Hi all! I recently started a new job as Head of Test/QA at a pretty large company. I have been working with test management and as test lead for 12 years but never at a company this large.
I am to set up a test/QA process for the entire Digital area of the company. There are some testers here and there but no test managers. Each team work their way. There is lacking communication between teams and lots of project management related issues.
I am very confused how to get this going and how to implement a process for the whole digital. Before in other companies, I have always had speaking partners. That is to say, talking to one manager for the project/scrum managers, one manager for front end devs, one for back end devs, one for UX, one for Ui and so on. Together, we have been working with the testing process. I am used to work closely with devOps and Scrum coaches, to setup the best testing strategy. But there are no such roles at the current company.
How am I to set up a process in this case? There are about 12 different teams within Digital working complete differently with testing, development and QA. How am I to cover how they work and how to come up with processes improvements? It usually takes me +6 months to get into a new team on other work places. 1 year to have a good view exactly on how things is working and setup. I can’t do that with every team at this company.
I have started with very overall research on how testing is done today. Asking the different teams how they work and how they want to work. But it’s a very complex environment and there are no devOps to control the servers/environments so there are tons of issues connected to that. The developers seem very junior in their way of working. And I am no expert in development, so I can’t give them advice how to do it better. But there are looots of bugs and issues. And the dev manager seems annoyed that the code is so bad.
I don’t know where to start.
I lack lots of key roles that I am used to work with.
I could of course invite all the project leads to a meeting, but they won’t have the deep skills in development, UX, etc., that I am after. I need experts to get valid input to a process.
Any ideas how to proceed?
Do those teams have their lead(ers)? Maybe you could sit down with them, for starters, or if they have scrum masters for each team perhaps you could ask to attend the scrum-of-scrums to be up-to-date on what’s going on, on a higher scale without getting too deep into details. Also, if the company has an architects pool you could also get valuable insights from them.
I’m kind of facing similar issues, but on a much smaller scale the developers are very young, and getting them to follow the process is pretty challenging - even though the agreed process is not very strict I still
see stories being created with no or very little acceptance criteria, unclear defects being reported, etc.
It’s a struggle!
One of things that could help you find out how to reach other people responsible for QA in their own teams is Community of Practices. You could try to form one and make there an open forum for new tools to implement , ways of working in certain teams. In conclusion you can work on fundaments and standardised way of working. Pick the right tools for automation (Language , framework , report system, integration) . With cyclic meetings it would be easier to create a bond between you and your QA colleagues. This way you have easy access to estimated level of quality in certain projects even if they are not centralized . Fundaments( Working agreement, Standardized tooling, report systems, How proper test case should look like)-> Scope of regression for every project, dividing test cases for automated and manual regression , Exploration testing-> Strategy for future releases, broad scope of automated regression , preparing for UAT if necessary. I would have few ideas but it’s too complex for one post .
As a first step I’d say standardize the langauge that different teams may be speaking in terms of testing. Define things like unit testing, integration testing, end to end testing etc. you’d be surprised how teams use integraiton testing vs end to end testing interchageably, this way everyone is speaking the same language. As you meet the teams individually you’ll realize that some are more mature than others, find your superstar team/teams that are doing work as close to as what you’d have done and document it. This can work as your starting point to then talk to other teams and standardizing the process, tools, metrics etc.
I suggest you identify your allies. There obviously is a need for change, thus you have been hired. Find those co-workers who initiated the change and then do everything suggested by the other replies above
But I also suggest you ask management for their biggest pains with quality. Maybe even follow the strategy suggested by www.leadingqualitybook.com. It’s a fairly small book, but has tons of great ideas.
No matter what is the size of a company, setting a test process needs you to be highly precise with the requirements. Besides, it becomes necessary to partner with a reliable, experienced, and professional software testing service provider who has worked on relevant projects in the past. Post that, you can simply work on the whole idea of establishing the test process. It usually includes following steps:
Executing test to identify defects
Re-run tests or regression for changes
Run release tests before deliveries.
thank you for joining and sharing your struggle - welcome to the MoT.
If you are book kinda person, I can recommend the following from our book club:
- Team Topologies: helps you design your org based on what they do. Perhaps you are more of an enabler and the teams focussed on deliveries? which teams might be specialty teams?
- Staff Eng, while you might not be a Staff Eng yourself, it does have some tricks to align with management. Especially if you don’t have line management responsibilities in your role (?).
- +1 for “Leading Quality”
- Making Work visible, is a quick helpful book to remind you to make things visible
Perhaps " Building Successful Communities of Practice" too.
hope this helps /Jesper
I’m neither a tester nor a manager, so please ignore this if it’s nonsense. You mentioned that there’s no help with creating and managing test environments, so I suggest that you pick that as an issue that people can tackle together with your help. I suggest this partly for its own benefits, partly as a way to get to know people you need to help, and partly as a way to create some momentum and political capital outside of the QA world in your organisation.
While there will be differences between teams and the software they test and develop, there could be common problems or economies of scale that mean a shared approach would be a good idea.
It’s not obviously a test-y thing, but if by doing it you help testers (and others) do their job better then I think it would be justified.
100% with @interio here. Create a “community of practice”. A monthly forum for all testers across all teams to get together and talk shop for 30 minutes - have a prepared talk for the first one, and you will see it take off, might want to do some research before you send start, but a “show-and-tell” as an agenda will be a huge way to get all people with QA in their title talking to each other. Make it as informal as possible, steer away from the word “process” in the meeting, but look for synergies instead.
(Bang this into a google: “community of practise site:ministryoftesting.com”)
Thank you all for your invaluable support! I appreciate it a lot!