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January 12, 2018

4 Reasons Why Software Testers Struggle (and How to Fix Them)

Test Management

If test case management is consuming too much time or if more bugs are crawling out of your products and onto customers than usual, it may be time to examine the working conditions of your testers and find a solution. Here are four common scenarios that put testers (and teams and products) to the test.


1. Mix of Veteran and Novice Testers

Your team is growing. You’re delighted. You’re hiring more help, but don’t have the budget for a dream team of senior testers. So you currently have a mix of veterans, who are deeply familiar with the process, and novices, who aren’t. In fact, some may be new to software testing altogether.

Ideally, veterans mentor the novices and bring them up to speed as quickly as possible. But if the team is large, or things are moving fast, that critical knowledge transfer might not be happening as it should — or at all.

This scenario is tough for veteran testers because, whether training or compensating for the new staff, they’re doing double-duty. It’s hard on novices who want to help, but can’t help but slow the process. It’s hard on you — and on the product.

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2. High Staff-Turnover Rate

Perhaps your team isn’t growing — it’s churning. Whether due to the cyclical nature of your product or other reasons, it all reduces to a single challenging question: How can you hold product quality above the bustle of incoming and outgoing staff?

Your replacement testers swoosh in through the revolving door and, lacking the visibility or insights into requirements they’ve been assigned, deliver their work the best they can under the circumstances before swooshing back out. 

When they leave, what work they’ve done is picked up and resumed by another tester. The knowledge that isn’t entirely lost is partially misinterpreted, then wholly misunderstood.

In the end, it’s a challenging scenario for incoming testers who want to do great work. And for you, who still needs to make sure all tests are run and issues reported and addressed. Because your customers are unconcerned with your turnover challenges, they just want their product to work perfectly.


3. Many Outsourced/Offshore Team Members

Despite how networked the world is, collaborating over time and space can be challenging. Co-location is just not feasible for every team. Knowledge transfer issues, similar to those detailed in points one and two above, can occur as a result. Outsourced or offshore testers can have difficulty overcoming this gap. Testing (and morale) can suffer as a result.


4. Tools Not Built for Regulated Industry

If you work in a heavily regulated industry — like medical devices — you have the added responsibility of documenting compliance and passing audits.

You can achieve this, at a basic level, with a pen and paper or spreadsheet software.

But not without pain.

Getting everyone to update the same spreadsheet, piece of paper, or even a shared whiteboard is a job by itself.

Creating a traceability matrix? It takes hours or even days.

No tester entered the industry because they enjoyed chasing down and updating spreadsheets. Truer still, you and your team are doing data entry when you could be using that time by conducting more tests!


One Way to Fix These Issues? Modern Test Management Tools

Whether your testing team is large or small, a modern testing tool can address many of these issues, while improving schedule predictability, increasing product quality, increasing job satisfaction, lowering development costs, and shortening delivery cadences.

It's time for your team to succeed at test management. Learn how. 

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