How do you convince your team/company to invest in tools? – 30 Days of Tools, Day 12

Welcome to Day 12 of the 30 Days of Tools challenge. It can be tough to influence enough people to buy into a new tool. Use today to reflect on those challenges and share ways to overcome pushback.


How do you convince your team/company to invest in tools?

  • What techniques or methods have you tried that led you to convince others of the importance of tooling?
  • How do you respond when your team/company is reluctant to invest in tools?
  • How do you demonstrate the value of tools without wasting too much of your - and others – time?

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Version Control :stuck_out_tongue: Git – I’ve been servers filled with files & folders named ‘backup-2020-08-08’ … ‘backup-2020-08-07’ etc…

I’ll mostly ask them “Let’s just try it out for a week and if it’s sh*t then we’ll ditch it and never talk about it again :P”
Most of the time we keep using the tool xD

I’ll prep a demo beforehand, I’ll spend a bit of time on it to actually show the value of the tool. So we don’t need to look up the tool and say ’ this might be good’ – when someone actually already has prepped a demo or has a little bit of experience, it’s so much more of a win compared to guesswork.

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This is a difficult question, there are many contexts. Is it a tool for testing or reporting or…, for my team or the whole company…

I love using retrospective:
“We have a problem or we can improve our process, quality, job… This tool can help us! Do you want to try it?”

Why they do not want to invest on this tool?

  • It is too expensive: sometimes I do agree. Let’s try finding an other one less expensive.
  • They do not see the gain: let me show you how great the tool is. They still do not see the gain: can we try it like for a sprint?
  • The tool is too complex: I write a “howto” doc (with our context).
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If you have to convince the bean counters then the technical details are not relevant.
For them it is a simple case of return on investment.
i.e. over the cost of the project the cost of the tooling and dev is less than periodically manually running the tests.

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  • What techniques or methods have you tried that led you to convince others of the importance of tooling?

Talking to people. Its the often the only way. Talk to as many people as possible about the tool. Water cooler chats are a good chance for this. This time isn’t just for discussing the latest football results or the previous nights episode of Eastenders. It is also a good opportunity to show off, let people know you’ve been learning something new or researching a particular tool. There is always a chance that the person you talk to could mention during a meeting that you’ve been looking at a tool that could solve a particular problem. Sneak the knowledge of the tool into the team through water cooler chats.

Working remotely does mean that water cooler chats are now rare. An alternative option is to send an email or a message through the company chat to relevant people. They can read it at their own leisure, and get back to you if they think its a worthy investment of their time.

  • How do you respond when your team/company is reluctant to invest in tools?

First, I will communicate current issues that we are facing and why I think this tool could solve the problem. There has to be a reason for investing in a tool. If there is no reason, the reluctance to invest is actually warranted. So first job is to clearly demonstrate why we need this tool.

If there is still reluctance, then I will try to find cheaper or free tools. They can’t say no to something that is free.

Finally, all we can do is deal with it, but after suitable time periods I will bring up the subject again. More time, means more available evidence that will prove even more that we need the tool.

  • How do you demonstrate the value of tools without wasting too much of your - and others – time?

Most companies I’ve worked at have always encouraged personal learning and knowledge sharing. There will often be opportunities for open sessions where people might share what they’ve been learning about and discuss new ideas. These sessions I find this is also the best time to demo tools and discuss their potential value.

Researching a tool and demoing it to others during ‘work’ time will be seen as a waste of time. People have work pressures and deadlines to deal with, they don’t want to drop everything to learn about something that might not be useful. However, a regular meeting slot where we are encouraged to share ideas, its a great break from the keyboard for everyone and it gives everyone the opportunity to share ideas. If there isn’t already a regular meeting (I find fortnightly is best) for this then I recommend encouraging your team to create one (even if its remote).

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  • What techniques or methods have you tried that led you to convince others of the importance of tooling? Usually I just start by talking to people, preparing some concreate demo to show what a tool can do, after I do some research on the tool. Since most times it’s the managers who need convincing, I try to explain how a tool could make the testing faster and/or cheaper in the long run, those sort of things.

  • How do you respond when your team/company is reluctant to invest in tools?
    If it’s a good and a useful tool which could help in our company/project, I’ll try to find examples from other companies where using the said tool helped them out. Try to give them u nudge to keep up with the competition.

  • How do you demonstrate the value of tools without wasting too much of your - and others – time?
    I’ll ask around to see if anyone I know has experience with that tool and ask for their advice, if I don’t have the time to read the docs, online reviews and to try out the tool myself.

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Well, it is mostly a list of pros and cons and how it will improve QA’s work.

It all depends on the cost of the tool, and if the business is not ready to spend such a sum at the moment, all you can do is to accept it for now and maybe ask later :sweat_smile:

We usually agree on a testing period, lots of tools allow some time for free. And if our team really benefits from using it, there’s no need for any further demonstration

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Most recently, I was trying to convince my team to review their use of Geb/Groovy vs something more modern like Playwright. Not in the sense that they should be sold on the use of Pw, but that they should try POC’s to reevaluate if the tools they currently use are the right ones to use.

As noted above, it is more an encouragement to look into POCs of new tools to reaffirm we are using the right thing. It seems like a lot of teams, mine included are going to push back on most new tools due to muscle memory with the current tools. So most don’t even consider it.

Using a demo (POC) of the tool to show what it can do along with a summary of pros and cons I found. If anything, one person wasted their time doing the POC vs a whole team implementing a new tool and it failing.

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What techniques or methods have you tried that led you to convince others of the importance of tooling?

Data-driven presentations work best for all stakeholders, you just have to change what data you are surfacing. Potential financial losses for business/marketing folk, drag, man days wasted for management folk and % reduction of boring, un-inspired work (focusing on something people hate doing, e.g. deploying the app manually).

How do you respond when your team/company is reluctant to invest in tools?

I try to understand what is at the core of their reluctancy.

How do you demonstrate the value of tools without wasting too much of your - and others – time?

Small, but hard-hitting proto-business case for the tool. But also having 1-1 discussion with with the people you are pitching to, nothing beats a bit of personal touch to any problem solving endeavour.

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Day 12

How do you convince your team/company to invest in tools?
What techniques or methods have you tried that led you to convince others of the importance of tooling?
How do you respond when your team/company is reluctant to invest in tools?
How do you demonstrate the value of tools without wasting too much of your - and others – time?

Our product team is really into Outcomes over Outputs, I think it applies with this sort of decision too.

Choosing a tool is an Output - but what we are trying to achieve is the Outcome.

For example, I want our organisation to invest in Postman.
So, I try to make sure there’s something written down that states what we are trying to achieve with it. Something like “we want to confirm our APIs are functioning correctly every time we deploy”. Along with a recommendation for Postman, and reasons for it.

This way, if the company is reluctant to invest, we can return to the Outcome we’re trying to achieve, and talk about alternatives. Or, what will happen if we don’t invest.

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