Tag Archives: agile

Excellent Resources on Test Automation and My Learning Points

Experiences of Test Automation Case Studies of Software Test Automation by Dorothy Graham and Mark Fewster
Image courtesy of Amazon

I like to think about Test Automation as providing tools that can execute important checks that might be tedious, time consuming, or there might not be enough time to manually perform those tests. Instead of performing these repetitive, time-consuming tests, the Testers can spend that time exploring risk areas where using their intelligence to make decisions on tests to perform is a better use of their time. (And a lot more fun than performing repetitive tests!)

Test Automation is not a trivial undertaking – research should be conducted to develop a strategy, identify tools, and determine the best approach to automate tests that are being performed manually. Test automation is not a silver bullet and it takes time to develop your approach over time by what you learned.

Do you want to learn more about Test Automation and what has worked and not worked so great at other companies? An excellent book to read that I highly recommend: Experiences of Test Automation Case Studies of Software Test Automation by Dorothy Graham and Mark Fewster. This book contains 29 case studies written by those involved with a test automation project. Each case study begins with a background including if the project was successful and if test automation is still being used at that organization. Consider starting a book club where everyone reads a different chapter(s), shares what they learned, and develop a strategic plan for your company on how you might approach test automation or improve your existing approach. (And consider adding food as part of your book club, food always make any event more fun!)

Test Huddle has a series of Test Automation webinars: Click here. As part of Test Huddle, Dorothy Graham has a wonderful webinar “Blunders in Test Automation” you can view by clicking here.

Key Take Aways:

  1. Test automation is not necessarily performed by Testers. It is performed by the person best qualified to use the tool selected that can include the ability to write code!
  2. Test automation does NOT replace Testers but should supplement your testing strategy.
  3. Test automation is basically maintaining a code base to test your Product’s code base.

Below are learning points; however the above resources provide a wealth of information that is not summarized within this posting.

Strategy:

  1. Make it a real project with dedicated people, time, and funding. Start with a small pilot with key objectives and gain buy in for your pilot by key stakeholders.
  2. Start with simple UI tests or smoke tests as a great way to get some initial protection around the code.
  3. Consider test automation strategy by: technology facing tests (unit, components, integration) and business facing tests (acceptance, business, GUI).
  4. Concentrate on testing 1 system first as a model – the system producing the most business (start small, focus on a single but important part of the system).
  5. It is expensive to automate all types of tests including edge cases. Identify what tests need to be in the automation suite. Think about the value of the test and the question it answers or information provided. What is the ROI?
  6. Tool training or employees who have experience with the tool is important to reduce expensive mistakes.
  7. Can Testers write the GUI tests and the Developers write the unit tests? Who will write the business layer tests? That depends on the tool selected and skills of the team.
  8. The developer may write the tests with the Testers running them.
  9. Be sure to include business people when selecting the business layer tests.

Tools & Approach:

  1. New code is often easier to automate than legacy code.
  2. Different tools / programming languages can be used for the test automation pyramid: Unit, acceptance tests, business layer, GUI.
  3. Test automation is good for mature code that is not constantly changing.
  4. Lean regression suites help keep maintenance costs low while still providing value.
  5. Be careful how you write your tests – reduce failures that really are not a problem.
  6. All tests running green do not mean there aren’t any problems.
  7. Once tests are automated, train Developers, Testers to understand how to maintain them.
  8. Determine if the tool needs to clean up after the test was executed.
  9. Ability to run the code across platforms, browsers, releases.

Managing Test Suites:

  1. Different type of test suites: nightly test suite, weekly test suite, candidate test suite.
  2. Keep the tests small and maintain the flexibility to run tests in logical test suites to reduce the time it takes to execute them. For example:
    1. you may need to execute some key tests during the day when time is running low.
    2. you may execute core tests with every new build for critical functionality.

