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- 1 Post By dlai
Where to Start? - making a tester team into a quality assurance team
Hello everyone, I am new to this forum and I gotta say I am quite overwhelmed... in the days that come I see this forum as being an amazing resource for me, but I just don't know where to start. Let me give you some history and hopefully you all can push me in the right direction.
I have been a "Software Quality Assurance Analyst" for just over 5 years now. I work for a company that builds super custom registration websites, these sites are active for about 6 months and then shut down until they are recreated for the next years event. Every event is different and custom to the client's needs so we can only create standards around the most basic functionality. When my company was first founded 30 yrs ago they didn't really think about testing anything, they built super basic pages that weren't so custom so QA was pretty much an after thought. It started as just one person and over the years has grown into a team of 8. However, no one in the department has had any formal training, we pretty much all started in very entry level positions within the company and then got promoted up to QA. For instance I started as a data entry person.
Essentially what we've been doing for years is: We are given a complete website, a non technical spec that gives us the client requested look & feel and business logic written by a non technical person.hen we manually run through the pages as a user would. We click on everything that can be clicked on to make sure it leads where it should, fill out all the forms, answer all the questions and make sure everything is pushed into our database correctly. We also check to make sure all the business rules are in place, for example if I choose x job title then y item will be available for purchase. We also do some very basic testing based on logic, like if you are required to enter a phone number then the page must require at least 10 digits or it isn't a valid phone number. But none of this was in test plans or documented, we did it all in our heads. Any bugs we found we listed in word documents that we sent to the developers so they could fix them and then we would just retest those specific actions to make sure the bug was no longer present.
This past year we hired an amazing new manager for the team that is a "real" QA Analyst who has been in the industry for years. She is trying to turn our team into real analysts and not just user testers, but it is a huge undertaking. So far she's thrown around a lot of terminology that none of us understand and she's implemented a number of processes to improve what we do, but we aren't nearly there yet. I really want to be able to keep up and to be able to make intelligent suggestions on what else we can do in the future to get us to where we need to be. Here is what she's implemented so far:
- Smoke Tests
- Standard Test Cases for basic functionality used on all websites (written in Excel)
- Test Matrix test cases for all the event specific logic that we write up before starting each new event (written in Excel)
- Manual Regression Testing - which is just re-running through the Standard Test Cases and Test Matrix before launch
- The use of Jira as a bug tracking tool
So here is my question.... can anyone point me in the right direction for what to do next? Given what we do at my company are there processes that I should research, terminology that I should do searches on, must have training, etc? Any guidance you all could provide to give me a starting point on the complete re-education of my job would be amazing.
As a test manager, there are 3 main areas you're concerned with.
* Process - repeatability, consistency
* Efficiency - doing things faster with fewer resources
* Predictability/Planning front - being able to allocate resources and predict cost/time accurately.
I would say based on what you have mentioned, the new test manager did improvements on the first item. She put in place a test case system, smoke tests, and a bug tracking system, so there is a base repeatable process in place.
On the Process end, you can implement a training program, technical documentation, and overall test strategy and test planning process to further make the process repeatable / consistent with new hires and contract workers.
On the Efficiency end, there are several things you can work on. 1. Automation, 2. Change Control - Given change X, Y should be tested, and 3. Improving tooling for accelerated manual or automated testing.
On the Predictability, you can do things like implement a TCM (Test Case Management) to gather metrics. You can do data mining on Jira and Source control to identify problematic modules and adjust test planning accordingly, you can create dashboards to display progress, create calculators/matrix that help you plan Given high level project X, how much staff/time is required.
Thank you so much for your reply, the thing that most caught my eye is a TCM tool. I currently am the one writing all of the standard test cases for everyone else on the team. We are doing it in excel which can be cumbersome to keep up with it all, especially with the same test cases applying to multiple deliverable types so the major duplication of data. I didn't know there was such a thing as a TCM tool and I've fallen in love... a tool like that could save me hours and hours of work and ensure that each time someone begins testing that they've got the latest and greatest version of tests since I am constantly updating them.