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I have been deployed at a customer's site for about two weeks now.

Yesterday I sat down with my manager and he told me that:

  • The customer's test manager thought I was not doing my job pro-actively as I asked him whether I could modify a mindmap that had all the test case ideas.
  • The customer's project manager thought I needed to increase the visibility of my work progress as for two days in a row I had not raised any bugs, the customer's project manager wanted to what I was doing all day.

The comments are not really fair, how do I deal with this kind of negative feedback?

I am particularly worried that the customer's test manager and project manager have a different idea about what my testing should be like than I do. How do I fix this and how do I stop this happening again?

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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is about worklace politics, not specific to QA. OP will get much better answers in workplace.stackexchange.com . I assume there are MANY answers already present: search before asking. – Peter M. - stands for Monica Jun 15 '17 at 18:50
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    I'd disagree: while there's an aspect of workplace politics, it reads to me more like a clash between different visions of what testers do ("for two days in a row I had not raised any bugs") - I'm going to answer based on that aspect. – Kate Paulk Jun 15 '17 at 18:55
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    Edited to focus on the different vision of what testers do rather than the workplace politics. – Kate Paulk Jun 19 '17 at 11:39
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This sounds to me like the test people at your customer's site have different expectations of what a tester does than you have. For future reference, you should probably have started this deployment by finding out early what is expected of you and working with your manager if the expectations are going to be problematic.

For now I'd suggest you work along these lines:

  • Get your manager's perspective - If your manager is supporting you, you will have different options than if your manager is supporting your customer's project manager and test manager. You need to know where you stand with your manager before you do anything else.
  • Get and set expectations - Since it's obvious that expectations from the customer's side don't match what you expect to be doing when you're testing, you need to find out as soon as possible what the customer does expect of you.
    • Politely correct any misconceptions - You will need to state the way you approached testing over the past 2 weeks, including the information you were surfacing and the way you were communicating that information. Chances are, given the feedback you received, that these were not the communication channels your customers expected.
    • Give facts, not excuses - State any facts relevant to the situation, whatever they might be. Those facts might be that the customer's test manager's mind-map already had more than 90% of the test ideas you'd come up with so you thought that starting with it as a base would be less duplicated work than building your own from scratch.
    • Do not mention 'fair' - This isn't a matter of being fair or unfair. It's mismatched expectations causing issues.
  • Attempt to match expectations - Whatever the customer expectations are, make a reasonable attempt to meet them without compromising your testing standards. This means that if they expect you to be executing detailed test cases, you need to make a good faith attempt to document your test explorations within a test case framework.
  • Keep the customer representatives in the loop - Make sure you're keeping your customer's test manager and project manager in your communications. It's possible they were expecting that your primary communication would be bug reports, and when they didn't receive any they thought something was wrong. You need to counter this impression for the rest of your stay. If that means you need to send them a summary of findings at the end of each day, send them a summary of findings at the end of each day.

Above all, don't complain. You've accidentally left a bad impression of your employer's testing practices. Now it's up to you to turn that impression around and - hopefully - improve testing practices at your customer's site.

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Don't sweat it too much, as your situation sounds more like a bad System to track bugs than your fault. It's very common for Managers, especially Programming Managers to have their own world view of the entire testing process.

If the system for onboarding work and getting through the iterations is not transparent or have a section to see current bug status or even Passed/Failed tests then they are really indicting a lack of the proper ALM Tool.

It's painful for QA Team members because... they don't get to pick the ALM tools and are often left with inane tools like Excel or Word to do their work.

Tell your manager that you have downloaded the free TFS version for yourself and start tracking all your tests and bugs there! Reason: You can present them with major reports easily just by using the free tool. And you can give them web access free of charge up to 5 people! https://www.visualstudio.com/tfs/

Who knows they may buy TFS/VSTS for the enterprise then every one is on same page. Being a test consultant at a client site is a very difficult position.

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In addition to what Kate and John have added, can I please add one simple advice here:

Provide a daily update, below is a sample:

Tasks I have completed today:

  • Tested xxxx
  • Discussed with xxxx so that ticket 0000 has been closed
  • Re-tested and closed ticket 0001

Tomorrow I am planning to:

  • Re-test ticket 0002
  • Regression test xxxx feature

Then attached your updated mindmap to your daily update. By keeping communication open and your progress transparent, lots of misunderstanding can be avoided.

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