Encouraging activity in the QA team as a lead

I will start by saying that i have almost zero experience in being a lead. I got put into this position thanks to the fact that i’m the longest-staying QA employee at the company and only that. Our QA team consists of 10 people spread over different projects, where people have 1 year experience as QA at best.

At this moment there are only a couple of people willing to do something within our QA team.
And i understand that nothing will change unless i start doing it myself. But i’m afraid that if i and some other more active people leave, things will just stagnate. This can even be seen in other parts of the company. As an example, we had a senior dev who has been very active and outspoken in the team. But after they left, the initiatives they started slowly faded into obscurity and now can be considered dead.

What can i do as a lead to foster the environment where people are more active, share knowledge between each other, and want to improve quality not only in the context of the projects they work on, but on the level of the team and even company as a whole?

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Congratulations on your promotion. It is a big responsibility and sometimes it is overwhelming as well. I will say start small.

  1. Look at the overall picture of your QA team, what can be improved. Work with the team to come out with the top 3 to 5 challenges.
  2. Create a list of goals based on the challenges. Have measurable goals so you can generate meaning metrics
  3. Work on 1 or 2 items at a time.
  4. Meet as a team bi monthly to discuss .
    Again all depends on the QA lead responsibilities also.
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Congratulations Andrew.

As a Lead, there are 2 key aspects you must focus on more - People and Technical

For People:

  1. Be interested in them
  2. Listen to them
  3. Engage with them as often as you can
  4. Encourage them to come up with solutions to problems. Ask them to think of 2-3 solutions for a problem and come to you with solutions also not just the problem.
    5.Be Transparent and take them along in your journey.
    6.Let them make mistakes, and learn from them.
  5. Give them additional responsibilities besides their regular job. Groom them to the next level, and then as they grow, you will grow.
  6. Appreciate in Public, chastise in private

Technically:

  1. Create a team structure
  2. Create a good test process - Test and Defect Management Process
  3. Be hands on - You need to know the details of what is happening and not wait to hear from others
  4. Be proactive in your approach and thought process,
  5. Have a good review process
  6. Strive for consistency

There are a lot more, but you will learn along the way. And don’t be scared of making mistakes. Mistakes help you get there faster…

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Get more involved, there’s more than one way to skin a cat. I would gather everyone’s input, see what things they know and ask them to help. Mix up tasks based on what they are good at. I would love to join the team.

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But what I really want to say, @redhat111 has already said. All good advice there.

And when in doubt, ask for help… even if it’s here or in our Slack.

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Thanks for the answers. The post that @brian_seg linked was an interesting read, and the detailed answers are helpful.

Create a good test process - Test and Defect Management Process

This is something i thought about a lot even before i got into this position, and i can’t come to any sort of a logical conclusion.
We have a test process that works okay enough to do what it’s supposed to do (as in ship projects that function), but there is a lot of frustration with certain parts of it.
How can we actually understand if what we have is a process that facilitates the development of quality products?

Google’s research suggests that psychological safety is the most important thing.

Hi Andrew, There are quite a few things, but i will tell two key things you need to work toward to understand if your process is good enough.

1.Need a Test Objective: Work with your Stakeholders - PM, Business, etc in arriving at a Test Objective. This objective is very important and should not be derived just by yourself. Everybody has to play a part in arriving at the Test Objective, what is everybody’s expectation from the test function. Please remember we cannot test everything and we cannot ensure that there will not be any defects as we all work under finite time, and hence that is not possible. From testing, we can help deliver a robust product that meets or exceeds customer or user expectations of quality. At the end of the test, you and the stakeholders can determine whether the test objective has been met or not.

2. Metrics: : You need to arrive at metrics to measure your teams performance - You need to set goals to compare against. You can again work with the stakeholders with this, if you do not have any historic data. Once you set the goals, you must measure and then compare against the goals. Only then you can quantitatively say whether you have achieved or underachieved. And that will give you a good basis to improve upon and also to come up with good practices followed. Try looking at metrics such as Productivity, Defect Slippage, Defect Removal Efficiency, Stakeholder Satisfaction, Defect Rejection rates among others.

There are a lot of other important things, like having the right test strategy for the kind of testing. We cannot have a common strategy for everything - different functionalities and objectives need different strategies.

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