Support:

  1. Strong management support is necessary to understand the cost of the pilot program and long-term support that includes ongoing maintenance of modifying and adding automated tests.
  2. Strong collaboration with Development is important – code needs to be written in a manner that it can have automated tests written.
  3. Make the benefits of test automation visible to stakeholders for continued support.
  4. Ideally Developers / Testers are dedicated to test automation to ensure that new and changed code is being reviewed to determine tests to add or tests to change.
  5. Identify different champions: tool champion, change agent, stakeholders, etc.

Metrics:

  1. Count number of tests for each test tool – trend over time to see how the tests increase in number.
  2. Send business users a calendar of green vs red if any of the tests are red.
  3. Build time is a critical metric since it includes the time to run the automated tests.
  4. On what O/S were more bugs found and frequency?
  5. Detection rate of bugs for tests. What tests found the most bugs? No bugs? Is the percentage of green tests trending upwards over time?

My Rewarding Experience as a Reviewer and Contributor to “More Agile Testing: Learning Journeys for the Whole Team” by Janet Gregory and Lisa Crispin

More Agile Testing
Picture courtesy of Amazon and where you can order this excellent book!

For many years I have written articles for the Testing Community and shared them through Testing Circus and Tea-Time with Testers. One warm summer day in July 2013, I received a pleasant email from Lisa Crispin asking if I would like to be one of the reviewers and contributors to their upcoming book that would compliment their existing book “Agile Testing: A Practical Guide for Testers and Agile Teams”. It was an honor to be asked and of course my response confirmed my interest. An international review team was brought together comprising of people with different experiences and expertise in their fields.

This was a rewarding experience both professionally and personally as there were many learning opportunities reviewing the chapters and discussions with the team. Checking my email was fun since there was a potential for an email from Lisa and Janet announcing what was ready for review or from a fellow reviewer with a question to foster a lively discussion. New chapters were quickly printed for when there would be time to review, digest, and comment on them. Lisa and Janet worked with the reviewers to help us identify where we could contribute sidebars to their new book. It was fun reading what the other reviewers were writing based upon their experience. For me, this is what really makes this book come alive – Lisa and Janet are sharing a lot of valuable information that is supplemented by real-life experiences. As an example I enjoyed reading how other Testers are using Session-Based Testing and Thread-Based Testing to meet the challenges of testing in a fast-paced environment!

It was a great opportunity to witness how a book comes together, the chapters under review might not be named nor are they in the order of the final publication. As the book evolved, chapters may be combined or information moved to a different chapter. After reviewing each chapter it was interesting to read the book cover to cover. It reminds me of a movie production where scenes are filmed out of order and then brought together to tell the story.

Once the draft book was completed, there was a great sense of accomplishment and a feeling of disappointment. Being part of a community working towards a common goal is fulfilling and exciting. It reminds me of working with a great project team. When the project is done there is pride of the work completed but yet a sadness that the project is completed.

The information and experiences within this book series is part of the overall testing picture. As an artist blends together different colors and uses different tools to create a beautiful piece of artwork, we do the same in Software Testing. We blend together different approaches and techniques to design and execute testing strategies to tackle complex testing problems.

As with the first Agile book, there are great learning opportunities for you to determine how to apply the information to further your testing career and tackle testing problems. As an example I love the “Pillars of Testing” model by David Evans designed with different factors that integrate to improve our confidence in the information we provide about the Quality of the Product we test. This model helped me think through the different factors to understand our strengths and weaknesses in each area of this model. Adam Knight’s discussion on “T-Shaped Skills” inspired me to think differently about training by identifying the “deeper” skills required for different flavors of technical testing and Product testing. At this time, my background includes limited automated testing experience; however, this book provides a foundation for me to better understand both the benefits and challenges to have a reasonable conversation. The chapter on “Thinking Skills for Testing” is excellent and in particular I like how Sharon Robson discussed that you need to use different type of thinking based upon the problem such as when to use critical thinking, analytical thinking, and creative thinking. Plus sample tools are suggested that can be researched further.

Lastly and most importantly, I would like to thank Janet and Lisa for this wonderful opportunity and to their continual dedication to the Testing Community. My recommendation for my readers is that you will add this book to your testing toolbox and discover how it will influence your testing world!

