10 Ways to Keep Yourself Energized While Working

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Sitting for hours working on that one code, that you just cannot seem to get right, can drain you out.  

The amount of stress that comes with testing that new application is bad enough. 

Don’t even get us started about the feeling of sheer frustration one feels upon being handed over yet another bug—right when you were thinking that you would go to bed early tonight. 

Scenarios like these can be tough to deal with, especially when you are running low on energy. 

Need tips on how to keep your energy levels up, while working? Read on.  

1. Take frequent breaks 

Working for long periods of time at a stretch will be bound to drain you out. Don’t forget to take small breaks in between—you can schedule them according to your tasks, or just get up and stretch for a bit after every hour or so. Catching a breather every now and then is very important! It is also a common notion that peak performance occurs when you do 1.5 hours of uninterrupted work followed by a 15 minutes break. 

2. Stock up on your snacks 

Bring a bunch of quick snacks with you at work, to keep you going throughout the day. Try to make sure it is healthy though—this will also help you focus better on work. Some easy and yummy options are bananas, nuts, yogurt, granola bars, fresh fruit, cheese sticks, egg sandwiches, dark chocolate etc. You can bring these snacks from home, or make a trip to a nearby grocery store from the office, if feasible.  

3. Get enough sleep 

We have all heard about the importance of getting a full 8 hours sleep. And that is the right advice. It is only if you get proper sleep during the night that you will be able to stay alert during your work hours throughout the day. Set a routine for yourself; with fixed timings that will help you stick to a regular pattern of sleep hours. 

4. Keep your work station clean 

According to research, an unorganized workplace is linked to lower productivity levels. Keeping your desk and surroundings clean will help you keep organized and generate an undisturbed work environment. This will motivate you to work harder and stay more productive during the day, as opposed to working at a desk that is so messy that it takes hours to find one document alone! 

5. Use Task Management Tools 

Just like organizing your table keeps you productive, sorting and organizing different tasks helps you work on one thing and stop fretting over the many other things that are yet to be done. A good task management tool, like Kualitee, can help by assigning tasks to team members, using task manager to clearly visualize your tasks, etc. This ensures that your mind, like your table, is uncluttered, calm and focused. This also prevents energy leakage. 

6. Don’t forget your breakfast! 

It is said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Well, follow that advice. Eating healthy breakfast in the morning leads to better concentration throughout the day, and also keeps you energized. Try to have a protein-packed breakfast—who doesn’t love scrambled eggs? If you don’t have time to eat a proper breakfast before rushing off to work, grab a banana or cereal bar for along the way! 

7. Practice deep breathing 

Think of deep breathing as a reset button. One example of a breathing exercise is square breathing. Do this several times day. It will help clear your mind, lower stress levels, and bring you back in focus for the task you are currently working on, as well as bring you clarity of mind in preparation for upcoming assignments.  

8. Rest your eyes 

Staring at a screen the entire day long trying to figure out that code can put a lot of strain on your eyes. To avoid heavy strain, make sure to look away from the screen after brief moments. You can try the 20-20-20 rule; after every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away, for about 20 seconds. You can also purchase computer glasses that block blue light from the screen, or practice some simple eye exercises. 

9. Exercise 

Exercise is a great way to boost energy. Even if you are unable to do so at the office, try exercising daily at some point of the day for at least 30 minutes. It doesn’t necessarily have to be an intense workout; doing stretching exercises, going for a quick run or walk, playing badminton with your kids, and so on, are some good (and fun) ways to exercise as well. Regular exercise is positively linked with higher concentration levels, less stress, higher productivity, and better attention spans as well.  

10. Stay hydrated! 

Drinking water regularly throughout your day at work (or any day for that matter) must not be neglected. Besides keeping you hydrated, drinking water also helps improve your concentration, prevent headaches, lubricate your eyes, keep you alert—amongst many other benefits. 

Be mindful of these quick and easy tips, to keep your energy levels up at work. A full day of work, particularly when you are working in the capacity of a tester or developer that required utmost focus, can tend to get very draining, so you have to do your best to maintain your energy.  

Things You Wish You Knew Before About Test Scenarios

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Test Scenario creation is nothing new in the testing industry, but several testers still have ambiguities about the concept. So, what is a Test Scenario and why should you create it? Let’s find out:

How do you define a Test Scenario?

Test scenarios are basically anticipated modules or features that need to be tested. Also known as test suite/ test set, a Test Scenario may consist of one, two, or more Test Cases.

