QualityWorks Consulting Group https://qualityworkscg.com Software Consulting Firm Thu, 23 Dec 2021 20:59:41 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://i0.wp.com/qualityworkscg.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/cropped-QualityWorks-Logo-Symbol-e1472241120651.png?fit=32%2C32&ssl=1 QualityWorks Consulting Group https://qualityworkscg.com 32 32 176344164 A Developer’s Insight into Testing https://qualityworkscg.com/a-developers-insight-to-testing/ https://qualityworkscg.com/a-developers-insight-to-testing/#respond Wed, 22 Dec 2021 20:09:35 +0000 https://qualityworkscg.com/?p=218557 I'd like to share a developer’s insight into testing and hope my story inspires you to appreciate the roles of both testers and developers.

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There’s often debate on which role is more important — developer or tester? Who contributes or adds more value? As a former web application developer and now tester, I'd like to share my experience with you and hope that my transition helps you appreciate the roles of testers and developers and inspires you to explore new skills in software engineering.

By Owen Thompson

Testers and developers approach the challenges of product development differently. As a former web application developer and now tester, I recall some of my processes and reflect on how I have grown over the past year. 

I discovered testing through referral and participation in the QualityWorks Software Testing Bootcamp. While unexpected, my path to becoming a tester and Quality Assurance consultant has helped me understand software development from a broader perspective. I’d like to share my experience with you and hope that my transition helps you appreciate the roles of testers and developers and inspires you to explore new skills in software engineering.

The Perspectives

Developers and Testers

A developer’s goal is to create products that meet the requirements of the owners and end-users and deliver quality products that meet these objectives. When writing code, developers create a plan for how they’ll achieve specific results. While this foresight helps them work efficiently, it often leads to bias during the testing process. Additional factors, like limiting time constraints and conflicting priorities may lead to incomplete or partial testing. 

Imagine that a developer is given the simple task of creating a password field with a minimum of eight characters. A developer’s first instinct may be to implement logic that only accepts a password with a minimum of eight characters and return an error message to help guide the user toward a valid password. When testing this code, the developer may do the following:

  1. Enter a password of fewer than eight characters to return the error as expected.
  2. Attempt to use a password with eight characters for successful validation.
  3. Attempt to use a password with eight or more characters.

Assuming the tests are successful, the developer can celebrate and claim success, right? In reality, the developer has done the bare minimum by assuming the end-user is using and thinking of the system in the same way. Developers can easily slip into pitfalls by not considering the user’s perspective when setting goals.

In this scenario, a skilled tester goes a few steps further by accounting for the many possible actions the end-user may take:

  • What if the user entered eight spaces by hitting the spacebar eight times?
  • Perhaps the user decided to use only numbers, but the logic only validates alphabetical characters.

Luckily, the inquisitive mind of a tester saves the day. At the requirements stage, the tester clarifies what type of characters should be accounted for. During the testing phase, the tester tries several combinations to verify that only a minimum of eight characters is accepted, regardless of the type.

While developers aim to achieve defined goals, testers focus on product delivery and user experience. Testers ask all the questions necessary to ensure clarity, then tests the product as an end-user would to ensure quality delivery.

No Favorites

Testers and Developers

There’s often debate on which role is more important — developer or tester? Who contributes or adds more value?

There’s a common misconception among developers that:

  1. QA and testers are not as valuable as they appear.
  2. Developers can run their own tests, and if given the time and resources they can do more in-depth testing.

Unfortunately, it is not that simple. The saying, “Hidden in plain sight,” explains one of the challenges developers face when examining their own solutions. For example, a developer with confidence in their code may fail to completely test certain functionality. However, this bias can lead to overlooked flaws.

Testing requires both technical and non-technical skills, including the knowledge of effective testing processes and approaches, understanding of user behavior, and the ability to assess and resolve technical errors. In addition to writing test cases and plans, creating documentation, reporting bugs, and conducting tests, testers must be able to communicate clearly with their stakeholders across business and engineering. Testing requires logical and creative thinking, analytical ability, attention to detail, curiosity and determination — qualities that make testers a great asset to the delivery of software products.

The development process is also intricate and has its own approach and thought process. Both roles are equally important and operate more efficiently when they find synergy and appreciation of each other’s contributions.

Skilled developers become better testers, and testers become better developers, by understanding the others’ processes and approaches when working on a project. Relationship building creates free-flowing conversation and open dialogue that leads to more efficient processes by reducing delays in feedback and communication and allowing both sides to resolve issues quickly. 

Conclusion

Developers and Testers

While I still have much to learn as a tester, the journey has been enlightening. I’ve learned to approach testing in a new way and understand the various types of testing, which helps ensure that quality is delivered on the front-end and back-end.

I hope my insights help you appreciate the work and thought process of both testers and developers and spark your interest in gaining a new perspective. I invite you to try testing for a week if you are a developer, or try developing for a week if you are a tester. Notice how the processes vary and observe the similarities.

Whether you’re a developer, tester or aspiring engineer, consider joining our team! Check out our latest job opportunities here.

About the Author

Owen Thompson previously a Software Developer experienced in building web applications using diverse technologies and frameworks is now certified in Software Testing and Agile Concepts & Principles through the QualityWorks Bootcamp and has been both an automated and manual tester experienced in various testing types including migration, accessibility, and split testing. Owen’s focus is on exploring all avenues of testing to ensure thorough validation can always be completed.

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Outsource vs. Upskill: How to Fill Your Post-Pandemic Skills Gaps https://qualityworkscg.com/outsource-vs-upskill-how-to-fill-your-post-pandemic-skills-gaps-in-2021/ https://qualityworkscg.com/outsource-vs-upskill-how-to-fill-your-post-pandemic-skills-gaps-in-2021/#respond Tue, 02 Nov 2021 18:14:29 +0000 https://qualityworkscg.com/?p=218524 We'll explore the pros and cons of outsourcing and upskilling as viable talent strategies for resolving skill shortages within organizations.

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The COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating the growing trend toward remote work and creating a demand for software developers and engineers who can create, deploy, and maintain new technologies while collaborating digitally. Employers are rethinking the way they source and train talent to meet these new skill demands. We'll explore the pros and cons of outsourcing and upskilling as viable talent strategies for resolving skill shortages within organizations.

By Kimberley Whyte

A skilled workforce is essential to the success of any business, and as a result of the pandemic disruption, employers are now faced with the tough decision of choosing how to scale with limited resources. Two popular talent solutions have emerged: outsourcing operations externally and upskilling developers internally.

We’ll explore the pros and cons of both strategies to help leaders determine the best approach for resolving skill shortages within their organizations.

Benefits of outsourcing

Outsourcing

The concept of remote work is common in the tech space. According to Statista, the pre-pandemic IT outsourcing market was forecast to reach approximately $413.7 billion by 2021. Today, businesses continue to search outside of their organizations to fill knowledge and skills gaps. Research by Gartner® finds that approximately 32% of organizations are replacing full-time employees with contingent workers as a cost-saving measure. For employers with limited budgets or lack of access to training resources, hiring locally or offshore offers a number of benefits:

  • Cost-efficiency: Growing businesses need more office space, skilled employees and services. Outsourcing can offset operating costs by reducing the expenses associated with hiring and training.
  • Agility: The expense required to stay up-to-date and train employees to learn and use new technology can be cost-prohibitive for many businesses. Outsourcing increases agility by decreasing capital expenditures.
  • Continuity and security: Periods of high attrition can cause instability within business operations. Outsourcing provides a level of security and continuity while reducing the risk of losing critical personnel.
  • Focus: Outsourcing reduces testing workload, creating more time for developers to focus on mission-critical deliverables.

