KJG
(Newbie)
01/30/12 10:14 AM
New QA Manager

Hello all,

What's the first course of action for an untrained software tester?

I am a mechanical engineer, who is fortunate enough to have found a home as a QA manager. For the last two years I have been manually testing the software, using adhoc methodologies, which are based around my knowledge of the use of the software. With the new focus and title this is due to change. Any guidance will be greatly accepted.

I have acquired the foundations of Software testing (third edition), this is my current start point...

Thanks in advance


Joe Strazzere
(Moderator)
01/30/12 10:42 AM
Re: New QA Manager

Are you actually managing people? Your first course of action would be to talk with them.

Also, these might help:
http://www.allthingsquality.com/2010/04/qa-leaders-checklist.html
http://www.allthingsquality.com/2011/11/top-5-books-about-testing-and-quality.html
http://www.allthingsquality.com/2011/11/how-do-you-keep-in-synch-with-your-test.html
http://www.allthingsquality.com/2010/04/glossary-of-testing-terms.html


dlai
(Junior Member)
01/30/12 04:03 PM
Re: New QA Manager

I think first priority will be the defect reporting procedure and defect life cycle. No doubt you'll be forming test plans, these will change according to the needs and releases.

But one thing that'll linger around are bug reports. You'll want to...
* Come up with a common language for describing bugs. So it can be search able and easy to find existing bugs to avoid duplicate filings.
* Bug lifecycle.. Make sure for any defect encountered, the tester knows how to push it to the right state. What state should unconfirmed defects be in? Sporadic defects? What do you do with a defect that's partially fixed? Make sure you get the procedure down and every tester knows it by heart.
* Figure out what fields and how bugs are organized.
* The language of the bug report. Set severity definitions and how to communicate the level of importance of each bug that might other be lost in a high level report. Can you easily generate a report of show stoppers? Is all the information needed to to defer the fix or delay the release communicated?

The reason I mention this as one of the first priorities, is because when pandemonium happens, you'll need confidence in the system. You'll have to with confidence give your opinion on why a release should be delayed or given the go even when test results are sub-par. That means making sure your team is able to communicate all the critical decisions needed, which often time are in the form of bug reports.


Juleo_2607
(Advanced Member)
01/30/12 11:51 PM
Re: New QA Manager

If you are saying that after 2 years you have landed a job of Manager then, I'd suggest you do some certification like CSTE or ISTQB or alteast acquire basic knowledge about the domains that these certifications deal with

Not that I am a fan of these certifications, but this will help you as I feel the CBOK domains (for CSTE) or even ISTQB, cover the basic processes required in testing.
This will help you in:
a) Acquiring basic knowledge of the overall testing process and
b) Getting respect of the team, as team members would surely appreciate a knowledgeable manager.

Cheers and Good Luck.


jimhazen
(Super Member)
01/31/12 08:39 AM
Re: New QA Manager

Okay my two cents.

First, get a copy of Cem Kaner et al. book - Testing Computer Software. Great reference/guide.
Second, get a copy of Rex Blacks book - Managing the Testing Process. Another great book.
Third, get a copy of James Whittakers book - How to break software. Not much on management, but great for ideas on how to 'break' software quickly.
Fourth, find a book or whitepapers on how to manage technical people. Software people are a strange breed, and will have certain idyosynchracies that you need to be aware of and deal with. I kind of relate it to Child Psychology, meaning you have to deal with immaturity, temper tantrums and stubborn kids.
Finally, (just to plug myself here) read the following presentation: How to Sell Testing
In this presentation I talk about how to "talk" to the other groups (C-level, Development, Marketing/Sales, etc.) outside of testing. This is one skill you will need to be an effective test manager. Part of the politics of the job.
Good luck.


gbille01
(Member)
01/31/12 10:12 AM
Re: New QA Manager

Jim, thanks for the information on the quality software books! Am planning to buy several. Also, am helping a friend into QA and everything on this page was a help to him. Thanks again you all!!.

KJG
(Newbie)
07/03/12 11:17 AM
Re: New QA Manager

Thank you to all that posted.

I did have a little chuckle at Juleo_2607's apparent surprise at the appointment. I agree that I need to get certificated and will be doing this. My appointment is aligned more to my 24 years of industry knowledge and the fact that I have been around this software since its first release; testing as an end-user for many years (I can still see many of my ideas in the software today).

Joe asked, am I managing people? At the time you asked, no, but that has changed as I have employed a tester, who does have foundation level certification and some experience, which I am tapping into, as he does my experience. So communication with the team is right up there.

The reading selections provided are great, thanks a lot... Right now, Foundations of Software Testing (Third Edition) is my bible, but I will be adding to that library you can be sure.

So thank you all, very interesting... Today the problem is time, there never seems to be enough of it. Testing is very manual right now and needs to be automated. I am looking at TestComplete and EggPlant, both seem to be usable by a novice and both should free up time and give increased levels of confidence to customer, product owners and developers.

Beyond that, it's documentation which has to improve. Test cases are being written, but managing them is a nightmare, so a tool is going to be deployed... Zephyr is the choice as it has full integration with Jira, which is what we report bugs in...

So once again, thanks all, very helpful. It's like serving another apprenticeship and the last time I did that Thatcher was in power!


Rich W.
(Veteran)
07/03/12 12:21 PM
Re: New QA Manager

If I may offer a quote from "Software QA/Testing Technical FAQs":

Quote:

What makes a good QA/Test Manager?

QA/Test Managers are familiar with the software development process; able to maintain enthusiasm of their team and promote a positive atmosphere; able to promote teamwork to increase productivity; able to promote cooperation between Software and Test/QA Engineers, have the people skills needed to promote improvements in QA processes, have the ability to withstand pressures and say *no* to other managers when quality is insufficient or QA processes are not being adhered to; able to communicate with technical and non-technical people; as well as able to run meetings and keep them focused.





Joe Strazzere
(Moderator)
07/03/12 01:00 PM
Re: New QA Manager

Thanks for checking back in. It's good to hear how things have progressed the past months.

Quote:

The reading selections provided are great, thanks a lot... Right now, Foundations of Software Testing (Third Edition) is my bible, but I will be adding to that library you can be sure.



Probably a good start, particularly if you are certification-oriented. I'd suggest Lessons Learned in Software Testing by Cem Kaner, James Bach, and Bret Pettichord next. It's not oriented around any certification, and will give you a wider view of QA/Testing, IMHO.

Keep checking in, asking more questions, and letting us know how things are going.



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