These are often confused with test cases while the latter is an actionable series of steps and conditions. 

Simply speaking, a test scenario is a brief documentation about how an end-user might use an application. It is a crucial part of test management activity in which user experience is closely analyzed, and is called for in-depth testing. Several test cases are bunched into a Scenario. 

Why are test scenarios important?

Test scenarios provide the ultimate basis for the stakeholders to meet anticipated app functionality and revenue results. 

Test Scenarios are important sources to verify the performance of the system under test according to the real-world scenarios; this helps achieve app consistency after its release for public use. They help in deciding the end-to-end user interaction with the app or the intended product use. 

Below are some strong reasons on how good test scenarios add more value to your system under test: 

  • Helps in achieving maximum test coverage and traceability matrix.
  • Covers almost every system aspect that should be tested before the public product release. 
  • Helps in estimating the required testing effort or labor force, and organizing the testing process. 
  • Allows you to figure the crucial user flows, further aligning and prioritizing the testing efforts.
  • May be taken as an acting proposal for the client.
  • Validates if the system under test (SUT) works fine under every Test Case.
  • Helps In improving the entirety of user experience (UX).

Pro tip: For better assemblage and sorting of test scenarios, use data-driven test management tools such as Kualitee.

Who writes test scenarios?

Test conditions and steps are usually approved by Business Analysts or QA leads. In general, testers are given the task to create test scenarios for all cases, particularly when dealing with intricate and sensitive applications from the Banking, Financial, Healthcare, or Paramedics sector.

How to create a test scenario

Following are the basic steps for creating a well-rounded test scenario:

  • Study the requirement document which includes Business Requirement Specification (BRS),  Software Requirement Specification (SRS), and Functional Requirement Specification (FRS) related to the system under test.
  • Keenly study each requirement in isolation and understand important areas that require testing. Identify the possible issues pertaining to the specification. Furthermore, carefully examine and frame vulnerable app sections from the hacker’s point of view.
  • Specify and list test scenarios that include every possible feature, user flow, and business logic of the SUT.  
  • After classifying the test scenarios, build a Traceability Matrix that reflects the cardinality and many-to-many relationship between all software components.
  • Get the set of scenarios analyzed by the QA Manager and then forward them to the rest of the stakeholders steering the project wheels.

Pro tip: To keep it simple, create one test scenario per requirement or user story. If a test scenario is expected to serve multiple requirements, then make sure to check each requirement beforehand separately. Otherwise, you may skip some critical modules or functions.  

Test management tools for test scenario creation 

There are plenty of test case management tools like Kualitee that provide ease of work while you deal with uncountable feature requirements. 

In the snapshot below, you can see the separate spaces for different information. You can write what needs to be tested for the right functionality checks. Create as many lists of test scenarios for different test case types. This helps you and keep your test case management super aligned and in control. 

When not to use test scenarios?

Despite the value of test scenarios, you may not have to create them in the following situations: 

  • In the moments of urgency, or when testing an unstable software product. It is a waste of time to create comprehensive test scenarios for an unstable product, because the requirements will likely change after the software achieves stability
  • When a project is based more on exploratory testing patterns and testers follow an unstructured approach due to frequent change requests.
  • Sometimes the quantity of test scenarios becomes unmanageable and costly to execute. In such cases, it is better to prioritize test case executions based on end-user or client preferences.

Can You Be a ‘Soft’ Manager and Still Get Work Done?

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Being a good leader and having your team finish their work in time does not mean you have to come across as obnoxious or demanding. If anything, the more understanding and relatable you are, the more your team members are bound to respect you and resonate with you. 

To be an effective leader, it is very important to know how to strike the perfect balance between being gentle, yet firm. 

If you are outright harsh and fond of giving orders and exercising an authoritative demeaner, chances are that your team members will get fed up of you even before they finish the tasks that you have so assertively told them to complete within the hour. 

On the other hand, if you are empathetic, flexible, and can communicate smoothly to your team, they would naturally be more inclined to listen to you. 

However, being too soft isn’t going to help your case either. 

You don’t want to be so lenient that that your team takes advantage of you, or walks all over you. 

This brings us to the question: how do you embody the right amount of both qualities? 

1. Learn the art of communication 

Hate your team member’s idea? Instead of belittling her with a barrage of harsh criticism, you can portray your thoughts in a friendly manner—one that isn’t condescending. It will get the message across, without making them feel bad. Be receptive to new ideas (even if you think yours is the best!). Choose your words carefully. Don’t raise your voice. Be mindful of your tone—be sure it is not patronizing! 