Benefits of upskilling

Upskilling

Upskilling is the process of equipping existing employees with new competencies to bridge skills gaps. According to a 2019 paper from the World Economic Forum and Boston Consulting Group, upskilling an existing workforce comes at a price – approximately $24,800 per person in the United States (this includes start-up costs, along with training program implementations). Although upskilling can be a significant investment, the benefits are game-changing:

  • Employee engagement and retention: Training better equips employees to handle complex tasks and take on new challenges. They become better contenders for promotions and, according to Forbes, are more likely to stick around long-term. 
  • Increased morale, loyalty, and motivation: Training offers employees a sense of recognition and boosts their confidence. Employees who receive training are also motivated to improve their performance.
  • Succession planning: Upskilling can stabilize change management by empowering successors to step into leadership roles with the least disruption.
  • Accelerated business growth: A CFO Research Services report finds that nearly all CFOs recognize the critical impact of human capital in key business areas such as driving customer satisfaction, product and service innovation, growth and overall profitability. With upskilling, leaders can train employees with the specific competencies and skills needed to scale their organizations.

The bottom line

Outsourcing & Upskilling

In conclusion, both outsourcing and upskilling have benefits. Companies that outsource benefit from cost-efficiency, agility, and security. Businesses that upskill gain employee retention, business growth, and increased employee confidence. Companies can also choose to both upskill and outsource to receive the benefits of both. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. Employers will need to assess budget and funding, industry outlook, and internal pandemic implications to determine the best course of action for their business.

If you’re still unsure about whether to outsource or upskill, try our free assessment tool, then contact us for a consultation.

About the Author

Kimberley Whyte is an ISTQB® certified professional with more than three years of experience in Quality Assurance. She has spearheaded software testing efforts in companies small and large. Having a love for all things tech, Kimberley’s passion is to ensure that quality remains at the forefront of software systems and programs.

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Choosing the right tools and frameworks for your test automation project https://qualityworkscg.com/choosing-the-right-tools-and-frameworks-for-your-test-automation/ https://qualityworkscg.com/choosing-the-right-tools-and-frameworks-for-your-test-automation/#respond Fri, 08 Oct 2021 16:37:40 +0000 https://qualityworkscg.com/?p=218413 Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you find the right tools and frameworks for your next test automation project.

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There are more than twenty test automation tools and frameworks. Let’s explore a tried and true method for identifying the right tools for your next test automation project.

By: Julia Pottinger

There are more than twenty test automation tools and frameworks, including Selenium, WebdriverIO, Cypress, Nightwatch, Playwright, and Robot Framework. The list may seem endless and overwhelming, but I’ll share a step-by-step process to help you evaluate these options and find the right fit for your test automation project.

Let’s begin with a simple scenario:

Scenario

Your team has developed an application that allows users to create bugs for popular apps and receive bug bounties based on the severity and reproducibility of the bugs. This application has a web version as well as a mobile Android and iOS native application. The web application is compatible with all browsers, including Internet Explorer, Safari, Chrome, Opera, Firefox, and Microsoft Edge and has iframes on each page. Links open in new tabs. The application uses APIs to collect and store large amounts of data in a database. The application interface varies slightly between apps; for example, Twitter uses different colors and text prompts when creating bugs than Instagram. 

Imagine your team wants to add test automation to improve the release process and reduce the number of errors in the application while increasing test coverage, catching new and existing bugs, and integrating tests into a CI/CD pipeline. Your team also wants to increase the number of browsers and devices that can be tested simultaneously without drastically increasing the number of testers or real devices needed to execute the tests.

Here’s how you decide what tools and frameworks you’ll use to automate the project.

Step 1: Make a list of features and automation requirements

Quality

Create a list of features the tools and framework will need to support. 

For example, using the scenario provided, write down each feature and its corresponding requirements:

  • Cross-browser testing: compatible with all browsers
  • Mobile automation on both iOS and Android devices: mobile Android and iOS native application
  • Tab and iframe support: iframes are on each page and links open in new tabs
  • API Automation: uses APIs to collect the data
  • Data-driven testing: collects and stores large amounts of data, and the interface for the application slightly differs per popular app
  • Database automation: collects and stores large amounts of data
  • Visual Regression Testing: uses different colors and text prompts when creating bugs
  • Unit Testing for features: creates bugs for popular apps and receives bug bounties

Now that you have a list of requirements, it’s time to evaluate the scope and size of your project.

Step 2: Evaluate the scope and size of your project

Scope

Decide which project requirements are in scope for your automation. Create a test automation strategy to identify the goal and scope of your project and to clarify outcomes. Perhaps you’re automating six features of the web app supporting Chrome and Firefox browsers or only doing API automation, identify your goal early. 

The test automation project presented in the scenario above has many moving parts, including web and mobile automation on several browsers and mobile devices, API automation, and Database automation mixed in with data-driven testing. The features of the application include authentication, bug submission, dashboard with bug bounty status, payout of bug bounty, security, and performance. The project scope is complex, so simplify by focusing on smaller parts, and increment the automation project over time to discover what tools are essential.

Using your test automation strategy

  1. Scope the project and identify the features that require automation. 
  2. Create a list of must-have automation scenarios.
  3. Determine the implementation timeline.
  4. Identify the key players involved with project implementation and maintenance.

Now that you’ve determined the scope and size for your project, it’s time to identify the application platform you’ll use to build your project. Use this insight to create a shortlist of tools and frameworks.

Step 3: Identify your application platform

Platform

The platform you choose to automate will influence the tools you use. You’ll use a different set of tools to automate mobile applications, like Appium, TestComplete, Espresso, XCUITest, and Robotium, than you’ll use to automate UI tests on desktop browsers. There are also different tools for automating APIs, databases, or web applications.

Step 4: Consider programming languages and frameworks

Coding Languages

Your automation engineers must understand the different tools and frameworks they’ll use to write the script. If they are well versed in a particular language and framework, then add those options to the shortlist. 

When selecting automation engineers for a test automation project, evaluate their knowledge and expertise in test automation best practices. They should understand: 

  • Data management and database automation;
  • How to select the correct tests to automate;
  • How to identify the required level of test automation; and
  • How to use API and database automation to set up and populate scenarios for UI automation.

If the team is well versed in Gherkin style and wants to allow manual testers and product owners to use Gherkin to write out automated test cases, you must account for this in both the framework and tools you select. If the programming language of preference is Javascript, then the tools should lean toward that language. Additionally, based on the expertise of the team, you may need to consider low code tools that use automated scripts and apps versus manual code.

Step 5: Calculate costs

Budget

Set a budget for your test automation project. Account for the size of your staff, how much you’ll spend on salaries and for how long, how much you’ll spend on tools and infrastructure, and project maintenance costs. 