Articles I Wrote that were Published through Tea-Time With Testers

books

Over the years, I had the pleasure of writing articles and several series for Tea-Time with Testers. My series included: How to Develop a Strategy for Cross-Browser Testing, Career Development and Learning Strategies for Testers and Introducing Session-Based Testing into your Testing department. Below are my articles in their original format. The attachments are in PDF format and you can read a lot of wonderful articles on Tea-Time with Testers.

2013 Articles

Introducing Session-Based Testing to Your Team Part 2 – December 2013 / January 2014
Click here to read
This article is focused on introducing session-based testing in your testing group after attending training.

Introducing Session-Based Testing to Your Team Part 1 – October 2013
Click here to read
This series will discuss how you can use session-based testing and tools like mind maps while providing suggestions on how to implement change within your testing team or department.

Prepare for Promotion Now! – Women in Testing Special September 2013
Click here to read
We often hear how the number of women moving up the corporate ladder becomes smaller at each rung. There are a lot of good conversations discussing the various reasons that factor into this problem. This article is based upon my experience on a few things women can do to let their voices be heard, have more influence, and prepare for senior level positions.

Using Mind Maps to Organize your Cross-Browser Testing Part 5 – February / March 2013
Click here to read
In this part of the series, I shared sample mind maps that I find useful in organizing my testing.

2012 Articles

Balancing Time with Cross-Browser Testing Part 4 – December 2012
Click here to read
In this part of the series, I shared sample mind maps that I find useful in organizing my testing.

Importance of Social Networking Part 3 – August 2012
Click here to read
In this article I shared information I gathered through the Testing Community on how to perform cross-browser testing.

Understanding Browser Compatibility Strategies Part 2 – July 2012
Click here to read
In this article I shared information I gathered through the Testing Community on how to perform cross-browser testing.

Understanding Browser Compatibility Strategies Part 1 – June 2012
Click here to read
In this article I shared information I gathered through the Testing Community on how to perform cross-browser testing.

Contributing to the Testing Community – May 2012
Click here to read
In this article I discussed the importance of building relationships within the Testing Community and contributing.

Training Someone New to Testing Part 2 – April 2012
Click here to read
This series focus on training someone who is new to the Testing field.

Training Someone New to Testing Part 1 – March 2012
Click here to read
This series focus on training someone who is new to the Testing field.

Facilitating a Journal Club – February 2012
Click here to read
In this article I provided suggestions on how to start to start a journal club to provide opportunities for Testers to discuss current trends.

Developing a Career Plan – January 2012
Click here to read
The focus of this article is developing a career plan with approaches that a manager can implement for his department and testers can adopt for their own professional development.

2011 Articles

Onboarding New Testers – November 2011
Click here to read
The focus of this article is onboarding newly hired testers into your department.

Articles I Wrote That Were Published in Testing Circus #Testing

publicationsOver the years, I had the pleasure of writing articles on testing, training, career development and other topics for Testing Circus. Below are my articles in their original format. Some of the articles I have revised and posted on The Testers Edge based upon what I have learned since that time or to take a different approach on the material. The attachments are PDF and you can find the magazines with a lot of great articles on Testing Circus.

2013 Articles

Are You Listening to Your Intuition? – 2013 September
Click here to read.
A lot has been written on how to progress your testing skills but an area often overlooked is listening to our intuition.

How Do I Manage My Time When There Is So Much To Do, 2nd part – 2013 April
Click here to read.
This article is the second part of “How Do I Manage My Time When there is so Much to Do?”

How Do I Manage My Time When There Is So Much To Do, 1st part – 2013 March
Click here to read.
With this article I addressed a few questions and challenges I face as a Software Testing Manager.

Who do I ask questions? – 2013 February
Click here to read.
In this article I discussed the importance of building relationships to help you identify the right person to ask questions and gather information.

How do I know when to stop testing – 2013 January
Click here to read.
In this article I addressed the often-asked question “how do I know when to stop testing?”