2. Don’t emphasize your superiority 

A good leader does not remind their team all the time that they are in the lead. Don’t worry, your team is already aware of that. Instead of thinking yourself as being superior to your team, try to not create strong hierarchies. Sit down with your team during brainstorming sessions, have lunch with them once in a while, help them out with their tasks whenever you see them struggling. Break the barrier that exists between you and them—enhance your approachability.  

3. Don’t forget to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ 

Being a manager does not mean that you throw your manners outside the window. When you have to appoint a new task to a team member, instead of saying “you need to get this done by 5 p.m. sharp”, try saying “can you please get this done by 5 p.m.?” Similarly, it would also be nice to thank them after they finish their tasks. Sure, it’s their job, but a little kindness goes a long way—and will manifest in their motivation levels. 

4. Ask for feedback on your leadership style 

This will not only help you become aware of areas that you did not realize needed improvement, but will also make your team members feel that their opinion matters. After receiving input, work on implementing their suggestions wherever necessary. When your team members actually see you striving to make a change according to their input and preferred style of leadership, that will motivate them to be more open to implementing feedback from you on their own behaviors as well.  

5. Have an open-door policy 

If you have a separate office, don’t keep it closed off to your team members. Unless you are super busy, don’t take appointments from your team members if they want to come visit you. It will be helpful to have an open-door policy, whereby your members can drop in whenever they like—whether it is to discuss a task or any personal issue.  

6. Smile! 

This one’s pretty simple. Greet your team members with a smile. If you are passing by them, a quick smile their way wouldn’t hurt. After all, you don’t want to come across as that moody manager who always appears to be in a sour mood! 

7. Don’t exhibit your tension 

If you working under a time-crunch and are under a lot of pressure, don’t let it negatively reflect in your demeanor. Keep your cool. Otherwise, seeing you stressed might stress out your team members too—and you don’t want that. Always be mindful of how you project yourself in front of your team. 

8. Be respectful to those around you 

Regardless of how overworked you are, or how superior your position is, you have to be respectful to all your team members. Like they say: to gain respect, you have to earn respect. It works both ways. Even if you have an authoritative leadership style, this is something you have got to do.  

Follow these 8 steps, to come significantly closer to becoming a manager who embodies the right mix of ‘softness’ and ‘firmness’–consequently resulting in generating optimum results from your team.  

10 Effective Ways to Build a Bond with Your Team

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You may be familiar with leaders who are always dumping a pile of work on their team, without attempting to establish any sort of professional relationship with them. For these leaders, it’s all about work, work, and work, with no human aspect involved in their approach—to the extent that you may find yourself thinking: do they even have a life outside work? Because you certainly can’t imagine it! 

Trust us, you don’t want to come across as that boss. 

And for that, you have to work on building a bond with your team.  

How can you do that?  

Read on for some super-helpful tips.  

1. Be approachable 

This might sound very obvious, but you’d be surprised at the difference that being approachable makes. Giving off the aura of being a ‘scary’ boss isn’t really going to work to your benefit. And hey, it’s not cool either. Tell your team that you have an open-door policy. And don’t just tell them, but make sure that your actions match your words. Your team members should feel comfortable in walking up to you at any point, without thinking twice.  

2. Know your team 

Make an effort to interact with your team members—doesn’t necessarily have to be on work-related topics. Make sure you know your team. No, we don’t mean just knowing their names and designations. Talk to them. Get to know about their passions and interests outside work. Make this a priority in your project management. This will help you in seeing them as individual people, rather than as a ‘team’, which will consequently help you in developing a stronger bond with each team member.  

3. Engage in games and activities  

Everyone needs a break from time to time, while working. You can optimize this time to strengthen your bond with your project management team. Challenge your employees to a quick round of Scrabble, Monopoly, Jenga… or any game for that matter. Don’t have a board game at hand? Don’t worry—everyone loves playing Charades and Telephone! 

4. Off-site trips 

Being cooped up in the office all day long can get, well, boring. Why not take out your team elsewhere for a short time? Perhaps you can go out to grab some ice-cream, go for a picnic in a nearby park when the weather’s nice, or treat your team to a box of pizza during lunch break! Make sure to include all team members so that no one feels left out. Also, ask for suggestions from your team about what they’d like to do, or where they would want to go. 

