Podcast – Continuous improvement – sounds good but how to do it?

How’s life

Joel:

  • Working on more PractiTest stuff
  • Online Test Conf is coming soon – we are doing it differently this time – 3 time zones
  • Shout out to Jesper Ottosen!

Rob:

  • New online course coming soon for managers

What does Continuous Improvement have to do with Testing?  Good question.

This topic is not only related to testing, but it is definitely needed in every team, and testers are specially positioned to drive change and especially improvements, as we are tasked with looking at the product and the process and find what doesn’t work correctly in them.  Once we know what needs to be improved, it is only natural that we push to make this happen.

I’ve heard a couple of talks about continuous improvement in general and also in testing conferences, and in principle it sounds simple.  But when you start thinking about what to improve and how, it gets more complicated than what you originally thought.

What is continuous improvement?

In essence, it means to look for the things that are stopping us from working effectively and efficiently, and look for ways to improve them.

After you’ve made some progress, look again and see if you need to continue improving it or if there is something else that is worth checking and improving now.

The hard part is to make changes that influence not only the specific process but the underlying culture and approach behind it.

How do we know where and what to improve?

  • Understanding what should be improved requires you to know where you are right now, and that requires reflection and introspection
  • Improvement is methodical
  • Behaviors must improve alongside numbers etc / it’s entirely possible to improve some things by behaving badly
  • Are you trying to improve too many things at once?

It is a matter of work ethics more than a matter of improvement

Some people think it is a matter of putting together a list and fixing buggy behavior, but if you want something to stick you need to change the root of the problem and not the actual behavior.

how do you know what you should improve?

  • Ask the team
  • Consult with your peers and teams you interact with
  • Value stream – staple yourself to the work
  • Discipline equals learning
  • Root cause – e.g. 5 Whys
  • Most times it is trivial, but the important part is to choose that one or two things that will bring the biggest change

 it takes a village to improve

  • You cannot improve the work of the team on your own, also you need to get consensus from the team on what you want to improve and how.
  • It also helps if this improvements is very visible and something you can even “brag” about.

It is part of your job is a Quality Person

Modern Testing principle Number 3 – We are a force for continuous improvement, helping the team adapt and optimize in order to succeed, rather than providing a safety net to catch failures.

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