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Let Your Team Enter the World of Full Stack Testing

Let Your Team Enter the World of Full Stack Testing

Many teams aim only to have a bug free system. Seldom do they believe in delivering true quality. Rarely do they realize that skipping non-functional testing like performance and security testing could lead to the breach of your product quality. Many teams still do not understand the importance of Continuous Integration or Continuous testing. Let us discuss how you could pour the passion into your team to look in all accepts of quality. Move into Full Stack Testing. Build up a team that values the essence of quality is a culture rather than focusing alone on reporting bugs.

Let us discuss ways on making your team walk in the path of Full Stack Testing so that the team knows their vision and the mission 🎯 The team should move into a position where any member of the team can understand the testing requirements of the application and execute them. Drive the entire quality team to understand the skills that each of them possesses. There are several skills to assure Quality: Testing, Test Automation, Performance, etc. Generally, there are teams specialized in each of these areas executing each of these test types. Here we need to be able to pick anyone from the quality team to be able to cover any of the above test types. Every transformation to the Full Stack Testing story begins with the realization that the current setup isn’t working. This does not only require technical skillset change but a culture change.

Full-stack quality engineers (QE) are individuals capable of working on all aspects of quality across all the application’s layers, using different testing methods. They will think about the many different aspects of product quality, such as functionality, usability, performance, security, and will also be familiar with test automation strategies and technologies. The full-stack QE will have a rich mix of domain knowledge, technical skills, and testing expertise. This is the trend that quality engineering is flowing into today, and we shall discuss on how to get there 🚘

Continuous introduction of new methodologies and technologies makes it a necessity for a corresponding change in the Quality Engineering strategy. To meet the demanded pace and quality requirements of the end-user in today’s world, quality engineers are transforming to adapt to the industry changes.

Build your Test Team into a Full Stack Quality Engineer Team

Creating a team of full-stack test engineers requires mastering a lot of skills, which may be challenging for many team members to acquire in a short time. Most of the time a team would not comprise of all members being full-stack test engineers. My suggestion is to start with building a full-stack test team first, where the team has the capabilities to handle any task, such as automation, end-to-end functional testing, performance testing, security testing, and so on, collectively.

The stages of building up a full stack testing team from the beginning are as follows:

1. 🏡 Clean the mess in the house: First of all, clean up the existing mess, if any, in your current testing process. The process should be created in such a way that a feature should be completely tested in all aspects that would affect the user-experience before is considered to be ‘complete’. Precise checklists should be created in order to help test engineers discuss the types of quality effects around the feature being developed. This would lay the initial foundation stone for the test engineer to create the full-stack test strategy for the feature. It would be advisable to include the software architects and lead developers when creating this process, so that the test lead can have a standard list of things to look out for in terms of quality. Aim for goodness, not perfection. Derive test plan templates based on the initial experience and continue to gradually update them as the team learns how they could do things better.

2. 🌟 Start small and aim big: Do not expect everything to fall in place immediately. Therefore, select very basic features to start with going full-stack during the sprint testing. Discussing every minute thing of the feature construction would help the test team to test full-stack and deliver it as development ‘complete’ successfully. Therefore, initial practice on basic features rather than complicated stories can help the test team mature on the process. This will prepare the test team to be able to face complicated features.

3. 🏋️‍♂️ Weigh out the best fits: Pick the tools for full-stack testing wisely (read more on criteria for selecting the right tool). Your pick will strongly depend on your requirements, the tech-stack you use in your company and how your daily workflow is handled. If you are thinking of integrating various different types of testing, get a platform that can handle most of it. Choose a framework that works well with the team skill sets and help train them to use it without any issues. The tools you choose are crucial, it can impact many factors like efficiency, adaptability and ability to get the maximum out of the benefits of full-stack testing. Those who are looking into moving to full stack testing eventually could pick tools like TestProject that facilitate to help with that process in whole, as it is a 100% free end-to-end test automation platform for web, mobile, and API testing, supporting all platforms.

4. 🙏 Have a believing team: Make your team believe in full-stack testing. Let them see the benefits that it could bring to them and the way they work. Have the ritual of creating proof of concepts to make your team believe in why it is beneficial. Every transformation to the Full-Stack Testing story begins with the realization that the current setup isn’t working. Full-stack is key to achieving speed across the pipeline. The commitment is necessary for it to work. Make them believe automation reduces manual errors, and bakes quality into every step of the process.

    • Assign good shepherds to lead the way: Assign leads or senior engineers who can lead the test team in believing and working towards full-stack testing. Let them guide the team, sketch out a meticulous game plan to incorporate the change. They should consider the company priority and project allocation when allocating resources and defining the process.
    • Get help from masters of one: The team needs support from the subject experts since they are going to start treading into new ground in terms of few/many types. They need to get the ideas from the masters of each quality check. If it is possible it is best to recruit someone who has such rare valuable skills, so that she/he could teach/train the team with testing types like maybe performance testing or security testing. Eventually, such candidates will grow into becoming full stack testing jack-of-all-trades and create them too 🃏
    • Full-stack testers are jacks-of-all-trades: The test team needs to be composed of jacks-of-all-trades in the software testing world. A person who has the basic knowledge in all the important quality checks conducted in an application. A jack-of-all-trade would carry the following pros for the growth of the team:
      • Diverse Skill Set: Usually, a person with several skills or a jacks-of-all-trades is widely misinterpreted because of the highly negative impact of the phrase. There’s a misconception that people who multitask, are quite likely to fail. However, a very important fact is ignored while criticizing such people, their versatility, and their diverse skill set. Full-stack testing is all about jacks-of-all-trades in software testing. Their diverse skill sets would be vital for the growth of the team.
      • Can Be a Blessing for Initializing Full-Stack: A test engineer with skill sets in most of the test types could be a great addition to a team that requires to take its move to full-stack testing. This can help the other teammates to work together to understand the process.
      • Adaptability and Flexibility: They could be added to various scrum teams to help the other teams to work towards full-stack testing their features at the initial stages. Acquiring a number of skills eventually makes them proficient enough to make complete use of every component of their skillset. The expansive knowledge base of such individuals makes them flexible and just as comfortable in doing manual functional testing as they would be load testing, processing test data.
      • Long-Term Learner: Being a jack of all trades, individuals don’t just learn one thing. They go through multiple learning processes of different levels of complexities. This definitely helps them gain the most important skill that any person can have – knowing how to learn. This can help the need to learn for full-stack testing immensely. Eventually, the team will grow.
      • Able to provide basic training to the rest of the team: A full-stack test engineer in the team can train the test team with a strong plan to go forward.
      • Great Fit for Leadership: A leader is always considered to have a lot of experience. A leader who knows almost every aspect of what they do (in this term full-stack testing) will have an edge over someone who rose through ranks doing only one job. They will be best to help show the way to full-stack testing.

5. ✅ No more working in silos: Quality checks do not have to depend on expert silo teams like the API test team or the performance testing team. Now all-important quality checks will be completed by the scrum test team before story/feature is marked as “complete”. Therefore, lesser issues will be found when it reaches the silo teams who will be at the end of the SDLC. The team now will be able to exchange roles within them, cover each other, help each other and work together on challenging tasks. This would lead to a more sophisticated full-stack test team.

6. 📝Continuous learning and scrutiny: Continuous learning is key to keep improving your full-stack testing practice and culture. Scrutinize from what is new out in the industry and learn and adhere to the approach that helps your team to grow.

Benefits of Full Stack Testing

The full-stack testing team would eventually be a versatile test team who would have gain immense knowledge and experience. This experience will help them troubleshoot an issue with the full-stack test mindset. They would be working not only on the functionality but also on other quality checks which would be an added benefit where quality checks being slipped or forgotten would not be much of a case anymore. Moreover, having them would help with timely delivery which would be budget-friendly. The full-stack testing team would be able to take complete ownership of the quality of the application.

Setbacks To Be Mindful Of

Full-stack testing has so many benefits and that is what many test teams are currently working towards today. However, there are certain things that we need to be mindful of to make sure that we get the right output. The time of the team should be managed precisely, and no training nor learning should affect productivity. There could be confusion on roles and responsibilities in the absence of certain team members. Those need to be clarified and communicated clearly. Finally, as new trends flow in, it could be difficult to keep up with them. However, it is best to delegate members to monitor trends on each aspect of quality so that the team can be aware of the latest and eventually scrutinized the current practices.

Good luck and Happy Full Stack Testing! 🚀

About the author

Christina Thalayasingam

Christina Thalayasingam has more than 7 years of experience in both functional and non-functional testing. She possesses a development background. Since she has worked on PHP Web Development and Android Mobile Development before taking up Quality Engineering. She has worked in automate testing content management systems for the UK government, point of sales applications, eCommerce applications, and clinical trial applications. She has worked on-site in the UK on projects with the UK government sector and major food supply chain management companies. Christina is currently working as a Test Engineering Manager at NorthWestern Mutual a Fortune100 Financial services company, where she is managing the testing effort for their Customer Experience Web Applications, which comprises of micro services and micro applications.  Also, she has been part of various prestigious conferences, technical meetups, and webinars. She is a software testing evangelist.


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