5. Movie nights 

I know what you’re thinking: who’d want to stay at the office overtime after a long, tiring day of work? However, arranging movie nights (with some yummy cheesy pepperoni pizza, salted buttery popcorn, or loaded nachos and spicy salsa!) can be a great way to get your team members to bond with each other. These nights can be arranged on a monthly basis, or could be even more spaced out. Don’t forget to curate a list of possible movies to watch after gathering recommendations from your team members! 

6. Don’t play favourites 

Just don’t. Employees can tell when you’re clearly prioritizing another coworker over them. Make everyone feel equal. Don’t pick and choose who to call in for meetings. Don’t approach only certain people to get their feedback or suggestions on a particular project—especially when their fellow coworkers are sitting right there. Don’t plan off-site trips with specific people only.  

7. Coffee chats 

Bonding activities don’t have to be costly. Employees are likely to feel more strongly about being included, rather than where they are being taken or what they are being fed. Even if you sit down with a group, with a mug of coffee or tea, that will do the trick. It’s the thought that counts!  

8. Empathize 

What’s bonding without exercising the ability to empathize? If a team member seems to be in a low mood, reach out to them. Ask them what’s wrong. Approach them with sensitivity. Show empathy and try to understand their position, even if you can’t fully relate to their situation. Looking out for your team members’ mental health is a very important factor—one that should, ideally, take precedence over all other aspects.  

Empathy and perspective—both are very important! 

9. Start a tradition! 

This is a fantastic way to strengthen team bonding. There are so many groups that have traditions—such as college sororities, clubs and societies, sports clubs, and on. Why not start your own team traditions? Here are a few suggestions: 

  • Donuts (on the house!) every Wednesday… to counter the mid-week blues. 
  • Wearing small badges or pins (custom designed) on your sleeves… to show team spirit. 
  • Seasonal or yearly trips… to get a breath of fresh air. 
  • Learning a secret language or secret handshake… for whatever reason you may. 

And the list goes on! 

10. Celebrate holidays together 

Sure, everyone likes to spend holidays and special events with their families and friends, but why not have a mini celebration with your coworkers too? You can either do this on the office premises, or off-site. All team members can contribute towards making this occasion into a memorable, fun one.  

Developing a strong team bond may not seem like a huge deal, but it actually does go a long way. When employees feel that they are being appreciated, included, and valued, they would be likely to work harder and with more enthusiasm.  

Finding Your Exponential Growth Inspirations

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Software Quality Assurance Engineers (SQAEs) are the unsung heroes, but the world is now recognizing their value. QAs are more than problem solvers and are, in fact, sentinels serving sensitive sectors, majorly healthcare, paramedics, and the transport industry. 

In the ever-rising software industry, QA testers sit squarely in the center of all the action. 

If you are an aspiring tester, you can follow several career paths that lead to various business areas. That would be great if you have already decided which path to follow, which skills to master, and which projects to embark on to become a successful tester. 

Pill of motivation: Any successful tester today was once a rookie nerd (like you?). They just loved to learn and grow!

Read on to know what stages you may need to conquer as a newbie tester to become a pro in your field:

Career path of a QA analyst

In reality, there is no one-size-fits-all career path for a QA analyst. They continue to evolve with time learning new practices, asking meticulous questions, and building themselves as better professionals every day. 

In the infographic below, you can see the outline of possible career pathways in software testing from junior to the most senior level:  

What skills do you need to become a superstar QA analyst? 

According to Jerry Weinberg, a famous testing expert: “If you are not learning something new each day, you are not testing.” This statement is especially relevant to the rapidly advancing technologies like Agile, Automation, DevOps, Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, and Big Data, Internet of Things that demand more aptitude and capacity on part of testers. 

Thus, learning new techniques and increasing technical prowess is an inevitable requirement to stay upbeat in the IT sector. It is almost impossible to survive in the highly saturated market without staying competitive and relevant with the latest technologies. 

So, let’s dig in and find out the best skills you need to hone to become a star QA analyst:

Technical skills you need to hone

Learning manual testing is a foundational step for any tester.  However, multidimensional testing for app performance, user experience, responsiveness, browser compatibility, database, and integrations require a more robust approach.

