Leading a software testing team of individual people with different skills and mindsets is a challenging task. Modern leaders have to support, help, guide and coach the team members to grow their skill set to become a better tester. When I was working with my team mates in the past, it wasn’t always easy for me and for them to find the right topics to talk about that help the team member to grow. For some it was hard to identify their weak spots in the field of testing when working day in and day out in projects. And for some it was clear where they want to go to, but they were struggling with their daily tasks.
The first time I got in touch with the so called wheel was, when I was reading the book STRONG Product People by Petra Wille. In the book Petra described the product management wheel (PM Wheel) and how it helped her to support product managers in getting better in various aspects of their role. I directly thought this is perfect for me and I need to adapt it for my testing teams and department. So I took some time and derived the testing wheel.
The testing wheel consists of eight categories:
- Understand the Project need
- Testing Essentials
- Test Automation
- Get it Done
- Listen & Learn
- Testing Team
- Personal Growth
Each category describes a field of interest or a field of potential growth. On a scale from 0 – 7 the team member as well as the team leader will rank (separately) the current skill set of the team member. At the end both results can be mapped in one diagram. The mapping highlights the different stand points of each category. In best case there are areas where the team leader and the team member are not on the same page, because this leads to great discussions about potential weak spots that can be improved, but more on that in my video.
I really like the way the testing wheel triggers discussions and helps the team leader as well as the team member to get better in the different areas mentioned the wheel. The nice thing about the wheel is, that it is flexible in terms of number of areas and the categories. Depending on your team members or company the testing wheel can look different and can/ should be adapted.
I also recorded a video about the testing wheel, where I further explained the categories. So make sure to watch the video to get the full picture of the wheel. Also if you want to try out the wheel, here is a PDF with the description of the categories, as well as a template of the testing wheel for you to use.
I would love to get some feedback from you about the testing wheel in the video comments. Do you find it useful? Or do you see areas of improvements? In case you are using the wheel, let me know what you have changed.