How to Keep and Motivate Your QA Team Without Increasing Your Budget

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Summary:

Have you ever heard someone say, "Anybody can do QA" or "A QA engineer is really a wannabe developer"? If you have, you should read on. This article exposes the top five QA myths, reason why the myths are wrong, and give you some specific follow-up action items to boost morale and keep your QA team motivated.

So you went through the process of pre-scanning CVs, reading long and longer resumes, interviewing and more interviewing, meeting, deciding, and finally hiring your team of QA professional engineers. Congratulations! Now, you can sit and “relax”, right? Wrong!

There are a few things for you to consider in today's market. The job market is against you, and looking favorable for your QA Engineers. Let me give you a couple of examples. I just checked some online job boards and there are 607 QA jobs in Boston on Monster, 150 in NYC according to Dice, and 400 openings in San Francisco as per Linkedin, even as off-shoring projects continue to take off. What does this means for you? Well, if I can easily see so many opportunities out there, so can your team. And as a manager you should be aware that employees usually leave a manager, not a company. So the first thing to think about is...Are you being a good manager? And by good I really mean things like: are you coaching your team while empowering your team members? Are you working with them to plan their professional growth? Are you truly showing deep appreciation for their hard work? Are you letting your team balance work and family life via flexible schedules?

Asking yourself these questions are (or should be) "standard" management philosophy, but as a QA Manager or as a QA Director, there is an additional factor that you should consider. Job satisfaction among QA professionals has been traditionally low when compared with their development peers and with those in other departments. Why? External misconceptions that are out there such as "anybody can do QA", "hire some out of school kids to test our applications", or “QA folks are in reality 'developer wannabees', can really have an impact on your team's morale. Well, I am quite sure that you have heard those comments or stereotypes before…and guess what, so have your QA members. Hmm, no wonder that sometimes QA teams seem de-motivated, discouraged or disengaged. Who wouldn't be?

The rest of this article will take a closer look at some common QA miss-perceptions, reason why they are wrong, and gives you some specific follow-up action items that you could act upon to keep and maintain a motivated staff. I would also recommend checking out QAZone by Empirix–an online community dedicated to fostering communication and collaboration among QA & IT professionals around the world–for additional information and resources around QA-centric topics.

Myth #1: Anybody can do QA
Wrong. Testing is a skilled activity that requires the ability to think, explore and follow logic while questioning and reasoning at the same time. It is based on the philosophy of performing a technical investigation of a product, to provide information and report back to various stakeholders throughout the organization. And to achieve the end result of communicating back your findings, you will need to use various types of infrastructure and experimentation, logic, models, mathematical probabilities and supporting tools to build the appropriate Test Case scenarios. And don’t forget that QA teams usually have very limited product documentation (if any), and have to work in a very time-constrained schedule. Sorry, you just can’t take anybody off the street to do QA. It takes a skilled, intelligent professional who understands the needs of the organization and is ready for the task!

Myth #2: Any out of school kid can test our applications
Wrong. Your applications are a critical company asset. Depending on the nature of your business, direct profit and revenue can be impacted if an application goes down or performs poorly. And

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About the author

Marina Gil-Santamaria's picture Marina Gil-Santamaria

Marina Gil-Santamaria is the Web community manager for Empirix's Web BU, where she manages and evangelizes all services and tools associated with QAZone, Empirix's new online community dedicated to fostering communication and collaboration among QA & IT professionals. During the last ten years Marina has held positions in product management, development, QA, and services organizations at CA, Wily, and Empirix. Marina holds an MS in electrical engineering from the Universidad Politecnica de Madrid, Spain.

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