  1. Agile testing: Agile has become the cornerstone of modern software development. The iterative development model expects you to stay abreast with the requirements of the team and customers. As an agile QA analyst, you work continuously with your fellow teammates in a cross-functional environment. Agile assures end-to-end testing which helps you save your time and effort by day end, eventually, allowing you to perform well and deliver a good quality product. You cannot learn agile by reading a book. Work with an agile team for a year and you’ll get it.
  1. Test automation: If you are a futuristic tester, stay well-versed with test automation to understand business logic better and to deliver continuous releases more efficiently.
  1. Bug tracking and QA testing software: Managing and tracking bugs can be a tedious task if not done systematically. Hence, a QA analyst boasting a wide understanding of QA Testing Software and Tools, such as Kualitee, can better lock, report, prioritize, and debug defects.  
  1. Test planning and documentation: A tester should have a knack to carefully understand product requirements and devise an appropriate test plan. This detail-oriented approach will help you keep track of requirements, test cycles, and possible variations. A well-organized test plan does not help testers but the entire software development team in allocating the right QA testing software and resources for the project. 
  1. Know how to break a code! A good QA analyst knows how to give their best at testing, while also cracking the code if needed. If you know how to code, you can get inside app codes and find hidden vulnerabilities to reduce the overall bug rate.

Non-technical skills for career growth on steroids 

Thanks to digital transformation, the need to upgrade your technical skills is likely to never end. But mastering non-technical skills is equally necessary to fly far and high in your QA career professionally and personally. 

Curious to know more about soft skills? We already sensed your inquisitive mind, so you must read on to find out: 

  1. Think logically: First things first, if you are a tester you may require a critical mindset in phases when you are decision making, improvising, setting goals, brainstorming test strategies, selecting QA testing tools, fixing a bug, reporting, and replicating issues. Logical thinking is directly connected to the successful completion of software projects. Just remember, in testing, you think intelligent or you go home!
  1. Manage your time: A good tester’s task prioritization is always on the mark because of efficient time management skills. To manage your time wisely, curate a to-do list on a QA Testing Software, set achievable targets, and follow them throughout the software development cycle (SDLC). 
  1. Be ready to help: A successful QA tester always looks forward to making things easier for their fellow team members. For example, showing care to reproduce and debug as many defects as possible to lighten developers’ burden from doing excessive code reviewing.

 After all, if you do not make things easier for your team how can you expect the same for yourself?

  1. Negative, but positively: Presenting negativity in a positive manner is super witty and is a much-needed skill for good communication. A sensible QA analyst does not complain or go harsh on their team, instead, they pitch in ideas and provide constructive feedback. Staying passive is how you can win even on a hectic day! 
  1. Believe your intuition: “Tester’s Block Syndrome” happens when you cannot decide if it’s a bug or an undocumented feature. This confusion leads to an unreported issue in the fear of getting abashed. 

It is about trusting your guts over fear. The worst likelihood is developers accusing you of bug misconfiguration. But of course, that is still better than leaving the anonymous bug to get caught by your users.

If you have come this far reading the blog, we are sure that you are that inquisitive tester the future needs!

Seamless Digital Experience for Small Businesses

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In today’s digitized age, with the speed at which technology is racing, the need for small businesses to run on a seamless digital experience should not be underestimated. Small-medium businesses need to be digitally optimized while being nimble (on cost). In fact—this can be a make-or-break factor for your business. 

Gone are the days when the only ways of discovering shops and products were by physically hopping from store to store, word-of-mouth, or advertisements. Now, the new norm is stumbling upon new businesses or companies online—which makes the need for a seamless online experience, essential. 

Every company needs to work on enhancing their online experience, given that a large portion of the consumer market first finds you online and then, after browsing your website, considers buying your product.

The users’ decision about whether or not to buy your product or avail your service is largely dependent on their experience of navigating through your website. If it is smooth and glitch-free, they would form a positive impression of your business. On the other hand, if they encounter defects, bugs, or other means of inconvenience, then they would naturally get frustrated and be driven away. Thus, you have to aim to give them the optimum online experience even if you are a small company. 

Having a seamless online experience also sets you apart from competitors at the outset. You may have similar products or services, but the deciding factor for the user often comes down to how their experience with your website has been—as that may be the only insight they have into your business. 

Now let’s go over the essential suite of tools that will help you manage your digitization more efficiently.  

A Cloud SaaS digital suite should include several elements, some of which include: website hosting, CRM software, finance management, and test management tools (e.g. Kualitee). A few helpful digital tools that will make your online management system much easier and more organized, are as follows:  

  • File Sharing: Google Drive; Dropbox 
  • Communication: Slack; Microsoft Teams; Zoom; Skype 
  • Task Management: Asana; Trello  
  • Quality Assurance Management: Kualitee  
  • Email: MailChimp 
  • Design: Canva 
  • Website: WordPress; HubSpot 

Of course, the list goes on.  