2012 Articles

How can I learn to Test – 2012 December
Click here to read.
In this article I addressed the question “how can I learn to test?”

Do you think I could be a tester, Part 2 – 2012 November
Click here to read.
In this article I addressed the question “do you think I could be a tester?”

Do you think I could be a tester, Part 1 – 2012 October
Click here to read.
In this article I addressed the question “do you think I could be a tester?”

Performing Risk Assessment Part 3 – 2012 September
Click here to read.
The last part of this series discusses a post-testing risk assessment or what is sometimes called lesson learned.

Performing Risk Assessment Part 2 – 2012 August
Click here to read.
The second part of this series is focused on monitoring initial risks and identifying new risks based upon what is learned during testing.

Performing Risk Assessment Part 1 – 2012 June
Click here to read.
The first part of this series is focused on identifying risks prior to testing.

Can We Approach Metrics Differently? Part 3 – 2012 May
Click here to read.
This part addressed defining a goal, metric setting, and guidelines for presenting information to senior management.

Can We Approach Metrics Differently? Part 2 – 2012 April
Click here to read.
This part addressed “The Five Whys” which is a fact-based approach to identifying the root cause of a problem.

Can We Approach Metrics Differently? Part 1 – 2012 March
Click here to read.
This part addressed providing a foundation in analyzing information to define your problems.

Four Questions to Consider When Writing a Test Report – 2012 February
Click here to read.
This article discussed guidelines for writing a test report.

What is a Tester’s Role in Quality Part 2 – 2012 January
Click here to read.
The second part of this article discussed how the processes and testing approaches adopted by a Testing Department and how they impact the product’s quality

2011 Articles

Guidelines on Writing a Meaningful Problem Report – 2011 November
Click here to read.
General guidelines that a tester can follow when researching and developing a problem report

You Want it When? Part 2 – 2011 October
Click here to read.
This part discussed approaches to prepare for testing when timelines have been reduced which may require the testing team to work extended hours

You Want it When? Part 1 – 2011 September
Click here to read.
This part discussed how to prepare for testing to hit the ground running.

Regression Risk-Based Testing – 2011 August
Click here to read.
This article discussed different approaches to assessing risk that can be used to develop both a modified- and core-regression strategy.

Breaking the Testing Mindsets – 2011 July
Click here to read.
This article discussed different ways to approach a testing problem.

A Test Matrix Approach for Organizing Testing – 2011 June
Click here to read.
This article discussed how to use a test matrix instead of test cases.

Planning Your Next Testing Assignments – 2011 May
Click here to read.
This article provided suggestions on planning a testing assignment. Translate the word “PLAN” into four actionable steps: Prepare, Layout, Analyze, and Navigate.

Please Participate in the State of Testing 2015 Survey!

It is that time for the second survey on the State of Testing! If you did not participate in the first survey, you will definitely want to participate this year! The first survey had 600 participants and this year we are hoping for at least 1,000! The survey seeks to identify the existing characteristics, practices and challenges facing the testing community in hopes to shed light and provoke a fruitful discussion towards improvement. Click here to participate.

If you are not sure if you want to participate, please take a few minutes to review last year’s survey results. A lot of valuable information on how other Testers are spending their time, how they plan, methodologies used, challenges faced and much more! I hope you will take some time to complete this valuable survey as I believe you will find the information helpful!

Women Testers – October 2014 Edition is Out! How to Keep Yourself Organized When There are Too Many Demands on Your Time!

get organized

I hope you take an opportunity to read the latest edition of Women Testers! For this edition I have an article called: How to Keep Yourself Organized When There are Too Many Demands on Your Time! I plan on writing a second part to this article and would appreciate any questions or feedback that could be addressed in the next edition of Women Testers.

If you would like to submit an article for a future edition or help out in any way, please contact Jyothi Rangaiah at editor@womentesters.com and you can find more information by clicking here. Enjoy the magazine and please let people know about it including women who might be interested in a tech career!

