“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way” Leo Tolstoy

“Happy” Testing Teams

What makes one testing team better than the other? Is it their manager? The methodology they use? The quality of the testers – experience and education included? Or perhaps the combination of all and more?
You would usually want to think that a “Yes” is in place here. But is it really? To an extent it surly is, however if we compare a large number of testing teams, we should – statistically – expect to get the same quality of testers (as testers and as people, whatever that is…), same manager, a few same methodologies used by most teams. You get the point.
On average teams, the bulk of them will fall under the same ‘total score’ for quality. Forget about the exceptions at the top and bottom of the list. Odds are you are not in either :-)

The fact you have the best team players, or the biggest budget, or the best support from above and around you doesn’t necessarily say you will do well. Just see what happened to some sports team who bought, for unreasonable amounts of money, the best players they could get, just to find out a few months later, how big the mistake was.

Don’t fool yourself. We hear those QA managers, each with his ‘answer-to-all-problems’: if they just gave me that automation tool and agreed to implement it, if they just gave me more resources, if I just had a few more days/weeks/months, if only the project manager listened to me…. stop and think. What if this happened? would that make the big difference?

Why would one team perform better than the other? Some groups are found to be more productive, get better results of their testing work, and in a shorter time.

“Unhappy” Testing Teams

Testers have a long list of reasons they give for poor delivery:

  • The schedule was too short
  • The budget was too small
  • The team was inexperienced
  • The developers didn’t corporate, and communication with them was impossible
  • The tested application was not ready even for testing
  • and the list goes on…

    You know it :-)

    For each project, and each cycle one or two can be picked of the list and used to explain. So, those “happy” groups from before, how do they get the job done under the same conditions? We agreed, as the assumption for this discussion, that the average grade (or quality points) of a typical testing group is the same as the other group. So, how come one is happy and the other isn’t?

    Drive, Consistency and Work Ethics

    Whichever team you have, whatever methodology you decide to work with, tools you use, budget allocated or scheduled defined – if you set correct 3 things, you are bound the get the best results possible for the situation:

    Drive

    “Those people blessed with the most talent don’t necessarily outperform everyone else. It’s the people with follow-through who excel.” Mary Kay Ash

    Make sure the team is working as a group, understanding the end goals, knowing how to get there. Make sure they have the Drive otherwise they will just an ‘OK’ job, not a good or excellent job. If your testers don’t love testing, replace them.
    Give them cool tools to use, appreciate what they do, make sure they are part of the project and not just a side-kick of it.

    Consistency

    “In any team sport, the best teams have consistency and chemistry” Roger Staubach

    Choose how you want to work and go with it. Don’t run after every passing new fashion, with lots of buzz-words explaining them. We think that common-sense is your best friend, but any methodology you choose, stick with it. Same goes for much of how you run your projects. This doesn’t say you can’t improve, change, or be creative. There’s no contradiction between the two.

    Work Ethics

    “Striving for success without hard work is like trying to harvest where you haven’t planted.” David Bly

    You can have the best plan, a good team, you chose your route and you know what and how to do to get to the results and goals you set yourself and your team. If you and your team don’t work hard to get there, day in and day out it doesn’t worth anything. Your team must come to work, not just get to the office…

    We’ll discuss in one of our future posts, a totaly different angle of happy testing groups, and how to make them happy.