Motivation and Headway in Testing. Innovate in QA Meet-up Summary
We live in a dynamic world that is changing rapidly and sometimes radically. That affects people, performance, and motivation. A coronavirus pandemic, transition to remote work, and war in Ukraine have negatively impacted many people and their careers. Some feel burned out and do not know how to evolve in their profession. Tetiana Rudenko, a QA Manual at Innovecs, faced demotivation for the first time in November 2021, and her teammates felt exactly the same. She started looking for a way to get her motivation back. As a result, she managed to inspire herself as well as her teammates. How? She shared her experience of motivating people, and her colleague, Arnika Hryszko, a Software Tester, shared tips on advancing the profession during Innovate in QA Online Meet-up. We have prepared a brief summary of the event covering the key points.
There are two types of motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic. The first one is something that sits inside and encourages you to get some feelings (for example, enjoyment, passion, fun, autonomy, self-fulfillment, etc.) Extrinsic or external motivation is about something that comes from outside (pay raise, recognition, perks, bonuses, punishment, benefits, etc.). Intrinsic motivation stimulates people to do complex and creative tasks, according to experts.
Tetiana managed to find approaches for intrinsic motivation and inspiration for the team and focused on gamification. It helps the manager find a leader and motivate the team, bringing to work more fun, says Tetiana Rudenko. According to a Talent LMS survey, 89% of employees state gamification makes them feel more productive and happier at work. But different techniques fit different teams. Therefore, Tetiana suggests analyzing your process and colleagues using a human-focused gamification design framework called Octalysis. It lays out the eight core drives for human motivation:
- Meaning (a need or an urge to be a part of something bigger than yourself. When you add it to a game element, people believe that their actions have a purpose).
- Accomplishment (people are driven by a sense of growth towards a goal and accomplishment).
- Creativity (when a team member is engaged in a creative process and repeatedly figures things out and tries different combinations. When you add something to your game element that evokes the will to choose own direction, that gives people more energy).
- Ownership (if you add something that people will own, like virtual currency or some points, they are more likely to participate or contribute).
- Social influence (it incorporates all the social elements driving people including mentorship, acceptance, social responses, and companionship. You must include interaction between people, as they should learn from one another, and teach each other).
- Scarcity (this human drive is often used in marketing to show limited goods or services. If you add it to your work, it can act the same: if something is limited, people want it more).
- Unpredictability & Curiosity (it is a harmless drive of wanting to know what will happen next. If you do not know what is going to happen, your brain is engaged, and you think about it often. That is why we are so eager to finish a book or a movie).
- Avoidance (it is about avoiding pain or some negative consequences. If you stress that nothing negative will happen, people will be more engaged due to feeling safe).
You can evaluate each drive and include those which will suit your team the best. Afterward, you can assess the results and enhance your game elements. Also, Tetiana shared some gamification techniques to use while working with your QA remote team for making a process more enjoyable:
- Create your own software if possible (Amazon and Microsoft use it for their employees).
- Gamify daily meetings. For example, let each team member answer non-tech questions before committing. For example, you can ask: “What would you do when you get $1M?”
- Prize draw. You can do it on every retrospective, for example. Write team members’ names in one column and a list of prizes in another. The randomizer matches the person’s name with a reward. It can be a cup of coffee, lunch, a day off, etc.
- Organize a competition. It might be an amazing game element, especially for competitive team members.
- Create a challenge. For example, if you find out that one of the main demotivators of your remote team is the lack of physical activity, you can suggest teammates set up a minimum number of daily steps for each of them. To start a working day, each teammate will have to show an activity report during a daily meeting. It will help unite and motivate your team.
After the issue of motivation is sorted out, you and your team are willing to work. What typical mistakes do you have to avoid on the path to being a good tester and a pro in your field? Arnika Hryszko, a Software Tester with 15 years of experience in QA, has prepared some information regarding the topic. And here is her list of don’ts as a tester:
- Following a script. Imagine a detective arriving at a crime scene with a script, strictly following it, and ignoring the circumstances. Is it possible to solve the mysterious crime? Hardly. Being a good tester is exploration. You cannot use only one guide or way because it will not give you loads of answers. There are different test data, configurations, systems, etc. Use them as well.
- Treating requirements as ultimate truth. To have a comprehensive picture and do your best as a tester, you should ask questions, and seek other solutions. Try to find out whether everything is okay, do so-called static testing, and review the requirements. Maybe you will find that something is missed or wrong. Use your experience, brain, and more sources, such as other people, proofs of concepts, and exciting applications. All these things should be your oracle, apart from the requirements.
- Lack of peer reviews. Let us imagine that you wrote a book, and no one reads, proofreads it, or edits it before printing. How many mistakes will there be? There will definitely be some typos, and some crucial elements might be absent. And the same thing is with your test scripts. Someone should review them in the first place instead of pointing at your mistakes later. It is about learning and seeing another person’s perspective. It goes without saying that you can write a brilliant test case with all the possibilities. However, maybe there is something more or someone else has a different perspective or has used a similar application and might help to review whether everything is fine with the thing you produce.
- Locking oneself in one’s “silo”. Imagine building a house. Brickwork, windows, and roof are done by different professionals with no or little care for each other’s work. Will the individual elements fit together? Very much unlikely. As a tester, you should work with developers, managers, and architects. You all have the same aim.
- Relying on assumptions instead of facts. If something is missing, unclear or you are unsure about something, you should discuss it. That is why you have daily meetings, and planning — to be on the same page about what we do.
- Ignoring the need of having business knowledge. You cannot work properly without knowing a domain. It is essential to dive into an area you work in, to know its jargon, insights, and goals.
To sum up, there is no magic pill that will make you a pro and help to motivate you and your team. It is hard work and a combination of numerous factors. However, it is achievable, especially with tips from our experts and your passion for the work you do.