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Quality Engineering >> Software Process Improvement

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mkchan2002
Junior Member


Reged: 08/24/02
Posts: 4
Loc: mountain view, CA USA
need annual measurement of performance objectives
      #712252 - 07/16/12 12:31 PM

Hi,

I need to come up with 3-5 annual performance objectives for my manager tomorrow. I work as a software qa engineer for a software company. Here are a few that I've come up with. Any help/feedback would be appreciated.

1. Continue to work more closely on a daily basis with program management to discuss issues, enhancements, and ideas for future releases.
2. Test Case Improvement - review current test cases to be sure they include positive, negative, and boundary tests.
3. Continue to get stronger communication between dev and qa through clearer reporting on defects and test status reports.
4. Treat program managers as my customer instead of dev. Basically getting confirmation/approval from program managers regarding issues in question.
5. Continue to have testing commitments completed on schedule. (past testing date was set, but often the testing was not completed on the set date. If testing can't be completed on the date specified, need to find out why, etc)
6. Would like to introduce Selenium automation tool. Reasons: free open source, no licensing is needed, can automate some or all of the tests which need to be run from time to time repeatedly or difficult to test manually, can be used by many people to test on their own systems.

Can anyone give me a few examples of what would be good to say?

Thanks in advance!


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Joe Strazzere
Moderator


Reged: 05/15/00
Posts: 12344
Loc: Massachusetts, USA
Re: need annual measurement of performance objectives [Re: mkchan2002]
      #712253 - 07/16/12 12:40 PM

Ugh, Annual Performance Objectives.

Do your objective have to be measurable? Most of these seem to be lacking measures. It's good if you can get away with them.

I've always struggled to come up with measurable objectives with my team. I'd like to tie them in to specific projects, but our projects typically are not very predictable a year out, and we in QA aren't in control of them.

We usually settle on generic things like "No Severity 1 bugs encountered in Production on any assigned projects." or something along those lines.

--------------------
- Joe
Visit AllThingsQuality.com to learn more about quality, testing, and QA!

I speak only for me. I do not speak for my employer, nor for anyone else.


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mkchan2002
Junior Member


Reged: 08/24/02
Posts: 4
Loc: mountain view, CA USA
Re: need annual measurement of performance objectives [Re: Joe Strazzere]
      #712254 - 07/16/12 12:46 PM

hi joe,

thanks for the reply. Yes, the objectives need to be measurable. I agree exactly with your statement, as our software never meets the required deadlines, so its hard to think of measurable objectives.


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PeterNairn
Advanced Member


Reged: 06/22/01
Posts: 551
Loc: United Kingdom
Re: need annual measurement of performance objectives [Re: mkchan2002]
      #712406 - 07/18/12 04:28 AM

I do find Performance Objective setting really difficult for testers. Because testing is such an intellectual activity, how do you measure that?

I would advise avoiding the measures of things like "Number of test cases written per <some arbitrary time>" that I have seen.

Adherence to process is often used as performance objectives, which isn't bad, but it doesn't actually say how good a tester you are.

I tend to use objectives which are measurable more subjectively than objectively and then as part of the annual review get a number of subjective views which hopefully add up to an objective view. For example, the quality of bug reporting can be a measure along the lines of "provide sufficient information to developers to reproduce bug". With "sufficient" being defined by the developer who has to deal with the bug report. If 5 developers think your bug reports are dreadful, then they probably are.

I have tried various methods of measuring performance of testers and have not been happy with any of them!

It reminds me of Louis Armstrong when he was asked what makes good Jazz. He said "I don't know, but I know it when I hear it". I think the same about testers, "I don't know what makes a good tester, but I know one when I see one".

--------------------
See my blog http://www.sqablogs.com/PeteNairn


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Walen
Super Member


Reged: 05/09/01
Posts: 1254
Re: need annual measurement of performance objectives [Re: mkchan2002]
      #712409 - 07/18/12 04:40 AM

Quote:

... as our software never meets the required deadlines, so its hard to think of measurable objectives.




