I am a part of Kualitatem – an independent verification and validation company. Is that too technical? Okay we test software… all kinds, all sizes – websites, web apps, mobile apps, enterprise systems, networks, media and all. Yes we see if the software works fine, looks good and serves its users well.
And it is not as simple as working in a software company. Kualitatem is different. It’s a self-contained software testing unit which functions without any compulsive connection with software development teams. We are not part of any development team. We are not the indispensable kind of testers. We are an empowered unit.
While offering a wide service offering that includes functional testing, load testing, security testing, localization and compliance testing we are expected to be the jack of all trades. We are expected to know the right technology and tool usage within a certain timeline. A timeline which if often driven by client requirements. We learn and grow every day.
We are trained and experienced across a wide domain of testing services. That makes us different and that also presents a challenge. We don’t work on the same projects for years and years… we have rapid testing cycles. We are testing an ERP one day, load testing a health service provider the other day and pen testing an insurance company software the third day. It is complicated and requires a lot of planning, training and sanity above all !!
In this challenging environment it is imperative to keep the team motivated and energized:
Here are my top 5 tips to keep the team going…
1. Don’t Skype, Don’t type, Don’t write
This is one of the dilemmas of working in a tech based environment. People tend to talk less and type more. I discourage this approach as much as possible. I encourage the team to communicate through speech and actions instead of Skyping, typing and emailing.
2. Roles and Goals
Role ambiguity is one of the main stress factors in any work place. It is very important to set clear roles for each member of the team. It is even more important for other members to know about this role. Secondly, team goals should be clear and concise. They should know what they need to achieve by day or week end.
3. Empower Vs Overpower
Empowerment is magical! If you don’t believe me try it yourself. Enable people to manage themselves and manage their peers instead of overpowering them.
4. Review and Renew
Review cycles and one of the best tools that I have come across; specially in the test management field where there is practically no room for errors. We are testers; we are not allowed to make mistakes! So we handle this through multiple review cycles. With this approach people feel more responsible as they know their stuff is going to be inspected by a peer a project lead.
5. Best Bug?
Testing can be monotonous; it can be dull. So we brighten up the concept by rewarding people for the best bug of the week. This is an approach I came across while surfing for ‘Test Team Motivation Strategies’ one day and I then put it to practice. Voila! It works… and it works well.
About the Author: Sadia Malik heads the Project Management at Kualitatem. She manages people, projects and lots of bugs !