Enough has been said about all type of digital tools except Test Management Tools. So, we’ll dive into how a test management tool helps small and medium businesses thrive.  

Small business such as a shop, gym, salon or a small software house retain their customers through customer experience of their service. That’s their bread and butter. For a lot of people and especially the Generation Z (people in their 20’s-30’s in 2020), who are driving majority purchase decisions in the economy, the experience starts by them looking at their smart phones and Googling the business. 

Given the weightage that the virtual world has on people’s lives these days, it is safe to assume that what they see on their tiny white screens weighs heavily on their decision to choose you or your competitor.  

If you want tips on driving more and more of these new digital-first customers to you, read on. 

A crash proof website and app 

A beautiful and intuitive website and App are good things, but you can just forget about it if your application crashes or gets stuck. Patience for putting up with a stuck website or app seems to be diminishing.  People, especially the newer crop, get frustrated easily and will not wait for more than a few seconds before trashing your stuck website forever and moving on to the next best alternative. 

You have to build a defect free website and App. Period. 

Let’s debunk a myth first.

Myth“QA is a luxury that only the deep-pocketed business can afford.”  

Fact: Software quality assurance is no more a luxury that only the large enterprises can afford, but now it is a necessity for anyone who is selling a service.  

The good news is that a few technology breakthroughs in recent years have made it very accessible to small businesses too. You have to go a bit smartly about it and that’s the ground we are going to cover now. 

1. People 

If 3 or more developers are working for you on your website or App, add a QA in your team. If you are working with 2 developers, assign them the role of a QA such that when one developer writes a code, the other should become an acting QA and test his code (and vice versa). Make the QA role responsible for removing all bugs in the system. With some training, your developers should be able to wear the hat of QA as well. Every developer can learn QA, given the will. 

2. Process 

Always test before releasing a new code. Build the new code in a test environment first, test it, and then push it on the production environment.  

And even if you are not adding any new code, run a complete application wide test once very month. This is called regression testing.  

3. Technology 

Use a test management tool and chose using the below capability set: 

  1. Defect management—log, assign and keep track of all the defects. 
  1. Test case management—write down your test cases to re-use them. A smart and reusable repository of test cases. 
  1. Dashboard and reporting—stay on top of testing progress on desktop and mobile through few and necessary graphs and reports. 
  1. Scale—tool should let you start from 1 user license and grow as you grow. 
  1. Intuitive—team members should get a hang of it without formal trainings. 
  1. Economical —having a good test management tool shouldn’t break your bank. 

There is a host of test management tools to choose from, out there. The one we can say with confidence that fits all the above is Kualitee. We know it’s our own tool so we might look biased saying this. But you should definitely give it a try for yourself. Trial is free!  

Good luck with your journey towards making an unbreakable digital experience for your customers to unlock massive business growth. Don’t forget to share your success story with us. 

Assessing Productivity of QA Teams

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As a team lead, your job is to maximize your Quality Assurance (QA) team productivity.  

The question is: how do you measure QA team performance? 

You need to objectively measure QA metrics first, and then share progress with the management. If you don’t measure productivity of your QA team, then chances are that you wouldn’t know if things have started moving south. You want to know who is actually working in your team and bringing about the desired results, as well as be cognizant of those who are not pulling their weight, and consequently, not producing expected results.

Having this knowledge allows you to give appropriate appreciation and feedback, so that your team members can work accordingly and improve the areas they are lacking in. It’s just like looking at gauges and back mirrors while driving a car and steering it according to the situation—in other words, closely monitoring productivity keeps you abreast of which areas need to be worked upon and how to resolve them accordingly.  

Furthermore, you need to establish the QA metrics for good performance with the management, so that you can review it periodically. Having an established criterion is helpful as it allows you to gauge performance of all QA team members according to the same metrics. That being said, you can still set different goals and agendas for team members, based on their individual performance levels.  

Lets see what Kualitatem’s Service Delivery Manager, Ishfaq Zia, a QA enthusiast, had to say about the way he manages and oversees his QA team using performance metrics:  

“It’s important to get your clients on board with your process from the start. Once the expectations are understood, our approach is to prepare a high-level demo and then highlight how we solve their problem. We usually are on a time crunch and there’s a lot of work involved, especially if it is something the team isn’t familiar with. Having metrics in place, the team completes the breakdown of their long term goals into weekly goals which then translates into meeting timelines.” 

