Test Management and Leadership

Managing teams, process and methodology.

Building teams

I have a proven track record managing onshore and offshore testing teams with very positive results.  I’ve been fortunate enough several times now introducing QA into companies where formalised and structure testing did not exist, or was a bare bones testing function without direction.  I’ve found that my pragmatic approach to implementing structured testing and methodology has resulted in successful QA teams that have transformed from what has been perceived as ‘that bit at the end of development that always causes problems’ into a core part of the development team who tangibly add value to the project and software development process.

Implementing and managing test process and methods

A project without sufficient test process behind it is likely to run into problems, more often than not towards the end of the software development process – right where it become really expensive.  It’s essential that all disciplines involved with your project – from Project Managers to developers, Delivery Managers through to Account Managers, all know that the test team are working to agreed processes, standards, methods and approaches.  It ultimately means that everyone connected to the project has confidence in those responsible for testing.

A structured test process is one that will always yield positive results:

  • Test planning is more thorough and allows for accurate estimates.
  • Project test documentation ensures that a clear testing roadmap exists prior to test execution.
  • Testing to an agreed standard will always lead to a high quality finished project, completed within project timelines and budget.
  • Technically competent test analysts will understand how to test the system under test; make sure that your testers understand the mechanics and technology of what they’re testing, and they’ll be effective and efficient in their test planning, preparation, execution and reporting.
  • A solid, transparent test process that incorporates effective methodology and approaches can be sold to your clients whether they’re your internal business sponsor, or external clients.  Prove that you are testing thoroughly, and you’re trusted with what is often a sizeable chunk of the project budget, and that you can deliver what is expected.

Development and education of QA professionals.

I’ve been fortunate to have worked with some exceptional individuals during my career who have not only managed teams, but have also nurtured the careers of those they manage.  I’ve taken this successful approach and make sure that I apply it for every individual on my teams; as QA professionals we have an obligation to ensure that we’re not just providing the best service, but also to instil these values throughout our careers.  The professional development of your test analysts will always reap benefits with the quality of the testing that they carry out.  A developing testing team is a test team that’s eager to explore and learn in order to further their careers and to also ensure that they’re enjoying their work each day.

Test management at all stages of your project

During my testing career I’ve worked on hundreds of projects at various stages of the software development process.  I’ve been embedded with the developers working on proof of concept solutions; I’ve been the primary or lead test analyst for the entire duration of a project; I’ve been parachuted into projects towards the end of the testing cycle when it’s all hands on deck, and I’ve been responsible for the UAT part of a project.  I’ve been the sole tester on a project, I’ve been part of a larger test team, and I have too many projects to count where I’ve managed testing.  The testing during every phase can have its own problems and solutions, but all require solid management.

I’ve managed testing within a development team and my own test analysts, and have managed external test teams seconded to numerous projects.  I’m also experienced in working client side managing the User Acceptance Testing phase of a project, leading the test process and execution whilst guiding, advising and managing the testing for the end-user team.

Defect and release managment

Making software also makes defects, it’s a part of the software development process.  How you manage those defects can affect the success of your project.  I have developed defect workflows and management processes, and successfully implemented them with many clients.  I can analyse your existing process and advise if it can be streamlined or improved, or if you don’t have any defect management process in place, I can work with your teams to design and implement one that works for everyone.  A stable defect management process goes hand in hand with an agreed release management process; I have great experience with release management, ensuring that the work to be completed can be achieved on budget, factoring in the software development, testing and bug fixing that is core to software delivery.

Building your test team

I’ve built test teams from scratch for employers and clients who identified a need for a testing team, but were unsure how to go about it.  It’s not something that can be achieved overnight, but it’s a very rewarding experience when your new test team begin adding quality into your projects; it’s even better when you can see a return in investment with happier clients who notice that there are less defects and reduced delivery delays.  Finding the right people to integrate into your development team and company isn’t always easy, but having interviewed numerous candidates, I’ve managed to streamline this process to identify the people who will become great assets to you.

Does your organisation require structured QA?

If you’re part of an organisation or company that needs a structured QA, has a team that need guidance and mentoring, or you need to prove to clients that you can deliver the quality that you’re promising, I’m ready to have that initial chat with you and identify your concerns and requirements.  Every project needs a happy, positive QA team, and where they may not have the support, direction and mentoring they need, your project quality may suffer.

Please contact me so we can discuss your requirements.