Then, decide whether you will pay for a test automation framework or use free, open-source tools supported by the community. There are pros and cons to each option:

  • Open-source tools: while free to use, are dependent on community support and maintenance. These tools are constantly evolving, and you have an opportunity to contribute to their improvement over time. However, without continued community support, open-source tools become outdated. 
  • Commercial tools: offer a lot of features out of the box, but they can be very pricey. Community support is not as easily accessible and tutorials and training may be included at an additional cost.

Step 6: Research and compare existing tools

Compare

Find out what tools are popularly used by automation engineers and other teams within the company. What are the developers using for unit testing? Is there an existing continuous integration pipeline where automated tests can be recorded?

Tools and frameworks can be separated by test level, so there may be different tools based on whether you are doing API, UI, Database, etc. 

Identify which tools are currently being used by your team for each of those areas and evaluate the current effectiveness of these tools. 

  • Are there any pain points? 
  • What is going well and what can be improved? 

Use these findings to determine if those tools are good candidates for use in your test automation efforts.

Step 7: Create your shortlist

Requirements

Using the scenario provided, your shortlist of tools should begin to look like this:

Tool/Framework Javascript Programming Language iFrame Compatibility Mobile Automation Cost Browser Support Community and Learning Support
Selenium WebDriver
✅
✅
✅
✅
Free
✅
✅
WebdriverIO
✅
✅
✅
works well with Appium for mobile automation
✅
Open source and free
✅
✅
Lots of community support
Cypress.io
✅
⚠
Has difficulty working with iframes
❌
⚠
Free except for the Cypress Dashboard
⚠
Chrome Family Browsers(Edge and Firefox)
✅
Lots of community support
Playwright
✅
✅
⚠
Uses device emulation to test responsive web apps in mobile web browsers
✅
⚠
Playwright does not support legacy Microsoft Edge or IE11
❌
Pretty new; not as much community support
Codecept
✅
✅
✅
works with Appium for mobile automation
✅
✅
⚠
not as much as other frameworks

Add other frameworks and comparison points as needed.

Consider whether your team is familiar with the tools and frameworks. By using familiar tools, you can achieve quicker setup and faster automation.

Using this table I would select Selenium Webdriver, WebdriverIO and Codecept to move forward with to the next step. These frameworks meet the requirements listed for the project.

Step 8: Create a Proof of Concept (POC)

Agile Management

Once you have a shortlist of frameworks, select your top three and create a Proof of Concept (POC). This POC can help you identify:

  1. How the framework is maintained;
  2. How easy it is to use;
  3. Whether it addresses your requirements; and
  4. If it addresses some of the high-priority edge cases you have, as well as different scenarios and controls in the application.

The POC helps you identify risks that may exist with the test framework and the tools you have selected. Ensure that you have a checklist of items to answer during this POC process, then decide if the tool is worth using going forward.

Key takeaways

There are many factors to consider when selecting tools and frameworks for test automation. You’ll need to be patient with this process; however, you can save time, money, and headaches in the long run by taking this strategic approach.

Remember that each tool is different; think about what you want it to solve, who will be using it and what their competencies are, and how much the tool and maintenance of your project will cost. Most importantly, do a Proof of Concept to ensure the tool is sustainable and meets the edge and important cases you are looking for.

QualityWorks provides test automation services, as well as assessments that help you evaluate the current needs of your company. We help you identify opportunities for optimization by conducting a transformation maturity assessment of your team, processes, tools, and culture. Contact us today to learn more.

About the Author

Julia Pottinger is the Head of Training and Development at QualityWorks with expertise in manual, automated, and API testing and training. She is passionate about sharing her knowledge and experience with new developers and contributes to the testing community by writing articles, delivering testing content on Test Automation University, and producing her Youtube Channel and blog. She also conducts testing boot camps for people interested in entering the field of Quality Assurance.

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What is Agile? The buzzword that’s changing the way we work https://qualityworkscg.com/what-is-agile-the-buzzword-thats-changing-the-way-we-work/ https://qualityworkscg.com/what-is-agile-the-buzzword-thats-changing-the-way-we-work/#respond Wed, 29 Sep 2021 18:06:09 +0000 https://qualityworkscg.com/?p=218345 What is Agile? Are you doing it right? How we can practice agility to create more efficient, productive and collaborative teams.

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The term “Agile” has become a buzzword within many organizations. But, what does it mean to be agile, and how can we implement agility to create more efficient, productive and collaborative teams?

By Sheyinka Harry

In my interactions with leaders across the United States, Latin America, and the Caribbean, I’ve heard statements like, “Our company is agile” and, “We need our teams to be more agile.” The term “Agile” has become a buzzword within many organizations. But, what does it mean to be agile?

According to Atlassian, agility – from a project management or software development perspective – is an iterative approach that helps teams deliver incremental value to their customers with maximum efficiency and minimal burnout. Agile transformation began as an organizational solution for software teams struggling to produce work efficiently and on time. Today, many industries, including aviation, banking, and manufacturing are recognizing Agile as a way to establish smoother workflows.

According to the 2020 Agile Adoption Statistics and the State of Agile, 71% of companies have adopted Agile, with a steady increase of usage across non-IT functions, including Finance, Human Resources, and Marketing.

The top three reasons organizations gave for adopting Agile were:

  1. The speed and flexibility required by largely unpredictable and volatile environments
  2. The need to accelerate product delivery
  3. The desire for increased team productivity

Elements of an Agile System

Agile Management

Agile is a values-driven system that prioritizes organizational structure and collaboration. The four core values of this methodology emphasize:

  1. Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  2. Working software over comprehensive documentation
  3. Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  4. Responding to change over following a plan

There are 12 principles derived from these values:

  1. Focus on customer satisfaction.
  2. Remain flexible in order to accommodate changing requirements wherever they fall.
  3. Deliver value frequently to customers. 
  4. Communicate regularly within the team and with stakeholders.
  5. Provide support for team members and trust them to do the work.
  6. Engage in face-to-face communication as much as possible to avoid misunderstanding.
  7. Measure progress through value added.
  8. Maintain a sustainable working pace to prevent burnout.
  9. Pay continuous attention to technical excellence and good design.
  10. Keep things simple to minimize wasted effort.
  11. Create self-organizing teams for better requirements, designs, and architecture.
  12. Reflect on work practices and adjust often.

Several frameworks, including Scrum, Kanban, and SAFe, can be deployed within an organization to establish agility using these values and principles. While each framework has a distinct approach, all emphasize the team and the customer — key players involved in the process of delivering value. All frameworks call for collaborative cross-functional teams to work at a sustainable pace in order to deliver quality products that meet the demands of their customers.

Why Agile?

Agile 2

The organizations I have worked with over the past few years are now reaping the benefits of embracing an agile approach to doing business, including:

  • Flexible teams that can quickly respond to changes in the marketplace and apply feedback from customers without derailing many years of planning.
  • Greater freedom and space to Fail Forward Fast. Teams are given the opportunity to fail, learn, and move forward with greater efficiency.
    Stronger relationships within the team and a greater sense of shared values and practices.
  • An effective process for identifying and resolving bottlenecks.

Doing Agile vs. Being Agile

Agile

There is a common misconception that you are all set (congrats, you’re now Agile!) once Scrum ceremonies are underway and Agile task forces are established within the organization. You may have identified an Agile framework, formed teams, and scheduled meetings, but that’s just the first step. The foundational values and principles of the Agile methodology should also be employed to meet the needs of the organization.

