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We have several "testers" who are involved in manual testing and test automation, but all of that part-time. Some of them are not really interested in testing and test automation as a field and lose interest in test automation and improving testing skills pretty quickly.

How should we deal with them? Is it okay to have a part-time not-motivated tester? Is there anything we can do to raise their interest in testing and test automation?

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    How did they fill that role to begin with? Were they hired as such, or "voluntold" for that work? – c32hedge Aug 11 '17 at 21:03
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    Do they have a manager? Is manager OK with that? This is more a question for workplace exchange or project management. If they don't report to you, there is little you can do. IIRC there are some questions on workplace exchange about how to deal with colleagues who are not motivated. Basically, their manager can, but you cannot. – Peter M. - stands for Monica Aug 11 '17 at 21:11
  • @PeterMasiar thank you. Well, as it currently stands, I am their manager at the moment. I am not sure I am okay or not - the problem is, they still do contribute at a minimum required level, but they are not motivated enough to learn new things and start to contribute more complicated automated tests. I still think that's my problem and I am not doing a great job making them interested and wanting to develop themselves in the testing and test automation space. Need some guidelines and advices. Thanks. – alecxe Aug 12 '17 at 2:07
  • @c32hedge well, let's say they knew someone who works here :) In any case, this is what we have now and we have to deal with it. Thanks. – alecxe Aug 12 '17 at 3:55
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We have several "testers" who are involved in manual testing and test automation, but all of that part-time. Some of them are not really interested in testing and test automation as a field and lose interest in test automation and improving testing skills pretty quickly.

How should we deal with them?

That depends on why you have uninterested testers.

If this situation exists because you are bad at hiring people, then you need to get better at attracting and hiring folks who want to work hard and be professional testers.

If this situation exists because you pay poorly, you might need to pay more to attract better people.

If this situation exists because you treat your "testers" (it's telling that you put the word in quotes) like second-class citizens, then you may need to treat them more professionally.

Knowing how to "deal" with almost anything requires first understanding how you got there.

Is it okay to have a part-time not-motivated tester?

"Okay" is always a business decision.

I've seen some companies who decide that they don't really care enough to pay and hire real, professional QAers. For them it appears that part-time, uninterested testers check the checkbox well enough.

Other companies value testers and do things differently.

Is there anything we can do to raise their interest in testing and test automation?

Again it depends.

The answers ranges from "No, there's nothing you can do", to "Fire them all and hire full-time professionals" with everything in between.

  • @alecxe - you indicate that your role is manager. I sense that you haven't managed QA/Testers before, right? Are you a Development manager or such? – Joe Strazzere Aug 12 '17 at 21:11
  • Well, I do testing and test automation as a part of my job and, as it turned out I had to naturally transit into managing several QA/Testers (QA team is just several people). This is still only a part of my responsibilities (our team overall is small and I have to be more like a jack-of-all-trades). But, as it happened, some time ago we were hiring part-time testers without or with just a bit of experience - they are at this point in time not super-interested in developing QA and test automation skills doing basically the bare minimum. This is still my fault, I am not paying enough attention. – alecxe Aug 12 '17 at 21:27
  • This might help: allthingsquality.com/2012/05/… – Joe Strazzere Aug 12 '17 at 21:31
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You and your team cannot .... I repeat, simply cannot afford to have testers low on motivation.

You can probably have lesser talented testers, high in morale and eagerness... but you just can't have people who are not motivated enough! Period! Poorly motivated period think negatively and their negativity can rub off on other resources. This will impact resource productivity overall.

That said and done, we're all human beings. We simply cannot give our best effort all time. So if you're the lead or manager and find out that some / any of your team members are low on morale, tackle it immediately. Find out the reason for their low motivation and mitigate it ASAP.

There could be a number of reasons for low motivation as mentioned by the answer by Joe above. Find out what it is and mitigate it. The problem I've seen is that management has a part-time mindset for part time people. Part time resources are treated just like that ... part time! Maybe that's the reason for their low motivation.

I'm not saying you're doing that to your testers, but this could be one of the many reasons for low morale.

  • Please, don't shout. It is early in the morning in some parts of the world. – Mate Mrše Sep 26 at 8:57
  • Made THE COMMENT bold not UCASE – Michael Durrant Sep 26 at 10:42
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+50

Although this question has been asked two years ago, it is still a current topic. Regarding payment; money does not really affect the motivation of people (see: Harvard Review ) So I wouldn't raise salary just to motivate people..

