Episode 10 by Brent Jenson and Allen Page.
In this week’s testing podcast episode, Brent and Allen begin by discussing changes that Microsoft made during the absence of Allen in the testing department. Microsoft decided to shift their focus to a quality assurance based system instead of emphasizing on a testing based platform. Although these concepts are closely related in the field of software testing, they each specifically represent something different. Software testing is usually the process of executing a system with the intent of finding defects. By process of testing, we are able to assess or evaluate the capabilities or attributes of a software program’s ability to adequately meet the applicable standards and customer needs but quality assurance on the other end refers to a set of activities designed to ensure that the development and/or maintenance process is adequate to ensure a system will meet its objectives. These new implementations by Microsoft forced engineering managers to move between teams and successfully understand the overall product specifications that need to be accomplished. After this talk, they moved over to duties and abilities of a manager the drives a QA team into either being successful or a failure. Inadequate technical skills and bad manners often lead to the demise of a team according to Brent. He believes that a manager that falls into this category only knows how to “demand more from the sausage crank”. This not only damages the crank but also shifts the focus of the operation. Increasing the fire under the meat provides more desired result. The fire is resource and help that is needed to get the task accomplished. The sausage is the software and the crank is the team members. To be a good testing and QA manager, you have to task the team members with things you would do yourself if you were the worker. Understanding that consistency and confidence in you by your employees pushes the team momentum forward. Another big factor is that product quality directly relates to the team adequacy. The best products more likely than not comes from the best QA and testing teams. Understanding that the well being of a team affects the product they are able to produce is one of the first steps to succeeding in creating a great QA and testing team. Good organizational health has to be the focus of every organization that supplies products and services to users.