Let’s say, for example, that in the company where you work, as a software tester, there are some middle QAs who want to develop further (or, you want to accelerate your personal career growth). What should your team lead do to help them become first-class seniors?
Below are practical tips on how to properly grow senior QA within the product team and what challenges this entails.
Working with a Mentor
When it comes to growth from junior to middle positions, the emphasis is mainly on improving hard skills. But the move from the middle and above is associated with the development of soft skills, as well as technological improvement.
It’s very difficult to grow from a middle to a senior-level position, and sometimes you cannot go far on your own. The QA consultant (mentor) can help with this: he can be either an experienced senior or the team lead of the department.
Focusing on the Problem Instead of the Solution
Usually, tasks for middle QA have a detailed solution described: to do this, you should do the following… and so on. If a junior tester wants to grow to a middle position, he has to get the task only. Thus, there will be a chance to think it over and come up with a solution.
Alternatively, you can analyze the task together, and ask the tester what solutions he used and why.
Encouraging Sharing Tasks
You can try to develop the skills of the trained specialists by helping other QAs. For example, to begin with, send those who need help to a candidate for the position of senior QA. And then, ask him to help without waiting for your intervention – let him take the initiative help to other colleagues.
Growing Area of Responsibility
Ideally, you have to direct the trainee’s thinking towards the understanding of how the task he performs can affect the product being tested, or what risks missed defects can bring. It is worth talking about the product metrics – which one exists, which ones are used to evaluate a business, and what they exactly influence. So that the QA specialist understands that in addition to the technical aspects and logic, there is also a way how the product “earns” money.
Ability to Analyze and Take Criticism Seriously
A tester who can analyze his work will not only improve his skills but also become an example for other employees.
In particular, it is worth thinking about the time during which a person can analyze the mistakes made and search for problem situations. As an option, a software testing company can allocate a few hours in the work schedule for a thematic meeting to work on mistakes.
Gradually Reduce the Control
As long as you have a specialist in the position of a middle QA, controlling what and how he tests, and how he builds the right priorities is your main task as a team lead. But with growth to the position of a senior QA, you need to gradually loosen it. Control should be maintained only at the stage of the result analysis.
It is important that the trainee feels like a more independent person – this will help him to approach the work with greater personal responsibility. Try to reduce control based on the growth of the level of independence of middle QA. But if systematic errors occur, it is better to return control and try to get to the bottom of the problem.
The steps above allow you to grow and develop skills. You need to take the courage to take on difficult tasks, take the initiative, get to the bottom of the problems, be proactive, and try to do everyday work only perfectly.