How to be a good (remote) buddy for a new tester?

Hi!
Seeking advice on onboarding a new tester remotely.
In some weeks a new tester will join our cross-functional team. Currently, I am the only tester there and will be the main contact for the new colleague. To help to get the tester started, make her familiar with our tools, processes, environment, and quirks.

Maybe also some mentoring, as I do have a bit more experience (whatever that may mean).
I want to be helpful and supportive but not a helicopter colleague. But where to draw the line?

Are there any tips from people who started their job remotely? What did you like the most and what didn’t you like at all?

Or if you’d onboarded people, are there activities you are doing always and others you gave up doing?

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Hi

I’m a consultant and during Covid I’ve been starting small projects remotely, … all the time. Here’s some of my insights:

It’s a 2-way street. You can guide them as much as possible but they are going to have to give you some feedback also. I would book a 1:1 meeting with them every week or 2 weeks and ask them what they’ll need. How it’s going, what can be done to improve the way of working. Don’t suggest anything yourself and let them come up with idea’s. They’ll feel better and feel like the have added value.

Many new testers are scared in the beginning of not having an added value.
We’re having some pair-testing/mob-testing sessions with a few people just so they can learn the way of testing but also the people. Compliment them, when they find something even if it’s a dupe say “nice find” make them feel welcome and part of the team.

We tend to give them challenges as in ‘create X and Y in the app and get it to status archived’ – if they have questions, feel free to ask (just not me, you can ask questions to anyone of the dev-team to get to know them a bit also). Really fun and really works to get to know the team! :slight_smile:

What I liked a lot is that my credentials & access are fixed the day when I started at my clients. There is nothing more annoying then starting a new job and having 0 access. Especially during the remote-working.

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I was in exactly the same situation in March - only tester on my team onboarding a new colleague remotely.
We paired a lot. A. LOT. I think we were pairing for 4-5 hours a day for the first few weeks. I also added her to all my meetings and included her in all Slack conversations I had - to get her to know who is who, what they do, what they know etc.
And as Kristof said, letting a newbie feel they’re valued and appreciated is crucial. I made sure I acknowledged everything she found - and there was a lot, as can be expected from a fresh pair of eyes :slight_smile: I also made sure she knows she can ask anything at any time and not be ridiculed for not knowing.

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Thanks for sharing your experiences :slight_smile:
What I have so far on my list is:

  • Having a quick check-in, to see what is going on for the day
  • Have pairing hours (not sure how long) each day to do the work together
  • Let the colleague arrange an introduction meeting with the lead from other teams/departments to connect some dots, and get to know the people
  • Maybe creating a shared Trello for mutual transparency
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Those are excellent ideas!

The last time I joined a testing team was back in November 2020. It was fully remote.

Things that worked well

  • A “No stupid question” channel on Slack. A place for folks to literally ask anything about the product, process and domain
  • Lots of documentation to explore, about product, process and domain
  • A department-wide (actually, a company-wide of about 120ish people at the time) virtual get together every Friday afternoon
  • 1-2-1 chats with various people and various roles
  • An induction document that set things to do and people to speak with each week for about 6 weeks. And then an expectation after 3 months and 6 months. The later was particularly loose as the intention was for me to work that out and agree on what that looks like with my manager.

Things that didn’t work so well for me

  • A one week induction of meeting after meeting after meeting. It was so intense. It covered every part of the business and I met with tonnes of people in a group setting - with other newstarters too. While the intention was good, it was just waaaay too much.

Good luck and congrats on the hire. :slightly_smiling_face:

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Laveena and I wrote a blog post that could be useful to you:-

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Hey!
As a Automation Tester who joined multinational team .I could say that few most important topics are.

  • Tell new tester that they can make mistakes too
  • U fail and succeed as a team
  • Speak up if in doubt
  • Double check or ask someone’s opinion on certain topic
  • Take a pressure/task in their own pace
  • Show them sources to broad their knowledge
  • Show them that it’s impossible to be expert in every topic and no one expects them to be one
  • If they are overworked ,tell them to speak up about this and ease a burden
  • Teach them to say “No” sometimes
  • Tell them to value their time for a rest/meals
    that’s the main ones on top of my head.
    If you need more specific to tester values, i can write some about it as well.
    Good luck for being a mentor :slight_smile:
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Wow, thank you all for sharing. Those are great sources of inspiration. I will check the blog post @bethtesterleeds thanks for pointing me to it.

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Oh, and Welcome to the club @interio , very insightful pointers there, was just about to post much the same idea. Nice train of thought Maciej .

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That is one jam-packed excellent article, @bethtesterleeds and @laveenaramchandani01 . Thanks for sharing. I love the illustrations too! :smile:

I would write out what we will cover and how the first few weeks will look.

I think a lot of people like to have an idea of what the near future looks like.

Also important to write down who to ask for what and to make introductions (I would often do these through slack but sometimes through calls, depended on the person and how close their relationship would be)

Below is a blog post I wrote on getting started on a testing project which you might also find useful

Starting testing project

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Thank you for sharing @deament. There are a lot of useful points mentioned on your list.

Thanks!

Glad to hear you found it useful :grinning:

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I was in a similar situation a few months back, I’d pretty much just echo what’s been said already tbh. My top four would likely be…

  • Regular meetings to see how they are getting on, once a week to start moving to decrease in frequency after a month or two (dependent on the colleagues’ needs)
  • Encourage them to voice their opinion in meetings
  • Ensure they know there’s no such thing as a stupid question
  • Don’t be afraid to push back if you feel something isn’t right, just because something’s being done a certain way, doesn’t mean it’s correct!!
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Be open minded about the suggestions and findings, especially about your way of working, sometimes its very helpful to get back to seeing the forest instead of all the trees…as we in germany say.

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