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20 Tips for Testing Managers to guard the morale of their staff

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20 Tips for Testing Managers to guard the morale of their staff

If you are a Testing Manager or a Testing Team Lead or aspiring to assume the role of such positions in near future, this article is truly meant for you.

According to Napoleon, "Morale is to the physical as three is to one."

Staffs who believe that their work is important, that they can accomplish their tasks if they apply themselves, and that their accomplishments will be valued, can make remarkable accomplishments.

As their manager, you're the most important guardian of your software testing staff's morale. Hence following tips shall be extremely helpful:

Tip-1: Treat them with courtesy and in a respectful manner.

Tip-2: Notice their work.

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Tip-3: Compliment good work, enthusiasm, and honest effort.

Tip-4: If your staffs are working late, work late yourself. Not every night, not every weekend day, but often enough that your staff feel as though you're sharing the workload.

Tip-5: If you need to add staff to a project that is getting close to completion, don't assign a novice. Assign someone who knows a lot about testing.

Tip-6: Plan to spend at least a day's worth of meetings with a new employee. Take him around the department, introduce him to everyone he'll work with, talk with him about your hopes and expectations for him.

Tip-7: When possible, assign people to tasks and projects that interest them. Encourage them to express their interests and take them into account.

Tip-8: When a tester is not succeeding at a task, assign someone to assist him, coach him, or if necessary, replace him (and move him to some other task).

Tip-9: Set up training opportunities. Show that you value the development of skill and professionalism.

Tip-10: Treat them fairly and require others to treat them fairly.

Tip-11: Never mislead one of your staff. If you don't know the answer to a question, say so. If you share a hunch about something, be very clear that you're guessing and not speaking from knowledge.

Tip-12: Never shout at a staff member. Never take advantage of your power to bully someone else.

Tip-13: Avoid criticizing a staff member in public but do point out errors and problems in private.

Tip-14: Don't gossip about members of your staff with other members of your staff.

Tip-15: Chronic overtime leads to employee burnout, high turnover, cynicism, politics, and inefficient, sloppy work. So it is better to defend your staff from it.

Tip-16: Remember that your staff members each have different limits. Some have family commitments or other commitments that are not very flexible. Deal graciously with the reality of your situation.

Tip-17: Don't try to short-schedule your projects and expect your staffs to make up the difference by spending eight hours focused on-task each day. They won't. They can't.

Tip-18: Try to find a way to make the results of the more efficient employee visible. Don't rewards people just for being onsite ("at work"). Remember that a person who is "at work" 80 hours per week might appear to be more dedicated and more deserving than someone else who works 45 hours a week but gets more and better work done.

Tip-19: If your staff is working on tough projects, you may have to draw some lines. Be prepared to offer private emotional support to your staff and stand up to bullies.

Tip-20: Never ask a member of your staff for a date and be extremely cautious about asking for or accepting personal favors or gifts, even small gifts. Give more than you get.

The above tips are not restricted to managers operating in software testing domain only, but are equally beneficial to managers operating in other domains as well.

Reference: Compilation from "Lessons Learned in Software Testing" By well known testing Guru Cem Kaner

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