Take this approach:

  1. Foster authentic interactions.
  2. Reform rigid processes and simplify your tools.
  3. Instill the value of collaboration among the development team and with the customer.
  4. Create and release tangible working pieces of software or solutions that target your customer’s pain points.
  5. Create a plan that is flexible and adaptable to change.

Above all, frequently inspect how your teams are working together and how you’re delivering value to your customers. During your inspection, note where you can improve people, processes, and tools, and then put small steps in place to reach your ultimate goal. You are halfway to winning the battle if each person on your team becomes an Agile champion.

Key Takeaways

Agile is not defined by a set of ceremonies or specific development techniques. Rather, Agile is a values and principles-driven system. Organizations that apply the core tenents of the Agile methodology benefit from tighter feedback cycles, continuous improvement, and most importantly, customer satisfaction. Now that you understand what it means to be Agile, and how it can benefit your organization, you can take the steps to begin your agile transformation and bring new, exciting products to market faster. 

To learn more about this topic, visit our website or connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

About the Author

Sheyinka Harry is the Manager of Agile Transformation at QualityWorks Consulting Group. Over the last five years, she has worked with product development teams across the US, Latin America, and the Caribbean to help streamline and optimize their software delivery process and build products that their users love. She has also worked with enterprise-level teams to define how they go about supporting their delivery teams to ensure their success. Sheyinka has significant experience in the finance and e-commerce space and is passionate about helping organizations achieve their goals through agile transformation.

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Scrum Masters: 6 Questions to Get Your Agile Team in Sync https://qualityworkscg.com/scrum-masters-6-questions-to-get-your-agile-team-in-sync/ https://qualityworkscg.com/scrum-masters-6-questions-to-get-your-agile-team-in-sync/#respond Thu, 15 Jul 2021 15:02:04 +0000 https://qualityworkscg.com/?p=218298 The post Scrum Masters: 6 Questions to Get Your Agile Team in Sync appeared first on QualityWorks Consulting Group.

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Scrum Masters play a critical role in ensuring goal alignment, identifying risks, removing bottlenecks, and keeping sprint backlogs on track. Ask these often overlooked questions to set your agile team up for success.

By Sheyinka Harry

As the servant leader for an agile team, the Scrum Master does much more than facilitate meetings and remove roadblocks. Scrum Masters spend a lot of their time roaming about the room, virtual or in person, listening to discussions and challenging their teams. One of the most remarkable aspects of servant leadership is being put into a position to help your team develop and perform as highly as possible. A part of satisfying this is by leading teams to make the best decisions based on skill set, parties involved, resources, etc. This does not mean telling them what to do. It instead means asking questions during the different interactions to challenge your team’s own decisions. Challenging their decisions isn’t about undermining their expertise or knowledge, but rather ensuring they have taken the proper steps to this point of recommendation.

Discussed below are some of my favorite questions to ask as a Scrum Master.

During Backlog Grooming:

Scrum Master at Backlog grooming

1. How are we scoring effort?

It is important for Scrum Masters to remind the team of the metric (t-shirt sizes, hours/days, story points) being used for estimation of effort, as well as what is being accounted for in the score. Typical considerations when estimating effort include:

  • Developer effort;
  • Quality Assurance effort;
  • Lead time between moving parts; and
  • Third party coordination.


This ensures that everyone is on the same page. It can ultimately result in more aligned points of effort being awarded – if this is understood and agreed upon by all team members. You can also identify bottlenecks and make decisions accordingly.

During Sprint Planning:

Scrum Master during Sprint Planning

2. Do we have all the information needed to get these tickets completed?

Before we start a ticket or even pull it into a Sprint, we always want to ensure that the team has all the information they’ll need to get done. This removes the possibility of starting a task with a blocker. It is also important to ensure the team has a clear understanding of the “what” they are about to solve.

Having what you need is determined by looking at the following:

  • Clear acceptance criteria that can guide the implementation by the developers and the subsequent validations by the QA.
  • Supporting documents (designs, schemas, instructions, “wording”) are made available before it is slated to be actioned. Having these details ultimately ensures that a story/product backlog item is Ready.

3. How will we complete the Sprint Backlog?

Going into Sprint Planning, Scrum Masters usually facilitate the team discussions about what the Sprint Goal will be and ensures that the team looks at the priority Product Backlog items to be tackled to achieve it. In previous Backlog Grooming sessions, the what of these priority items would have been clarified by the Product Owner and agreed upon as understood by the team, or sent back for further clarification. This is great, but simply knowing what to do isn’t enough. The team now needs to have a more detailed discussion around how they’re actually going to satisfy the acceptance criteria of the priority items. This step is often missed by teams, which inadvertently causes issues in execution. Skipping this step often results in:

  • Unaccounted for pieces of the technical equation;
  • Testers not knowing how to test the implementation;
  • Too much time spent going down the rabbit hole; and
  • Overcommitment of tickets.

Doing a dissection of the tentative Sprint Backlog items prompts the team to take the following into account:

  • What frontend considerations do we need to take into account?
  • What backend considerations do we need to take into account?
  • What QA considerations do we need to take into account?

Basically, what are the actual needs for this piece of work? Determining this provides insight into not only the work that will go into satisfying the acceptance criteria, but also who will be needed to get the Sprint Backlog item to the finish line.

4. What can we reasonably accomplish during this Sprint?

When looking at the tentative Sprint Backlog post team assignment and sub-tasking, a decision needs to be made regarding whether or not the team can actually accomplish everything. We now need to put things into perspective by looking at factors such as the average velocity and the actual availability of team members. With availability, consideration must be given to any upcoming time off, external meetings, and outside commitments.

Knowing how much time you need to allocate elsewhere lets team members know just how many hours or days they should dedicate to getting work done in the Sprint. This refined view of actual availability can then be applied to determining the team’s joint capacity. As a Scrum Master, I love emphasizing joint capacity with my teams, as we often fall into the problem of developers taking on a load of tickets to complete without sufficient QA resources available to get them done and ready for demo. What needs to happen is this: The developers look at what they can get done, and the QAs also examine if the workload is feasible. This reinforces the importance of getting a story done within the Sprint it was started. This takes joint effort from the team. Oftentimes, there are reviews necessary outside the actual testing and validation of the implementation, so we want to look at the full workflow to get items completed rather than look at them disjointedly by role. By doing this, what do we know we’ll get done without a shadow of a doubt? Anything else can be noted as stretch goals.

During Daily Standup:

Scrum Master at Daily Standup

5. Is there any new knowledge that we need to take into account?

As we work, we uncover new things that lead to the evolution of the Product Backlog and the actual product. These can take the form of a new direction based on insights from a technical Spike, a new design approach, or missing requirements needed to complete the user flow. Whatever the case, any new stories uncovered out of what is currently being worked on need to be created. We want to ensure that we are filling any gaps in our execution, and that these details are captured in the Backlog ahead of our Grooming and Planning sessions.

6. Are there any risks to the work we committed to?

As the team works on getting their tasks done, there may be unforeseen circumstances that take their attention away from this goal. As time progresses, it is important for Scrum Masters to do a temperature check to see if things are still on track. Can we still get everything done by the end of the Sprint? If the answer is no, there will need to be follow-up discussions with the aim of either Resolving, Owning, Accepting, or Mitigating these risks. If nothing can be done to remove the risk and get back on track, a discussion around a possible shift in priority can be made.

