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
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
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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