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  1. #1
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    Starting from scratch...

    Hi folks, I just thought I'd say hi and see if I can get some suggestions and direction from the people with more experience than I...

    Background:-
    I started software testing almost 3 years ago working for a games publisher. I spent just over two years with them, became an assistant lead and team trainer for any new recruits into the team of 60ish. As an assistant lead I was responsible for formulating a lot of low-level test plans. While working there I started off using an in-house web-based bug tracking tool mainly but also Bugzilla *shudder*. Then they upped and moved our tracking software to Test Track Pro which I duly had to learn at all user levels to train new guys. I got no experience at the admin side though as it was administered from the IT Dept.

    From there I moved over to a fixed odds betting and touch-screen entertainment company and while working there I learned a little about JIRA but generally all issues I found were communicated via email to devs and fixed before testing a new build. Maintainence Testing was my job pretty much, however while working there I studied for my ISEB Foundation in Software Testing and passed with 15% more than required. [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

    I've since moved to a London Trading company as their only tester which has provided me with a massive opportunity!

    Details:-
    We currently have a Trading Software which is used specifically by the company. It's barebones but it does what it says on the tin.

    At the moment we have a team of five developers and myself and a new project in the oven. Basically it's a nice shiny new version of the current software with a lot of new features and functions and it's being build from the ground up.

    We're using the MSDN suite and most of the coding is going to be in C# excluding the backends which will remain in C++.

    As we have no code to test thus far I've been concentrating on building the QA Department, writing documentation etc. I have an IEEE-based Master Test Plan for the project and I'm writing individaul test docs based on the stuff I get told (we have no master software plan yet!)

    Request:-
    How would you start building a solid base for a QA Department?
    What books are "essential reads" for Test Management and Testing in general?
    Have I started in completely the wrong way?
    Where would you guys start with regard to testing tools?
    I believe we'd rather go for open-source tools than commercial as it's a small company so as much as I'd like to go for Mercury and get training on it it's not going to happen.
    I'm still debating about Test Track Pro for bug tracking as I know it ties in with MSDN but I'd like some feedback as to whether it'll be better to go opensource with everything?

    I know it's a lot of info but I figure I'll be here for the long run so why not make friends sooner rather than later? heh

    Cheers folks!

  2. #2
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    Re: Starting from scratch...

    Welcome !

    You'll make even more friends here if you do a quick search, you'll find a lot of threads from newbies and a lot of threads on testing books

    such as

    http://www.qaforums.com/cgi-bin/foru...=005632#000001

    I cant offer much advice myself as I'm a developer trying to turn tester so am in lurking and learning mode

    good luck !

  3. #3
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    Re: Starting from scratch...

    A few things that have worked for me:

    Scope definition--I've used Visio to show workflow--of what your team does and the expected inputs (ie, requirements/specs) and outputs (ie, defects, test logs) your group needs in order to perform their work. In the beginning my teams had a more narrow scope. As other groups bought into our work we were able to broaden our scope.

    Defect Tracking system--it sounds like you have one...anything is better than email or spreadsheet IMO

    QA/QC Work Plan--I've done this as a template in MS Project and it lists all tasks associated, such as planning time, review time of test documentation, scripting time, execution time, number of test cycles planned, etc. I've used it not only to estimate man-hours, but also as an educational tool for developers, PMs and on up the food chain.

    Internal training for QA/QC associates--important from a career development aspect for your team as well as to inspire confidence in the work your team does.

    Collaborative, rather than combative approach.

    Constant education to the masses regarding what your team does and how you add value.

    Once I had these items in place (I've started four QC teams from scratch at 4 difference companies) I was able to expand the scope of the initial teams to include more QA activities (code/design/requirement reviews, etc.)...a slow process in some of the companies, but as my teams really proved themselves over time, others were more receptive.

    Good luck and welcome to the forum.
    Shannon

  4. #4
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    Re: Starting from scratch...

    Thanks for the replies guys, much appreciated!

    I did read that initial thread with the same title os this one, however it was generally pointing toward which books to read. As I'm already in the situation, book reading is a side event for me, i.e. I'll be reading at home in what little spare time I have. That's the only reason I posted a new thread. [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

    Second reply was great though, thanks! [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

  5. #5
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    Re: Starting from scratch...

    Running a small software house myself, 1 QA guy for 5 developers seems a bit light, so I imagine that your workload could be substantial. I would agree with shannonkb that a collaborative, rather than combative approach is advisable, and in addition to your existing plan, organize a meeting with all the stakeholders (developers, BAs, support, sales, etc...) The purpose of this would be to establish the following;

    - Identify previous quality issues encountered, and how they can efficiently avoided in the future.

    - Establish and prioritize QA expectations within the group.

    - Identify QA responsibilities for non QA staff, e.g. unit testing for developers, documentation standards for BAs, incident recording and escalation procedures for support, etc...

    - Establish QA resource requirements (staff, training, equipment) to meet QA expectations.

    Make sure that the company wants, and is willing to pay for, QA rather than QC. IMO, QA in a small company is everyones responsibility, and good QA people are there to manage and constantly streamline this, in addition to carrying out QC.

    Personally, i am not sold on using exclusively open source tools in a small company. In Ireland and the UK, software license costs are a lot less than salary costs, so spending a few extra quid to get the right tools, that you can implement quickly, is money well spent. We use tools from AutomatedQA, Compuware, Gimpel, Macromedia, House on the Hill, and of course Microsoft, amounting to an upfront cost of about 4k per seat and 1k per seat for updates. All money well spent in my book. Books and publications also represent great value, if you have the time to read them.

    BTW, I am not a QA professional by training or qualification, but do have a lot of small company experience.

    Regards,

    Shane

  6. #6
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    Re: Starting from scratch...

    Thanks again folks, I have a much clearer idea of where I need to go and the process to do it [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

  7. #7
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    Re: Starting from scratch...

    Hey Obsidian, Where did you do your ISEB course?
    I tried to pm you but can't as it says I have to be a registered user (although I just registered!?!)
    Cheers

 

 

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