11 Ways To Manage Distributed Testing Teams Effectively

What Are The Challenges Involved in Distributed Testing Teams?

Before I share the tips to manage distributed testing teams, let’s start with certain challenges you might face while making the switch to managing distributed testing teams.

Balancing The Workloads Of Team Members

A major challenge while managing distributed testing teams, is distributing tasks to team members. One team member might be swamped with work, while another has a lot of free time in their bandwidth. It’s better to keep a track of all the tasks performed by team members. So that the workload might be balanced, while ensuring better efficiency and low burnout.

Continuous Collaboration Between Team Members

While performing testing it is of paramount importance to know what features the team is performing tests on, so that there is no overlap between the work. But with distributed teams this challenge increases, due to lack of constant communication between team members and team leads. Collaboration should not just be within the testing teams, but also with the developer team as well.

Supervising The Progress Of Your Testing Strategy

With distributed testing teams, it becomes a big challenge to make sure that the entire team is on the same page and working towards the same goal. This is why it becomes vital to ensure that your test strategy is being carried out as you had envisioned.

Quieter Members Tend To Hideaway

Not every team member is vocal in team meetings, some tend to keep a low profile, letting the more vocal team members take the lead. But it is important that they contribute as well, this can be done by directing specific questions at them during the sessions to keep them involved.

Handling Different Time Zones

A lot of testing teams have to collaborate with stakeholders present in different time zones. So we need to make sure that the team manages their time accordingly and communicate the same to the team in order to avoid any confusion.

Tips to Manage Distributed Testing Teams

One of the best things to manage your distributed testing teams is to build a team culture that focuses on the needs and skills of your team members and implements processes that help you manage them better. Some of the valuable tips that you can follow in order to achieve your goals are:

1. Foster Constant Communication

While working in an office, employees constantly communicate with other team members. For instance, they can talk during regular meetings, while having coffee at the pantry, or via Slack. But, with distributed teams, constant communication becomes a challenge. So, as a team leader, it’s your responsibility to make sure that the team is able to communicate seamlessly.

  • Encourage your team to use Skype on the phone as well, rather than relying on email, as every employee has access to their phones most of the time, even when they are not using their desktop.
  • Utilise communication tools like Slack, Skype, Microsoft Teams, FaceTime, to help establish constant communication with the team in a more accessible and cheaper way.

2. Utilising Cloud Selenium Grid For Test Automation

By moving to a distributed testing environment, we lose any access to any in house device farms and local Selenium Grid. Every remote tester would need to set up their own local infrastructure. With a local Selenium Grid, you can not cover all the major OS and browser versions.

3. Daily and Weekly Standups

As I’ve mentioned in the previous point that constant communication is important for any team to perform efficiently. But even this communication needs to have a structure to make sure they are providing any value. Endless meetings without any agenda can kill productivity and take an ample amount of time from your bandwidth.

4. Inform Employees About Their Tasks As Well As Others

If you are handling a large team, then it is not feasible to address everyone separately about the tasks. So, what you can do is arrange a video conference or group chat every morning to ask employees about their day-to-day tasks.

5. Keeping Clear and Realistic Expectations

It’s easy to misinterpret a message or an email while working remotely. Instructions can be misunderstood in the case of a distributed testing teams, this often results in confusion and disrupts the workflow. This is why it is important that the team is informed about any task or deadlines clearly with agreement on the same.

6. Trust Your Team, But Check In From Time to Time

Even though just because you’re sharing an office with the team doesn’t mean the better productivity of your team, but it’s always easy to keep track on what tasks are being done.

7. Agree on Time Boundaries

It’s hard to achieve work-life balance when you are working from home all the time. As you might lose the track of when the work starts or when it ends. And, not all of us have a home office, and you might even use the same laptop for work and personal use, making it even more difficult to disconnect when you’re done with work. To counter this, it is important that you establish time boundaries.

8. Offer Self-Sufficiency

If you are using agile testing methodologies, then providing autonomy to team members could bring your test management to the next level. Earlier, it was not feasible with the traditional Waterfall setups, as teams required continuous management oversight to ensure that everything is happening as expected.

9. Know Your Team Members Personally

In order to maintain a flawless work culture, even for distributed testing teams, it is crucial to know your employees personally. Though it is not possible to meet your distributed testing team on a daily basis, you can still schedule a trip to meet your team members in person. Doing so will help your team members realize that you really care about them, and you appreciate their working efforts.

10. Ensure That All The Teams Are Informed About The Project Details

When working with multiple teams, there is always one or more teams that have a small or no role in the testing process, and they might feel disconnected if you don’t share 100% details of the project with them. Thus, it’s crucial to inform all your teams about the testing project that is currently under progress.

  • Arrange weekly video conferences with other teams that are not linked to the development like marketing, finance, and sales teams to inform them about the project details and progress.

11. Use A Testing Platform To Manage Your Testing Efforts

One of the crucial things to make your employees work together is to offer them a single testing platform, which allows them to communicate as well as work. However, choosing a test management platform is not that simple; there are a number of things to look after, such as:

  • The platform should be customizable so that all the team members can work in a similar fashion
  • The information shared on the platform should be accessible to all the distributed testing team members so that they can use it according to their needs

All In All

Managing distributed testing teams in the time of this pandemic has become a major challenge for businesses. Team leaders and managers are looking for effective strategies that can help them organize and monitor their teams effectively.

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