OK. Every warning flag I have just went up.

Consider this:
* Why do the software releases/projects never meet their deadlines/deliverable dates?
* In what way? The internal dates or the ship dates?
* What can /you/ do to help improve that? (Remembering that sometimes fixing a problem requires breaking other things - like rules, processes, accepted methodologies?
* When the software does go, does it meet customer needs/expectations? Are they happy or do they have no choice?

Doing more of the same won't fix anything, Look at one aspect you may be able to help fix, then make that your goal.

BTW - I find 99% of the performance review stuff to be an absolute waste of time and effort. Even the ones that result in me getting a pay raise. I've told bosses that - and HR types that as well. They normally are measuring nothing that has anything to do with how the job actually functions, improves the product, improves the organization or makes things better on a meta level.

--------------------
P. Walen

My Blog: http://rhythmoftesting.blogspot.com/


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mkchan2002
Junior Member


Reged: 08/24/02
Posts: 4
Loc: mountain view, CA USA
Re: need annual measurement of performance objectives [Re: Walen]
      #712461 - 07/18/12 11:59 AM

Thanks for your replies! I really appreciate it.

So I had a talk with my manager yesterday about the list of things I stated in my first post, and he basically shot me down in all of them.

He said to set measurable performance goals, I also need to set the type of "role" that I plan on doing for our QA group. He also says I need to review the QA roadmaps and view the documentation of the upcoming projects and see what types of things I can use to set my measurable performance objectives. A example he said was to take ownership on the testing of the mobile app sdk from start to finish.

Basically he says that if I "step up", he could give me a raise or a higher bonus %, but I have to complete 3-5 measurable performance goals. He says I can't just keep doing the same job here and that he wants me to do extra things, etc.


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Joe Strazzere
Moderator


Reged: 05/15/00
Posts: 12344
Loc: Massachusetts, USA
Re: need annual measurement of performance objectives [Re: mkchan2002]
      #712466 - 07/18/12 12:31 PM

Yup. Did he suggest the kinds of "measures" he has in mind? Or did he just indicate that yours were insufficient?

The game is to find 3-5 things that are just good enough to keep your boss happy, but easy enough and enough under your individual control so that you can achieve them, get a good raise, and a big bonus.

So, take ownership (whatever that means) of the testing of that mobile app sdk, and find some way to measure a part of it that you feel confident in accomplishing. I'm not sure what to suggest here, perhaps "test it", "write a test plan", "create test cases", "develop a test approach", or something along those lines? If your boss can't get you started on these measures, you may have to play "20 questions" until you guess a measure that is good enough for his annual measurement purposes.

Then, read through the documentation of the upcoming projects and try to pick out 2-4 of the likely-to-be-successful projects that you can also "take ownership" of.

During the upcoming year, make sure you spend your priority #1 time on achieving these objectives - after all, that's how you will be compensated! Don't waste time on other tasks that aren't on your objectives list, unless you are confident that they won't interfere with your achievement of raises and bonuses. (I exaggerate here a bit, but really you need to look out for yourself first.)

Hopefully, you'll get lucky and the roadmap and upcoming projects list is real, and likely to actually happen.

In my shop, roadmaps going out more than a few months are just fantasy at this time, but perhaps at your company things are more predictable.

Good luck!

--------------------
- Joe
Visit AllThingsQuality.com to learn more about quality, testing, and QA!

I speak only for me. I do not speak for my employer, nor for anyone else.


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myTesting_Bank
Newbie


Reged: 07/18/12
Posts: 18
Loc: Tunisia - France
Re: need annual measurement of performance objectives [Re: Joe Strazzere]
      #712476 - 07/18/12 02:48 PM

You need to define some KPI (Key performance Indicator) as for example:
- Spent time to define test suite/test plan
- Spent time on test execution
- Spent time to prepare test environment: none take care on spent time to prepare test environment before starting test execution. But, you can see that spent time to install software, prepare required material and software to execute test cases is not thin.

--------------------
QA activities, follow CMMI certification process.


