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  1. #1
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    Tackling motivation issues

    Well, folks, I've just started my first week into my new job. This company has just started building up the test engineering team here. And one of the issues I've been asked to tackle is that of motivation.

    My task is to ensure that the new testing team stays motivated and enthusiastic about testing and being in a service line. The problem is that mandates like these scare me because they are not quantifiable or concrete enough.

    So I've planned a few things:
    * Boot camps for freshers
    * Mentoring programs for all inductees
    * Regular learning sessions on various test engineering topics - to make folks feel they are adding value to themselves
    * Encouragement to take on certifications/writing papers etc.
    * Team building exercises - the resort type -where you play role-based games etc.

    This would be so much simpler if I had an MBA in Human Resources, but I'm just a techie grunt. I'd be grateful for any and all suggestions.

    -Suresh
    Suresh Nageswaran, CQA, CSTE
    Lead Consultant
    Kanbay Inc.
    Pune, India.
    sureshnageswaran@yahoo.com

  2. #2
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    Re: Tackling motivation issues

    First let me congratulate you for your new Job.

    Few suggestions from my side :
    1) Inform the test team that Testing involves not only writitng test cases and testing as per TC. It also involves coding to create test code to test some of the application.
    2) The challenge of test engineer is to find as many bugs as possible. They should be reproducable and add value to the system. It doesn't mean that they should not lodge cosmetic defects.
    3) Next challenge is that testers should identify the bugs at the earliest stage of the SDLC.
    4) Testers should also come up with new ideas/suggestions to improve the product while they are testing. They can lodge this type of ideas in suggestion column.
    5) Testers should be uptodate with new technologies and new tools in the market

    Testers can do many many more things....

    Wish you goodluck

    [This message has been edited by qabomb (edited 12-07-2002).]

  3. #3
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    Re: Tackling motivation issues

    Looks like you've got a pretty good start on your own. I only have one comment on the game thing, remember that not everyone will want to participate here. Make sure they understand that is okay, they are still part of the team. Our shop used to do that and I was always feeling like an outsider because I did not participate. You see, while I like my co-workers, my time is my time and I spend it away from co-workers.

    All I have to add are a few pointers that work for me. First, make sure everyone understands the only stupid question is the one they never ask. I have this on my wall and follow it faithfully, it makes people more comfortable right up front.

    If your group is small enough, take them out to lunch every month or so and DON'T talk about work! Well, okay, talk about it ONCE so it can be an official business lunch, .

    When you need something done, even if it's part of their job ask, don't tell. Try something like "I need you to...". May seem silly but trust me it works. And if the task is something you don't know how to do, make sure they know that. Never tell someone to do something you can't help them with unless they know you can't help. But also make sure they know that if they hit a snag, you'll work it out together.

    And last but not least, always give credit where credit is due. Make sure the higher ups know when one of the team accomplished something they needed. Nothing kills moral more than to see your bosses name on that paper you broke your neck to write before the deadline. Now some might say, well I'm the boss and I told them to write it so it's mine. Or i was supposed to do it so I can't let the higher-ups know I didn't. Not so... Part of being a good supervisor is knowing what and when to delegate. The higher-ups will only care it got done, well they should only care about that.

    And that's my 2 cents...

    Good luck,

    Cat

    ------------------

    Oops, almost forgot the most important tip. NEVER FORGET YOU WERE JUST A TECHIE GRUNT! As long as you always remember where you came from, you'll do great because you will remember how you used to feel before you do or say something that you would not have liked.


    [This message has been edited by CSNuts (edited 12-07-2002).]
    Cat

    If you break it; they will come.

  4. #4
    Moderator Joe Strazzere's Avatar
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    Re: Tackling motivation issues

    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by punekar:
    This would be so much simpler if I had an MBA in Human Resources, but I'm just a techie grunt. I'd be grateful for any and all suggestions.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Have you considered asking your HR department for guidance/help?

    ------------------
    - Joe (strazzerj@aol.com)
    Joe Strazzere
    Visit my website: AllThingsQuality.com to learn more about quality, testing, and QA!

  5. #5
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    Re: Tackling motivation issues

    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by punekar:
    * Boot camps for freshers
    * Mentoring programs for all inductees
    * Regular learning sessions on various test engineering topics - to make folks feel they are adding value to themselves
    * Encouragement to take on certifications/writing papers etc.
    * Team building exercises - the resort type -where you play role-based games etc.

    This would be so much simpler if I had an MBA in Human Resources, but I'm just a techie grunt. I'd be grateful for any and all suggestions.

    -Suresh
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Mentors is good as gets newbies/freshers up to speed & means they will ask more questions as someone specifically assigned to them.

    Personally i'd drop the team building exercises & things like team lunches in favour of useful value added training. IMO everyone wants to continue to add to their CV/resume & while this makes people more marketable to other companies should also make them stay as they may not add as much value to their Cv/resumes if they leave.

    You can have all the free drink/food/activities you like but if people doing the same thing day in day out the freebies will only distract them for a few days.


    ------------------

  6. #6
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    Re: Tackling motivation issues

    Make sure you've got buy-in from your mentors - at my first testing job, I got in trouble for going to another newbie for advice and training - I was supposed to go to my assigned "mentors" who I don't think even knew they were assigned to me and hardly spoke to me. Every question I asked, they looked at me like I was a complete idiot. Hmm, wonder why I was going up to the only person who deigned to talk to me...

    ------------------
    Gabba Gabba Hey

  7. #7
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    Re: Tackling motivation issues

    Consider this more of a query than suggestion. This is of utmost importance.

    Even before you've begun thinking about the ways of tackling motivation issues you are surrounded with a more selfish, shall I say, issue; quantifying your efforts. Herein you need to draw a very rigidly flexible line between the actual job at hand and the issue of quantification. You have to be very clear with what exactly and how much of it do you want to achieve. Whether keeping the guys motivated and interested comes above quantifying your own efforts and proving to the upper echelon that you've given it your best shot. I'm sure you now it a balance of both. But if not set well both could end up being failures.

    Things like motivation are very contextual. To me motivation is not something that can entirely be induced or injected, it can be given a lift though. But then you need to have that element within. In your case that can be done only if the team members have any acceptable degree of self-motivation.

    Next thing is your self motivation. With too many things happening to a person at a time it is not very easy to concentrate on others. Probably the most important thing that will count is how well you are received in the new organization. Not many people are comfortable with a stranger coming in and changing around a lot of things. Anything that you do will be perceived with animosity. Couple this with a very common phenomenon of resistance to change. Few people are open to new ideas and practices. I've seen people who were unwilling to change spaces, even a couple of cubicles away. Don't expect them to be very co-operative on your team building exercises.

    Another thing that will be decide the success of your efforts will be the cultural differences already existing between the team. Any kind of groupism, sexism, etc will only hamper all your efforts. Lastly if the member is not at all interested in the field no amount of motivation will keep him/ her in.

    Guess I covered only the all negatives here. Don't get me wrong but I understand exactly how it is to build a team, own it with pride, loose it and get into it all over again.

    ------------------
    never say die
    Life, that dares send, A challenge to his end,
    And when it comes say, Welcome friend.

 

 

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