What is productivity? 

Simply put, productivity of any QA team is, no surprises here, portrayed by the highest quality of software within timelines. After all, “Quality Assurance” is called as such for a reason—it refers to methods that indicate the topmost quality of a product or service, with minimum number of defects or issues.  

Now comes the question: how do we gauge the software quality? 

This translates into the following main areas: 

  1. Thoroughness of test cases: The test cases should be thoroughly covered, as this is linked with high software quality.  
  1. Speed
  • Test execution speed 
  • Defect fixing speed 

   Greater speed, for both test execution and defect fixing, depicts higher productivity. 

  1. Product Quality: There should be no defects found in the production stage. 

This is what Ishfaq had to say regarding reducing the number of bugs before production:  

“Exhaustive or complete testing is impossible. Occasionally, a client comes around after several rounds of our own testing and locates a major bug that we should’ve picked on. While there is always a possibility, ensuring a complete understanding of the product and utilizing proper tools is essential to negate this risk as much as possible”.   

Furthermore, a test management tool, such as Kualitee, should tell how you are doing as team and as an individual, both. After all, a significant part of individual effort contributes to team effort, so both go hand in hand to some extent.  

When do you know when productivity is good? 

Research industry benchmarks for your industry/project 

Do thorough research on your industry standards and benchmarks, and set goals according to them. Remember that your aim is to rise in a competitive industry, which is why it becomes important to remain cognizant of these benchmarks.  

Take input from stakeholders 

Your stakeholders include a wide pool of people–including team members, managers, clients, etc. Instead of getting feedback from only one party, be open to receiving input from all the stakeholders. This way, you can take note of points that you may not have realized on your own as they are not relevant to you directly, or that may have slipped your eye. Thus, be open and receptive to hearing suggestions and feedback.   

Set expectations early regarding good and bad performance 

Instead of only setting expectations regarding your QA team members’ productivity, for yourself, you can also convey those expectations to them. Having that knowledge will motivate them to work more efficiently or however required, as they would strive to live up to those expectations, as well as avoid those factors or behaviours that indicate deteriorating performance.  

Using KPIs to measure productivity

Productivity of your QA team can be assessed by measuring Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). 

Defining KPIs helps monitor the quality of software in terms of the three factors discussed earlier; I.e. test coverage, speed, and number of defects found. Setting the appropriate KPIs for your team will help you gauge progress, while also being able to gauge team productivity more easily. 

Testing in Production: Pros and Cons

This post was originally published on this site

Testing in production refers to the act of frequently performing tests in a live environment, after production deployment. It is not a substitute for any other type of testing, and the significance of the QA team still remains intact.  

Production testing has both its advantages and disadvantages, which may explain why some testers approach it with hesitancy, or have done so in the past. Let’s have a look at these pros and cons, below.  

Pros 

Real World Accuracy 

Testing production systems are more geared towards reality. On the other hand, testing in non-production environments like development, quality assurance, and staging systems, does have value but it does not mirror the real world. This is because they are running on different codes, server operating systems, and patch levels. Often, testing in the two environments will yield starkly different results, which are particularly noticeable in penetration testing, as configurations vary at the application and server levels. 

Verifying Functionality 

Smoke and sanity tests are mostly performed in production environments. Smoke testing checks if the product’s main functionalities are working correctly. Sanity testing verifies if bugs have been fixed and the functionality of the product is as expected. This enhances the likelihood of improved service.  

User Experience 

Performing usability testing in a production environment can give businesses an understanding of the user experience. A/B testers offer two versions of a product to users and find statistics to determine which version performs better. This A/B testing method is ideal to test for new features, whose market value is unknown. 

Disaster Prevention 

No matter how much testing is done in development, it is inevitable that bugs will reach the production stage. If the DevOps team is prepared to handle defects at the production stage, the recovery time will be faster.

Hence, testing in production helps in averting disastrous situations—by taking testing a step ahead of basic prevention techniques, to monitoring methods that detect and fix bugs continuously. The application gains resilience and can recover from unexpected chaos without loss of functionality or data. 

Complete test coverage 

As conditions of a production environment cannot be fully replicated, complete test coverage is not possible before product deployment. Due to data and traffic limitations, many edge case tests in staging environments will be missed out. Testing in production will give full test coverage via continuous monitoring. With production data, every possible scenario can be detected. Also, developers often make changes in applications and deploy to production, skipping the Quality Assurance verification. These changes create bugs in the application. Testing in production with software testing tools removes the risks caused by these changes. 

