Top 3 Practices to Manage Globally Distributed QA Teams

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Top 3 Practices to Manage Globally Distributed QA Teams

Many organizations end up resorting to using distributed QA teams, but how can you make sure your QA efforts are effective?

· Agile Zone ·
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For businesses of all shapes and sizes, creating quality applications has become a major focus to improving overall experience and bolstering operational efficiency. In order to achieve these goals, organizations rely on quality assurance teams to thoroughly test the software and address any potential defects that may occur. It's this interaction that means all the difference between a program succeeding or going down in flames.

However, for companies that are using outsourcing services or enterprises that have locations spread across the world, QA professionals are no longer kept to a single place. Think about major organizations that have offices and teams overseas to manage the unique needs of their customers in that area. TechTarget emphasized this point by noting that 60 percent of all agile testing teams are now distributed across the world. If your team is among this statistic, it will be beneficial to follow the top three practices to managing globally distributed QA teams.

Encourage Constant Communication

With any entity that is divided over a large space, communication can be a significant challenge. For QA teams, communication and sharing information is essential to ensuring that tests are being run and that any defects are being addressed effectively. A Zephyr white paper noted that distributed QA teams may have difficulties meeting their goals because follow-through protocols weren't observed or there was a misunderstanding concerning a set of instructions. In these instances, communication is key to keeping everyone on the same page and delivering quality projects.

There are a few steps you can take to solve communication issues in distributed QA teams. Outlining specifics of your discussions and project expectations will give QA testers a clearer idea of their responsibilities and help dispel confusion over what is required. Creating checkpoints across the project will better track its progress and address any questions or problems that QA teams are experiencing.

Provide Autonomy

When using agile testing methodologies, the concept of enabling self-governing teams is a major tenet that could bring QA test management to the next level. In traditional waterfall setups, teams were often siloed off from one another, requiring significant management oversight to ensure that everything was running as expected. However, agile has changed all of this by knocking down the barriers and pushing QA and developers to work side by side. As a result, the stakeholders no longer need to micromanage their teams, and can foster a culture that is more autonomous and self-sustaining.

The benefits of having an autonomous QA team are clear, particularly if it's distributed across the world. The Journal of Information Technology Management noted that such an environment will help improve flexibility, accountability, collaboration, shared responsibility and overall creativity. All of these aspects are critical to creating a quality program and will set agile teams apart from those using legacy testing and development methods. The journal also suggested that having smaller distributed teams will increase control and help keep the team moving in the same direction. This will help achieve business goals and place a higher focus on quality that stands up to user requirements upon software development and release.

delivering software that stands up to user requirements upon release.

Use Technology

You can encourage communication and provide autonomy all you want, but you will still need capable tools to facilitate these capabilities across your distributed QA team. Test management solutions are a great asset for supporting these types of environments, and they have a variety of features that could make QA processes more efficient. A white paper by Forrester noted that many of these tools enable improved collaboration, configurable workflows and higher quality testing. Many offerings also promote test automation integration among other interoperable setups for the most advantageous toolset available.

To benefit from agile testing tools, you'll need to get a bigger picture of your team and its requirements. Forrester suggested that identifying how members interact and how they can use the tools to streamline their tasks will help narrow down the list of potential candidates. These items are a great indicator of what features to look for and what type of scalability may be necessary down the road.

More organizations are working with agile development teams that are globally distributed, and they need to ensure that their QA staff is properly supported. By following these tips, you can better manage your QA experts and provide them with the tools that will help them succeed.

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