I am interested in a Testing Career – can you help me learn more about the field?

career development

Software Testing is one of the least known professions in the tech field. Most likely you have come across people who have performed a “checking” exercise and they equate it with “testing”. That really does dilute our value and it is important to take those teaching moments to let them know they performed a “checking” exercise to make sure that basic functionality did not break; however testing is much more complicated. This might lead to the question of:

  • Do you think I can be a Tester?
  • What does a Tester do?
  • Do you have a job opening in your Testing department?

These are great opportunities to educate people regardless if they become a Tester. We all need to come up with our elevator pitch when asked about the testing field. An elevator pitch is basically a short summary that can be provided in about 30-seconds.

In October and November 2012, I wrote a series for Testing Circus called: Do You Think I Could Be a Tester? Click here for October and here for November.

Here are a few ideas to get started and the above articles provide more details.

  1. What is his experience with Testers and what is his observation on their role? This can be helpful in correcting any misunderstandings as many people think Testers are the “Quality Police”. Another situation is the type of testing he witnessed at another company – for example that company may use test cases whereas another company is using session-based testing. Best to clarify any differences upfront.
  2. What does he enjoy doing? What are his career aspirations? If his goal is to implement company-wide solutions then a testing career might not be for him. But be careful about discouraging someone because a testing career could help him for other opportunities or he might find he really loves the field. A Tester’s skills crosses so many areas such as problem solving, critical thinking, risk analysis and mitigation, report writing, troubleshooting among many others.
  3. Take a personal approach to the conversation. Spend some time discussing why you became a Tester; why you enjoy the field; what do you find challenging about testing; what advice you would give a new Tester. Set a bit of background about the field before discussing how to perform testing. Have a few of the Testers share the same information. Perhaps have a small gathering of Testers meet with him to have this conversation. Make it informal so it does not feel forced and be sure to give the person opportunities to ask questions.
  4. Is he an employee of your company? Perhaps he can spend some time in the Testing department. Just be careful because if he does not understand testing then he might be overwhelmed with both what is testing and the product under test. There is a risk that this could discourage him from a career he might enjoy since he will not be going through the typical training program.
  5. Identify a tool or application he uses to demonstrate how to test a piece of functionality. Such as FaceBook, Twitter or anything that he is familiar with so his focus is on learning the testing piece.  In the November article are a couple of mind maps on bridging the training.

None of these suggestions are fool-proofed and it is important to tailor the approach to the person. Hopefully this will provide a few ideas  to prepare for these conversations. Plus be sure to come up with a Testing elevator pitch to be ready at any time to discuss “what is Testing”.

 

What is your Testing Elevator Pitch?

How do you explain a Tester’s responsibilities to someone who has no idea?

Gathering Testing Artifacts and Journal Notes

CamStudio
Image Courtesy of CamStudio

Recently, I want to learn more about how Testers are gathering their testing artifacts to help them make a decision on whether the code they are testing is ready to go to production. As Testers we know we will never be able to cover all of the potential tests. People outside of testing often have a hard time understanding why full testing coverage can be impossible especially for larger modules / functionality we are testing. This includes the sheer number of tests to perform, understanding the critical risks, what is important to the customer, among other considerations and then balancing all of that with time available for testing. Recording your testing may seem scary or intimidating at first, but it can have a lot of benefits. A recording can be used when working with a Developer on how to reproduce a problem; demonstrating to another Tester what you saw in testing to determine next steps; and providing physical evidence during an audit.

Recording your testing may or may not help defend your sampling strategy but if you add journal notes with your recordings you may be able to show the progression of your testing and why you made certain decisions. This can be important when you need to go back to review why you made certain decisions or review how you tested something. Most of us cannot rely on our memory to remember why we made certain decisions. Therefore, a certain level of documentation is important.

Understanding why and how we document information is important. A great starting point to understand more about how and why Testers collect journal notes is discussed in Michael Bolton’s article: An Exploratory Tester’s Notebook.

Another great article Have You Considered Evidence of Testing?

