What Are The Challenges Involved in Distributed Testing Teams?
Before I share the tips to manage distributed testing teams, let’s start with certain challenges you might face while making the switch to managing distributed testing teams.
Balancing The Workloads Of Team Members
A major challenge while managing distributed testing teams, is distributing tasks to team members. One team member might be swamped with work, while another has a lot of free time in their bandwidth. It’s better to keep a track of all the tasks performed by team members. So that the workload might be balanced, while ensuring better efficiency and low burnout.
Continuous Collaboration Between Team Members
While performing testing it is of paramount importance to know what features the team is performing tests on, so that there is no overlap between the work. But with distributed teams this challenge increases, due to lack of constant communication between team members and team leads. Collaboration should not just be within the testing teams, but also with the developer team as well.
Supervising The Progress Of Your Testing Strategy
With distributed testing teams, it becomes a big challenge to make sure that the entire team is on the same page and working towards the same goal. This is why it becomes vital to ensure that your test strategy is being carried out as you had envisioned.
Quieter Members Tend To Hideaway
Not every team member is vocal in team meetings, some tend to keep a low profile, letting the more vocal team members take the lead. But it is important that they contribute as well, this can be done by directing specific questions at them during the sessions to keep them involved.
Handling Different Time Zones
A lot of testing teams have to collaborate with stakeholders present in different time zones. So we need to make sure that the team manages their time accordingly and communicate the same to the team in order to avoid any confusion.
Tips to Manage Distributed Testing Teams
One of the best things to manage your distributed testing team is to build a team culture that focuses on the needs and skills of your team members and implements processes that help you manage them better. Some of the valuable tips that you can follow in order to achieve your goals are:
1. Foster Constant Communication
While working in an office, employees constantly communicate with other team members. For instance, they can talk during regular meetings, while having coffee at the pantry, or via Slack. But, with distributed teams, constant communication becomes a challenge. So, as a team leader, it’s your responsibility to make sure that the team is able to communicate seamlessly.
Testing teams require continuous communication to ensure that tests are being executed timely, and bugs are being addressed. There are a few steps that you can follow to enable constant communication in the team, which includes:
- Ask your team to share their phone numbers, email IDs, or Skype ID with each other to make sure that the team is always connected.
- Encourage your team to use Skype on the phone as well, rather than relying on email, as every employee has access to their phones most of the time, even when they are not using their desktop.
- Utilise communication tools like Slack, Skype, Microsoft Teams, FaceTime, to help establish constant communication with the team in a more accessible and cheaper way.
2. Utilising Cloud Selenium Grid For Test Automation
By moving to a distributed testing environment, we lose any access to any in house device farms and local Selenium Grid. Every remote tester would need to set up their own local infrastructure. With a local Selenium Grid, you can not cover all the major OS and browser versions.
An online Selenium Grid would not only give you the ability to scale your testing efforts, but also help you save time by running parallel tests. You can utilize LambdaTest to perform cross browser testing for your web application on 2000+ real OS and browsers.
With LambdaTeset, you can take automated screenshots of your website over 25 different devices at once. In case you find any bug, you can mark the bug and share it with your team to your choice of project management tools. You can even use the LambdaTest Chrome extension or WordPress extension to take the screenshot of your website.
You can find bugs early in the development by using the LambdaTest tunnel, you can test your locally hosted web applications on 2000+ browsers.
3. Daily and Weekly Standups
As I’ve mentioned in the previous point that constant communication is important for any team to perform efficiently. But even this communication needs to have a structure to make sure they are providing any value. Endless meetings without any agenda can kill productivity and take an ample amount of time from your bandwidth.
A weekly standup with the entire team to discuss team strategy and important updates can be a good way to get the entire team on the same page. They are also a good way to summarise the tasks done in the week and to discuss the strategy and task allotment for the coming week.
Similarly, daily standup can be done via Slack to share the updates on the tasks with the team or sharing challenges faced with the team so that they can pitch in to propose a solution.
4. Inform Employees About Their Tasks As Well As Others
If you are handling a large team, then it is not feasible to address everyone separately about the tasks. So, what you can do is arrange a video conference or group chat every morning to ask employees about their day-to-day tasks.
Also, make sure that everyone attends the video conferences so that they can learn what other team members are working on. But, make sure you keep the video conferences short and focused, instead of turning them into endless or boring discussions.
You can also find other ways to keep your team members informed about the work progress so that they can focus on finishing their respective tasks at a time. To do so, you can take help from virtual task boards and project management tools like Trello or Asana that will help you promote realistic planning.
Work visibility works as a great tool to encourage your employees to finish their tasks timely. Moreover, it allows senior employees to analyze the tasks performed by their juniors and help them if they face any issue.
5. Keeping Clear and Realistic Expectations
It’s easy to misinterpret a message or an email while working remotely. Instructions can be misunderstood in the case of a distributed testing team, this often results in confusion and disrupts the workflow. This is why it is important that the team is informed about any task or deadlines clearly with agreement on the same.