10.3. Managing a Distributed Test Effort

Once you become accustomed to it, managing your virtual test team as the work proceeds is not that different from managing your own company's team. You will find, however, that these five areas require special attention: tracking the test project and its findings; communicating test status and changes in direction; handling the political realities; being sensitive to disparate cultures; and establishing and maintaining trust.

10.3.1. Monitoring Test Execution

Chapter 6 stresses the importance of keeping the bug tracking and test tracking mechanisms accurate and current during crunch periods. You will probably find this more challenging in a distributed test effort, even if you have done a good job of attending to the mapping issues discussed earlier. Distance, time zones, and language barriers can all get in the way. If you are updating the test tracking spreadsheet, for example, and find that you have questions about a set of test case failures found by your test partner, you could lose a few hours tracking down the person who can provide the information. If you need the data for an urgent presentation to management, this becomes a bigger problem.

Generally, you should plan for a certain lag in receiving results from external test partners, from a few extra minutes to as much as several days, depending on location. For example, when I worked with partners in Taiwan, our limited window for telephone conversations (early morning and early ...

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