My curiosity to listen to all those stories makes me attend or speak at a testing conference in India. An year witnesses a couple of conferences and this leaves me craving for more stories. I have been fortunate enough to meet at least one new tester every 2 weekends. Most of them are the one's who have came across my blog and expressed interest to meet me.
Samana ( name changed ) is a tester who works for a company whose product focus is health care. While the development team is in Chicago, testing happens offshore in their Bengalooru ( earlier Bangalore ) office.
Here are some of the points that I felt important and captured from the story I heard from her -
1. The development team from Chicago sends an e-mail seeking/conveying an important information at mid-night India time, where testers in India are catching bed bugs. The time Indian testers come back and look into the e-mail, the developers in Chicago run a status in their IM , "We sleep too". Once the manager in India or US realizes the importance of the information, they setup a teleconference, usually at mid night India time. All this results in a delay of information for the tester and hence delays the progress of testing and the project.
2. "It works for me" - A statement that tests a tester, if conveyed by a developer, who is available locally, is safer than receiving it as an e-mail from a developer in Chicago. Samana in Bengalooru, claimed to receive such e-mails pretty often from developers in Chicago and which takes her a lot of e-mail interactions or a couple of teleconferences. The manager then takes a decision and conveys "We have spent a lot of time on this, lets find more bugs instead".
3. Information that the testers in Bengalooru feel important are put at a low priority by the team in Chicago and vice-versa happens too.
As a consulting tester, if I were consulting such an organization facing similar issues who intend to smoothen things, here is my answer to the client : [ if he happens to look at this post ] ( assuming whatever Samana told is happening in the company )
- I infer from what I have heard that a lot of time is being spent by testers seeking information than on testing, hence I would think of an idea of having a video conference with the entire team on both ends of the world. Before the video conference, each tester and developer will be asked to prepare a list of questions they might want to ask anyone in the conference. If the developers and testers show interest in the first video conference session, more such sessions can be held. It is very important for a tester or a developer to know the questions that their co-workers have. The video sessions are recorded and are viewed offline too, by both ends.
- If a tester or developer asks an important question that should have been asked earlier for the benefit of the project, it is an alarm that there might be more important questions to ask. I generally recommend testers to use "cidtestdsfdpotcrusspicstmplfdsf
scura" to ask questions. "cidtestdsfdpotcrusspicstmplfdsf scura" is James Bach and Michael Bolton's mnemonic to remember 36 important heuristics that helps a tester to ask questions, think of test ideas and remember to test those things that matter the most to the customer. If you want to know more about them, I recommend this screen saver ( because I developed it and I agree it hangs on some PC's) which claims to help testers remember and apply heuristics those heuristics. For those who fear to run the screen saver there is www.satisfice.com/rst.pdf
- It is very important as a tester to generate more time to test by avoiding traps and to provide quality related information to help management take informed decisions. Thinking of cost v/s value is equally important. On finding a blocking issue, I would continue to explore the program and not just wait for a fix. Currently, I observe that when a tester in India finds a blocking issue at around 12 PM IST, he waits for the fix after sending an e-mail to the development team stationed at North America. The developers to get back to work, read the e-mail, get convinced to fix the issue and providing a fix takes some time. The tester spends at least one and a half days waiting for the fix. As a tester who has seen the power of exploration, I would spend my time learning other areas of the program that appears to work and might be worth learning, exploring and testing. Other testers who get inspired by me doing exploratory work despite having found a blocking issue, are welcome to join me to test. Pair testing is a bonus!
- All testers and developers are encouraged to put questions and replies to them, in a forum that is accessible by all team members, all time. Well, you might think about why a discussion forum/wiki when e-mails are there. It is very important to share learnings across the team. As a rapid tester, I would look for such information and knowledge shared by other members of the project while I test. It would be better to have a dedicated forum to it. It does not cost much to the company.Look, I am still thinking of cost v/s value.
- To know more, I suggest you hire me :)
-- Pradeep Soundararajan - firstname.lastname@example.org - +91-98451-76817
"Pradeep's first language is not English--his first language appears to be testing." -- Michael Bolton