In the Test Estimation phase, you estimated that the Guru99 Bank project will be completed in one month. Say you need 5 members to do this project in one month. But your boss thinks differently.
Because the Team cannot be scaled in that way.Too many member in a Team creates a problem in Team Organization & Administration
You cannot simply scale a Team like the formula in the above scenario because :
- Managing a ten-member team is totally different from managing a five-member team. It may take you more effort to manage and control the Team & the project execution time may increase.
- If the number of members in a team increases, they can share project tasks to decrease the execution time. But sharing tasks with many people, which can be done by just one person, can affect the productivity.
Team Organization is one of the most complicated tasks in ‘Test Management’. The test team plays a very central role in any software project. A key trait of all successful test managers is organizing and managing a high-performance test team that provides business value to the organization.
What is a ‘Project Team’?
Project Team is a group of people who
They work together to achieve the overall objective of the project. Test Manager is a person who builds an effective Team and leads them to that success.
How to create a highly effective team?
Following traits are essential to build a highly effective team
- Strong cooperation - Cooperation is the act of working with others and acting together to accomplish a job. A talented team figures out ways to solve interpersonal issues and get work done. They are willing to support each other in work.
- Commitment - In a strong team, all members make the commitment to common project objectives. They care and take responsibility about their work, and the team’s work. Each member works with great effort, and others do the same.
- Effective communication - A key factor to successful performance of a team is communication. Members speak up and express their ideas clearly, honestly, logically so that they can understand each other.
- Sharing - In a Team, each member has his own strong and weak points. In a good team, members are willing to share information, knowledge and experience to skill up each other.
How to build and manage an effective Team?
This topic will give you step-by-step process to organize the Project Team for the Guru99 Bank project. To build and manage an effective Team, you should follow 3 steps as below -
Step 1) Develop Human Resource Plan
Human resource planning is a process that identifies current and future human resource needs for an organization. The purpose of human resource planning is to ensure the best fit between team members and projects & avoid the man power shortage or redundancy. This phase is divided into following 3 stages
Step 1.1) Demand Forecasting
In this step, Test Manager forecasts the overall human resource requirements in accordance with the different project plans.
You may have a question “How does the Test Manager shortlist the team position and their roles? ”
The team composition and size base on the characteristic and functionality of the project. If you understand what type of team you need, you will know how to shortlist the team position and their roles.
Because the characteristic of project Guru99 Bank is testing, you should create a Testing Team to do this project. The size of the team (the number of members in the project team) is based on the volume of the project activities and the complexity of the project.
Testing Team Structure
Normally, a Testing Team is composed of following members:
|Test Manager|| Manage the whole project |
Defines the project direction
|Tester|| Builds up the Test Cases |
Generate Test Suites
Execute the tests, Log results, Report the defect
|Developer in Test|| Creates program to test – code created by developers |
Creates test automation scripts
|Test Administrator|| Builds up and ensures Test Environment and assets are managed and maintained |
Support the team to use test environment for test execution
|SQA Members||Take in Charge of Quality Assurance|
As per this human resource plan, you need at least 5 members for your project team. Each member will take a different role in the project team, and they must have competencies corresponding to the role assigned to them.
If the project is complex and has a high volume, the project teams should grow in size and scale to meet the complexity. In such case, more than one person may take one role and fulfill their responsibility.
Step 1.2) Competency Evaluation
Member’s competencies are an important point that you should consider in resource planning. You have to match members with different competencies to the right task. It means to choose the suitable person for the job.
Consider the following scenario -
Suppose you assign a member a developer as a tester in the project Team. His task is to execute the test cases and report the defects to the Test Manager. This task must be completed in one week. But the result is:
You assigned him to the wrong task. He is a developer, his skill is programming, not testing. Matching member to wrong skill can cause the task to fail, and delay the project.
To avoid this mistake, before assigning members to any task, the Test Manager has to consider many factors:
- The skill required of members to complete different project tasks.
- Team member skills and abilities must be measured against the project mission and project goal. If the available people lack necessary competencies, the Test Manager should plan how to skill them up.
