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Things you need to know on your first day at work as a tester

You’ve just passed the interview and accepted the offer as a tester.

Congratulations! You made it and I’m happy for you.

But the joy doesn’t last too long really. You then worry about the first day in a new company.

My belief is you have one chance to make a first impression – Kevin McCarthy

Yeah, I’m talking about the first impression.

You know you are hired for reasons. Whatever reasons that could be, your employer likes you. You don’t want to disappoint your employer the first day. You want to hit the ground running like a pro…from day 1.

But your head is still spinning around with these questions:

Who should I meet?

What questions do I need to ask about the project?

What’s expectation from me?

How new team looks like?

Are team members friendly?

You may have more, I know, but it’s fine. That’s normal when we human have to deal with uncertainty.

By being prepared the questions you need to ask the first day when you first join the project will definitely give you a head-start in your job.

Santhosh Tuppad at TestInsane has done a great job at building a mindmap of important things you need to do and ask at your first day in a project. Go ahead and print it out for reference. Here is the mindmap:

Go ahead and print it out for your reference. Here is the mindmap:

First day as a tester

 

( Click here for bigger image)

Here’s the breakdown:

#1: Current Status

  • Project
  • Product
  • Team understanding of the product

#2: Meetings

  • Impromptu
  • Scheduled
  • With different stakeholders
  • Protocols

#3: Reports

  • Past reports
  • Expected formats
  • Can we change for better
  • Frequency

#4: Documents

  • Compliance to
  • Related to product/project
  • Related to testing
  • Terminology
    • Acronyms
    • Formal and Informal

#5: Deadlines

  • Nearest
  • Long term deadline

#6: Requirements

  • Requirement documents
  • Informal requirements
  • Other forms of communication
    • Mention-In-Passing (MIP)
    • Coffee-breaks
    • Over lunch
    • Emails/IMs

#7: Common mistakes

  • Done by members in past
  • What to Avoid
  • What to do when stuck

#8: Stakeholders

  • Most important stakeholder
  • Who else
  • Who can answer my questions

#9: Objectives

  • of the project
  • of this effort

#10: History

  • What is achieved till now
  • Past testing results
  • Similar projects/products done before

#11: Expectations

  • From me
  • From this team
  • From this project team

#12: Environments

  • Test, Dev and Production environment details
  • Credentials
  • Backups and protocols
  • Test Data Repository
  • Test tools

#13: Team

  • Team members
    • Tastes and Dislikes
    • Passionate about
    • Contact Details
  • Development team members
  • Anyone on leave

More often, your mentor will introduce you those things the first day, but if not, don’t hesitate to bring up your questions or concerns. Of course, you don’t have to know or have the answers for all those questions from day 1, but the more you know about the project, the better you are.

Also, note that you need to be careful with how you pose the questions. In some cases, you can ask the questions directly to get the answer, but in some cases, you need to pose your questions in a way that not put your managers/mentors in an uncomfortable situation. If you see they are not comfortable with some of your questions, step back and re-phrase your questions or you can skip the questions and get back to them later.

Besides of asking questions, don’t forget that your team also needs to know more about you. Be ready to answer some of your questions from your colleagues, mentors or managers or share more about you.

If you are following the instruction in the mindmap, you are not only setting yourself a head-start but also building a first (good) impression on day 1.

What do you often ask to know on your first day at work? I’m interested to know.

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About [Thanh Huynh]

Thanh is owner of AskTester and also a tester. Thanh cares about how to do better testing and how to help other testers do better testing too. Contact me via:
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