At Neklo we always love to share our experiences at the conferences. This time, we just came back from 22th SQA Days in Saint Petersburg, which became a meeting platform for thousands of QA specialists from all over Eastern Europe. And we were not plain visitors: two of our colleagues, Igor Bondarenko and Andrey Myasnikovб spoke at the conference. Their talks covered various aspects of test management, and caused positive feedback and discussions amongst the audience. Therefore, we are proud to announce that Andrey’s talk obtained the name of the best conference report. In this article, we share synopses of both talks.
Igor Bondarenko: what you didn’t know about the bench management
Igor is Business Development Manager at Neklo, with more than 10 years of experience in QA. He talked about bench management issues and its cost-efficiency in “Developing and testing applications using bench resources”. This report was aimed at project managers and teams, who are working on projects fully implemented by the bench method and those who use it partially.
In his talk, Igor listed problems and possible solutions, based on experience and success stories of the bench projects he worked on. Igor provided an overview on whether using bench resources is sustainable, what problems you can face implementing bench method into the working, and how make bench management an effective tool. Igor also addressed project management and process optimization issues.
What is the bench method and when it comes in handy?
According to Igor, it is used on internal projects that don’t have a team assigned to it, in order to avoid additional recruitment. Another reason for using bench staff are the employees having “pauses” between projects.
After talking about reasons and situations for using bench staff, Igor proceed to common problems that arise while using bench method. In particular, Igor highlighted such management pains as:
- Scope of work too big and for the limited time of the bench worker;
- The worker given can leave anytime once they are assigned to another project;
- New person on a bench project has no time for a learning curve;
- Project manager being too busy to effectively manage bench team members, that causes their down time;
- Poor documentation on bench projects and how it slows down the teamwork.
Managing a bench project wisely
Igor offered solutions to prevent a hot mess at bench project, gained from his QA experience. He shed light on what matters in good bench management:
- Well-written documentation, including test-cases.
- Development methodology. Igor included comparison and named preferable options for bench-managed products, like Scrum and Kanban.
- Careful planning. Splitting tasks into subtasks makes it easier to distribute and accomplish for the employees with limited time on the project.
- Short sprints that allow time-winning options.
Getting the most out of testing on bench projects
Last but not least, Igor talked about testing resource on bench projects, why it is so highly demanded and how to avoid misusing it. Igor pointed out, that since testing resource is rare on bench project, they should be always provided with a work to do. Thar means, the work on the project should be planned accordingly and start with the tasks that can be tested immediately. There are tips help a tester to be at the peak of his productivity:
- Documentation is the king. Write test cases.
- The more processes are automated, the better.
- Creating demo-servers gives the owner a close representation of how the project turns out to be.
- Beta tests make testing cheaper and provide project managers with visibility of their work.
In conclusion Igor mentioned, that the industry was changing and development of DevOps and TestOps practices was a matter of priority. The focus shifted from development processes to improving management and infrastructure, because customers do not come for the product as a matter of fact, they want it to be of high quality.
Andrey Myasnikov: cherish your bad habits
Andrey is QA Team Lead and he is in the industry for 8 years.
Andrey has solid experience in visiting and speaking at SQA-related conferences. His last year's report at called “Bad habits in software testing” took first place at 19th SQA Days conference. This year’s report by Andrey was technically a second act to the previous one, and as expected, gained total success.
The report is called “Bad Habits of Test Management” and perfectly simple. It is an ironic and concise collection of points on the topic for people, who are in charge of other people. The idea behind such an approach is also simple: people are better at learning bad things, and this approach works everywhere, even in test management. Andrey reminded us, that no matter what we do in our jobs, we always work with other people, and human factor is the most crucial in management problems.
Andrey divided his speech in two parts: what you should do and what shouldn’t. Here, we gathered most brilliant management points of the report in short.
Bad habits that are actually good, according to Andrey:
- Be lazy: delegate secondary tasks.
- Be tedious: explain why something needs to be done.
- Be suspicious: examine everything half done.
- Be double-faced: scold in private and praise publicly.
- Be ignoring: let independence develop.
Although there are bad habits that are actually bad. You may have wanted to take notice:
- Don’t have a loose tongue. Your attitude to the people in charge should remain private.
- Don’t be selfish. Everyone has got problems.
- Don’t motivate by comparison. If the problem seems inconsistent to you, it is still a problem that needs solution.
- Don’t do other people’s job. Giving help doesn’t mean doing everything.
Andrey’s summary of his own speech were straightforward and appropriate for managers of any kind. Make away with egoism, and admire people you work with. But not too much.
The demand for quality assurance is already far beyond the web development sphere, and that means, the product quality matters more than its availability. In opinion of both Igor and Andrey, well-made conferences like SQA Days move the industry forward by educating people. In just a couple of days, you can gain experience of a few years. It is not about listening to lectures and taking notes, it is about discovering new ideas you wouldn’t come across anywhere else.