Understand The Importance of Soft Skills in Test Automation by Larry Goddard | Spartans Summit 2024

Join Larry Goddard, Test Automation Architect at Oxford University Press, and gain insights into the significance of soft skills that complement technical expertise in test automation. Discover how these soft skills enable testers to work effectively with others, adapt to changing circumstances, think critically, and provide valuable insights.

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If you have registered and are up for the session, please post your questions in the thread below. :point_down:

Here are some of the questions poured in from the attendees:

What soft skills do you believe are most crucial for test automation professionals?

How can one handle changing project requirements in test automation?

What skills should I look for in a candidate for an interview in Software test engineer & Test automation engineer roles…?

How do you tailor your communication style when working with stakeholders in test automation projects?

Where’s the line between employing soft skills and escalating concerns?

As a test automation engineer, what should be our roles and duties?

How to bring these soft skills to a team being a QA Architect?

What different practices can we follow to enhance soft skills in a team?

Do you recommend any exercises to help the team improve critical thinking skills?

Can you share a specific instance where utilizing soft skills helped resolve a conflict or improve collaboration within your testing team?

How to build Soft skills like conflict resolution?

Larry: Well, communication tops the list for me. Despite having strong leadership and other skills, effective communication is the linchpin. If you can’t convey your ideas to your team and other project stakeholders, all those skills won’t carry much weight. So, communication is where I’d start and then weave in the rest.

Larry: Great question! Personally, I don’t have specific exercises, but what works for me is creating scenarios. Craft an environment that demands critical thinking, forcing you to put on your thinking hat. Start simple, then make it more intricate. The key is having the team think outside the box finding innovative solutions to complex problems.

Larry: I don’t see a clear line, but it’s about how you handle it. Soft skills come into play by reporting a bug and offering a solution. It extends to collaborating with developers. Break the stereotype of testers and developers being on opposite sides. Direct communication with developers removes unnecessary barriers for a smoother workflow.

Hi there,

In case you missed the live session, no problem at all! You can check out the recording right here:

Additionally, we’ve got you covered with a detailed session blog:

In my view, several key factors should be taken into account when aiming to improve conflict resolution abilities. These include prioritizing active listening, empathy, and effective communication. Additionally, participating in role-playing exercises, actively seeking feedback, and cultivating self-awareness are essential. Embracing learning opportunities such as workshops and relevant literature, along with consistent application and reflection, will facilitate ongoing growth.

In today’s test automation landscape, it’s important to adapt to changing project requirements. To do this, you’ll need to:

  1. Keep communication channels clear with stakeholders so that you can quickly capture and understand new project requirements.

  2. Hold regular meetings and document updates to ensure everyone is aligned.

  3. Implement a flexible automation framework so that you can easily modify test scripts.

  4. Modify test scripts as you modularize tests and use data-driven approaches.

  5. Adapt quickly to changing project requirements without massive rework.

  6. Embrace an agile mindset and leverage tools for continuous integration to streamline the process.

  7. Make smooth adjustments as project requirements change.

Don’t forget that proactive communication and flexible frameworks are essential for managing changing project requirements within test automation.

Hey there,

Below I have mentioned some of the pointers that will help you resolve your query.

For a Software Test Engineer role, you should look for the following skills:

  1. Strong Understanding of Testing Concepts: Knowledge of software testing principles, methodologies, and practices.

  2. Test Planning and Design: Ability to create test plans, test cases, and test scenarios based on requirements and specifications.

  3. Test Execution and Reporting: Experience in executing test cases, documenting test results, and reporting defects.

  4. Defect Management: Proficiency in defect tracking and management tools to log, track, and retest defects.

  5. Test Automation: Knowledge of test automation tools and frameworks to automate test cases and improve testing efficiency.

  6. Programming Skills: Basic understanding of programming languages like Java, Python, or C# to write automated test scripts.

  7. Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD): Familiarity with CI/CD pipelines and tools like Jenkins, GitLab CI/CD, or Travis CI.

  8. Agile Methodologies: Experience working in Agile environments and understanding Agile principles.

For a Test Automation Engineer role, in addition to the above skills, you should also look for:

  1. Strong Programming Skills: Proficiency in programming languages like Java, Python, or C# to develop robust and maintainable automated test scripts.

  2. Automation Frameworks: Experience using automation frameworks such as Selenium, Appium, Cypress, or TestNG to develop and maintain test automation scripts.

  3. Web Technologies: Understanding web technologies such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and web browsers to automate web applications effectively.

  4. API Testing: Knowledge of API testing tools like Postman or SoapUI to automate API testing.

  5. Database Skills: Understanding SQL and database concepts to perform database testing and validate data integrity.

  6. Problem-Solving Skills: Ability to analyze complex problems and develop effective testing solutions.

  7. Attention to Detail: Strong attention to detail to ensure that all aspects of the software are thoroughly tested.

  8. Team Collaboration: Ability to work effectively in a team and communicate with developers, product owners, and other stakeholders.

Overall, look for candidates who not only have the technical skills but also demonstrate a passion for software testing and a willingness to learn and adapt to new technologies and methodologies.

I hope this answers your query :slight_smile:

Hey there,

To enhance soft skills in a team, you can:

  1. Communication Workshops: Hold workshops on effective communication and listening skills.
  2. Team Building Activities: Organize team-building exercises to improve collaboration and trust.
  3. Conflict Resolution Training: Provide training on resolving conflicts constructively.
  4. Emotional Intelligence Development: Offer training to enhance emotional intelligence.
  5. Leadership Development Programs: Provide opportunities for leadership skill development.
  6. Cross-functional Collaboration: Encourage collaboration across teams.
  7. Mentorship Programs: Establish mentorship programs for soft skills development.
  8. Regular Feedback: Provide regular feedback on soft skills.
  9. Role-playing Exercises: Use role-playing to practice soft skills.
  10. Continuous Learning: Encourage ongoing learning in soft skills.

I hope this resolves your query :slight_smile: