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Building Testing Competency

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Building a testing competency isn’t easy and doesn’t happen over a period of a month or so.. its a continuous approach and over a period of time it can be achieved. But how long the period will be nobody can say and cant set a definite target as well but yes certainly can put some plan in place and try to achieve the target.

While plan for building a testing competency there are so many things to which has to be taken care of and points listed below are more or less part of all types of plans.

  1. Scope
  2. Knowledge on Subject matter
  3. Resource
  4. Process
  5. Best Practices
  6. Proof Of Concepts
  7. Dependency
  8. Environment
  9. Tools
  10. Domain

Scope: while deciding the scope the first thing you need to look after is the which area or types of testing you need to start the competency. If you consider everything related to testing while starting then things will be very complex and building competency will be difficult if you are a single person. But if a team is working on building competency on different types of competency and at-least one person is concentrating on one type like regression competency, open source tool competency, performance competency etc then it can be achieved.

Knowledge on Subject matter : The person who is going to build and design the competency should be very strong in the subject matter of the competency. The basics of the subject matter should be very clear to him based on the process, technology, methodology, frameworks etc. If he is confused then he can never drive the team and make the basics clear for others and his client presentation can not be very effective.

Resource: This is one of the most important aspect since its the resource who is going to build with other resource. So the selection of the resource should be done properly. Not all testers can be part of this. Resource with good experience, strong understanding, ready to accept challenge and have more then basics knowledge of coding should be considered.

Process: The process should be defined and adhered to reach the target faster and effectively. Now when i say process it includes rules and regulations to be followed , documentations and its standards, checklists, reviews, audit standards etc.

Best Practices: The learning’s from previous projects or POC‘s , from previous companies and if you are part of some competency before those experiences count a lot and can be handy while building a new competency.

Proof Of Concepts : Doing POC’s is vital but starting the first POC is always a challenge. Deciding what aspects of the subject should be covered in the POC is very important.But if you have prior experience of POC or strong understanding and knowledge of the subject matter, will help you in doing this.

Dependency : The most important aspect for excelling the competency is reducing the redundancy. I have noticed the most of the competencies depending on a single resource and once the resource left the company the competency became unstable or unsuccessful. So reducing the dependency is a must.

Environment: Another aspect which is of prime importance. When I say environment I includes the hardware and software requirement. Because of the security reasons most of the companies don’t allow open source software or 3rd party softwares  to be downloaded. Since servers are costly availing those is not easy for the competency team. So companies have to be relax their rules a bit for the competency group, which needs lots of approval and it has its own challenges.

Tools: Availability of tools for the competency is very vital. Normally getting the paid tool is a challenge or installing open source tool is also a problem because of security issues. Even getting the supporting tools is also tough. I have always face challenges for tools.

Domain: Some customer values and prefer domain specific competency related to technology, like Automation testing competency for Heathcare domain . So they get the confidence that the company has done extensive study on how to handle automation related project for healthcare domain. So while doing POC’s those kind of things can be kep in mind  and case studies can be prepared based on that.

I believe these points are mandatory for building a testing competency. The points are not in chronological order. Please provide your inputs and correct me wherever i am wrong.

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  1. September 6, 2010 at 4:39 pm | #1

    Good article.

    Also, you need to have Senior Management push towards the competency. Without this, it will remain good on paper but not of much use in reality.

    Also, the other (existing) projects should be able to utilize the competency in the best possible way – that is the only way competency & projects will grow and benefit. Exchange mechanism is a necessary ingredient for success.

    • Biswajit Agarwal
      September 6, 2010 at 4:54 pm | #2

      I agree Madhu, without senior managements support and proper use of Competency like in existing projects competency cant be successful.

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