Chris Bewick, Testronic’s Director of Global Operations, shares his top 5 reasons for QA service providers investing in L&D.
Over the past 18 years, I have provided services to the video games industry and, whilst doing so, witnessed huge changes in procedure. The depth, variety and complexity of today’s video games are vastly different from when I started servicing them, way back in 2000.
Service providers are in a unique position. We get to work with a multitude of clients with whom we build strong partnerships. Through these partnerships we get to experience and work on industry changes as they happen. When a client requests help from Testronic, they want to feel confident they are being serviced by professionals who are ‘up to date’ and able to tackle modern QA problems.
At Testronic, it is my duty to make sure that client confidence is met. It is imperative that Testronic delivers QA professionals when required, with the correct skillset and with flexibility the client deserves. In order to achieve client confidence and garner great results, it is essential to support and grow your internal teams and their external partnerships by utilizing a smart, evolving learning and development solution.
Below are five reasons why I believe Learning and Development (L&D) is essential for today’s outsourced QA:
1. Consultant mindset
As QA professionals, we should be able to give support to clients from the very start of the partnership. This support can range from standard compliance advice, data driven testing solutions, advice on spending QA budgets wisely and much more. As our projects and teams grow, it is essential to educate staff and keep them up to date with the ever increasing complexity of the Games industry. Listening, understanding and delivering the client’s needs doesn’t come naturally – it must be taught. The service provider cannot expect to develop a QA consultant mindset by only utilizing initial training and a buddy system followed by ‘on the job learning’. A more structured L&D approach needs to be applied. Staff should be part of a program that makes them feel rewarded at all times. Gamification and other methodologies can assist in making the learning experience even more rewarding. Without an L&D department your business may struggle to absorb and adapt to the intricacies of the changing QA landscape and consistently deliver flexible QA professionals.
2. Partnership growth
When building a partnership with a new client, it is essential that any bespoke skillsets or culture are assimilated. Without dedicated L&D it’s very easy to lose this client side knowledge through natural staff promotion or attrition. Building contingency for these bespoke practices is essential and should be tracked by a dedicated team. If a client wants Testronic staff to join their daily SCRUM meetings, it is up to L&D to make sure that all relevant staff are trained in SCRUM methodology. Additionally, the L&D team has a responsibility to approach less forthcoming clients and ask if they have any culture or practices they would like absorbed and included in our syllabuses.
“Without an L&D department your business may struggle to absorb and adapt to the intricacies of the changing QA landscape” – Chris Bewick, Director of Global Operations, Testronic
3. Business maturity
We all know the Video Games industry is turbulent. Project success pivots on many complex variables. With a landscape that fluctuates so quickly, it’s a difficult task to ensure all of our testers, leads and Project Managers can keep up. Helping young, fresh staff reach business maturity and understand the importance of tools like metric analytics, line management and remote communication are ongoing tasks. Bespoke tools must be created and managed. Without dedicated L&D support these processes are left to their immediate management, who may, or may not, have the time or the required business maturity to help successfully.
4. Mutual Respect
At Testronic we all work together to achieve the goals and requirements set out for each and every project. We have a great team of QA professionals that are prepared to give extra effort to ensure success. In my experience, if a company does nothing in return to, not only reward, but encourage hard work then staff may suffer from moral issues or nurture a disrespect. I am not talking about pizza and beer (for sure these help!!) but instead a mature approach to learning in order to incentivize the individual, team and group. I have found that a team which is informed, developed and encouraged is less likely to become disgruntled. We should feel like we are all part of a positive group that contributes to a common goal.
5. Hierarchy Health
Understanding and delivering strength and flexibility for a modern, dynamic QA Hierarchy is an ongoing task. Making sure the level of responsibly on each tier is comfortable enough for performance, that valuable contingency is in place and all staff are happy in their roles are just three of the many key pillars to building a robust hierarchy. Without L&D, hierarchy strength and talent retention can slip very quickly. The road to recovery from such a slip can take months to repair. With dedicated focus, the hierarchy as a whole can be serviced, maintained and kept mature enough to handle the toughest of times.