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Articles

Customer-Focused Verbs

When building successful relationships with your customers, certain verbs such as "to respond," "to listen," and "to involve" are important and should be used. But this column is about another common place verb that's not at all customer focused: "to get." Naomi doesn't mean "to get a 50% raise for completing the project on time" or "to get a week off for creating a brilliant test plan." No, she means, "to get customers to do things your way." Learn how simple verb replacement therapy can help you build better relationships with the customer.

Naomi Karten's picture Naomi Karten
Detecting Great Testers before the In-Person Interview

Resumes only tell a portion of a candidate's story just like caller ID doesn't always reveal the caller's complete identity. Screening candidates over the phone can help extract more of the person's story if you ask the right questions. In this column, Johanna Rothman shares phone-screening techniques she uses to detect great potential testers. This process of elimination saves her valuable time and ensures only qualified candidates make it to the in-person interview.

Johanna Rothman's picture Johanna Rothman
Keeping Secrets

Test data has long been a challenge for testing; privacy legislation, identify theft, and the continued trend towards outsourcing has made it even worse. Just establishing and maintaining a comprehensive test environment can take half or more of all testing time and effort. In this column, Linda Hayes adds in the new and expanding privacy laws that inevitably limit your testing options. Yet from the quagmire of laws and company standards, better testing can emerge.

Linda Hayes's picture Linda Hayes
Thinking Inside the Box

The problem with urging outside-the-box thinking is that many of us do a less-than-stellar job of thinking inside the box. We often fail to realize the options and opportunities that are blatantly visible inside the box that could dramatically improve our chances of success. In this column, Naomi Karten points out how we fall victim to familiar traps, such as doing things the same old (ineffective) way or discounting colleague and teammate ideas. Thinking outside of the box can generate innovative and ingenious ideas and outcomes, but the results will flop when teammates ignore the ideas inside the box.

Naomi Karten's picture Naomi Karten
Talk Talk Talk

Managers need to talk about goals, strategy, and mission. Managers need to talk about how daily work keeps the business humming. Esther writes about how important it is for managers to also ask questions and listen.

Esther Derby's picture Esther Derby
Building Better Test Teams

Mustering the best project or test team is key to any project's success. In this column, Johanna Rothman explains her interviewing techniques to help you find the perfect candidate. Find out if your candidates are qualified before they become part of your team. Johanna's methods cover six typical questions that will help you build a better test team.

Johanna Rothman's picture Johanna Rothman
Communicating the Big Picture

Do you know how your work affects the bottom line? Esther Derby explains that taking more time to communicate company strategy to everyone on your team is an investment, which will save you time in the future. When people can connect the dots from their job to company success, they'll be better equipped to make decisions and set priorities.

Esther Derby's picture Esther Derby
How to Energize Your Test Team

You're waist deep in your third month of late nights, weekends, and shipping stress; you can see and feel your team's energy waning. The goal is in sight but still far off, and you need the very best from everyone to reach the goal. How are you going to motivate and energize your team to reach the finish line? This article explores the major issues test team leaders face: keeping a team motivated and knowing when it needs to be energized.

Jamie Tischart's picture Jamie Tischart
Watching Testers in Action

Why wait to see your candidate work? Implement an audition into the interviewing process and add dimension to your candidate's resume. In this column, Johanna Rothman discusses how you can increase the effectiveness of an interview by implementing a well-planned audition. Whether this audition takes place over the phone or in person, you'll gather a richer perspective of the candidate's capabilities and how easily the applicant can adapt to your working environment. Put your candidate's words to the test; the results of an audition may break the tie between two superb applicants.

Johanna Rothman's picture Johanna Rothman
Win-Win Delegation

If you're a manager, you probably know what it's like to have more work than you can possibly do. However, it's unlikely you'll receive approval to hire another "you." How can you free up some time to focus on the strategic work of management? You may have an untapped resource in your group. Take a look at the career aspirations of your staff: Does anyone want to move up to be a team lead or manager? Delegating a defined chunk of management work can give someone the chance to try on a new role and learn a new skill.

Esther Derby's picture Esther Derby

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