I was recently asked ‘how do you take a team mostly focused on manual testing andturn them into a team that writes solid automation?’. And as I thought about my answer, I realizedthis doesn't just apply to testing, but any team that is reforming can followthese same simple steps. I honestly didn't realize this is what we were doinguntil I look back over the last year and realize what key decisions and actionscaused our transformation to take effect.
The first thing a manager needs to do to start a transformation is to startexpecting the new end results. For example, my team needed to start writingautomation and even though in some cases they needed to gain the skills andexperience to know the best way to do this, I started asking for reports of howmuch automation we had and what our targets would be for the next 18months. I continued to push gently inthe right places to get a report framework created, then to get people to plantheir targets, for them to understand how to use our automation toolset, andfinally how to jump in and start writing automation. Without setting theexpectation for the end result, the team would not have understood what I waslooking for or the direction they needed to head.
Secondly, I cleared the path as best I could to give the team time to transform. In thisspecific case, my testers spent too much time doing lab work (machine setup andmaintenance) and this wasn't their expertise so this took even longer to do. Ibrought in lab engineers to solely work on the service of providing updatedservers to the test team and handle any future requests from the testers. Asthis saved them time, it gave them time to start writing automation. But theother obstacle was where to begin? It's difficult to write automation fromscratch, so I brought in a test architect who not only mentored the individualtesters in how to write automation, but also brought with him a set of toolsthat allowed code reuse and a consistent way for everyone to write automation.Again, the path was cleared.
At this point, many people moved forward and were able to transform themselves.Now, the final piece is to polish the team on their skills by providing themmore training. Although many learned their skills on the job and from others,formalizing this training and growing it to a level of expertise that can allowthem to add even more value to the team is the final step in ourtransformation.
So no matter how you are transforming your team (or yourself), the 3 main stepsyou need to follow are: set expectations based on the final results you want toachieve, clear the path so there are no obstacles blocking the progress, anddon't stop there - add some final polish to truly prove the team'stransformation is complete.