SOFTEC2012 – Soft Skills in Test Management

“Soft Skills in Test Management” was the tutorial I attended on the third day of Software Testing Conference (SOFTEC2012). This tutorial was done by Graham Bath and it was really interesting. It went so smooth with a variety of so beneficial information about the topic. Many thanks to Graham for that. In this post, I would like to share a summary about this tutorial. Please feel free to contact me in order to discuss and learn more about these soft skills.

Graham began the tutorial by defining what soft skills are. As he mentioned, soft skills are the skills we need in order to interact well with humans. In addition, Graham mentioned that it is easier to detect soft skills absence than presence. He also added that there is an overlap between soft skills and management skills.

Here are the skills covered in this tutorial:

  • Understand Your Context: It is very important to understand your context by knowing your audience, stakeholders and appreciating culture since it is very important to have knowledge about other people culture.
  • Ask Questions: In test management, you need to ask the questions right in order to get the right answer. Open questions and closed questions are used to ask about problems, risks, status, root-causes and improvements needed. They help to build or maintain good relations too.
  • Giving and Receiving Feedback: Feedback keeps communications open. In addition, good soft skills can make all feedback positive. It is good for you to receive feedback too.
  • Active Listening: This can improve the communications by minimizing the information lost through filtering which usually done by the receiver.
  • Gathering Ideas: Using checklists and mindmaps can help a lot in gathering and organizing ideas.
  • Getting Your Message Across: This can be done through presenting, reporting, body language, short messages, emails and social media.
  • Reaching Agreement: Synchronized thinking and codependent behavior are main points here. Synchronized Thinking is considering the problem with different views and thinking of one view at a time. In this case, the “Six Thinking Hats” can be used with group discussions. In addition, reaching agreements may result in codependency between people where one person’s weaknesses are compensated by another person. This is really beneficial in the short-term. However, this can be damaging in the long-term.
  • Making Things Happen: This is achieved through motivation strategies and managing change. In fact, you cannot motivate people when their basic needs are not fulfilled. Examples of basic needs are love and respect in addition to  confidence. In addition, managing the change is needed. Our soft skills are critical for managing the “human aspects of change” and ensuring successful implementation of change.

I hope that this summary was helpful and beneficial. As I mentioned at the beginning, please feel free to contact me in order to discuss more about these soft skills.

Again, many appreciations go to Graham for this wonderful tutorial.

All the best…

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