Advice - Only test resource in a scrum team

(Faith Roberts) #1

Hello

I was hoping to get a bit of advice or hear about other’s experiences.

We recently introduced automation testing into my workplace about 8 months ago. Initial set up etc was by an off-shore team but then we sort of reverse engineered it and took over the maintenance ourselves.

My manager (who was covering maternity leave for my original manager) has left and it’s just me managing the automation. However, I don’t really know what I’m doing! My original manager has no technical knowledge in this regard.

I’m currently winging it and trying my best. I often feel like I’m struggling without anyone to turn to for some advice or how to automate a particular function of our system.

Has anyone else been in a position where they are the only ones on their team and overwhelmed by their responsibilities? Perhaps under appreciated, as well.

I think it is worth noting the only other tester in my company is in a different scrum team and we don’t work together, and the company doesn’t seem to appreciate exactly what our job entails.

Any advice anyone has about handling being the only one on their team, I would love to hear it.

Thanks,
Faith

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(Dan) #2

Hi Faith,
I can relate to your situation. I am also the only tester in my current project. I am doing the test execution and management of the whole test cycle. This project is only manual testing but I am also trying to teach myself automation on the side by automating some of the processes as I find time although this is not a requirement from the client.
I have found on this project that by setting clear expectations at the start of the project by completing a test plan and walking the client through this that everyone understands what will and will not be tested. Client has even given me feedback saying thank you for clearly explaining your test process. We also have stand ups every morning and have clear communication channels so that no one on the project is unsure or feels like they can’t say what is blocking them etc.
In regards to the automation I understand how you are feeling when you can’t check with anyone when something goes wrong. I have experienced the same thing when teaching myself. As there is nowhere to go to currently that teaches you automation from scratch it is hard. I find that most automation teaching resources teach you the tool and the language but not actually how to set up framework and how to apply everything in a project for the first time.
I am testing a cms platform on this current project so I have automated the login process and some other features like creating a page. As I am teaching myself I have been using google a lot and sites such as stackoverflow for help. I have also contacted past colleagues who know more about automation to help me and go through the processes I’m stuck on. I eventually find the answer this way. I am a long way from being an automation expert but doing it in small steps helps and breaking down the code step by step.
Hope this helps you in some way Faith. A bit of a long reply but hope it is relatable.
Please feel free to contact me if need to bounce ideas off me or have any questions. I think we could help each other on this testing journey!
Thanks
Dan

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(Constantin Weiss) #3

Hi Faith,

Same here, I am the only QA in our Company.
I am lucky, that my manager and my network admin are helpful in environment related issues.
But most knowledge about Automation, Test Strategies, Agile Testing, and so on, needs to come from me.

Most of the my colleges do not understand, that I am working/struggling 90% of the time with Automation Tools and only 10% of my focus is on the real product.

Relating our own product it is straight forward to ask for help, but getting help regarding automation tools is mostly research and self teaching in a bad documented field.
Lately my main issue seems to be, that even the sparse documentations are often outdated.

After a few years in QA I would say frustration tolerance is the main character feature you need for this job.

What seems to be another general rule is business stakeholders and devs are working against you and nobody will throw a party for you if you find a (critical) bug.
I guess thats why Testing/QA is a less attractive career path than software dev or support agent.
Especially if you do not have a strong quality mindset already in the company.

Cheers,
Constantin

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