Wednesday, July 14, 2010

New Testing Skills Needed for Companies that are Rebuilding Test Teams

It's still a tough economy, but some companies are starting to hire in IT again, even hiring software testers. That's an encouraging sign!

I've seen many companies struggle in the team rebuilding process, mainly due to simply getting people on the same basis of knowledge. The thing to consider is, when you start to being new people into your teams, how will they build the skills they need to be effective on your team?

Here is what often happens. After a company starts to feel the pain of tasks left undone (for testing, that means defects going straight to customers and customers leaving), they start to rebuild the teams. So, you search for the best and brightest people, and hire who you can afford. These people have a mixed bag of skills and talents, all learned from various sources, some practices effective, some ineffective. And then, some people embellish their skills on the resume, so when they are hired they don't perform as expected. But, you still stick with them at least for awhile.

Then, you have the faithful and the tough - the people who have been with the company for a long time and have never been formally trained.

If this situation is left "as is" you basically have a stew that is not very tasty.

What's the Solution?

1. Perform a Skills Assessment. This will tell you exactly where each person stands in their overall skill set.

2. Perform Training. This lays in place a foundation of common skills and terminology.

3. Perform Continued Mentoring. This reinforces the skills and may be needed for topics that the training can't reach, such as organization procedures, etc.

The sooner you can do this, the better, as long as you have most of the team in place. For the ones that join after the training, it's good to have e-learning available.

If you need help in getting your team's skills in place, contact me. I have over 60 courses in software testing and related topics. Tester certification is also a good approach for many teams.

I can create a custom training plan for your organization that will give you a head-start and boost your effectiveness as a team.


Unknown said...

Randy, you are so right! The Stew is nasty tasting. I also recommend a tester profile and assessment for each new addition to the test team.

Some have just learned through the school-of-hard-knocks. That isn't a bad thing... UNTIL... they change companies! And, it is exacerbated if the tester has had no formal industry training in testing.

Gret Post Randy! We all appreciate you so much!

Randy Rice said...

Thanks for the comment and encouraging words, Charles!

"The Stew"...I like that!