For my teams, these checks are done at the mid-Sprint, T-2 and T-1 days before Sprint Review. At these points, based on the risk and how much time is needed to complete the task as opposed to time left in the Sprint, the team member(s) are asked to shift their focus to helping the rest of the team get achievable tickets completed.

Pushing your team to be great and make the best decisions is no easy task. However, it can become less complicated when you ask them the right questions. Once you start asking these questions, you will see the true effectiveness of your team and the power of teamwork. Ask them enough times, and I guarantee you’ll see a change in their thought process and execution.

To learn more about this topic, visit our website or connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.

About the Author

Sheyinka is an Advanced Certified Scrum Master and Senior Agile Consultant at QualityWorks Consulting Group. Over the last few years, she has worked with product development teams across the US, Latin America, and the Caribbean to help streamline and optimize their software delivery process and build products their users love. She has significant experience in the finance and e-commerce space and is passionate about helping organizations achieve their goals through agile transformation.

Check out part 1 of the Agile Questions series for Six Powerful Questions Every Agile Team Member Should Ask.

Check out part 2 of the Agile Questions series for Stakeholders: Three Powerful Agile Questions You Should Be Asking

Check out part 3 of the Agile Questions series for Powerful Agile Questions Every Product Owner Should Be Asking

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Powerful Agile Questions Every Product Owner Should be Asking https://qualityworkscg.com/powerful-agile-questions-every-product-owner-should-be-asking/ https://qualityworkscg.com/powerful-agile-questions-every-product-owner-should-be-asking/#respond Fri, 11 Jun 2021 11:19:18 +0000 https://qualityworkscg.com/?p=218267 The post Powerful Agile Questions Every Product Owner Should be Asking appeared first on QualityWorks Consulting Group.

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By Sheyinka Harry

As the liaison between the business/customer and the team, the Product Owner is innately responsible for creating the Product Vision and Mission, as well as the resulting Product Backlog. When creating these artifacts, Product Owners spend a great portion of their time in meetings with:

  • The stakeholders to capture their needs;
  • The Team to ensure the Product Backlog items are clear and understood; and
  • The actual customers to validate the correct thing is being developed.

Because of these meetings, many would consider this role to be the most demanding on the Agile Team, and they may very well be correct. There is a great deal riding on the ability of the Product Owner to clearly articulate the needs of the customers, including the ability to provide guidance to the Delivery Team. Asking questions is therefore definitely par for the course, given the degree of elicitation required in these interactions. There are commonplace questions that need to be asked, such as:

  • Is my backlog clear?
  • What should we work on next?

Then there are the not-so-commonplace – but equally important – questions that often get overlooked. These questions go a long way in ensuring that the right thing is both being built and being built right. Discussed below are some powerful questions Product Owners should be asking in their interactions with their stakeholders, customers, and teams.

To the Stakeholders:

Stakeholders

1. What opportunity is this product creating?

Taking a look at the opportunity being created is a great step toward defining the Product Vision Statement. While we may already know the target audience we wish to serve and the product we want to put on the market for them, we may not know which of their needs we are solving. This creates a potential problem, i.e., resources are wasted creating products or services that are not needed. Instead, time could have been spent solving actual pain points and the needs of customers to increase satisfaction and, ultimately, business revenue. How do we do this? We want to zone in on what the actual customer’s needs are, and curate features or functions within the proposed product or service that can solve this existing issue or exploit an opportunity. Yes, we want to be first to market and be quick with innovative solutions, but we need to ensure they are serving a purpose.

2. Where does this new need fall in the grand scheme of things?

We have all had experiences with stakeholders bringing new requests to the team for implementation. Whether these requests are communicated during the Sprint review/ Demo session, or they come in as ad hoc requests during the Sprint, the question still remains, “Where does this new request fall?”. Even when saying “Yes” to a request, it does not mean you can start working on it right away; all requests need to have an associated priority.

When in mid-Sprint, getting a new request reduces the previously allocated and committed time and effort of team members. Therefore, there needs to be a conversation to review the current commitments of the team, and a decision made around what trade offs will be made based on the priority of this new addition. The most common trade off is removing an item of equal or possibly greater effort from the Sprint Backlog.

If this request is made during the Sprint Review, a conversation can be initiated either immediately or in a follow up to discuss where this falls in relation to the planned work for the next Sprint. Is this request of greater importance than the predetermined next steps? Can it wait until a few Sprints down the road?

Knowing the “why” for a piece of work is also beneficial when deciding when or even IF it is implemented. Zeroing in on whether this request is coming from the results of market research, new trends in data, or something that a stakeholder or team member thought about overnight helps with acceptance and prioritization.

To the Team:

Teamwork

1. If our stakeholders were in the room with us, what would they say about this sprint?

This could be a great mid-Sprint or Retrospective check-in for your teams. Whatever the occurrence, asking this question prompts the team to wear a different hat and do an assessment of how well they’re working as a team to meet the Sprint Goal, as well as the quality of what they’re producing. In a Retrospective, this can lead to a discussion around action items for future Sprints to mitigate any unfavorable views that the team perceives may come from stakeholders.

2. How can I help you deliver more value?

Even though the Product Owner doesn’t build the features, the team depends on your ability to maximize the value of the product and the work of the Development Team. There is no better way to help the team deliver more value than asking what they need from you to do so. Doing this will ensure you are providing them with exactly what they need, instead of what you think they need.

3. Does my prioritization help you stay focused?

Product owners have the tricky task of creating synergy in the team through the organization of the Backlog. Having priorities that cause major task switching can create strain on the team. Asking if the current prioritization method helps the team stay focused opens the door for the team to talk about any conflicting priorities you may not know about.

4. Are you clear on why the Backlog is prioritized this way?

The Curse of Knowledge is a bias that most Product Owners unknowingly possess. With this bias, they assume that others have the background information to understand their actions and often neglect to inform the team why they’ve made certain priority choices. On the occasions where they express the why, the reasoning doesn’t always make sense to team members. Having the team clear on the reason for the prioritization goes a long way in getting their buy-in to do the work.

5. Do you have any competing priorities that may keep you away from this work?

Although the Scrum Guide emphasizes the need for a dedicated team, the reality is that it is not always possible. It is therefore crucial to the success of the Sprint and the overall project that any competing priorities be communicated promptly. Having this discussion early with the team can help Product Owners to scope future Sprints and adjust the Product roadmap. With this information, it becomes easier for POs to set expectations with stakeholders and customers, as they can preempt any delays based on the availability of team members.

6. What risks do we face in delivering this product?

The importance of identifying risks early cannot be emphasized enough. Issues that derail projects often live as risks at the beginning of the project. Think back to a time you faced a disaster, then heard someone loudly say, “I knew that was going to happen!” Wouldn’t it have been better to have spoken about it at the beginning? Noting any risks allows Product Owners to have discussions with stakeholders on how to handle them. During these sessions, the identified risks can be:

  • Resolved: The issue has been addressed and no longer exists.
  • Owned: A member of the group has agreed to either resolve the issue outside of the meeting or oversee its resolution.
  • Accepted: The risk cannot be resolved, so it has been discussed, and the team understands and accepts it for what it is.
  • Mitigated: The team is moving to formulate a plan to eradicate the risk.

