Are you enabling your testers to be Pro-Active?

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We often hear about testers or for that matter an employee in any discipline, being asked to be “proactive” in his/her roles. As I sit down to ponder more on this, I strongly believe that an organization has a fair share to take on, in empowering its employees to be proactive. The organization has to create the right set of opportunities to empower its employees, which motivate them and keep them challenged enough. Such practices will build a strong bond between the employer and the employees, keep down attrition levels, create ample internal and practical learning opportunities, provide more flexibility in training schedules and costs creating a WIN:WIN situation for everyone involved. Here are some practices that can be tried to create such an empowered internal environment:

1. Build in time for exploratory testing within and outside one’s own project
2. Conduct quarterly technical talks, brown bags, show and tell sessions
3. Create reverse mentoring scenarios
4. Shuffle testers between projects drawing a balance between not randomizing them and losing domain knowledge yet not locking them to just one assignment
5. Adequately representing them in external conferences
6. Conducting internal technical conferences at least once a year
7. Management leading by example and discussing such scenarios in team meetings
8. Take a close look at internal trainings to understand their value-add. Often times, there are “no shows” in training sessions not just because testers are busy in their project assignments, but more importantly because they do not see the value in such sessions
9. Give testers a break between projects at least once a year and help them focus on self and group learning

This list is definitely not an exhaustive one and it need not be one. All that is needed is choosing a set that is practically possible to implement within a company’s time, cost and project constraints with the ultimate goal of “Enabling your Testers to be Pro-Active”

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