I’ve recently become a Test Manager and I’m encouraging my team to develop their skills and reacquaint themselves with the basics. I personally know what it’s like to work through a syllabus, take an exam and then forget everything I’ve learned, so I’d love my team to get excited about learning and apply what they’ve learned into practice.
I’ve been thinking ideas such as having refresher training on certifications they’ve obtained, playing games to encourage logical thinking and having development plans so team members have something to aim towards.
I’d love to hear what you all do to stay on top of your game and learn new skills whether you’re a manager or not - does anyone do refresher training? Maybe you book out some time with your team to review your practices or learn new ways of testing? How about games you all might play?
Let’s get talking about how we can all improve on what we do and be the better testers
It’s going back about 15 years when I first did test management but one of the biggest mistakes I made was to base team learning on my at the time older views of testing that had been influenced from my project Management Training and experience rather than testing, I think I saw it as an easy win.
I encouraged the wrong certifications and even supported the refresher courses in those same certifications. I’m cringing at the thought of it even now as I type.
I’d probably start with some workshops with myself being open to new ways of thinking about testing and as a team we align on the value and direction we want to go in. Then look at skills and knowledge and ways the team can be supported to learn quickly but try an match it to upcoming work and projects so they can be applied in short term. I think games are a good idea.
Anyway just sharing to flag my own bias despite good intentions ended up being harmful and perhaps even the ‘manager’ part of the title I had then also did harm as people assumed I was right when that was not the case.
Ask the team.
I’d quote the late Donald Rumsfeld back at you: “There are also the unknown unknowns, the things that we don’t know that we don’t know.”
Engaging with the testing community, especially through the resources on MoT, is probably going to show you avenues of enquiry that will suggest the things that you and your team need to know to keep up to speed on current thinking and in turn suggest areas of learning that will fill gaps in both personal and team knowledge.
I’ve been a Test and Automation manager for nearly a decade. One of the things that I preach from on high is that I expect myself and my team to be continuous learners in anything. And in order to reinforce that, I have to be transparent with my personal journey. Luckily my org has access to tools like LinkedIn Learning, Pluralsight, etc… so it’s key to ensure they set learning goals for the year and it’s also key to see where you need them focusing on learning to help their career and the business. I encourage every one of my team members to pay attention to MoT and get involved with the industry. But at the same time, I look at the roadmap, their current skills, the business needs and their personal interests and try to formulate a learning direction for them. The rest is constant coaching and reminding of their learning goals. One way we encourage each other is to give team members a chance to showcase what they’ve learned in team meetings. It could be from a book they read, an article, a conference they attended, a PoC they’ve been working on, having time to innovate, etc…
One of the thing I didn’t expect becoming a manager was how quick you can start losing your technical capabilities if you’re not careful. It’s not quite like riding a bike. So my recommendation there is that if you don’t want to lose your practicioner skills, perhaps have a development project of your own, participate in PRs, help write some of the scripts, etc…Just be careful to not step on the toes of your team so that they can learn and exercise the skills you need them to.
Thank you @andrewkelly2555 - that’s a really good insight. If I’m being honest since becoming a manager I have repeatedly suffered from imposter syndrome and really not had any clue or faith in what I’m doing at times but I suppose, as you’ve experienced, you just have to make mistakes and learn what to do/not to do.
To help with this I’ve started asking my team what they want to do rather than me suggesting stuff, although I have pushed for further ISTQB accreditation. Maybe I’ll rethink this though.
Excellent point @robertday - as I’ve mentioned in another reply there is still a lot I don’t know about this role, as a) I’ve never managed anyone before, and b) I’ve never managed a test team before. Despite me being a tester on the same time for years I don’t feel I’m prepared or even qualified to do this at times but hopefully this will lessen as I work through the learning curve.
That’s exactly why I’ve started posting here - good to know I’m on the right track and you’ll all be hearing a lot more from me
Thanks @kmak2019 - those are some really good ideas! I’ve already started working on development plans and we have to plan and reach objectives each year as a business requirement, but getting my guys to showcase what they’ve learned is a fantastic idea!