Thursday, 13 November 2014

What is your mission?

Problem: Expectations vs. test team not aligned with the test team’s mission.
Do you know what your team’s mission is? Has this been aligned with expectations in the project and the customer? It is not unlikely that your answer is no and no, suggesting that there is a misalignment between your teams goals and the expectations of the project or maybe even the customer’s expectations
Solution: Make and communicate your team’s mission statement.
First step is to write a mission statement for the test team in the project. Do not confuse this with the mission statement that might exist for the testing services or QA department in general, this one needs to be for the project test team. There are numerous good guides to writing a mission statement – Google will help you with that.
Here are some bullets for inspiration when looking for your mission statement:
·         Find defects
·         Block premature product releases
·         Help customer make go/no-go decisions
·         Minimize technical support costs
·         Assess conformance to specification
·         Conform to regulations
·         Minimize safety-related risk
·         Find safe scenarios for use of the product
·         Assess and/or assure quality
·         Verify correctness of the product
Then it is time to starting communicating it. Start with the stakeholders closest to you, project management etc. and ensure that you at some point show it to the customer, and have a nice discussion on expectations to the outcome of the work being done by the test team. The mission statement is the means for a constructive dialogue on expectations and once you have come to an agreement with your peers it will give your team a clear purpose.
Print the mission statement and stick it on the wall – Make sure that it is catches the eye of those passing by, as it will lure them over for a chat about expectations and purpose. This will ensure that you are reminded about your purpose, and get a chance to reflect on the mission statement every now and then – Like plans, your mission statement might need revision in case expectations, stakeholders or deliveries change.
Happy testing!

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