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Tips To Work If You Are the Only QA On the Team

Tips To Work If You Are the Only QA On the Team

We are used to some quality processes and activities that fit well when we work within a team, that is, when we have other QAs with us. However, life is not so simple when you are working as the only QA on the team 👩‍💻

In this article, I will present 8 tips on what you can do to ensure the quality of the activities you are doing and to be able to deliver what is expected by your team. But in this case, it’s composed only of you.

Main Issues with Being the Only QA On The Team

In the same way that many QAs work within a team where they can share software quality knowledge, many QAs work alone. Among so many differences between the two ways of working, we can see that the biggest problems, or rather, the biggest difficulties faced by these QAs are:

  • Not having anyone to consult with- You feel like you don’t have anyone to ask questions about the quality area, and you don’t have anyone to ask queries regarding test automation.
  • Not having anyone to share ideas with- You feel like you don’t have anyone to share your ideas and insights with regarding the testing process, the way activities are performed, test automation, and how to improve the quality of the product.
  • Not having anyone to help with ideas and insights- You feel like you have no one to give you some ideas and insights when you’re at a creative block, and when you’re blocked from running tests or building test scripts.
  • Not having anyone to review scenarios and test cases with- You feel like you don’t have a person that can review the test scenarios and test cases you’ve created, or someone to help if some scenarios don’t make sense or if the coverage is enough.
  • Not having anyone to review the test automation code with- You feel like you don’t have anyone to review your test automation scripts, to check if you’ve done an optimized code, if you’re following good coding standards, or if you have improvement opportunities to facilitate future maintenance.

Do Not Give Up

When we face all these types of problems, it is quite common that we are not able to be productive as expected. This is very bad for the product that we are testing, and it is also very bad for our career.

There are some ways of acting that can help you maintain the culture of quality even working as the only QA of the team 📍 These tips can help you to have ideas and insights, and to have someone who can contribute to your activities.

In the next section, I present the tips that are essential for you to have a strong performance in the quality area, and to be able to contribute to the success of the project, even if it is just you as the QA of the team.

8 Tips For When You Are the Only QA On The Team

1️⃣ Exchange ideas and ask for advice

Ask from the developers, designers, technical leaders, managers, business analysts, and the product owner. All the people who are part of the team have a lot to contribute to the quality and you more than anyone need to know that.

Exchange ideas with everyone on the team, ask for advice and insights, ask questions, and ask for indications and suggestions. Use everyone on the team because everyone can contribute to your work and you have to remeber that quality is everyone’s responsibility!

Developers are hands-on with the code, they have a lot to teach about the implementation of the feature, and about what they have already done and are doing.

The designers planned how the UI and the product usability would be, and no one better than them cam answer doubts in these areas.

The technical leader planned, together with the team, the architecture of the system. They have a very good systemic view and can contribute a lot to your quality activities because they understand everything about the system.

The manager knows the processes, knows the people on the team, is in touch with the customer, and is certainly an excellent person to help you improve the quality process, and plan your activities.

The business analyst and the product owner are the people who better understand the requirements and the business, and who know the customer’s priorities and desires. They are people who will help you a lot in prioritizing, planning activities, and understanding the product, both existing and new features.

Talk to the whole team, don’t miss the opportunity. Everyone has a lot of knowledge to share with you! 💡

2️⃣ Use software testing heuristics and techniques for scenario creation

Use systematic approaches to identify what to test. Also use heuristics like the ones I showed in this software tsting heuristics article. They will help you create more test scenarios and to be more assertive in covering the system you are testing.

There are several software testing heuristics, and you will surely find some that are suitable in the context of the system you are testing. Testing techniques will also help you identify what to test.

Boundary Value Analysis, Equivalence Partition, and Decision Tables are some of the existing testing techniques that are very important to give you great ideas for test scenario creation.

