6 Ways to Improve Performance of Distributed QA Teams

It is quite common for organizations to have multiple product lines. Take the case of Microsoft. The brand is massive – Windows and Office being the two biggest product lines. Each product line has plenty of associated applications to deal with, and needs a dedicated sprint cycle and release cycle. This goes deeper in terms of inherent dependencies. The same could be the case with your organization. Your QA team could be spread across multiple product teams with equal divisions. And to top it, they work 10 hours ahead of your time zone! To ensure effectiveness, you have even set up a Scrum team that actually works in different time zones.

However, at the end of the day, some questions still shade your mind- How to maintain consistent communication link with QA team that is distributed? How to make sure Scrum environment is giving effective outcome? Are there any innovative processes that QA Testing Solutions Provider can take help from to attain their objectives?

Well, we have compiled a list of 6 ways to improve performance of your distributed QA teams. Read on-

Tip #1: Keep your team updated every day via email

Prior to leaving office, it is your duty to send a mail consisting of brief touch points to your QA team. These touch points are those that don’t stay the same every day- statuses, software build availability, and shifting company priorities.

When you communicate your expectations and thoughts in terms of QA focus for the following day, you save time, and efforts, as all are on the same page.

Tip #2: Let the ideas effuse with the help of IM group chat

Instant messaging tools are nowadays available in plenty. Use IM group chat to let the chats happen 24X7 every day. A thread is a great way for the QA team members to stay updated on every day requirements and enhance everyday performance helping each other, and staying connected.

Tip #3: Maintain a common data pool

This refers to a strategy, an important one- It is about maintaining and using a central repository. This central repository contains valuable data to analyze test results and other test cases.
When multiple versions of test case suites are distributed to team members, it only creates a chaos. Members get confused and frustrated. As every team member gets a different version of the same test case suite, there arises a threat of version control issues which sucks the time, efforts, and energy of team members affecting performance.

Hence, getting a test management tool is important. If it does not fall within budget for any person or organization, you have free, cloud-based spreadsheet applications. These allow access for all the concerned team members and managers.

Tip #4: Maintain a knowledge wiki

This refers to ensuring all team members are provided with a dedicated QA knowledge source or wiki. This source will perform the crucial task of serving unique needs and concerns of your QA team. It will help team members know more about your products, and testing environments. It will help your QA team members to know effective testing strategies and leverage them to achieve sustainable goals. It will help your QA team members to know more about OS testing specifications, and thus enlarge their knowledge base and improve performance. After all, “Knowledge is Power.”

Tip #5: Have minimum one QA team meeting every week

IM group chat and emails are valuable, but we cannot ignore the efficacy of face-to-face interactions, video and telephone con-calls in strengthening individual perception towards a common goal. It is a great way to solve nuances and work towards bigger goals.

Tip #6: Role of favorable feedback and constructive criticism

If your QA team is distributed geographically, it may happen that teams can often miss on valuable feedbacks from remote locations or due to difference in time zones. During such cases, it is essential to develop a common source of communication which happens at one time- a time that is reported to all and agreed subject to everyone’s convenience. In this way you will be able to share favorable feedback and constructive criticism with team members.

Now, are there specific practices you find essential and not mentioned here? Please share.


Script-less Test Automation – Is it Really Script-less?

Script-less automation, this term is most popular nowadays in the world of test Automation. The companies who have such script-less automation tools / frameworks promote that it allows the business users to comfortably automate the

Script-less automation, this term is most popular nowadays in the world of test Automation. The companies who have such script-less automation tools / frameworks promote that it allows the business users to comfortably automate the business scenarios without having much knowledge on the tools and their underlying languages. So, is this approach really script less? Does the importance of technical automation testers have come down? Is there no demand for more experts in the test automation tools or the underlying programming languages? Not really.

Enabling you to get it right the first time: 7 Useful tips to get started with Automation Testing

Let’s understand what is this scriptless automation all about and how is it helpful in present scenario of test automation. Script-less automation is an abstraction layer over and above the Application Under Testing (AUT) and the automation testing tool, which consists of the hundreds of functionalities perform various actions on the AUT to test the applications. These functions may be common technical functions like “Open”, “Close”, “Save”, “Minimize”, “Maximize” or other common arithmetic functions which we perform. These can also be specific to the AUT, to test the functionalities on the applications – like creating a user, modifying a user, adding roles, opening an account, editing the details, closing the account etc. Though these script-less tools have several inbuilt functions/actions mainly keyword driven, but still we need the Test Automation experts to create new functions/actions or modify existing ones coupled along with the abstraction layer. Basically script-less frameworks/tools screens over and above all of these which may help the end-user or business user to automate the test cases.

It is the advanced level of Keyword driven automation approach where the test automation developers create functions for each of the identified key-words in the AUT. These key-words are created beneath the framework which is not visible for the business users who is testing the system. The automation developers has to visualize and create these multiple functions for various technical and functional areas which should be flexible and invisible to the end users but at the same time should allow them to test the system/application in all dimensions.

The major advantage of these frameworks is that the business users who are having good knowledge on the end product/application can test the system/product/application without knowing any programming or scripting languages.It does not truly mean that anyone without the any technical knowledge can test the system and create automation scripts.

Another advantage of these frameworks is that Test Automation experts can create these functions with a common code which can be recognized by multiple tools that supports automation. The advantage of this is that these frameworks can be implemented, irrespective of the tools (GUI – Open /Commercial, API/ web services tools) which the users use for test automation.

As long as these frameworks can work with the major software test automation tools, the adoption for these frameworks will increase.