Changing Paradigms in Managing Distributed Testing Teams

Posted on Sep 14 2011 - 4:38am by Raj

Globalization and advancement in technology have brought about significant changes in the functioning of IT teams. Earlier a large percentage of IT teams were collocated, i.e. confined to the same zone, time, and culture. However, the necessity to gain traction in the international market forced companies to obliterate time, cultural and geographical differences. This led to the concept of ‘working together apart’ where teams, dispersed across the globe collaborated for a common objective. Now teams can be global, virtual, cross-functional, multi-cultural or all of these.

Distributed teams have succeeded in enhancing interconnectedness between global organizations, creating new geographic market opportunities, promoting international business and reducing costs. However, this distributed way of functioning has its own challenges. The different time zones, lack of face-to-face meetings, dependence on phones and email for communication have all given rise to issues affecting trust, commitment, credibility, and productivity in the distributed environment.

Today, project requirements and cost factors have made distributed teams the norm of the IT industry. For instance, testing is one of the areas in which teams are increasingly becoming dispersed. Test teams in multiple global locations face a myriad of issues such as lack of visibility, communication, collaboration, co-ordination, and synchronization. Hence, if these challenges are not addressed properly it can affect the quality and productivity of the distributed test teams. It is the dearth of good test management tools that makes it difficult to solve the issues effectively.

The greatest advantage of a good integrated test management solution is that it helps in the management of projects, resources, releases/sprints, documents and requirements; creation and test case execution, test automation, defect tracking, assignments, metrics, planning, scheduling, and reporting information. Since there is a centralized repository to share data, all the required data is made available in an instant. Real-time visibility throughout the project, one-on-one and project level conversations in real-time, real-time status updates, easy integration with other systems are some of the aspects of an effective test management tool. Above all, the plus point of such a tool is that it can be used across teams effectively.

To sum up, a good test management tool can turn the odds in the distributed test environment in its favor. That is to say, a good test management system translates into test teams, irrespective of where they are located, being able to work hassle free, in a seamless manner 24/7.

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