This is part two of Paul Gerrard’s article introducing the Tester Skills Program (TSP) – a new model for testing. Read Part 1 here.
TSP – Skills Focus
There were several influences on the depth and range of skills needed but essentially, the scheme encourages specific behaviors:
- To think more analytically (modelling, systems and critical thinking)
- To move from passive to active collaboration; to challenge and refine requirements
- To understand customer/digital experience optimization; to be aware of and exploit other predictive models and align testing to these models
- To act like a pathfinder or navigator (rather than a “follower”)
- To collaborate with confidence and at more senior technical and business/stakeholder levels
The TSP syllabus aims to encourage more outward-facing, collaborative, proactive behavior.
From Challenges to Learning Objectives and Skills Topics
The team started by identifying a series of challenges that faces QA Managers and their teams. These would be used to drive out specific skills and capability requirements. Each specific challenge was mapped to one or more skills topic and the list of skills topics grew to over 240. The challenges translated nicely to learning objectives and a list of topics for each objective.
A Focus on Thinking, not Following
The New Model for Testing is an attempt to identify the critical testing thought processes. A Webinar  and white paper  give a full explanation of the thinking behind the model, which is reproduced below.
The model doesn’t represent a process with activities, inputs, outputs, entry and exit criteria and procedures. Rather it represents the modes of thinking which people who test go through to achieve their goals. Our brains are such wonderful modelling engines, that we can be thinking in multiple modes at the same time and process thoughts in parallel. It might not be comfortable, but from time to time, we must do this.
TSP is a Learning and Development Scheme
TSP is intended to be a comprehensive L&D regime. Training can impart new ideas, concepts and skills, but to trigger new behaviors, these skills must be embedded in the practitioners’ mind and aligned with local ways of working.
For every hour of training material, there needs to be one to two hours support, assignments and practical work to achieve the goal of new behaviors.
The Skills Inventory
A summary of the skills areas included in the syllabus appear below:
|Adapting Testing||Advanced Testing||Agile Testing Approaches||Assertiveness||Certification||Challenging Requirements||Collaboration||Communication||Critical Thinking|
|Developer Testing||Exploratory Testing||Exploring Sources of Knowledge||Facilitation||Hiring Testers||Instrumentation||Modelling||Monitoring||Non-Functional Testing|
|Process Improvement||Planning||Reconciliation||Regression Testing||Requirements Test Analysis||Risk Management||SDET Role||Technical Testing||Technology Skills|
|Systems Thinking||Test Assurance||Test Automation Frameworks||Test Automation||Coaching||Test Design – Model-Based||Test Design – Domain||Test Design – State-Based||Test Design – Logic|
|Test Design – Purposeful Activity||Test Motivation||Test Strategy||Testability||Testing and Stakeholders||Testing Fundamentals||Testing in Teams||Working Remotely|
Using over 240 skills topics, 44 topic areas were derived and these were then structured into a Core Modules syllabus and a Supplementary Modules Syllabus. The syllabus content can be directly traced to the original challenges. The Foundation Syllabus structure as of May 2020 can be seen over the page.
Read the conclusion here.