3️⃣ Present test scenarios to developers and ask for suggestions

As developers code, they notice important details in the system that are often not explicit in the requirements, which makes them have some knowledge that the QAs do not have 🔎

Likewise, we know that the developers’ and QAs’ vision is quite different, and most of the time QAs think about some test scenarios that the developers had not thought of, and therefore, did not plan to implement something related to this scenario.

A really cool idea is that when the QA finishes designing the test scenarios for certain functionality that will be implemented, they can share the created scenarios with the developers. This sharing can be in a presentation so that everyone can have a view and give other scenarios and ideas that you could cover in your tests.

4️⃣ Automate all possible tests

More and more we realize that running tests manually costs time, and time costs money! No company wants to lose money, and no QA wants to waste time, leave the work late or miss out on free time.

If you are the only QA on the team, it makes even more sense to automate all tests, as the scope of tests will increase, and it will become increasingly difficult for you to be able to run all the tests you need at a given time.

Therefore, the only viable solution so that you are not overloaded with things to test manually is to automate your testing 💻 Every sprint you will realize that you did well to have automated all the tests from the previous one.

5️⃣ Ask developers to review your automation code

When automating tests, it is essential that the codes developed are reviewed so that two things can be analyzed: if your code does what it should do and if your code does it in the best way.

Developers are the best programming experts on the team, so they can contribute a lot from the point of view of the effectiveness of your code, ensuring that it does what it’s supposed to do.

They will make sure to examine the efficiency of your code, ensuring that it’s built in the best possible and optimized way, ensuring that future updates to test automation code can be carried out with less difficulty and lower costs ✅

6️⃣ Store your automation code in Git

Even if you are the only QA on your team, it is very important that you keep your automation code in Git, to protect against possible losses and inconsistencies, and so that everything can be versioned and accessible to everyone.

With the contribution of developers to review your automation code, it will be essential that your code is stored in Git, so that they can review your pull requests, ensuring greater assertiveness and quality of the automation code.

7️⃣ Engage developers in building test automation scripts

Multidisciplinary teams are very strong. When the developer implements test automation code, when the QA reviews the developers’ code and collaborates with the implementation of the system, the whole team wins, the product wins, and the customer wins! 🏆

Encouraging developers to get involved with the implementation of automated test scripts is a big step towards greater team quality assurance, as well as better coexistence and teamwork.

8️⃣ Create a culture of quality within the team

In order for you to be able to count on the help of all other team members in quality activities, and to count on them to answer questions and obtain ideas and insights, you need to be the quality ambassador of the team.

Being a quality ambassador means being responsible for creating a quality culture within the team. Creating a culture of quality in the team means showing everyone that the responsibility for ensuring product quality is not just yours.

This will be essential to increase everyone’s collaboration, accountability, and involvement in all quality aspects of the team.

Cheat Sheet

In this section, you will get access to the 8 tips’ cheat sheet- a great summary of all the tips that have been presented throughout this article. It is a quick-access resource that you can use every day, whenever you need to remember and use them 📜

Tips for the only QA on the team cheat sheet

Conclusion

We know that working as the only QA on the team isn’t easy, but it isn’t impossible either. It is always possible to make the activities more efficient, to count on a greater collaboration of the team, and with that, to reach an exceptional level of quality for the product to be tested 💯

In this article, we presented some troubles that are faced by the QAs in this situation. In addition, eight tips that I consider essential when you are the only QA were presented. Finally, you gained access to a cheat sheet with all the tips summarized. I hope you find it helpful!

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About the author

Paulo Oliveira

I’m a proactive, cooperative, and responsible Quality Assurance Engineer with more than 14 years of experience in software testing. I love to automate tests for all kind of applications (both backend and frontend) in order to improve the team’s workflow, product quality, and customer satisfaction. Even though my main roles were hands-on testing applications, I’ve worked as QA Lead, planning and coordinating activities, as well as coaching and contributing to team member’s development. Mentoring people to achieve their goals is also something that makes my eyes shine.

Website- https://paulocoliveira.github.io/qa/

LinkedIn- https://www.linkedin.com/in/pcesar/

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