To Customers:

Does the product solve your problem?

1. Does this product solve your problem?

As Sam Walton, founder of the popular retailers Walmart and Sam’s Club, said, “There is only one boss; the customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.” With this thought in mind, it is of utmost importance for any customer needs to actually be addressed. The main prerogative should be doing the work needed to get their pain points addressed, and doing this check validates if the product is moving in the right direction.

As you can see, there’s more to be considered when doing the work of a Product Owner. Yes, the North Star we all work toward is correctly communicating the needs of the customer and stakeholders to the team, and providing necessary guidance to get the work done. Getting to that end goal, however, requires deep questioning of all parties involved to ensure that the right thing is being done right. Having these questions in your repertoire works to ensure that all aspects of the process are being considered, and that as that liaison you are empowering your teams to create solutions that actually solve your customers’ problems.

To learn more about this topic, visit our website or connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.

Check out part 1 of the Agile Questions series for Six Powerful Questions Every Agile Team Member Should Ask.

Check out part 2 of the Agile Questions series for Stakeholders: Three Powerful Agile Questions You Should Be Asking

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How to Prepare Your QA Team for Test Automation https://qualityworkscg.com/how-to-prepare-structure-your-qa-team-for-test-automation/ https://qualityworkscg.com/how-to-prepare-structure-your-qa-team-for-test-automation/#respond Thu, 06 May 2021 21:08:43 +0000 https://qualityworkscg.com/?p=218248 The post How to Prepare Your QA Team for Test Automation appeared first on QualityWorks Consulting Group.

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By Julia Pottinger

The QA team is responsible for creating and maintaining the test automation scripts that have been written. Even before that is done, they need to identify appropriate scenarios that should be written, create the test automation strategy, and essentially guide and influence whether or not the expected ROI on test automation is achieved. This is a lot of responsibility, and it could be the determining factor in whether time is wasted or saved. As a result, choosing the members of that QA team and structuring it correctly is very important. In structuring your QA team for test automation there are four key things to do.

Determine the Goal of Test Automation and Share the Strategy with Team

Determine the Goal of Test Automation and Share the Strategy with Team

A test automation strategy defines the frameworks you’re going to use to get reusable, automated scripts, as well as how you’re going to create and maintain those scripts. You need to do this in order to get a return on your investment. After creating your test automation strategy, you and your team should be able to establish what you’re going to automate, how you’ll go about automating it, who will be doing the automation, when the automation will be done, and what environments will be used. 

Defining the goal is one of the first things you should do when creating a test automation strategy. The goal of test automation is very important; it will help guide the different sections of the test strategy. You should therefore ask the following questions: Do you want to deliver quality software faster? Do you want your automated test to be done in the same sprint that your developers are creating features, and adding automated tests will reduce the time your test spends doing manual regression – therefore leaving them with more time to automate those new features in the sprint and saving time while maintaining quality? Do you want to have a continuous integration or continuous delivery system where, once your developer creates a build, it triggers tests that check for certain features to ensure they are not broken and the quality of the application is still where you need it to be? Whatever the goal, it needs to be defined, as this will help you choose the team, tools, and techniques you use going forward.

When exploring your test automation strategy, you need to evaluate if the application is automatable, the application has the needed locators, certain functionalities are solidified, or whether the application is rapidly changing and how long the project is. What obstacles are there to having effective test automation, and how can you remove or mitigate against them?

Identify Team Roles and Responsibilities

Identify Team Roles and Responsibilities

The test automation team should be responsible for creating the test strategy, identifying what to automate, automating the tests, maintaining them, and possibly putting them into a CI/CD system. Choosing the right team can be the difference between success and failure. 

In selecting your test automation team, you should have a mix of junior and senior members. The senior members of the team should be experienced in the language and framework you have selected and be able to create test automation frameworks independently. They should be well versed in test automation best practices, such as data management, selecting the correct tests to automate, identifying the level of test automation to be done, and using API and database automation to set up and populate scenarios for UI automation. The junior members of your team will learn from the senior members, but they should also know the language and be familiar with creating test automation scripts. Junior engineers are great for helping to maintain the test automation project; they will also learn a great deal that will in time help them develop into strong senior engineers. This mix will allow for all members of your team to learn and grow, while having a great test automation project.

One of the senior persons on your team should be a team leader. This person ideally will operate as the manager of the project by guiding scope, advocating for the members of the team, and helping to make decisions on priority and the time to complete tasks. Preferably, this person should be very knowledgeable about the following: test automation, using reusable functions, leveraging page objects, continuous integration, and capable of training and upskilling other members of the team.

As you decide the roles and responsibilities of your team, you will also need to determine the size of the team. This should be a good balance between your testers and developers. For 2-3 developers, I generally recommend having at least 1 manual tester and 1 test automation engineer, respectively. For a test automation project, especially one with a wide scope, you can begin by increasing the number of members on your team. It will take time and effort to create the strategy, set up the framework, select tests to automate, and maintain those tests. I strongly advocate having a balanced QA to dev ratio because maintaining that balance helps to produce higher-quality software.

Training Time

Training Time

It is very important for all members of the team to be properly trained, as well as aware and confident in their role on the team. Training manual testers to start writing test automation code is a process. They will first need to know an object-oriented programming language, such as Python, Javascript, or Java, along with how to find locators and use the specific test automation framework in which their code for the project will be written. Test automation frameworks differ per programming language, and each has unique areas that your team will need to be trained on. In addition to learning how to write test automation scripts in a particular language and framework, your team must learn how to ensure the scripts they are creating are maintainable and reusable. There are techniques (such as page object patterns and creating atomic tests) that your team must learn and apply to the test automation project. This all takes time. You don’t want to rush your team, as this can adversely affect your test automation efforts. You should also ensure they are properly trained before the project starts; otherwise, you will need to enlist your senior engineer to spend time teaching a programming language and a test automation framework to the test automation team.

Provide Support

Provide Support

Test automation is a team effort. In order for it to be effective and provide a great return on investment, the test automation team must be supported. When creating scripts, the test automation team will need to find locators on the application in order to carry out UI automation. The development team can support this by having updated and easy-to-use IDs and classes that makes the application easier to automate. They can also create and maintain unit tests and help to build out any pipelines that may be needed. The product team can support the test automation efforts by including test automation in the definition of done for team stories and estimating tasks with test automation in mind. The team needs to have a mindset to support the test automation team; otherwise, it will be an uphill battle and more difficult for them to properly create, execute, and maintain the test automation project. 

Support is needed from all levels; developers and the product team are not the only ones who can support the test automation team. Managers and other stakeholders can also offer support by allowing the team certain freedom in choosing (rather than dictating) tools that are right for the job. Managers can ensure the team size is correct, and that they have adequate time to complete the test automation tasks. Managers and other stakeholders can support the team by setting realistic expectations for test automation metrics. For example, having 100% of all tests automated or having test automation both set up and completed in two weeks is unrealistic, and it will not help the team produce the best quality and most effective scripts.

Overall, in preparing your team for test automation, you should have a solid strategy they understand, specific roles and responsibilities, and a mixture of junior and senior engineers who have been properly trained and are supported by management and their team.

