Working from home is the new normal.
More and more professionals are realizing the benefits of remote work for their efficiency and professional development, and are opting for this form of work today.
About two-thirds of global workers work from home. Although 44% of global corporations prohibit remote work, small businesses are twice as likely to employ remote workers.
What is the reason for this?
Teams who work remotely are more focused and productive. They have a stronger work-life balance, are less stressed by 82 percent, and have more potential for professional growth.
We just want to work with the best experts, whether we’re marketers, business owners, or QA analysts, right?
As a result, we must comprehend all of the secret advantages and disadvantages of managing a team of remote employees. Are we certain we recognize them? What distinguishes them from freelancers?
Are we, after all, prepared to shape and collaborate with a remote QA team in order to achieve better business outcomes?
If your answer is yes, then here are some of the most important and actionable tips that you can use to manage your remote QA testing team.
Ensure continuity in communication
When operating on-premises, each of us has a variety of options for communicating with the rest of the team. We can chat during daily meetings, go to a colleague’s cubicle, give him an email, drop a handwritten note on his desk, or even go out to coffee or lunch and talk about things we’d rather not talk about during “normal work hours.”
Since not all messages can be conveyed via the same medium, it is critical to ensure that you have several channels of communication in place and that these channels are accessible to all team members (regardless of their jobs or ranks).
Here are a few suggestions:
- Create a list of all team members including all of their contact information, such as their office phone number, cell phone number, email address, Skype address, and so on. Include some personal information, such as a picture of the individual, their date of birth, hobbies, marital status, and so on.
- Make it a habit as a supervisor to welcome your off-site team members via Skype first thing in the morning, just as you do with your on-site team when you make your morning coffee or walk by their desks.
- Encourage the team to ask quick one-on-one questions over the phone or via Skype rather than via email. Many people today make the mistake of sending long email chains (that can last hours or days) instead of picking up the phone and solving the problem in 2 to 5 minutes.
- Body language is just as critical (if not more) than verbal language in video conferences. It’s as easy and inexpensive as picking up the phone with Skype, GoToMeeting, FaceTime, and the rest of the communication systems.
- Use QA Management software that offers a great platform for communication for QA testing teams.
Ascertain that everyone is aware of what the others are working on
Take 30 minutes each morning (or afternoon, based on where the other teams are) to hold a synchronization meeting in which each team member describes what he or she did the day before and what their mission for the day is. Ensure that everyone is aware of what the others are working on, and allow engineers to provide input and assistance to other team members, whether they are on the same platform or not.
This would most likely be your normal “routine” if you work in an Agile environment, but most teams do not work this way.
This type of synchronization meeting will enable your individual team members to feel involved and part of each other’s work, regardless of whether you’re working Agile, Waterfall, or your own technique.
It will also encourage you to know what each member of the team does and what his problems are without having to micro-manage their work as a supervisor.
One thing to bear in mind is that these meetings should be brief and concentrated. They can become more dangerous than beneficial if they become repetitive and boring conversations between individual members of the team or notifications where no one else is paying attention to what the others are doing.
There is no substitute for face-to-face communication
If you’ve been given responsibility for a remote team, plan a trip (if necessary and permitted) to visit them in person asap. It will demonstrate that you care about the team and what they are doing.
Make sure your personal meetings aren’t just for bosses. Set up a program where engineers from all sites collaborate with other teams for two or three weeks once a year.
This will encourage people to get to know one another on a personal level, as well as share work processes, methods, and even the difficulties that each team faces on a daily basis.
On a single board, you can manage all of your projects
If you really want your team to work effectively, you need them to “speak the same work language” – and I don’t mean English!!!
Concentrate their efforts on a single test management framework, which will provide them with a “common language” in which to communicate and collaborate.
Shifting to a unified platform is not easy, and there are a few things to keep in mind as you go through the process:
- Throughout all sites, the platform should be open and convenient for all members. Please ensure that factors like accessibility and reaction time do not make working for testers in remote locations stressful.
- The platform’s goal is for all teams to function in a similar way, so it should fit each team’s approach and be adaptable to their needs.
- Coordinate the data in such a way that all engineers would be able to access information from all departments and use it in their own work.
Find ways to allow people to access and use knowledge from other teams once you’ve settled on a single platform. This will make it easier for the team to connect with one another and will initiate a direct feedback process between them.
Ascertain that the “away” team is fully familiar with the project/product
When you have several teams working together, one (or more) will still feel “alone” or “disengaged.”
There are a variety of explanations for this, including the fact that only one of the research teams works on the same site as the production team and is thus “closer” to the developers, the fact that one of the teams is located near corporate headquarters, or the fact that one team is simply “larger” and “older” than the other.
Whatever the reason, this can give the impression that one team is closer to the action while the other is farther away.
There are some things you can do to address these feelings and change the other team’s mindset, for instance:
- Ensure that the “remote” team’s testers have immediate access to everything including QA Testing software, all work and company resources, and the developers with whom they are collaborating. Use Skype, video conferencing, and other methods to accomplish this.
- Set up weekly update video meetings with people from the organization who aren’t involved in the production, such as marketing, finance, and sales, to discuss how other teams operate, what problems they face, and so on.
To conclude, if you want to thrive on your QA remote projects, keep in mind that both psychological and physical obstacles to collaboration and communication must be overcome.
Treating only one of these factors while ignoring the other would lead to failure in the end.