Step 1.3) Skill up planning
- Identify the gaps: In some cases, there’re gaps between the member’s competencies and the project skill demand. Its responsibility of Test Manager to identify which skills the members lack to create an appropriate training plan for them. For example, in the previous scenario, team member lacks testing skill and is a gap which Test Manager identified.
- Training & Assessment: Human Resource planning will include a consideration of how existing members may be trained and developed to achieve the skills and required competencies. The training plan should be created and applied right after identifying the gap. In the above example, this member should be trained the testing skill in order to take in charge the testing task.
- Evaluation: The training programs are monitored and evaluated frequently to ensure they are effective. This program could be changed if needed.
For example, in the above case, Manager needs to evaluate the training progress of the developer. If the developer is finding it difficult to pick up testing, the manager could consider an alternative training method or consider replacing him.
Step 2) Build the Project Team
After you finish developing human resource plan, it’s time to build your project team.
How can I build a successful team? There’re 4 items are important to help to build an effective team
Step 2.1) Team Mission
The first thing, which the Test Manager has to do, is sharing the team mission with the other members. Creating a mission statement requires team members to think about, discuss and come to agreement
For example, the mission for the Guru99 Bank project is to test the net banking facility of the esteemed “Guru99 Bank”. As a Test Manager, you have to share this mission with your team members, show them the importance of the mission in business activity.
Step 2.2) Team Responsibility
What happen if team members don’t know what their role is and what they should do in the project?
It's very important in a team environment that team members know what is expected of each of them.
In the project Guru99 Bank, you can hold the team meeting. In the meeting, you have to:
- Make it clear who is in charge and what you expect from your team
- Make sure everyone is clear about his role and responsibilities. These roles have already defined in Step 1.1
Step 2.3) Team Rules
Team rules are guidelines for the ways they will work together. Teams don't need a lot of rules to work together well, but everyone on the team should agree to the rules and share responsibility for ensuring that they are followed
You can refer some sample of team rules as following
Step 2.4) Team Motivation
Team work without motivation look like a body without a soul. As Test Manager of a Guru99 project, it is up to you to consistently motivate your team every day.
If you have a motivated team, it will improve your project quality and productivity. You will create a good working environment that empower your member.
If you want to know how to motivate your team, take a look at the People Skill article.
Step 3) Manage Project Team
Managing a Team is a very challenging task for Test Manager. You'll be dealing with different personalities and working styles. The primary goal of a good manager is to get everyone focused, make sure everyone is communicating and keep the project on track.
The following figure shows up the important role of Test Manager. Let’s imagine team members are many zero but without a leader, they’re still zero. But having a Manager, they can be combined and become a big number.
There’re 3 ways to manage a Team as the following figure:
Setting Team Target
Test Manager must let the members know what they are working for. You have to define the team targets that all members should know and agree. In the project Guru99 Bank, the team target is “test the net banking facility of the Guru99 Bank"
Team targets should be designed and break into the specified task.
Team observation means:
- Monitoring the team member performance
- Understanding what they are doing and result of their work.
Observation helps the Test Manager to check the effectiveness of team member’s work, the project progress, early detection of issues.
A project team, where people with different personality and working styles work together, conflict are bound to happen. People have different viewpoints and under the right set of circumstances, those differences escalate to conflict. The role of Test Manager is to handle that conflict.
Let’s practice with an example
During the project Guru99 banking on the progress, you ask all the team members to update project progress & here is their response.
Ignore this conflict
Blame someone for this issue
Resolve the conflict as soon as possible
There’s some recommended activity, which you can refer, to resolve such conflict
- Hold a team meeting to make the members acknowledge the project situation
- Let the members understand the importance of cooperation in the project
- Ask them to cooperate to resolve the conflict
The most important thing throughout the resolving process is to keep communications open for everyone. The people involved need to talk about the conflict and discuss their strong feelings.
Conflict can be detected and dealt directly and quickly. By respecting differences between people, being able to resolve conflict when it happens, and also working to prevent it, you will be able to maintain a healthy and creative team atmosphere.