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Test Consultant

Last updated: 2022-05-23

Rationale

Why does this document exist? Simply put, so you know what is expected of you when performing the role of a Test Consultant.

Testing is a specialised activity and requires and specific type of mindset as well as a number of different skills. Within Infinity Works, we need excellent Test Consultants to help our clients move towards modern ways of testing and understand the role of a tester within an Agile setup. It's vital to our continued success that we have consultants who have specific skills and experience around testing.

This role is usually carried out by those at career level CL9 Consultant and above.

Some background

Responsibility of Testing

At Infinity Works, we believe testing and quality is the responsibility of everyone, however everyone might not be aware of the best ways of achieving high quality and low risk.

We subscribe to the modern testing practices and believe in the role of an agile tester. We need our Test Consultants to be the go to person on the team for all things testing - not necessarily doing the testing themselves, but shaping the strategy and guiding the teams on how to do so in the best way.

Technical skills

We believe there are many facets to being a great tester and only some of these are technical. As a tester, you always need to have a certain technical understanding to be able to speak the same language as different team members. However you do not need to be the most technical person on your team by any stretch! After all, we have many other roles involving lots of technical skills.

Writing some quality automation and continuous integration pipelines are great skills to have, but not the only skills and it's absolutely possible to be a great Test Consultant without them. As explained below, we have many different areas within the role where value can be added and as a Test Consultant you will need to be strong in some with awareness of others.

Progression

As a Test Consultant at Infinity Works, you will have strong skills in some areas of testing, which might be more in the area of test strategy and testing techniques or more towards the technical end such as automation or CI pipelines.

Progression can be achieved through looking to improve on the areas you are weakest on, with the aim of moving towards being a Full Stack Tester. You can also work towards helping the wider Infinity Works Test community and getting involved in test opportunities with multiple clients in order to help train and guide less experienced testers - whether they are Infinity Works or client employees.

Between learning new skills and widening your influence there are many ways to progress your career as a Test Consultant at Infinity Works.

Behaviours

These are behaviours that are expected of a Test Consultant no matter what the level and are the basis of a great Test Consultant, which is why they are listed before the techniques and responsibilities.

Analytical thinking

Analysis is a huge part of testing and should be used to inform strategies and tool selection. Good monitoring provides lots of data which can be analysed to inform how to test a product and make decisions on risk.

Continuous feedback

A test consultant must be able to provide clear, actionable feedback. Agile is all about quick feedback cycles and in many ways testing is all about feedback as well - providing information on a product and helping to understand the level of risk.

It's vital that a test consultant is looking to ensure the feedback cycles are as quick as possible while also giving clean feedback. Unit tests, local execution and pairing are all examples of activities to decrease the length of a feedback cycle.

Focus on quality

Quality is the name of the game and ultimately the biggest thing a test consultant should care about. Everyone is responsible for quality but a test consultant should be the biggest advocate of quality and always ensure their actions and decisions have quality in mind.

Bigger picture view

With every activity, a test consultant should ask themselves if this is the best thing for the overall team and project. It should be a selfless role with activities that are always best for team, client and customer, not best for individual.

As a test consultant, you should look to have an excellent understanding of your domain. A test consultant is generally best placed to be the person who knows the most about the domain as they can often bridge the gap between customer and team better than anyone else.

Collaborative

A test consultant should be advocating pairing and mobbing activities where appropriate and these activities require the ability to collaborate effectively with different people.

Working with people with different mindsets, experience and skills is needed to perform these activities with success.

Communicative

Like most roles, an ability to communicate is vital for a test consultant. The role often requires working with both technical and non technical people and a mix of different personalities. This means a variety of communication techniques is needed and the ability to alter the way you communicate depending on who you are talking to.

As a test consultant you will likely need to influence multiple people in different roles and having empathy for someone is the first step to understanding them, being able to communicate with them effectively and ultimately influence them.

Pragmatic

One of the most important behaviours is the ability to understand the context of the situation and make a pragmatic decision when needed. There are times when things can be put off and everything doesn't need to be gold plated. As a test consultant you need to be able to recognise these situations and react accordingly.

The worst thing a test consultant can be is a blocker for delivery and often being pragmatic stops this happening.

Creative thinking

An ability to think outside the box and come up with solutions to problems rather than just raising issues is an important part of being a test consultant.

Responsibilities

There are a broad range of skills and responsibilities attached to the Test Consultant role. Some of these will be more or less relevant to the role depending on the client. As a Test Consultant you are expected to have an awareness of the majority of these and be highly skilled in specific ones.

