Assembly line

At some point, it may become clear that your organization’s testing process needs an overhaul. Maybe your goals or risks have changed, or you haven’t evaluated new tools or automation in a while, or you just think your testing could be better.

Updating your testing process will entail new workflows, strategies, tools and methodologies to support the overall goals of your testing.

This may seem daunting, but there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. Here is a five-step process to help anyone establish a new testing process.

Step 1: Research existing processes, tools and methodologies

The major mistake people make when reinventing a testing process is they think they have to immediately start introducing new workflows right from day one. Don’t fall into this trap!

Recognize that there may be existing processes already working well for the team. There is no use in implementing changes without first understanding the needs and goals of the project, team and end-users. The worst thing you could do is change something that is already working.

Research all the processes, tools, methodologies the team is already using. Then, take the time to learn about the product and end-users. This helps to build a better picture of the overall existing testing process.

Step 2: Interview team members

Instead of making assumptions about what would be beneficial for the team, go right to the source. Interview various team members to figure out three things:

  1. What do they like about the existing process?
  2. What are the challenges in the current process?
  3. How do they think these challenges can be fixed?

Conducting these one-on-one interviews helps uncover the exact details about what is working and what’s not, and it has the added benefit of empowering the team and making them feel included in your decision-making process. You are also figuring out solutions for problems from them, instead of having to do all the work. It is a win-win situation.

Step 3: Do a gap analysis

After gathering information, you have to start analyzing the gaps in the process. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What are the top things that are already working for the team?
  • What are the major obstacles and pain points for the team?
  • What are the top three things you could change first that would deliver immediate benefits?
  • What is the timeline to implement these changes?

The answers to these questions will help develop a game plan for implementing new changes and improving existing processes.

Step 4: Implement new changes iteratively and get feedback

Once you have a game plan, start implementing changes iteratively, every sprint. For example, if there are five new action items you have identified that would help the team, start by applying two of them in the first sprint. Afterward, collect feedback about how the new processes have worked for the team and what needs to be changed. In the next sprint, make slight changes to the processes you have introduced, then collect feedback again. In the third sprint, introduce a couple more new changes, and repeat the steps.

This iterative cycle of implementing new changes and getting feedback helps the team get adjusted to the process without becoming overwhelmed.

Step 5: Make results visible

There is no use implementing new processes if you do not know whether they are beneficial. You should measure the results of your changes and make these results visible to the entire team. Monitor and publish team progress on wiki pages, dashboards or whiteboards, so team members can view the outcomes instantly.

This level of visibility and transparency lets the team know how the new processes impact the project and make the entire team take ownership of their work.

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About the Author

Raj Subrameyer is an international keynote speaker, writer and tech career coach with a rich technical background. In his blog, rajsubra.com/blog/, he posts inspirational news, resources, and updates to help his readers lead a better life.

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