Masterclass Further Discussion: Onboarding testers: Growing your new hire

Tonight we had @aj_larson for a masterclass on a topic that seems very popular in the software testing community at the moment, growing your new hire. As someone who has had to train new hires in and had varying success, this was a masterclass I was really looking forward to!

As always, a recording of the masterclass will be available to MoT Pro members in the masterclass section .

If we didn’t get to your questions tonight, you’d like to continue the conversation, or you found more resources to share, please share them here.

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I’m more than happy to answer any questions, it was great to be with everyone tonight!


If everyone has their unique learning style, can you even make an onboarding plan?
My experience over the last years was, that everyone had their own strength and weeknesses, and while one would reach a milestone in 2 weeks another would take much longer. But on the other hand, the very same people would score reverse on other milestones.

I’m trying to find the right place for every unique skillset and we have a quite diverse team that is complementing each other. But although onboarding seems to work, I sometimes have the desire for a more objective messurement of our progress.

Do you have any tips on how to have a schedule and still recognizing the uniqueness of everyone?

Hey @noams ! Definitely I’ve seen some people mirror each other - a couple of days for one concept and a couple weeks or months for another, etc.

One way I’ve seen it work is having a checklist where the idea was to have x number of goals done a week, until all were done by the end of the month, or at the end of six months, etc. If you know what every tester needs to be up to speed on your team, have all of those items on the list. The order or timing for everything to get done is where the flexibility can play best. We can work with our new hires to identify their strengths and target those goals to be checked off sooner, but get working on the harder ones early while marking them to be completed later.

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Sadly I wasn’t able to watch it live (It clashed with Bake Off!), but I’ll be watching it back, as I worry we don’t do enough to help people grow when they join the company. And might even give ideas for me here, or if I go somewhere else.

Was the football for me… Ironically, or aptly, I’m not quite sure, but we had a new starter last week. What we tend to do is have them spend a little time sitting with the support team, so they can get an idea of what happens to our software when it goes live (I think this doesn’t just work for QA either. Maybe it’s my time on a help desk makes me a little biased).

I have been on both side of the onboarding new testers :sweat_smile:

Personally, I thought a good overview about business context, system architecture will help a lot. Don’t just give manual to the new testers but actually has someone to walk through. So it is more interactive and make the new tester feels welcome.

Another suggestion is with some sort of buddy program in place. As well as share the ‘go to’ person or system for specific queries.:smile:

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I did tech support for years @chris_dabnor, I think that’s a fantastic idea. Gives them an idea of the software and the users both.

Does anyone have template of on boarding testers?

Hi - what sort of goals do you set? Do you have a set of legacy tests or something that everyone must start on? Trying to think of actual standard activities across the team and struggling!

What sort of activities are essential to your org’s process?

  • Do you use test plans?
    • Maybe a goal would be to author an effective test plan/create a test cycle based upon one.
  • Do you automate?
    • How about learning enough of the automation framework you use to create a simple test?
  • Are there legacy tests that it is helpful for everyone to be familiar with?
    • Executing all of those tests could be something that would be beneficial for sure.

I think you can also make a list of all the activities your ideal tester would be able to do, and activities that would be on the way to those, and make these goals…

  • Want an API tester?
    • Learn Postman
      • Do a query
      • Make a test
      • Make a test suite
      • Use a variable, or an environment, etc.
    • Learn JMeter

Whatever you want your end result to be, you can make sure that you have a roadmap of bitesized pieces to get there.

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