Help! I have no idea what I'm doing!
I have been a tester for 5 years on various projects, BIOS, desktop software, mobile, and website testing. Almost always black box, end user testing. I have very little experience doing much more than test execution, and I have always wanted to move up in to something more valuable, but haven't had much instruction or idea how. Be careful what you wish for, apparently. I landed a job for a company that has no QA whatsoever, and is now looking to me to build their QA from the ground up. I daresay they have a lot more confidence in me than I do myself, and I want to rise to the occasion but I need assistance if I'm not going to wash out.
Let me tell you about the current situation. The company runs a website that has been piecemealed together with no coherent rhyme or reason for years. Their developers have been dominated by their marketing people who have pushed them to shoehorn in feature after feature without doing more than the bare minimum maintenance whatsoever, so the site looks like Frankenstein's monster. It works, and it makes money, but it's a horror, a useability nightmare. A new developer has been there for a few months, trying to clean the code up, but starting from the code. And I walk in and I find all kinds of problems from an end-user perspective. And of course when I run issues by people who have been there a while, there are always reasons why one thing or another doesn't work or is confusing.
There is no documentation whatsoever. No bug tracking. Just a few months ago they upgraded from bouncing emails off one another to using Sharepoint. *headdesk*
They want to give me all the tools I can to succeed, they understand that it's going to take me a while to figure out their product, their situation, and what I need to do, and they are basically begging me to be their organizational savior, but it's overwhelming for someone with my background, (or lack of it.) The devs and tech guys are friendly enough, and I think we're on the same level in terms of wanting to clean up a hackneyed product, eventually I am going to butt heads with some product managers and marketers, and I have no idea how to deal with that.
In terms of breaking down bigger problems in to smaller ones, the first things I can see needing to do are 1) Write some functional documentation, 2) Develop some test plans from that, and 3) Get a decent bug tracker. I have no idea how to document such a product, much less implement such a process as new releases are also documented. Where do I even begin? What are some resources I can use to figure out how, and what else do I need to find out about my organization to make it work? I have some idea about writing test plans, that was actually the whole of my ambition, but I could use some help there too. And finally, of those, I've been asked to evaluate different products that might also be used for project management and for CSR issue tracking (to identify areas to focus on by observing customer service call trends.)
And is there anything else I'm not aware of that I should be thinking about? And what should I be doing about it?
Help! Where do I begin? Thanks for any input and help you can offer!
Have you ever gotten an answer for that? I mean, I'm on the exact same page! I see you've posted that a while ago and now I wonder how you ended up. Did you succeeded?
Well, I also wanted some growth in my career and ended up in a huge company (a TV station, second in Brazil) and they don't have a quality background here. They hired me as a quality savior. At first I tought I would be working only to fomalize test process, but at the end of the day, they wanted me to formalize all quality area, I mean, improving quality culture from the beggining of software construction. The IT area here is just a child, they dont follow any methodology or process and also the applications they build is minor complex. It's kinda easy actually but I'm totally lost. I'm here for a month now, and couldn do anything yet. They have a little documentation and their business analyst work as business analyst, requirement analyst, project manager, system analyst... for that being said, they have a lot of tasks to do and do nothing at all, you know. I think I have to start from that place, but dont know how.
From the test perspective, they also have nothing. They are starting to use Test Manager from Visual Studio, and we have to implement this culture, learn how to use it in our world. It's been dificult to manage, I have a huge oportunity in my hand and I want to do my best.
So, how did you do?
My advice is 'RUN'.
There is a reason why they don't want to bring someone senior enough with enough experience. It's usually a sign that there is a deeply seeded problem that they are trying to hide by putting someone inexperienced so they don't detect it.
By telling someone who doesn't understand the fundamentals how to get by, we are only hurting them. Find a job where there is a person who can mentor and explain to you why each tool is important and how it's integral to development. Have them provide you opportunity to lead projects and coach you through it. That's the proper way to learn.