Picture of the author
Vernon Richards | Quality Coach

Vernon Richards | Quality Coach

November 19, 2022

6 Tips To Help Non-Testers Understand What's Impacting Quality and Testing In Their Team Without Having To Become Testing Experts

In this post, I will share some tips on performing quality audits.

Specifically, the part when it comes to speaking with the team's people! I'll explain what I do, why I do it, so you can see how it helps uncover what's impacting the team's testing and quality practices. For non-testers responsible for the quality culture of their team, this one's for you!

What do non-testers (EMs, CxOs, etc) struggle with the most when digging into the quality culture?

They don't manage the power dynamic between them and their team

The team members are disinclined to speak frankly about what's going on. The less the team opens up, the less information is available for leaders to nurture the culture with.

There are other reasons too:

  • Premature convergence on the solution

  • Fear of hurting team-members feelings

  • No testing or quality expertise

Fear not though! If you take a look at the tips below, you'll get some ideas about how to get better at it.

Here we go!

Make the conversation safe. Create an environment where people are comfortable speaking hard truths. Give people time and space to share their opinions.

Suspend judgement. Don't assume you know how things got into this situation. Stay curious!

Listen to the whole person. As well as what they're saying, notice how they're saying it! How does their mood change with the topic?

Use powerful open questions to encourage people to share opinions. My personal favourite! Frame questions using who, what, where, when and how and avoid too much use of why (just in case it sounds too "judge-y"!).

Use laser-guided closed questions to clarify specific points. Don't be afraid to drill down when needed. Humour can help here, and reflecting back what was said before challenging.

Ask for examples. Another favourite! This really helps anchor the conversations in something tangible, which helps the team member describe the situation and helps you recall it later.

I can go into more detail on each one but in the meantime, let me know what you think!