Having initially moved into testing from a software development role and spent time in testing roles at all levels, I believe I have encountered many of the challenges faced across testing functions. From small software houses building a team from scratch, enterprise businesses looking for testing efficiencies or teams taking first steps into the world of Agile.
I'm not going to tell you I've never made a mistake, but I will tell you I've learned from the mistakes I have made and I apply those learnings to everything I do.
I don't believe best practices provide a route to redemption for test teams because every team has a different dynamic and need, however there are many good practices that can add value when applied in the right circumstances.
Autism advocacy and driving a change in mindset towards autistic individuals is a huge part of who I am. Driven by my sons Autism diagnosis I believe pushing for awareness and inclusion whilst reducing stigma will drive huge value within organisations and products which will in turn result in a much more diverse and happier society.
A few key principles are the cornerstone of development and improvement of teams:
- Engagement - Finding ways to ensure the team stay engaged in continuous improvement. If the team aren't engaged, improvement will be an uphill task. The most successful continuous improvement initiatives are driven by the team, not followed by the team.
- Inclusion - Building an environment and culture that allows everyone to thrive and grow is hugely beneficial. Removing barriers and constraints to inclusion and supporting diversity will see the best of the skills your team have to offer and will inevitably drive out products representing those values and appealing to a wider base.
- Buy In - Ensuring the business understand the value of a test team that is engaged, improving and delivering. If the business doesn't have confidence in the approach of the testing functions then a team will struggle to have confidence in itself.
- Context - Identifying the needs of the business, the needs of the customer and delivering testing to service those needs is critical. This doesn't mean the business should dictate the test approach but rather that you should be able to guide the businesses understanding of the value the test approach is providing.
- Communication - Ensuring that effective communication remains a priority and doesn't become a burden. Open two way communication must ensure clarity and understanding whilst valuing questions, debate and ideas. Communication done right can open doors, solve problems, empower individuals and enhance value.