But based from our projects experience we faced the same situation as you. We got unmotivated testers. Hence we reflected the situation:

  • tasks are done manually, mostly of them are done click-by-click
  • even business department said, that we can replace testers with students or even housewifes (!) so there is lack of appreciation of the work of our testers
  • the attention of the testers is less within the company since they are working in the "back" and no one "heard of them
  • things are done in same routine, there was no space for doing things in an exploratory testing way
  • the business department wasn't really aware which defects had been detected before Go-Live -> testers were just local heroes
  • for developers (and other people e.g. Product Owner) trainings had been offered e.g. Scrum etc. but not for testers

So what did we afterwards?

  • we made some kind of Brown Bag Sessions, where our testers demonstrated the detected bugs before Go-Live to the business department and made also some funny testing issues (e.g. famous bugs e.g. too many digits for Ariane 5) and demonstrated that testing is important
  • we "allowed" our testers to move away from testing by clicking same clicks, and introduced exploratory testing, where we also introduced a board to discuss what we will do in the day and following week. We made notes. Important is, that everyone should see what we are doing (also the developers and business department)
  • when we introduced our testing board in an agile way, the business department was getting curious about our work, this leads that business department became more familiar with testing department, ant this leads that our testing people became more motivated because there was some kind of appreciation of their work. After a couple of weeks, when our testing board was established, we also invited the developers to discuss with us about our testing scope
  • we offered several trainings for our testers (e.g. Selenium, ISTQB etc.) and afterwards we offered the test analyst to introduce an inhouse training for other team members
  • in our company there was some kind of agile community, so we invited our testing staff there and motivated them to participate and to take a role in giving some short introduction about testing (afterwards I can say that this was also a good decision because people within this community get more familiar with testing issues and topics)
  • ...and sometimes the deployment was just done without announcing the test report that means that we had detected several defects but the deployment was run without our expert opinion! So we also advised the management that without a red test report (means that we had found majour / critical defects) deployment will not be done. So we spoke with the Product owner& management that every week (because we got deployments every week) a test report (in a colorful way) has to be send out to management and product Owner. And this work we moved to our test staff.

So we moved our testers from local heroes to co-stars. There are a lot of ways to do with it as you can see? Most of them had really nothing to do with the salary. Just be creative! There are a lot of ways to improve it! Good luck!

  • Really informative summary with practical examples! Thanks a ton! And, believe it or not, I've heard the same exact "housewife" word used in that context before :) – alecxe Nov 28 at 16:03
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Make them co-stars

Frequently application developers are considered the 'stars' and get the fame and money and recognition. Quality Engineers, whether manual or automated are seen as second class citizens.

Your title says "deal with testers". That is a red flag. How do you 'deal' with application engineers is a different question.

Currently there is a huge focus on automation and CI/CD and devops. In order for companies to have highly motivated testers the company will need to recognize testing, speed and Quality Engineers as a key business differentiator.

Under this, please consider the following. Doing ANY of these will require a very brave and determined individual willing to buck the trends.

  • Pay your quality folks the same as app devs
  • Recognize and praise folks publicly (unless they don't like that, some don't).
  • Promote the services as testers as one of the companies most valuable assets
  • Bring them up on stage at significant events as the secret sauce of the company.
  • Seat (or remotely include) your quality folks in prime spots for communication exchanges

Treat them as one of your most valuable assets and they will be that for you

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    Yes that is a great point. At the end I agree, treat them both well and equally important. My main point is that when you have systems that are currently set up differently you need to some some element of dramatic change in order to help folks adopt new practices. There are certainly more subtle and gentle ways I am not thinking of here. I find this somewhat related to discrimination and bias where active remedies may help get back to a desired norm. My opinion of course. – Michael Durrant Sep 26 at 12:39
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    Updated title to "co-stars" from "stars" based on feedback. Updated details to reflect more on equality than preference. – Michael Durrant Sep 26 at 12:41
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Interesting topic, I think I can see something similar in the company I work for. BUT...

... how do you really know they are not motivated? It's easy to use your assumptions and just rely on that. I'm in fact suggesting you should talk about that with them, they might have an interesting input as well :)

If it really turns out they are not motivated, the next big task is to find out why. There could be tens/hundreds of reasons:

  1. they feel testing is not important
  2. they don't work in an environment they consider good
  3. unreal expectations are put on them
  4. they are too stressed out because of something (time constraints, money, test strategy, expectations, ...)
  5. nobody helps them out with further education - it's easy to feel overwhelmed, there are so many ways to learn and one might feel lost
  6. they don't go along with other team members
  7. they really have no interest in testing and do this job just for money

It's a manager's job to find out and try to create an environment where they can become motivated. On the other hand, many people just work for money and have no real interest in the field they are in. Hard to say what to do in such a situation. Fortunately, I'm not a manager, so I'm responsible only for myself and maintaining my own motivation and interest. So I can't really provide a definite answer, just some questions I think you should be asking (yourself and them).

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