Your testers should be prized possessions at your organization — they are the advocates of quality who keep your brand aligned with stability, trust, and performance.
While you may not realize it, it’s also easy for them to feel undervalued for the work they do. But unless you want to go through the tedious task of hiring a new tester or forgoing a QA team altogether, it’s important to keep them happy.
It’s pretty simple as long as you value and respect your testers, but here are a few tips to support a culture they’ll never want to leave.
Give them the tools for success – Whether you’re Waterfall or Agile, fully manual or mostly automated, and iterating on a daily basis or a monthly basis, your testers depend on tools to help them effectively do their job. When you’re evaluating tools and frameworks, let your QA team have a say in the decision instead of pushing platforms that don’t work for them. Evaluate their strengths and needs during trialing — are they adept at Selenium, or will they benefit from a tool that has Record & Replay? Does the tool have integrations with the frameworks, plugins, and other tools they use on a regular basis? Asking these questions first means that testers will not only do their job better, they’ll also do it with satisfaction.
Provide professional development opportunities – When you have a limited QA team working next to other roles that have four times the number of people, it can make them feel like a small fish in a big pond. While the nature of the role means that they often only have a few other people on their team or may even be the sole tester, this doesn’t mean there aren’t opportunities for them to learn and grow from others in the industry. Encourage your team to attend software testing conferences, submit proposals, and attend other meetups that will allow them to network with others in their field. If you’re lucky, they’ll even bring some of these takeaways back with them and instill a learning culture to motivate better production practices.
Create an inclusive and collaborative work environment – Don’t make testers feel like the black sheep in your organization. Encourage them to speak up and share ideas. Testing isn’t just about breaking an application; an essential part of advocating for quality is actually using the details from their test sessions to impact change and provide insight about what’s working and what isn’t, whether that be in a sense of functionality or usability. Facilitate collaborative relationships with other roles so that testing isn’t something that done at the end of the development lifecycle. By creating open channels of communication between QA and the rest of the team, you’re also safeguarding the status of your application for release.
Recognize and reward – Testing is a humble job where a lot of vital work goes unrecognized. For many testers, the joy of finding a critical bug before deployment can be reward enough, but it’s also nice to get recognition once in a while. If you’re acknowledging the awesome features your developers are releasing, you should also be acknowledging the quality of the applications once they’re released. Make the effort to go out of your way and commend your QA team every once in a while — a little bit of appreciation goes a long way.
Don’t expect the world – Testers are often labeled the “gatekeepers of quality” but this is often an unfair assessment and expectation of their role. As much as they strive to catch every defect and test every part of the application, checking old code and exploring new features, it’s impossible to test every single scenario, and there will likely be a day that software is released and a bug slips by. Rather than pointing fingers at your QA team, realize that they have probably stopped hundreds more bugs in their tracks that you’ve never even known about
Finding a good software tester isn’t always an easy task when they’re so high in demand, which is why is imperative that you create an environment that fosters happy testing and retains top talent.
Keeping your star employees doesn’t have to be rocket science, but it does require effort. By considering your testers skills, strengths, and successes, you can earn the loyalty of QA team who will help ensure that you’re releasing software with confidence.