About the Author

Julia is the Training and Development Manager at QualityWorks with expertise in manual, automated, and API testing and training. She is passionate about sharing her knowledge and experience and contributes to the testing community through writing articles, and delivering testing content on Test Automation University as well as her Youtube Channel and blog. She also conducts testing Bootcamps for persons interested in entering the field of QA.


Looking for ways to accelerate your testing process with automation? Reach out to our testing team at www.qualityworkscg.com

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Stakeholders: Three Powerful Agile Questions You Should be Asking https://qualityworkscg.com/stakeholders-three-powerful-agile-questions-you-should-be-asking/ https://qualityworkscg.com/stakeholders-three-powerful-agile-questions-you-should-be-asking/#respond Thu, 29 Apr 2021 18:21:53 +0000 https://qualityworkscg.com/?p=218234 The post Stakeholders: Three Powerful Agile Questions You Should be Asking appeared first on QualityWorks Consulting Group.

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By Sheyinka Harry

As stakeholders, we are sometimes so focused on pushing our teams to get the product out that we lose sight of the full scope of the role we play in the product delivery process. Being a stakeholder on a project isn’t just about making new product backlog requests or attending the demos and giving feedback to the teams. Operating in this role is also heavily about asking questions to ensure the teams we lead are doing their best work and have what they need.

What Joan Cheverie said in her article rings true. Asking good questions with the aim of honest information gathering and collaboration is good practice for leaders and managers. By asking questions, project stakeholders help to foster an environment where teams feel comfortable discussing the many issues that affect both the product and their performance. This, in turn, creates a foundation for deepened levels of trust, increased morale and innovation, and enhanced productivity.

To be even better stakeholders, there are three questions discussed below that you should be asking your teams throughout your projects.

1. How can we get the work done more efficiently?

How can we get the work done more efficiently?

Efficiency looks at the ratio of useful work completed by the team in relation to the total work to be done to reach that end goal. Taking it a step further, efficiency is the extent to which time is well used by the team for an intended task. 

Stakeholders can work with teams to ensure useful work is ever-present at the forefront of minds by setting aside time and making the effort to prioritize the work in the Product Backlog. Prioritization is a joint effort between the Product Owner (PO) and the stakeholders; it zones in on what must be done now, as compared to what needs to be done later. In these prioritization sessions, the PO shares the perspectives of the team to help inform the decisions of the stakeholders as they deliberate on what should be developed next. Prioritization ultimately results in deliverables that satisfy the requirements of the customer — with the objective of delivering the maximum business value in the least amount of time.

Aside from ranking the backlog items, efficiency can also be achieved by making sure teams are able to maximize their productivity with minimum wasted effort. The end game is to lower costs while still producing quality work that the customers need. In doing this, it must be ensured that the team is working at a sustainable pace to reduce the occurrence of burnout. A great way to have an efficient team is to ask them what they need to remain focused on the tasks at hand. Oftentimes, the adjustment needed may mean revising current processes for greater throughput. Making these adjustments early will see huge cost reductions in the long run, resulting in issues being avoided and the team maximizing their efforts from the start.

2. How can we get the work done faster?

How can we get the work done faster?

Stakeholders want their teams to be able to accomplish their tasks quickly. No one wants to look at a product backlog and see that the tickets aren’t moving across the swimlanes at a rapid pace. Worse yet is going to demos and hearing over and over again that the work committed to wasn’t completed. The comment “We aren’t working fast enough” is often brought on by the need to beat competitors, and when framed as a bad remark, it can cause resentment and frustration from the teams. If framed as a question, however, stakeholders have a better chance of discovering the root and addressing the underlying cause of the perceived slow pace. 

Getting things done faster isn’t solely about beating the competitors to market. We want teams that release quickly overall, because teams that release the fastest learn the most. The Scrum philosophy encourages teams to release early and often since it creates a tight feedback loop between them and the users. With this tighter loop, the software better conforms to the users’ needs, thus increasing its value to customers, encouraging higher quality software, and ensuring cost-effectiveness. 

3. Can we make this experience simpler?

Can we make this experience simpler?

Inquiring about simplicity prompts the delivery team to take a step back and examine their work once again with fresh eyes. Simplifying the experience can achieve two things: 

  1. It ensures the problem being solved is understood by the team. You can’t attempt to simplify a solution without fully understanding what the end goal is.
  2. It ensures that what is being developed is practical and useful. Again, simplicity focuses on the things needed and forgoes parts of the solution that are frivolous. 

Remember, simple things are easier to achieve than complicated ones. We want to encourage our teams to focus on the simple way to get the customer what they want, and then later add the complicated bits/bells and whistles to enhance the product. It is also important to ensure that shortcuts aren’t being taken while assessing the possibility of making the experience simpler. After all, shortcuts can cause complex experiences.

It really is a joint effort to get quality products out. In pushing our teams to be better, we must make the necessary changes in our execution as stakeholders to ensure we are playing our parts as well. The biggest change we can make is to ask our teams questions that will allow them to become better. We need to listen carefully to the responses, so we can put things in place to have our teams moving quickly, efficiently, and doing the simple things to satisfy our customers’ needs. Ask these questions, and in no time you’ll see a spike in innovation, morale, and productivity!

Check out part 1 of the Agile Questions series for Six Powerful Questions Every Agile Team Member Should Ask.

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Faces of QualityWorks – Brittany Stewart https://qualityworkscg.com/faces-of-qualityworks-brittany-stewart/ https://qualityworkscg.com/faces-of-qualityworks-brittany-stewart/#respond Tue, 27 Apr 2021 20:27:01 +0000 https://qualityworkscg.com/?p=218230 The post Faces of QualityWorks – Brittany Stewart appeared first on QualityWorks Consulting Group.

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Faces of QualityWorks - Brittany Stewart

Brittany Stewart is a Senior QA Consultant at QualityWorks. She has successfully led and participated in testing projects that span across multiple industries, helping organizations improve and execute test strategies for both web and mobile applications. Brittany is also a proud wife and a boy mom. Describing herself as a Jane of all trades, she manages to balance being a graphics designer, interior designer, wife, and mother with her role as Senior QA Consultant.

 

How long have you been at QualityWorks?

I have been with QualityWorks for over 4 years. I started as a Graphic Designer with the company rebranding back in 2015-2016. I later transitioned to Executive Administrative Assistant to our CEO. Soon after I was listed as Company Secretary and then moved into the Tech world in 2017. I have been doing a mixture of all these roles since then. 

 

What are your roles at QualityWorks? 

At QualityWorks, I play the role of Senior QA Consultant, helping our clients create and maintain high quality software and QA processes. Additionally, I work as Graphic Designer for our internal projects and Interior Designer for our office space.  I’m also the Company Secretary, so I ensure all things on the business end of QualityWorks are taken care of locally. 

 

What are you most passionate about?

I am a creative at heart. I’m passionate about functional design. I love to see websites and applications looking great but also accounting for the user experience in the process. Additionally, in my physical spaces at home and at work, I’m always trying to find ways to improve on space efficiency and overall flow

 

What is one thing most people don’t know about you?

I entered the Miss Teen Jamaica Pageant when I was about 16 years old and did an interview with a lady via podcast in Atlanta. During the interview, she asked about my aspirations, and I remember telling her that my biggest dream was to have my logos and designs on a billboard.  Since then I’ve designed graphics that have reached much further than just a billboard. 

