Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Test Management and Motivation

Test Management is talked by few people and rarely. Also we are thinking test planning and test execution as test management. Nowadays Motivation is also one of the serious concerns in test management. It is not only by better package and better environment too. I read a Test Team Management document and it has given different direction. Sara Rees explained well in Test Team Management

Few words from Sara Rees:
Whilst the professional pessimist is a trait to be nurtured in our test analysts, it does have its down side. Testers can easily slide into total pessimism about the project as a whole.

From a project perspective, this approach can lead to valuable data generated by
testing becoming blanketed under a wave of negativity, and dismissed accordingly.

From a test team perspective, the difficulty becomes one of motivation. How do you
keep people committed and energetic about the task in hand when they already
believe it will fail?

Quote1:

One of the keys to this is to evidence progress. During team meetings ask
each member for their rating (on a scale of 1-10) on the quality of the
application. In the early days, the rating may be rather low, but you will be able
to demonstrate an improvement over time. If rampant negativity breaks out,
remind them of how things have changed.

Quote2:
The next major influencing factor is you! Your team must see that despite
deadlines, you continue to champion the quality issues.

I also like to put Jeff Nyman comments here. Jeff is a moderator in SQAforums and is a great testing management guru. You can read the Original post.

Question: How would you motivate the team members in scenarios where there is no much work to be assigned to them (basically during a lean period)?

Jeff Nyman:
what I've done in the past with my teams is encourage them -- during projects -- to keep track of things they would like to during the "lean times." Usually during projects ("the time of pain") you'll hear things like "Ah, if only I had time to restructure this test data!" Or: "If I had a tool that did this for me, my life would be a lot easier." During projects you feel the pain but you often can't do much to alleviate it. So I motivate people by saying "Keep track of those things. Write them down. When this project ends, lets look at working on that."

Then when those lean times are upon us I set up internal projects (internal to the test team, that is) and anyone who has made a good case for their project is given the go-ahead to work on that. I've had success with this approach because it gets people to focus on things that can practically help the team and/or that have caused them demonstrable stress in the past. Further, they are often motivated because, after all, they are the ones that brought up how they would like a solution.

And, of course, this lets them add to their skill-set. Note that this can include just learning things in general, even if there's no clear application for it yet. I had one tester, for example, express interest in open source automation even though, in our environment at the time, there was no need for it. I had him start investigating Ruby and the WATiR test framework. (As it turns out, we didn't use WATiR, but the tester did use Ruby scripts to monitor server logs and pull out information.) I had another person who was interested in learning if we could apply "planguage"-based requirements so I showed them the resource site of Tim Gilb and had them do some research. (It turns out we couldn't use "planguage" but the tester learned a lot about how to think about requirements.)

So what I try to do is encourage the team to keep track of things they would like to learn or like to do. That provides the necessary internal motivation rather than trying to impose motivation externally. Sometimes what people want to do is just for personal improvement and that's fine. Other times they don't so much need to learn something as apply what they already know. For example, maybe one tester wants to restructure our test data using a new schema. Maybe another wants to refactor our SilkTest automated test library. Maybe yet another wants to set up a forum-board knowledge base. Maybe another wants to set up a library of useful database queries.

1 comment:

neetu said...

I agree that motivation plays a crucial role in test management. It not only creates a better environment and thus in better results, as if the working environment will be good people tend to work better. Software Testing Services