to one project for the entire duration of the project. He had to take the heat for Sally's lack of availability for those quick projects, but he decided Sally's talents were wasted, flitting from project to project.
Sally learned about the product internals on that project, and did such a good job testing, the project finished a few days early. Sally's testing helped the developers find problems so much earlier in the project that they were able to avoid much of the rework they'd expected. At the end of the project, Sally and the developers gave a presentation to the rest of the development and testing teams, explaining the product's design and how Sally designed the tests. The other developers and testers were able to build on Sally's experience and apply some of her techniques to their projects.
Assign Testers for the Entire Project
If you're a test manager, work to place your staff on projects for the entire duration of the project. At the beginning, they can assess the testability of the requirements, design tests for test-first development, test the schedule, develop a test strategy, and start test planning (which area to develop tests for first, how to test). During the middle of the project, testers can create tests, use the product's architecture to design new tests, explore the product, and learn about the internals of the product. At the end of the project, the testers can test, and think about when other techniques will help find more problems as they test.
Testers want to improve their performance as much as their managers do. So focus on the high-return improvements: learning new techniques to test and using the product to focus the testing. Everyone will thank you.
Acknowledgements: I thank Dale Emery, Elisabeth Hendrickson, and Steve Smith for their thoughtful reviews.