I have had a lot of informative conversations with Griffin Jones on the importance of gathering testing evidence. Please refer to his session talk at CAST 2013 What is good evidence? You can learn more about Griffin’s consulting business Congruent Compliance by clicking here.

You can find even more information from Software Testing Club where Testers shared their thoughts on recording tools by clicking here.

I gathered, through social medial, what video recording and documentation tools Testers are using to gather their testing artifacts. I would like to thank the following people for responding: Teri Charles, Raji, Gagan Talwar, Mohinder Khosla, Ajay Balamurugadas, Richard Bradshaw, Lisa Crispin, Srinivas Kadiyala, Adam Yuret, and Griffin Jones. As always, we have an awesome Testing Community that is always willing to share information.

Below is a summary of the findings. Some of these tools are open source and others you must purchase but they may have a short trial period. I would suggest identifying what is important to you in a recording tool before you start your evaluation to make a better decision.

Another suggestion by Lisa Crispin for recording and showing bugs: Quicktime. From Srinivas Kadiyala we have a few additional suggestions: SnagIt , qSnap, Paint (PrintScreen). Lalit has let me know that QTrace is now qTestExplorer! Click here to learn more! And thank you Lalit for the correction! From Kobi Halperin we have Defect Scribe that he hopes to explore and share information about.

Keep the suggestions coming and I will update this page.

How are you gathering your Testing Artifacts?

Do you record your testing?

Do you use screen cap tools?

Or do you have another method to provide your Testing Artifacts?

What is your Legacy?

The Gift of Time

Recently at work I made a presentation regarding the Software Testing Department future direction. As part of that presentation I shared stories about a few testers who have made a difference in the field. The next day I attended a women’s conference that was focused around “What is your Legacy?” It was a fabulous conference that gets you thinking about how you live your life today forms how people remember you. It forms your legacy. For this posting, I wanted to share a few testers and leaders who are building or have built a great legacy! I hope one of your take-away from this posting is that you can influence change and make a difference. I bet when some of them started blogging on their ideas they did not imagine the impact!

Gerald Weinberg
Many of my readers will know Gerald Weinberg – many consider him the Father of Software Testing as he formed the first official testing department back in the 1950’s. He has inspired so many technical people through his writing, consulting, mentor-ship, and problem-solving training seminars. This short list does not do him credit for his influence in the tech world. For his 75th birthday a book was written to honor him called The Gift of Time that was written by influential testers and consultants to honor him regarding his contribution to Information Technology and how he influenced their careers. Imagine your legacy living on and people honoring you in such a way on your 75th birthday! Jerry writes for Tea-time with Testers and is involved with the content of the e-magazine and provides regular guidance. You can learn more about Jerry through his website.

Lisa Crispin
I have admired Lisa for many many years and was thrilled when we started to connect through social media. Lisa along with Janet Gregory were influential in helping testers find their voice as part of an agile team. I remember when the agile manifesto came out in 2001 and it was an exciting time since many of us worked in waterfall environments where it quite literally took years to get software to our customers. It was wonderful to hear that software could be delivered in smaller increments. But at the same time there was a buzz that testers were no longer needed on these agile teams. What did that mean for our careers? Were we destined to remain in the waterfall world with heavy documentation and long release cycles? Lisa and Janet both made a difference for us testers by finding our voice! I can only imagine how difficult this must have been since being a change agent is a very difficult role to fulfill. You will make sure that you read their book: Agile Testing: A Practical Guide for Testers and Agile Teams.

I am honored to be invited as a reviewer for their new agile book coming out later this year. I am inspired by the problems Lisa has tackled and how she freely shares this information to the community. Plus her dedication to travel around the world to speak and train at conferences. She works in my viewpoint, endlessly! You can learn more about Lisa by visiting her website.

