Why you should give your testers more responsibility

Lisa Stephenson, 
17 July 2017

What is a bug report and why do we write them?

User acceptance testing is the validation that a system or application will meet user needs in the operational or business environment. An acceptance test can be understood as a way to check if a previously defined “contract” between the developer and the end user is still on track. It might be that companies don’t have the knowledge or aren’t willing to do take part in testing for themselves. Every company has its own level of hierarchy, roles and responsibilities. There are a couple of roles to consider, but in this case I will talk about the end user as a tester and why you should give your end users more responsibility.

What is an end user?

In information technology, the term end user is used to distinguish the person for whom a hardware or software product is designed from the developers, installers, and servicers of the product. The “end” part of the term probably derives from the fact that most information technologies involve a chain of interconnected product components at the end of which is the “user.” Every end user has its own point of view and it’s important to involve end users throughout the project from the very beginning.

The UAT team

UAT is not a “one-size fits all” activity. Some user groups will not have the motivation, time or skills to design and perform an adequate test. Some user groups will be able to perform a very extensive test. It’s important that the team has the time to test the product from end-to-end. More important is that the team will need to be filled with resources who are willing to test and see the importance of testing.

Involve your end users

The role of a software tester goes beyond “just testing” and reporting issues. The tester has an integral role as part of the UAT team. The user works with everyone in the team in order to improve and build quality into the product. When an end user gets more responsibility then you will create more engagement. Using three useful techniques to involve end users.

1. Feature request

Feature requests allow your testers the opportunity to contribute their ideas on how the product could be improved upon or made more useful. They also give you insight into customer requirements and can help with product planning. While most features will be too difficult to add to a product at the beta stage, if an overwhelming number of testers are asking for the same feature, it may be worth considering including it in the final version of the product.

2. Reviews

Most testers are more than willing to share their excitement for the product. At the end of the test, include a short form that includes instructions to be open and honest, followed by a free form text box. Give the end users the feeling that you care about their test results and reviews.

3. Assigned Tasks

Assigning specific tasks for your testers to complete can be helpful in kickstarting your test by giving your testers a focused way to start interacting with your product. During the test, they can also help you isolate or recreate a troublesome bug or issue. As long as they aren’t overused, they give testers some useful structure and guidance during a test while making sure your objectives are being met. Just remember to still give your testers the opportunity to get creative with the product and use it in different ways as well.

Rely on their expertise

User acceptance testing is performed by real users, not just project-skilled testers, whom better understand how real users behave. UAT performer could be either the stakeholders of the software or the software users for whom the software is built or a QA / Software Testing professional. Generally UAT performers are also known as Beta testers. UAT Tester should be a creative thinker and should have precise understanding of the business need of that software. Tester should be independent and unknown user to the system.

You should trust the testers for following reasons:

• They have unbiased thinking as they are independent from developer.
• They can interpret business requirements thoroughly.
• Can define the context in which the system will be used and better assess its fit for purposes.
• Have an interest in assuring the high quality of the system.

It’s good to trust the testers and give them responsibilities because they know everything about their department and workflows. They are the best in what they do, that’s why they are invited to test. Finally, the testers are going to use the software when it’s successfully implemented.

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Keep the testers motivated

You can keep the motivation alive in testers when you give them more responsibilities. I mentioned one point as to appreciate the testers for their good work.

‘“Reward testers for finding good quality bugs. Keep some weekly or monthly competitions such as ‘Bug of the week’ to reward them. This will help to build a successful UAT team”.

There are several techniques that allow testers to make a solid contribution to the product development. Give the tester a small gift or just a few words of appreciation from the lead or manager. This will keep the spirit alive in testers to find new and quality bugs and they feel like they are a part of the team and feel more responsible.

If you are a team leader, manager or even a team member, what do you think is the best way to keep motivation alive in software testers?

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