Testers as Consultants


May 19, 2021     Janet Gregory, Lisa Crispin
collaboration, Sharing     Collaboration, Testing

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Over the years, we’ve given talks and listened to others talk about the subject of testers being coaches or consultants. We believe there is a difference between the two.

 

A coach works with a single person, or a team, helping them to recognize new ways of working by listening and asking questions. A coach will never advise you, or tell you what you should do or how you should do it. Toby Sinclair has shared a lot of information about coaching in general.

 

A consultant works with leadership, assesses a situation, recommends different ways of working, shares information, works with more than one team, and sometimes acts as a trainer. Janet consults with organizations that want to improve their testing and quality processes and get help with transitioning to agile. Lisa acts as a test consultant on her own team, helping developers, designers, product owners and customer support people grow their testing skills. Sometimes she works as a coach helping someone explore new ideas.

 

                         

 

Most people we know work on teams that don’t have enough testing specialists. When a tester is spread too thin, they can’t add as much value if they only do what we might consider traditional “tester” activities. When teams believes that the whole team is responsible for quality, they will learn the skills necessary to help with the testing activities. 

 

Acting as a test consultant may help you contribute in different ways. You’re promoting the whole team approach to testing and quality by helping everyone learn useful testing skills and practices. You can transfer your testing skills to others. You can design experiments to improve quality and bring in new techniques such as example mapping or tools to help the team.

 

Some testing skills you can teach to other team members are exploratory test skills (read about Lisa’s experience), test planning, creating scenarios, looking at test coverage, or even creating test data. Take the time to learn facilitation skills and experiment and try what works for your team. A consultant supports and helps the teams stand on their own when they leave.

 

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