Mike Talks

Mike is a wonderful story teller with the ability to view the world as if there is not any boundaries. As a former teacher, he provides a different way to approach testing problems coupled with his degree and knowledge of physics. I find that Mike will challenge your approach on a problem that opens up new avenues that you did not think about. I first “met” Mike through Twitter and his new years posting called: Let 2012 be the death of Superman! You can find that posting here. I used this posting as the starting point for my department’s start of the new year because there is nothing wrong with asking for help or admitting you do not know something. That is why a team approach is typically more effective than a silo approach. Often in the business world we can place too much emphasis on “solo superstars” instead of the integration of the team where you can still highlight your specialty.

Mike is a great mentor and I hope you take some time to get to know him. Mike’s ebook Software Minefield is a great book on his more than 15-years experience as a tester. It is written for experienced testers but there are chapters that are good for a new tester to read. You can learn more about Mike by visiting his website.

Ajay Balamurugadas
In 2009, Ajay was a co-founder of Weekend Testing designed to bring testers together for about 2-hours to test a web-based application focused on a testing charter to further develop their testing skills and knowledge. What I find amazing is this concept spread to Europe, US, and New Zealand. A small group of testers from India influenced testers throughout the world on a different way to progress their skills! I like their catch phrase: Test Learn Contribute. In the Testing Community it is about giving back to the community because we are stronger as a community if we each contribute. Ajay has written several e-books that I am pleased to say that I read before they were published. They are from a viewpoint of a new tester and are packed with a lot of great information! You can learn more about Ajay by visiting his website.

Onboarding New Testers Into Your Department

onboarding

Recruiting and onboarding new testers are two of the more difficult tasks in a Testing department. From a recruitment standpoint you are looking for someone who will be a good fit within the team with the ability to learn how to test your product and any technical skills required. Once you made the hiring decision it is important to develop and evolve an onboarding program. I find that you never create an onboarding program and it is done. Instead it evolves over time and you might need to make minor changes based upon the person you hire and their experience. For example, for someone who has never tested, you will need to provide training on the testing techniques used in your department. If the new tester has experience then you want to ensure you demonstrate how you apply testing techniques since different companies can use terminology to mean something different.

In Tea-time with Testers, I wrote the article “Onboarding New Testers” that you can find in their November 2011 edition. This posting is going to discuss onboarding testers from a slightly different perspective.

When developing your onboarding program, think of it in terms of what do they need to know and when do they need to know it. This can help you define a program that is manageable plus provides some guidelines for expectations. Consider creating a training log with anticipated timelines to help the tester manage his/her time and add self-study tasks to ensure down time is used wisely. For example you might set initial goals for the first 90-days, 6-months, and at 1-year. I will discuss this in more detail in a later posting.

Prior to the new tester starting, be sure his/her workstation is set up, a computer is available, access to the correct systems is approved, and any other appropriate activities are completed. Be sure the new tester knows what time to show up on his/her first day and who to ask for when arriving.

Day 1
The first day is often about the employee completing HR paperwork and reviewing and signing documents such as security policies. The tester should log into email, calendar system, and any other important systems that they need to use immediately. It is helpful to work out any problems the first day with logging into systems, ensuring they can print documents, and other similar tasks. Some companies have a formal HR onboarding program where the employee may or may not have time with his/her new department. I have worked for companies where the morning is dedicated to a company onboarding program and in the afternoon you join your new department.

Week 1
Determine what they should be learning during their first week. For example, this is a good time to pair with another tester to learn the testing process, meet the developers, BAs and other people they will have interaction. Define your goal for the first week and develop a plan around that goal.

Month 1
For each month, define a goal of what they should know by the end of that month and then create a plan around that goal. This goal might be different depending upon the person you hire. During the interview process you want to identify how much testing experience and technical experience the candidate has in order to develop a training plan before their first day. Keep in mind this plan can change based upon how quickly or slowly the new employee learns. You may have to include additional training material once you assess the employee’s learning progress. Or you might find it will not take as long as originally anticipated and you can accelerate the learning process. Remember the onboarding program is an initial plan and it should be a living document.

Of course you will need to follow any Human Resources onboarding program, but they may not have a program specifically to train software testers. This is where you can develop your own program to help integrate the new tester into your team and company.