Cons

Irresponsibility in testing 

Testing in production improves the overall testing process but it is not meant to lessen the tester’s responsibility for testing in other environments. As production testers share the responsibility of testing, QA testers may develop an unmotivated approach and not utilize the saved time towards other types of testing. Testing in production will only be effective if team members collaborate fully and not neglect other types of testing. 

Test timings 

If a load test is run on the production environment during business hours, it increases the chances for poor user experiences. Experts recommend running tests in production environments during times that do not impact a lot of users; for example, during maintenance hours. Testers get a smaller time slot to perform the tests. As user experience is tied with profit, a tester not adhering to the recommended timings can lower the business revenue. 

Chaos Monkey 

Chaos Monkey is a code with which chaos is created on purpose in a production environment. It is a technique to verify if production is working as expected. However, a code that injects failures deliberately can cause problems in an environment like damaging a web server. Chaos monkey should be used carefully when developing a resilient application to ensure application tiers are not killed. 

Verdict

If conducted properly in a way that enhances efficiency, testing in production is a fruitful opportunity. Its benefits bring the product team closer to the end-users. However, the scope of testing in production has not been fully tapped into yet. Thus, exploring the potential of testing in production will become clearer gradually, as it is carried out more. 

Top 5 Responsibilities of QA Managers in an Agile Environment

This post was originally published on this site

Quality Assurance (QA) is different from software development. A Quality Assurance manager needs to have a certain skillset, while being abreast of the latest methodologies, technologies, and trends, in order to be successful in their profession. 

Keeping the above in mind, we present to you a list of the top 5 responsibilities of a QA manager, especially tailored to an agile environment

1. Set standards to be followed 

A good QA manager is not controlling; he or she gives their agile team members some responsibility and independence to manage the work by themselves. However, this does not mean that there should be no set standards in place, for the entire team to follow. 

The organization as a whole is expected to work as a coherent unit. It should have a few pre-defined standards like: 

  • Which Software Testing tools to use, and how to use them 
  • Which Testing Methodologies to apply 
  • How to deploy effective defect management, e.g. defining defect statuses 
  • Strategies to recognize the state of a build, and working accordingly. 

A QA manager works with the project managers to decide upon the standards that are to be utilized. This ensures that all team members are following similar techniques and being trained according to the same sets of rules. The managers then monitor progress and quality during the development process. These guidelines are used by the R&D team to incorporate QA processes within their development teams. 

2. Build teams wisely 

All development teams work according to their own area of expertise. For instance, one team deals with the user interface and others concentrate on back-end services. Various areas of development require specialized knowledge like automated and manual testing. Test automation is different as it depends on the user interface, cascading style sheets implementation or REST API. 

A QA manager builds the teams carefully, comprising of team members with different skillsets, such as a QA architect, UI testers, functional testers, automation testers, and performance testers. In addition to this, they define responsibilities and roles of team members, and define how to go about tasks. They have to guarantee that the development testers are appropriately equipped to test their team’s specific development work. 

3. Monitor quality metrics 

QA manager has to take a macroscopic view of quality by observing the trends in metrics across all teams. This provides a complete view of the quality code of the organization and in recognizing teams that may not be working up to the mark. 

There are many reasons why the teams might not be performing according to expectations. They may not be following the defined testing techniques, which could possibly heighten the number of defects. If the QA manager has the right metrics in place, she can easily get to the root of the issue, carefully drill down into the team’s work practices, and bring them up to par.

4. Observe system quality 

It’s the QA architect’s choice whether to carry out cross-functional testing to guarantee that everything performs well together. They test the connection between modules in various configurations and environments to guarantee that the system is functioning properly, without any performance, security, or integration issues. 

QA manager’s main responsibility is to reflect on the overall quality of their system. When they look at issues from a system level, they can think of themselves as a bridge between the development, testing, and QA teams. 

5. Be able to handle demands by themselves 

QA managers should be able to handle demands and arrange resources by themselves, rather than relying on external help such as more QA resources or tools or money. Simply put, they should be able to re-organize existing resources to meet the demands. As an agile unit, ideally all team members should have the competence to run various tests, as all members of the team have multiple skills and anyone can rise to the occasion.  

In certain situations, the QA manager may move testers between teams to address requirements for additional testing. This method is called “swarming.” 

If you are a QA manager who is seeking ways to thrive in an agile environment, be sure to keep the above points in mind–and watch yourself succeed!