Don't just shoot for yes or no answers from your customers, give them the opportunity to really share their feelings from their interaction with you. Areas where improvement is needed, or where praise should be given, will be far easier to spot, thus allowing you to really make valuable changes.
A knowledge transfer session is the least-sought-after activity in a project. The intention is to get rid of your current responsibility and move on, no matter what mess you leave behind. But, while watching a relay race, Rinku Sahay realized how crucial it is to have a successful “pass.”
Observing customers in a usability lab can be invaluable for improving product design. But, once your software leaves the lab, do you know what your customers are actually doing and whether or not your software meets their expectations? Learn how engineers on the Microsoft Office team apply a variety of software telemetry techniques to understand real-world usage, how the results drive product improvements, and how you can apply similar techniques.
People often point to requirements documents and process manuals as ways to guide a new tester. Research into knowledge transfer, as described in The Social Life of Information, suggests that there is much more to the process of learning. Michael Bolton describes his own experiences on a new project, noting how the documentation helped ... and didn't.
In these times, many of us are being told to "do more with less." A more useful approach is "invest our organization's scarce resources where the return is the greatest." To do so, we must define the financial benefits sought when developing a system in addition to its requirements.
To implement a meaningful incentive system for your team, you need to select metrics that encourage the behaviors you need and the results you want. But first you have to decide what you need and want.
Most professionals have a detailed career ladder upon which to climb and grow their careers. But in many test organizations that ladder has only one rung—and it leads to management. If management isn't your path of choice, these tips can help you market yourself and add value to your career while you build your own technical career ladder.
Just because a metric is easy to capture doesn't mean it is useful. The metrics that are really needed are the ones that can help you make good decisions. Find out how to establish a project dashboard with meaningful metrics that will guide your project safely to its destination without getting bogged down in an endless pursuit of unnecessary information.
An old adage says that you cannot manage what you cannot measure, but Mike Cohn thinks differently. Here, he offers suggestions on when to use metrics and when you can manage without, as well as some guidelines to help you choose your metrics carefully.
In "Practical Test Reporting," David Freeman wrote about how to start a basic test metrics program. In this follow-up article, he shows how to combine the historical information to predict how your future projects may track–kind of like creating your own metric "magic eight ball."