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Agile for QA: 6 Ways to Create a Champion QA & Testing Team

Quality Assurance is becoming an indispensable part of any organization today, as the development sphere goes beyond the use of traditional software. Not only is the QA team responsible for meeting clients’ demands and expectations fully, it also works on building trust with customers and beating the competition in the long run. It isn’t a team that “just tests the software” anymore. It is the team that the product you deliver is at par with the client requirements and devoid of any faults or error.

An efficient QA team can effectively save costs by detecting and fixing issues and flaws at the early stages of product development. Further, QA experts are the key individuals that assist in setting and maintaining high-quality standards.

That being said, just creating a team profile won’t solve your problems. You need to make sure that your QA team is working to its full potential, and not just working hard, but working smart. It is, therefore, important to know and use QA team best practices to achieve the desired results for your company.

But before you implement these best practices you must understand the essential components that go into building your QA team:

1 Creation

A QA team, whether managed in-house or remotely, should be brought together with key goals in mind. The team role and responsibilities that need to be undertaken by the QA team should be clearly defined. This would be helpful in finding out members that would be most suitable for the particular type of role in your team. Investing time and efforts in building a quality assurance team is not only worthwhile but extremely crucial, given today’s fierce competition in the field of IT.

2 Recruitment

Since QA engineers often handle multiple tasks, the focus should not just be on their potential to handle but also on who can handle repetitive tasks, diligently. Agile-trained candidates exhibiting leadership qualities and come across as keen learners are your best bet. Keep a close tab on the kind of skill you require, type of projects you’ll have to deliver, and many more factors while hiring QA team members.

3 Scope

Clarity is of supreme importance for any and every team in an organization. Involve the entire team to establish rules and processes for everyone to follow and provide each team member with the tools necessary for them to do their jobs. Keeping the QA team completely aware of the scope of the project being assigned to them along with the company’s core values and terms so that they are clear in their offerings. Whether you are building a team for mobile app testing or a QA team for your next product, ensure that the team members are fully aware of the requirements and the complete scope of the project.

4 Feedback

Team leaders need to nurture a friendly atmosphere within the team and encourage ongoing learning and improvement, while also lending support to employee initiatives. It is important, especially in the case of dispersed teams, to encourage employees to share their feedback, and be comfortable to approach team heads in case of any issue.

So now that you’ve got everything in place, how will you make sure that your QA team’s performance is up to the mark? Implement the following pointers to make sure your team works in the best possible way to achieve the highest results:

  1. Set a direction It can be extremely difficult for an employee to perform if the expectations are not defined from the very beginning. Share your vision with them during onboarding itself so that they know what direction to move in. But while it’s important to align the whole team towards the common goal, don’t hover over them while they work. Tell them the basics, and give them space to execute the tasks using their own creativity and personality.
  2. Define ownership Once you’ve set individual goals for all team members, step back. Let them take full ownership of the tasks assigned to them. You can keep tabs on the progress by scheduling weekly video or telephone conference calls to strengthen the perception that each individual exists as part of a true team, and are working towards a common goal.
  3. Focus on Development If you focus on the growth of the team, the organization will reap the benefits automatically. Identify skills required based on role competency descriptions and assess an individual’s skill gap. Give concrete projects and roles designed to help individuals build missing skills and improve their capabilities. Also, don’t underestimate the power of cross-training.
  4. Communicate & Motivate This is especially important when you’re handing remote Agile development teams because they could often feel “cut-off” from the rest of their peers. Use effective communication tools to help remote workers clear doubts faster, and simplify communication between QA testers and other teams throughout the company. This will help you stay on top of the work being done, while also keep the team members motivated to deliver results.
  5. Resolve Conflicts If roles aren’t clearly defined, it can result in conflict between the QA team and the development team. Although ensuring code quality is technically the quality team’s job, that doesn’t mean they’re the only ones responsible for testing code. Your team leader needs to focus on resolving conflicting incentives to promote success for the entire team, rather than creating conditions that force different groups to compete with each other for control and resources.
  6. Celebrate Every Success No matter how big or small a team member’s achievement may be, acknowledge it and commend him or her whenever you get the chance.

The Last Word
In the words of the famous author & motivational speaker, Simon Sinek:
“A team is not a group of people who work together. A team is a group of people who trust each other.”
An enterprise’s success is not determined by how much profit it makes. The key to achieving true success lies in one word – COLLABORATION. Building strong, collaborative and focused teams at all levels of an organization is important for its ongoing success. Teams need to be responsible for each other, and see themselves as ‘mutually accountable’ for their outcomes. The important thing to remember is that your focus towards excellence should not waver, because if team leaders lose faith, it will bring down the morale of the entire team.

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