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Test Projects & Time Management

This article was published on my LinkedIn page a few weeks ago, but since then i have had so many people ask questions about it so i am publishing the article here too. 

Often times, projects do run out of time and testers (mostly) do get pressured to deliver #testing tasks within a very constrained period of time, usually less time than planned or possible for the job to be done properly. My approach toward avoiding (where possible) or containing this dilemma will be to have a process that everyone understands, "Put all my ducks in a row" so (even) when a new joiners comes in, the resource knows exactly where they fit in and would become productive as soon as possible. There should be a strategy which everyone understands (I have been asked several times if I think anyone even read test strategy documents - and this does cost time later on in the project), ensure the test plan details what each person is supposed to do and when. What methodology and approach the project will implement is well communicated to each team member, and as a team we discuss and contain any potential project issues as early as we can.

Ideally all of these should be done at the very beginning of projects (even more so in an Agile methodology) so the timeline is aligned among all team members or alongside planned activities. This will not necessarily eliminate the need for time, but it does reduce the need to go out of sequence to do things or run out of time to do any planned task. I will seek to establish what we know about the product as early as possible in the life of the project and baseline those, document as much as possible about the product (especially where the product is being developed as part of the project), use any downtime wisely (if there was any), preferably to write test cases or do any other task that is not dependent on the availability of the product.

Finally, I would lean on the strong point of each of my team, this will give me an optimal performance from each team member when I do need it, but the tasks will be aligned with the progress of the project according to the timeline. In the event of any potential showstopper discovery, this will not take time away from any particular task but we can contain that together with everyone knowing what they need to do and quickly and in sequence these things need to be done. 

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