How To Set Smart(ish) Goals For Testers Part 2




Last week I appeared as part of the QA Touch Virtual Series. I spoke on the topic of goals and setting goals. I used the presentation to bring together a number of ideas of goals and goal setting, and this essay, in turn, is based on the presentation. This is Part 2 of a rough transcription of the webinar (note — I have moved several slides around as I have created this essay).

Read Part 1  

Part 2: 

Whether we are considering goals for groups of testers or teams that include testers, there is a natural tendency to set goals that are specific to a process. Examples of areas covered by specific process level goals include code coverage, test case automation, or (god forbid) the number of defects found or defect removal efficiency. While two of the four might be valuable focus areas, none of the examples are based on systems thinking view of the output delivered from a value chain therefore rarely impact the bottom line significantly. Other than a few specific scenarios, testing, is not the output of a value chain. In a software development organization, software products that people spent money on are an output. In an automobile manufacturer, cars are the output. Every team needs to have goals based on their contribution to the value stream. Four basic metric categories that need to be considered are:

ThroughputCycle TImeProductivityDelivered Defects

The four cover quite a bit of ground from how much is delivered (throughput), how long work takes to deliver (cycle time), financial efficiency (productivity), and the level of quality (delivered defects). The idea is to focus goals on what is important to the business rather than on lower level activities that often are important but rarely are strategic. Developing an understanding of the value chain provides scope and the products that testing or any other role needs to focus on impact when setting goals.

Individuals and teams need a north star which is something to aspire toward. What, however, is more likely is that goals will be set that provide incremental improvements but do not challenge the status quo. Enter the idea of a BHAG, which stands for big hairy audacious goal that by definition requires upsetting the apple cart. A BHAG goal is a long-term goal that, if attained, will fundamentally change the nature of an organization. While goals that fit the BHAG mold should be specific, measurable, and time-related, they may be less attainable or realistic than a SMART goal. A BHAG goal often provides an organization with the energy to break the inertia, rally the troops and to provide a direction for an individual, team, or organization. For example, reducing the wait time for patients would be a BHAG goal for my doctor. In order to attain that goal, he would have to fundamentally change how he practices, which might mean I might not like going to see him

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By: tcagley
Title: How To Set Smart(ish) Goals For Testers Part 2
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Published Date: Tue, 16 Jun 2020 23:55:18 +0000

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