Managing a Test Manager’s Most Annoying Issues

David Tzemach

Posted On: September 29, 2022

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A test manager should perform in multiple dimensions on a daily basis, utilizing various professional and interpersonal skills. Even if the manager is not their team lead, they must provide accurate test estimation, be fully aware of the functions and requirements under development, define the scope of testing, apply appropriate testing measurements, plan, deploy, and manage test coverage, and even encourage and motivate testers.

There are numerous areas that can cause problems with all of these career functions. Here are the most common (and irritating) things I hear as a test manager, as well as the strategies I’ve developed to deal with them.

Simply automate all of the tests

Due to some poorly written articles about the benefits of test automation, stakeholders believe that automation will solve all problems and find all bugs in the code.

The solution: The only solution is education in this case. Inform the stakeholders of the amount of work required to maintain the automated tests, evaluate the results, and develop new ones for new functions.

Just test the essential functions

After changing a small but vital piece of code, the testers are instructed to test “only the main functions, just to be on the safe side.” This request is usually related to understandable time and effort constraints, but it’s still annoying.

The solution: Analyzing the changes with the developers in charge of the function is usually beneficial. I use white-box methods and build the test scripts based on the results with the existing regression test cases. A good Pareto analysis that identifies which 20% of the application is used 80% of the time can also help. If absolutely required, define a testing limit after consulting with project stakeholders about its scope and potential consequences. For this, I frequently use risk assessment matrices.

These requirements are overly complicated

The requirements are too complex to validate and check. The feature should be compatible with the legacy functions, and the cutting-edge solution should cover all bases and corners.

The solution: In these cases, I adopt my analytics skills and map out the new functions using good old-fashioned fieldwork drawing diagrams and gathering information from developers, other business analysts, and architects.

It was working on my local machine

After discovering a serious, potentially critical defect, you are met with the following response from the developers: “But it was working on local machine”

The solution is to write a detailed description of the bug and then delegate responsibility to the developers. Don’t fall into the codependency trap. In the long run, try to emphasize the importance of running unit tests before handing over the item to be tested to the QA.

I didn’t have time to go over the results

During the hands-on or other meetings, you discover that the involved parties have not read the test report whatsoever. It’s especially irritating if you spent a significant amount of time preparing it. It’s pointless to blame them; they simply receive far too much information on a daily basis!

The solution: Assume that stakeholders will not read your reports, and prepare for meetings with remarks highlighting the most significant things and measurements.

Shift it from legacy to new

Every company has a good old module or function running in an out-of-date framework that is no longer supported. It must be rewritten in a new (probably fancy) framework, but it should function normally.

The solution: Begin with a detailed mapping of the given function, communicating with the individuals who developed it if possible. On the implementation itself, I’ve always tried to collaborate closely with the developers. This rewrite is also an excellent opportunity to implement some redesign, such as deprecating unused data tables or UI elements.

No test management tool is required

A proper test management solution is not seen as necessary by the stakeholders who provide the funding for the project. No matter how many hours I spent fabricating a test report, management was only genuinely interested in the major defects. And I had to do it manually because we didn’t have a professional test management tool.

The solution is to tie the acquisition of such a tool to the start of a new major project, emphasizing the benefits of using one—preferably with case studies. This approach will make obtaining resources much easier.

Prepare the new testing squad in a few weeks

Leadership wants you to quickly fill the test team for a new project even though you’re short on experienced testers, and they require that everyone be knowledgeable about the product even though there isn’t any available training.

The answer: Spend time with management outlining the present employment market as a solution. While waiting, make an effort to be inventive in your search for new coworkers by combining new advertisements, social media, and instructing interns.
Referral schemes are also quite helpful, and it’s no accident that major corporations like Microsoft utilize them as their primary method of hiring new employees.

The testing environment will be accurate enough to represent actual consumer conditions

Even though the test environment is supposed to be an actual representation of the production environment, this is frequently not the case. It can be costly and labor-intensive to set up a QA environment for them.

The answer: I have discovered that it is vitally essential to map the differences between the two ecosystems thoroughly, along with the hazards related to each change. Meaning that If there are an ‘n’ number of discrepancies between the two environments, there will be 2n faults among the results and findings. This means that even if the majority of discrepancies are false alarms, you should dedicate a significant amount of time to debugging.

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David Tzemach

The founder and owner of the Agile Quality Made Easy blog (25K followers). A platform that he uses for teaching and coaching others, sharing knowledge with people, and guiding them towards success while giving them the inspiration and tools to discover their own path.

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