Thursday, April 15, 2010

How to be a software testing expert in your company?

You know how it is if you work in a company with multiple software testers. The management's perception differs for different members of the software testing team. A few people are held in high regard. They are the ones who are first introduced to new or existing clients. Their names come up first when the membership of a new project is discussed. Then there are others, who despite having good knowledge and a respectable experience are seemingly always sitting on the sidelines.

Use the following tips and lift your image in your company. You can find all these tips and much more in the video, How to become Software Testing Expert in your team or company.

1. Update the list of your skills.
You learn new skills all the time while working in your project. Instead of waiting for the company performance evaluation/ appraisal exercise, make a list of the new skills that you have acquired. Submit the list of your skills to be updated in your company's records.

2. Participate in meetings actively.
You probably attend a number of project meetings/ division meetings or company meetings. Participate actively in these meetings. You may start by preparing questions for the meeting and then raising them in the meeting. If you are comfortable, you may provide informed comments to the topic of discussion in your meeting.

3. Ask your client/ manager to recommend you.
There may be occasions when your client or your manager is very happy with the work done by you. You should ask to be recommended but do it tactfully. If you receive a written recommendation for your good work, you can share it with others and also keep it for future reference.

4. If possible, try to get into a high visibility project.
We know that of all the projects being executed, a few projects are more important (e.g. in terms of size, cost, duration, returns or prestige). Naturally, the important projects (and the team members working in it) are monitored closely and more often.

5. Create generic assets in your project.
You create a number of assets (e.g. documents, templates, processes, procedures and utilities) in your project. Instead of creating an asset just for your project, you may create a generic one with a little more effort. The advantage of creating a generic asset is that it may be used in other projects (of course, with the permission of the owner of this intellectual property).

6. Learn and try to solve a few problems in other projects.
If you know about any urgent problems in another projects and are able to invest the time to help solve them, just go ahead.

7. Keep an eye on the upcoming projects.
If you come to know about the projects in the pipeline, you may be able to get the information to prepare yourself for the same. Company meetings and the office grapevine are some ways to get information on the upcoming projects. If an upcoming project and your skill set match, ensure that the relevant resource manager knows about this match.

8. If possible, get on site experience.
Working directly at the client's site is a great way to know about the client's business, their processes, their working culture and to develop personal rapport with the client's personnel. If you have a successful on site experience, do not be surprised if the client asks for you by name for the next project.

9. Develop rapport with the other managers in your company.
You probably already share a rapport with the manager you report into. Introduce yourself to the other managers in your company. Let them know about your experience, knowledge and skills. A good way to do this is to talk to them after-hours (when things are not so hectic).

10. Write in your company's newsletter.
If your company runs a newsletter, they probably keep looking for contributors for every issue. You may research and write a piece on software testing.

The above tips may require a little more effort from your side or may require you to change your approach slightly. However, they can be very effective in changing how you are perceived in your company and in elevating your image.