspire people for the task
... support the adoption of project objectives by employees
... promote cooperation and activity
... motivate to improve

This kind of approach I have encountered with in the lectures on the management school, in the wise books such as Measurements in Quality Management Systems by Jaroslav Nenadál, and unfortunately somewhat less frequently in practice.

The atmosphere of cooperation, enthusiasm and responsibility for achieving the objectives are certainly a plus in many areas, but in software testing are rather magical ingredients.

The definition of goals and efforts to achieve them is obviously the beginning of the journey, how to become from an average tester who only follows the scenarios and instructions for testing, to a real expert.

Test manager or project manager by defining test missions and inspiring testers for their achievement creates an environment that helps testers to improve and many of them will start to growth into outstanding professionals.

But it is a journey that will not end after a few hours or days. It is a journey in which you can go as long as you have motivation.
As long as you will want to improve, there always will be room for improvement.

The mission of testing determines what a current aim of testing is, and defines the criteria to assess whether and how the mission is fulfilled. So it is possible to better manage work tester, if he is said what goals the testing should achieve, what is the intention of testing.

The objectives of the test mission may be various: estimate the error rate of individual application modules, prepare reproducible tests, detect as many errors as possible, or just quickly detect errors which prevent the deployment of applications.

Frequently testing has multiple goals, and so mission has more objectives.

Purpose of defining mission is to understand intention of testing and the ability to assess results.

Have we fulfilled our mission? How? Why we failed? Is there room for improvement? What have we learned? Is it possible to achieve better results with another approach?

The definition of specific objectives of the testing iteration is a powerful tool. It enables efficient management of resources and teaches testers how to do their job better.

The most useful goals are measurable.

Two groups test the same product, how to decide which group is better?

If we do not know how good we are and how we meet our objectives, then there is lack of room for improvement and lack of motivation. Then the firm will have instead of professionals and effective testing only clever monkeys and not very good but expensive tests.

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