How to set up a Testing team for a Startup
A typical situation for a Startup -The founders have come up with an innovative idea for which they have successfully sourced funding for the first phase. They are now focused on developing the product for which they have hired a set of developers along with a Development manager.
The above scenario will resonate with the number of companies around the globe. It is very important for these companies to realize that the product that they are developing should really meet its requirements and to verify that one cannot rely simply on developers. The solution is not to hire a bunch of testers and ask them to test it but have a set of adequate QA processes so that not only product being built is of the highest quality but also using a set of processes which are robust and effective. Now the million-dollar question is How do set up a Testing team!
Understand the current Development methodology: Testing is one of the phases of your over-all SDLC and hence, it is imperative that it fits in very well with the overall development process. For example, if the SDLC methodology being followed is Scrum, your testing approach cannot involve waiting for a detailed SRS to write Test cases or taking 203 weeks writing a detailed Test strategy document. The testing methodology should be in-line with the Software Development Methodology.
Hiring a Test Manager/Consultant or a Testing agency: A lot of times this step is missing and as a result, the overall quality of the product is seriously undermined. There is a common perception that testing can be handled by a Development Manager and so the hiring of a Testing expert or consultant is not required. My experience has taught me that Testing is a specialized skill and so, an expert in the form of a Test Manager/consultant should be hired to overlook the testing activity. For a start-up or a small company, having a Test manager or a consultant can have a cost factor attached and so sometimes, it is better to outsource this specialized function to a Testing agency.
Developing a robust Test Strategy: Once a consultant or an agency is hired, the next step is to develop a robust Test strategy. Your Test strategy should ensure that it includes all the activities that are required to define the testing scope & meeting its objectives. Over here, it is important to note that even if Testing is outsourced, it is very important for someone senior on the client side to review Test strategy as it can have a long-term impact on the overall quality of the product.
Selecting the right tools: We are fortunate enough that in this day and age, there are a plethora of testing tools available in the market to choose from. Moreover, a lot of them are cheaply available or even free. This is a very good news for a start-up or a small company because these tools can provide an impetus to the overall testing effort and management. However, the companies should not fall in a trap of selecting a tool just because it is cheap or free. I would strongly recommend that before selecting any testing tool, the company should do a Proof of Concept (POC) as it would allow it to see how well the tool fits into the company’s testing practices and technical environment.
Automation!! Yes or No: A lot has been written on Automation in the recent times and a vast majority talk in favor of implementing automation as part of the testing strategy. In my experience, I do agree that Automation should be implemented by the testing team but then questions arise is when is a good time to implement it? The answer depends on a lot of factors but the most important amongst them is when the functionality of the product is stabilizing i.e. there are no major changes happening in them in short-term.