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Joe Strazzere
Moderator


Reged: 05/15/00
Posts: 12344
Loc: Massachusetts, USA
Re: need annual measurement of performance objectives [Re: myTesting_Bank]
      #712554 - 07/19/12 03:49 AM

mytesting_Bank,

Are you saying that "Spent time to define test suite/test plan" is a measurable objective that mkchan2002's boss could use as the basis for raises and bonuses?

If so, is more time better? Or less?

--------------------
- Joe
Visit AllThingsQuality.com to learn more about quality, testing, and QA!

I speak only for me. I do not speak for my employer, nor for anyone else.


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John_Ruberto
Newbie


Reged: 07/11/12
Posts: 19
Re: need annual measurement of performance objectives [Re: mkchan2002]
      #712634 - 07/19/12 06:59 PM

Quote:

...A example he said was to take ownership on the testing of the mobile app sdk from start to finish.

Basically he says that if I "step up", he could give me a raise or a higher bonus %, but I have to complete 3-5 measurable performance goals. He says I can't just keep doing the same job here and that he wants me to do extra things, etc.




Hi mkchan2002,

One way to come up with good goals, especially those that show your ability to "step up" is to think about the job from your boss's perspective. He will appreciate it if you can improve his job in some way (easier, faster, higher quality, cheaper etc.).

Here are a couple of examples:
It looks like he telegraphed that he wants you to handle most of the test leadership responsibilities for the mobile SDK. Likely, so he can handle other projects. (this is a guess, based one the quote above).
If project leadership doesn't appeal to you, think about other ways to help him. Maybe he has to compile test reports from several testers, offer to take over the consolidation of the reports and work with your other team members.
Learn a new skill/process, try it on your project, and train your peers. For example, if your team uses a proprietary test framework/tool, experiment with an open source tool. You may end up saving money for your team. (edit: looks like Selenium proof of concept is already on your list)

Essentially, take a view of your bosses job, and use that perspective to come up with goal ideas.

It sounds like your boss is making an investment in your career.

Good luck

--------------------
My Blog


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mkchan2002
Junior Member


Reged: 08/24/02
Posts: 4
Loc: mountain view, CA USA
Re: need annual measurement of performance objectives [Re: John_Ruberto]
      #712639 - 07/19/12 10:56 PM

Thanks for all the replies and suggestions. I really appreciate it and it helps me to think of what I need to do.

First off, a little about my manager. He is very picky, gets upset easily, and always thinks he is right all the time. He only talks to you if he needs something from you. Very difficult manager to work with. He likes to compare other QA members and say how good they are, and how aggressive they are when dealing or attacking issues. "You should be like so and so, You should do this, You should do that", etc.

Yesterday, he gave me a new task in which he'd like me to take ownership for testing our new Android mobile app. Basically he wants me to be responsible for all of the testing that needs to be done to get this project out of the door. The phrase he used was to be the "Goto Guy". And he mentioned I can use this as a measurable performance objective. Tomorrow we will have another meeting to discuss the other upcoming projects and testing that needs to be done, and also talk about the QA roadmaps.

I guess its my turn to shine


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PeterNairn
Advanced Member


Reged: 06/22/01
Posts: 551
Loc: United Kingdom
Re: need annual measurement of performance objectives [Re: mkchan2002]
      #712699 - 07/20/12 05:48 AM

OK, so now you need to inject some genes from the other QA members so that you are like them - make the number of genes copied across a measurable objective. And make sure you make the tone of your objective as aggressive as possible. Remember too, that managers are always right all the time and we (yes, I am a manager) won't talk to our underlings unless we need something, why would we do anything different?

Seriously, though, I would take what Joe said to heart. Agree the objectives that make the most sense, make sure you meet them to get your rise. Please make sure you put into the objectives what support you need from your manager or from others in order to help you achieve your objectives

Outside of that, set your own personal objectives that make you happy with the job you are doing and how you will improve yourself. Don't share them, but measure yourself against them.

--------------------
See my blog http://www.sqablogs.com/PeteNairn


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