Building a Growth Framework Pt II: No Tester Left Behind

In April 2018 the Engineering team at Songkick started using a Growth framework; a way for developers to simply and clearly understand where they currently are in their roles and what they need to do to grow.

This framework was an incredible success. Engineers and their managers were having regular and meaningful growth conversations, and were producing progression plans off the back of those conversations to ensure real growth occurred. As a manager of 4 developers this was awesome for me, however I felt like the tester I managed was getting short-changed. The growth framework was awesome but was made for developers and more senior levels of engineering. Career conversations with the tester felt ad-hoc and less meaningful for her. So I decided to create a Growth Framework for Test and here it is 🙂

What does it look like?

The amazing thing about Songkick’s Growth Framework for Engineering is how it could so easily be mapped to other disciplines across the company, which meant I could use the same 7 skills to measure growth in testing as we were using for the rest of Engineering:

Songkick’s 7 skill areas for growth

The Growth Framework for Engineering has 9 roles in it, across individual contributor and people manager tracks, however making a framework with that many roles for test, when we only have a very small test team, felt unnecessary. Instead I made it as complete as it needed to be for now, so the Growth Framework for Test has 5 roles within it; Software Tester 1, Software Tester 2, Senior Software Tester, Test Lead and Engineering Manager.

You can see here how I have created one of the roles using the 7 skills and example behaviours:

Software Tester (1) role

As you explore the Growth Framework you will also notice I do not dictate proficiency in specific tools in order to progress; such as automation.

You do not need to know how to automate to become a senior level tester at Songkick. What you do need is to know is when to use the right tools for the job. Automation is a tool to help us with checking so we have more time for exploratory testing. The example behaviours, are just that, examples and should be taken as such.

Using the Growth Framework

In line with the rest of the Engineering team, every 3 months, the tester and I run through the Growth Framework for Test and work together to create a progression plan and OKRs. The Growth Framework has meant that we now discuss growth together at regular, and expected, intervals instead of the ad-hoc nature of the past. We have done this 3 times over the last 9 months and every time we have had productive and meaningful conversations. She is in fact now a Senior Software Tester 🙂 Using this tool made that clear and easy to achieve! We used the framework to identify areas in Leadership and Communication that she needed to improve and as a result she took ownership of the release process for our iOS app, and also ownership of our bug process, and reporting, across the whole company.

Introducing a Growth Framework to your test team

Understanding what needs to be achieved for growth is incredibly important for both manager and report. The Songkick Growth Framework for Test means we now have a shared understanding, as well as a process to facilitate that growth. You may look at my Growth Framework and think it won’t fit your team or company. That’s ok. You can start how I started, by picking out the key elements that work for you, and then expanding and evolving them to suit your purpose. Create something that fits your needs, for now, and build on it. Once you have something, you can share it with your team and get feedback so you can understand what is missing and what isn’t right. Through collaboration and iterative improvement you can create something that you and your team buy into and value.

Building a Growth Framework Pt II: No Tester Left Behind was originally published in Songkick Tech on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Source: Songkick

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