 

What is one thing you can’t live without?

My Journal. It’s my closest companion outside of my family and close friends. I carry it wherever I go so I can note how I’m feeling and any experiences I have. I hope to publish them as a book/biography later on in my life as part of my legacy.

 

Describe yourself in 3 words.

Creative, ambitious, kind.

 

What is your favorite quote?

I have many favorite quotes, but my most favorite is, “If you are going to do something, do it well or not at all” – My mom, Deborah Chattersingh. 

 

Check out Brittany’s Mind Mapping article on our blog!  

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The Hire Diverse Testers Initiative https://qualityworkscg.com/the-hire-diverse-testers-initiative/ https://qualityworkscg.com/the-hire-diverse-testers-initiative/#respond Fri, 09 Apr 2021 16:55:58 +0000 https://qualityworkscg.com/?p=218120 The post The Hire Diverse Testers Initiative appeared first on QualityWorks Consulting Group.

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Bringing Highly Qualified, Trained Experts From Varied Backgrounds 

to the Forefront of Quality Assurance

 

The software testing industry exudes potential on all fronts. There is more promise for moving up in the field than in almost any other industry. The average starting salary for a Quality Assurance Tester is $40,000 – $60,000 per year. Software testing is one of the most in-demand jobs in the tech market – with over 9,000 unfulfilled jobs in the US alone in 2020. The learning curve associated with breaking into quality assurance is very low: 24% of testers became testers “by accident,” and 65% of testers learned by “just doing it.” Plus, this market won’t be going away anytime soon.

 

Simultaneously, as of 2020, Black families have a median household income of just over $41,000, while white families have a median household income of almost twice that.

 

While the tech industry has been boasting about increasing diversity in the field since 1990, there has been little reported change. Even the biggest companies, with millions of eyes watching and waiting for improvement, are doing little to actually achieve their diversity promises. A Wired survey estimated the combined Black, Hispanic, and Indigenous population at 5% for Silicon Valley firms. The share of Black technical workers at Apple is unchanged at 6%, less than half of the African Americans’ 13% share of the US population. 

 

Big tech’s excuse? “There just aren’t enough qualified people of color to hire.”

 

While the wage gap rages on, there are thousands of quality assurance jobs with higher earnings waiting to be filled. At the crux of this disparity, the public is calling upon big tech companies to expand diversity while they scapegoat lack of training. 


The solution to this ironic conundrum? Provide training and mentorship to a pool of diverse professionals seeking to transition into tech and smother big tech’s biggest gripe. 

 

The year 2020, a challenging year for all, caused unemployment rates to skyrocket as high as 16% and inspired thousands to reevaluate their career choices and shift their focus. The QualityWorks Consulting Group seized the opportunity to combat this issue by creating the Hire Diverse Testers Initiative, a free six-week training program to learn in-demand testing skills for a new career in tech. Priority was given to BIPOC applicants. 

  1. https://theqalead.com/topics/2020-software-testing-trends-qa-technologies-data-statistics/
  2. Szapiro, Aron (October 6, 2020). “Can Baby Bonds Shrink the Racial Wealth Gap?”. Morningstar.com. Retrieved October 8, 2020.
  3. https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2020/unemployment-rate-16-point-1-percent-in-massachusetts-4-point-5-percent-in-utah-in-july-2020.htm#:~:text=U.S.%20unemployment%20rate%3A%2010.2%25%20in%20July%202020

Through the first training program, the Hire Diverse Testers project has built a pool of talented testing professionals with a makeup of over 80% Black, 75% women, and 12% Latinx. 

 

So far, it’s working. Earlier this year, the program successfully placed four testers into testing positions just two months after graduation. The four graduates who were hired by Criteria Corp and Equinox Media will continue mentorship with the QualityWorks team throughout their endeavors.

 

The Hire Diverse Testers Initiative is calling upon more companies to fill software testing roles with qualified BIPOC candidates. 

 

To make the search even easier, we would like to highlight a few graduates for consideration.

MEET THE TESTERS

Nicole

Background

Nicole is from New York and started out her professional career in the communications industry, transitioning from Marketing and PR to writing to teaching. In 2013, she got her Master’s Degree in Special Education and has been teaching Special Education in high school for more than 11 years. 

 

Transition Into Tech

“As a Special Education Teacher, my main job was to make the curriculum accessible to students who have learning disabilities. I used technology every day to make this possible.” – Nicole

 

Nicole completed a coding Bootcamp a year ago and discovered that her introduction to tech through teaching complemented her QualityWorks training quite well. She has built a keen understanding of web development throughout the cycle. She found testing to be very similar to her current role as a Clinical Special Education teacher, often finding herself analyzing data to identify students’ difficulties and coming up with solutions for that data. She found parallels in searching for bugs: when something was not working, she naturally analyzed the issue and came up with the best solution. 

 

She is excited to see where her newfound knowledge takes her and doesn’t feel confined to Educational Technology or testing in and of itself, eager to bring all of her experience to the table: “I’m hoping that my new skills make me a well-rounded developer and tester so that I’m able to utilize all my skills in whatever job I do.”

 

Brendan

Background

Brendan is from Kansas City and moved to San Diego to attend his dream school. He worked in various service industry jobs to establish residency and support himself through his education as a mechanical engineer. However, he soon realized that was not the path he wanted to pursue, because he knew he was a nerd and wanted to incorporate his nerdy passions into his career. 

 

Transition Into Tech

He knew he liked the computer and design aspects of robotics, so he taught himself SQL when he was on hiatus from school working to afford tuition. With that basic language knowledge, he then started picking up other programming languages and software. 

 

He came across the Hire Diverse Testers Initiative via a Facebook ad, did some research, and discovered that QualityWorks was Black-owned. From there he was simply hooked. 

 

The program has served as a superb jumping-off point for Brendan: “I am looking forward to getting into the tech industry and finding my niche, whether that’s inequality analytics or software. I feel like once you get in, you can branch-off in any or many directions.”

 

Cindy

Background

Cindy is from the Caribbean and migrated to New York when in grade school. She has been living in Washington, D.C. since her family moved there in the early 2000s. Cindy began her professional career in Telecommunications: understanding projects, coordinating projects and designing the infrastructure of the actual circuits. When she transitioned into IT, her company asked her to move, but she did not want to uproot her ties in Washington, so she declined and searched for a new opportunity. She bounced into a real estate position at a small company, but lost that position in May of 2020 because the company gravely suffered as a result of the pandemic.

 

Transition Into Tech

When news of the QualityWorks Bootcamp fell into her lap, she jumped at the opportunity to learn a different aspect of technology. To her, testing is all about attention to detail, a muscle she is familiar with throughout her Project Management career. 

 

While testing differs somewhat from Cindy’s experience, she brings all of herself to the table and understands what it takes to be a successful tech professional in any position: “You have to bring your willingness to learn. Whether it’s testing or any other field, you have to be a good team player and bring a good attitude, integrity, and a passion to learn.” 

 

Above all, Cindy is most dedicated to lifting others up and amplifying the voices of the voiceless. For almost 40 weeks now, she’s been volunteering, providing food and toiletries to people in need. “We have to put ourselves in other people’s shoes… What I am really passionate about really is, in a nutshell, promoting the wellbeing of others; I love volunteering and engaging with those who are generally marginalized.”

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