Basics

Test Consultant specifics

  • Take responsibility for popularising the test strategy for the team and help to ensure they are working towards implementing it

  • You are expected to be an advocate for modern testing techniques within your team

  • You should be keeping up to date with the industry and looking to apply new things you learn to the team, where appropriate

  • Look to get involved in the automation strategy, particularly around where and when automation is targetted and executed

  • Building great relationships - Level 2 (Advanced)

  • Figuring stuff out - Level 2

  • Leading the Infinity Works way - Level 2

  • Developing Infinity Works - Level 2

  • Embracing change and ambiguity - Level 2

  • Thinking differently - Level 2 (Advanced)

Test Consultant specifics

  • Take responsibility for popularising the test strategy for the team and help to ensure they are working towards implementing it
  • You are expected to be an advocate for modern testing techniques within your team
  • You should be keeping up to date with the industry and looking to apply new things you learn to the team, where appropriate
  • Look to get involved in the automation strategy, particularly around where and when automation is targetted and executed
  • A test consultant should be contributing to the Continuous Integration/Delivery strategy and becoming hands on with creating and maintaining the pipelines where possible
  • Establish a team culture around quality and help to socialise this within the team
  • Participate actively in and help promote the Testing Community within Infinity Works
  • Get as close to the customer as you can and help to ensure the right thing is being built
  • Make an effort to learn the domain for your client and ensure you understand the needs for the project you are working on
  • Get involved with the non-functional requirements, contributing to the overall strategy and how they will be ensured

Advanced

Test Consultant specifics

  • Become the go-to person on your account around testing and quality
  • Lead the development and implementation of the testing strategy in your account
  • Have an excellent understanding of the status of your project and be able to help with translating this to the team and the client
  • Work with the Product Owner or relevant person to translate the business requirements in to things the team can understand and implement
  • Drive the CI/CD strategy forward and become hands-on with implementing the pipelines
  • Drive the creation of good automation, targetted at the right areas and executed at the right time in the right place
  • Get involved with and potentially lead on tool selection for the project
  • Promote testability within the team and account and help the client to make the product as testable as possible
  • Look to get involved with value-add testing activities within other clients where appropriate

Test Consultant specifics

  • Become the go-to person on your account around testing and quality
  • Lead the development and implementation of the testing strategy in your account
  • Have an excellent understanding of the status of your project and be able to help with translating this to the team and the client
  • Work with the Product Owner or relevant person to translate the business requirements in to things the team can understand and implement
  • Drive the CI/CD strategy forward and become hands-on with implementing the pipelines
  • Drive the creation of good automation, targetted at the right areas and executed at the right time in the right place
  • Get involved with and potentially lead on tool selection for the project
  • Promote testability within the team and account and help the client to make the product as testable as possible
  • Look to get involved with value-add testing activities within other clients where appropriate
  • Contribute to improving the quality of testing in a wide Infinity Works context
  • Promote Infinity Works within the wider testing community
  • Look to ensure monitoring of your product is performed and the output is fed back in to the strategy going forward
  • Contributing to the continued success of the Test Community of Practice within IW

Bonus

  • Help to train and mentor other Test Consultants within Infinity Works
  • Get involved with testing recruitment and/or external testing events within the community, promoting Infinity Works as a place of testing excellence

Techniques

Customer focused

  • Active participant and leading three amigos sessions
  • Writing and reviewing acceptance criteria
  • Participating in and leading sprint reviews, demos and retrospectives
  • Cross functional and system design sessions

Test strategy

  • What tools should be used and why?
  • An environment management strategy
  • Influence team ways of working and make them part of the overall test strategy
  • What will be automated and what areas of the product with the automation target?
  • Involve the whole team in the strategy creation and ensure they are all behind it
  • Regular reviews of the strategy

Testing techniques

  • Implement session based exploratory testing when appropriate
  • Look at the testability of the product and the project and improve this where possible
  • Analysing risk in the product and targetting the appropriate areas

Automation

  • Tool and language selection, looking to apply existing off the shelf tools where possible
  • Creation of automation frameworks only where appropriate
  • Creation of automated tests and reviewing of other team members tests
  • Paying attention to code coverage while also understanding its limitations as a metric
  • Pairing and mobbing with team members and contributing to the unit and integration tests, even if it's just to understand the boundaries and contribute to their purpose rather than writing the code

Non-functional

  • Perform and drive accessibility testing and assess the level of accessibility across your product
  • Advise on and influence security testing of the product, especially where sensitive data is concerned - understand GDPR requirements
  • Drive forward targetted performance testing on the product, getting involved with the test creation and strategy

CI/CD

  • Creation and maintenance of pipelines to aid continuous integration and delivery
  • Involvement in tool selection and helping to choose the right tool appropriate to the project context

ISO

You'll carry out your role in accordance with the requirements of ISO9001 and ISO27001 as reflected in the Company's policies and procedures and the ISO9001 and ISO27001 organisational structure charts.