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6 strategies to boost your testing team productivity

Marcin Żurawiecki - 22 February 2018 - 0 comments

It goes without saying that a testing team is part of practically every software development project today. Product quality has become more critical than ever, and companies bend over backward to deliver fantastic software.

Every organization aims to create a smooth and reliable development process that ensures that tasks are completed within a given range and time frame. If one of its elements is testing, then you need to make sure that it doesn’t become a bottleneck. Since testing is not a linear, entirely predictable process, that can be a challenge. But despite the specificity of the testing process, you can do a lot to support your testing team.

Here are 6 strategies to make the productivity of your testing team soar and match your software development process.

Invest in different testing methods right at the start

If you decide to rely on a single type of testing, your process might turn out to be ineffective. You’ll risk getting results that are incomplete or inaccurate. That’s why it’s smart to hire and train team members in different areas of testing. A testing team that boasts a diverse set of testing skills can solve problems and tackle challenges efficiently.

You need engineers who ace test automation, specialists in exploratory tests, as well as talented manual testers. All of them bring a different value to your team to ensure that their work translates into product quality. Since different types of tests have different objectives, a greater diversity will mean that your product will be checked in many aspects to ensure top quality.

Equip your team with tools adjusted to your process

To stay productive, a testing team needs a set of specialized tools for test planning and execution. The solutions you pick can seriously boost the productivity of your team. That’s why it’s so important to choose the right tools.

When picking tools for your team, take various aspects into account: the economy of usage, functionality, efficiency, or your budget. In my experience, one of the most critical factors is the ability of the tool to adapt to your testing process. Since every process is specific, not every tool will match your needs.

If you use Jira Software to manage software development projects, consider adding a specialized app from the Atlassian Marketplace that will enrich Jira with testing functionalities. TestFLO is a good example of an app that is deeply integrated with Jira and very flexible to enable exact configuration with the aim of matching a given testing process.

Test automation

Automation is a popular trend in software testing. Introducing automated tests to a process helps to reduce the number of repetitive tasks realized by a testing team in test cycles. Automatic testing is especially useful for carrying out smoke tests that should be part of your process whenever you’re releasing software. Smoke tests help to ensure that the basic functionalities of the product work flawlessly.

Naturally, every software may experience requirements change during the implementation phase. You can prepare for that by making sure that automatic test codes are maintained properly. Still, the amount of work required for setting up automatic testing is much lower than manual testing for the same functionalities.

Start testing early

Testing teams are often at a loss about what they should be doing when the next portion of software hasn’t been delivered yet. To make the most of your team’s time during that initial phase, engage it in requirement review to find mistakes before the implementation phase begins.

That type of approach helps to reduce development costs and get a deeper insight into the software right from the start.

When the requirements are confirmed and ready for implementation, your testing team can start test case writing. You don’t need to wait until specific functionalities are finished. Depending on the level of detail in your requirements, you can start writing tests with detailed steps, or at least prepare a draft list of test cases that should be written down and tested for given functionalities.

Don’t forget about direct communication

Communication is the key to smooth collaboration between project team members. Innovative technologies help teams exchange information through a variety of communication tools such as email, instant messaging, or issues in project management tools such as Jira.

But sometimes, that’s just not enough. If team members communicate only through these channels of communication, they should be aware that delays and misunderstandings may happen.

In other words, nothing beats direct face-to-face communication. Getting someone on the phone or video conferencing is another smart way team members can get all the information they need quickly.

How does that work for testing teams? Testers often need additional information from software developers or business analysts to carry out tests. They need a method for quickly communicating a problem they discovered. But they also require a communication strategy that enables them to help developers in reproducing problems. Direct collaboration and communication between various team members is key to boosting the productivity of the testing team, as well as other teams that are part of the project.

If the entire project team can’t work in a single place – for example, because teams are too large or work in remote – make sure to organize regular online meetings between team members who collaborate directly. Establish standards for video and voice communication to ensure that the transmission of information is more accurate and faster.

Spread domain knowledge

No piece of software is developed in a vacuum. Companies create software for a given domain such as finance, transportation, public administration, and many others. That’s why the domain knowledge of your testing team can be so valuable depending on the project in which they take participate.

Considerable knowledge in a given area allows testers to better understand the functional and business requirements of the software. That type of understanding has a significant impact on the productivity of a testing team. How to spread domain knowledge to reach testers? Organize a special training session with someone who knows the context for a given project. Another good idea is distributing materials among team members to help them prepare for participating in new projects.

Key Takeaway

Use these 6 strategies, and you’ll be on your way to improving the performance of your testing team, but also the collaboration between different teams within the same project.

Do you have any questions about managing testing teams? Get in touch with me directly or leave a comment below, I’m always interested in solving productivity problems that arise around testing.

Have you got any other strategies up your sleeve for boosting testing teams productivity? Share them in comments to help the community learn more about the best practices for aligning the work of testing teams and other teams involved in software development projects.

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