the reluctant tester

Perpetual learner of the craft of Software Testing,Servant Leadership and creating better Teams

Discovery checklist – Navigating the initial obscurity of client engagements

QA/Testing consultants are typically expected to “hit the ground running”.

As a QA/Testing consultant where do you start in terms of understanding the Client’s current Testing/QA practices ? and the context under which their Projects are run/Products are delivered ?

Below is a checklist of prompts that I use to facilitate initial “discovery” phase of client engagements (which typically leads to formation of a Test Strategy or a ways of Testing “charter” or a Testing/QA process improvement backlog)

This checklist also lends a lean & flexible structure to my initial interviews and workshops with clients .

However, this isn’t an exhaustive and/or static list,rather a WIP that I tend to refine post each client engagement.

Step 1 – Discover Product/Project context

Objective –

Understand the Scope,Quality risk profile and Business context of the Project , for which you will be implementing or improving Testing/QA practices

  • I want to understand your Product/System’s tech stack & architecture and understand what is being delivered/changed?
  • I want to visualise your end to end delivery process ( from idea to deployment) ?
  • How do you currently measure Quality and Test coverage across this delivery process ?
  • What is the scope of change ? Just BAU bug fixes , new Project with no precedent , a new version with a new feature set ? Define the scope of change and the risk profile associated with the changes?
  • What is going to be implemented , in what order , by whom ( internal/vendor/mix) ? What are the dependencies , how are they going to be resolved ? Who owns which dependency ?
  • What is the business ( $ / Customer impact) significance of the deliverable / change ?
  • What are the ways of working in the Project/Product Team ? How is the backlog managed, how is the work tracked , how are issues triaged , how are impediments resolved ?
  • Categorise deliverables/changes/risks as per Quality Risk and Business significance e.g. using a 2X2 matrix below

Step 2 to n* – Discover QA/Testing practices required to meet the Product/Project context from Step 1

*These are usually one or more mini-workshop topics

Objective –

What are the most effective & efficient Testing/QA practices that need to be applied in this context?

  • How do we facilitate Test Planning and strategy creation for new Projects?
  • How do we determine what to automate vs not ? At what level in the stack?
  • How do we know Testing is done ? How will we measure it ?
  • How do we devise training plans for Testers in the Team/Org ?
  • Which Testing skills do we need to hire for ?
  • How do we involve Testers early & often in decision making (Business & Technical ) ?
  • How do we establish a process to improve testability of user-stories ?
  • How do we measure Testability of the Product architecture ?
  • How do we securely generate and manage Test data ?
  • How do we facilitate choice of Testing tools across Teams(s) ,to avoid silos ?
  • How do we ensure that Testing artefacts are tightly integrated within Deployment pipelines ?
  • How do we facilitate choice of Testing coverage metrics across Teams ?
  • How do we orchestrate Testing effort across multiple Delivery Teams & with Business Users?
  • How can we safely test in Prod ?
  • How do we determine which test environments are required ? What will be the specs & technical set up of those environments ?
  • How do we bring thought leadership to aid of the internal Testing/QA community ?
  • How to continuously reflect and improve ways of Testing ?
  • Which domain/subject matter knowledge is required to effectively validate customer requirements ?
  • How do we grow that domain knowledge within Testers vs. how much do we rely on SME expertise ?
  • How do we accrue knowledge of customer processes & use-case and incorporate those in our Testing regime ?
  • How do we build organisational relationships so that the right SMEs can be pulled into plug domain knowledge gaps ?
  • How do we apply latest business domain trends and standards to inform testing coverage and uncover quality risks ?

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About Me

I’m Sunjeet Khokhar

An experienced People Leader,Practice Lead  and Test Manager .

I am driven by the success of people around me, am a keen student of organisational behaviour and firmly believe that we can be better craftspeople by being better humans first.

CoNNECT with Me

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