You know software testing and what is required to thoroughly test an application, otherwise you wouldn’t be here. However, the factors that contribute to successful testing are dependent on many things, such as the work environment.

No two businesses are the same and software testing in a Digital Agency is quite a bit different than testing at a bank. In this article, we are going to hear from one of our test engineers, Max, and learn from his experiences of working and, specifically, testing for Digital Agencies.

Read more of our articles on our testing experience here.

The character of a Digital Agency

Digital Agencies are essentially advertising agencies that have evolved to meet their client’s marketing needs in the digital age. This entails web design and development, app development, eCommerce implementation, as well as search and social advertising, content marketing, SEO, and email marketing. Aside from being highly creative, digital marketing and advertising have become very technical. And what do you know, clients want all of this to work seamlessly, be set up quickly, and cost a little as possible.

This is what makes digital agency work such an interesting environment. Everyone who has worked for them or with them might recognize these terms:

  • Fast-paced
  • Lots of projects
  • Dynamic environment
  • Informal working environment
  • Pressure

These terms are factors that fall into play when working with digital agencies. So, you might be thinking, “what has this to do with the way you work at a digital agency as a tester? Surely, software testing is the same everywhere, right?”

Working with these environmental factors at a digital agency makes you adapt to the way you work at a tester. For example, “fast-paced” means you might not have time to test everything on every device. So, you learn that you must start making compromises in prioritizing functionality over things like pixel peeking / small design improvements. 

Working principles

That was just one example on how to adapt to the digital agency world as a tester, but every factor can be differently interpreted as people often have different ways of working. Besides every digital agency is different, from the products and services they provide to the way the processes work within their company.

How can you prepare yourself and be a valuable asset to a digital agency? Let’s find out by exploring four key principles to being an excellent tester in such a “dynamic” environment.

Principles for testing at digital agencies

Suggest improvements

Whenever you think that a process or task could be more efficient, give a suggestion on how to do it. Digital agencies are, as previously described, fast-paced and wherever they can save time or effort, it will eventually be really valuable for them.

An ideal moment to give a suggestion on a task or process is during a retrospective. But how should you form your suggestion? That brings us to our next point!

Asking a person what they would like out of these 20 dishes isn’t time-efficient. So, when writing or giving a suggestion come prepared and give 2 or 3 implementation methods so when they will choose. Doing so lessens the burden and results in a decision that is relatively easily and quickly made.

But what happens if they do agree? 

Take ownership

Ownership! If there is one characteristic in employees that digital agencies can appreciate, it is ownership. Giving a suggestion on how things could be better? Or your suggestion is approved? You should be prepared to actually do it!

Most of the time when a decision takes too long, creating a proof of concept can help to convince your coworkers that your suggestion is worthwhile.

In a digital agency, it is often better to ask for forgiveness than for permission… at least when it comes to waiting like this.

Stay one step ahead

Due to a fast-paced, dynamic and pressured environment, things might come at you really fast. Try to think one step ahead by asking yourself a couple of questions. Questions like:

  • Are the tasks laying in front of me too much before the deadline?
    Yes? Talk to the manager and give a suggestion on how to handle the situation. For example, make a prioritization schedule with your team using MoSCoW on what tickets have to be tested and completed. Keep in mind to watch out for these cases, as noticing this one or two days before the deadline might already be too late.

    MoSCoW is a way to prioritize tickets in:
    Must haves, Should haves, Could haves and Won’t haves.

  • I’m almost done with my tasks, what should I do after?
    First of all when this happens, enjoy the experience while it lasts as this doesn’t happen too often. All jokes aside, look for work to pick up or give a suggestion on what to do next. Thinking about this beforehand prevents ad hoc questions for coworkers. A good moment to talk about this is a day or more before you run out of work. This discuss it in the stand up with your team, so you won’t be sitting still when your tickets are completed.

Staying one step ahead of your work will give you some much-needed peace of mind. Instead of hearing, ad hoc, what you need to do and finding out that this is impossible in the time that is left. Situations like these can be easily prevented by proactively looking into the planning or backlog and finding out there will be a time constraint. Having foreseen that there isn’t enough time, you should dedicate time to communicating how to fix this issue. 

Communication

When joining a Digital Agency you’ll probably end up in a team that consists of young colleagues, informal atmosphere and, most of the time, little hierarchy. Within these types of teams and companies communication is key. Just communication is not enough though what really suppose the dynamic setting of a digital agency is Transparency. Transparency is one of the biggest ways to create value in communication. Being able to talk openly about the concerns you have will save a lot of time and stress towards the end of the sprint. Due to the small hierarchy and informal atmosphere, it is easy to talk about these types of problems. 

Besides the most serious parts of communicating effectively, it also important that you keep your sense of humour and use it (appropriately). A lot of stress can come from your work and being able to tell a joke or casually talk with your coworkers is something that is really important. Don’t forget to go to the VrijMiBo (Friday afternoon drinks) because working hard is a whole lot less fun when you don’t know your coworkers. So talk to them, get to know them, and make sure to enjoy your digital agency experience!

Why these four principles?

If you can follow one of these principles, the others will usually follow.

Let’s say you start with showing Ownership for an issue you will pick up. You’ll have to end up thinking about the future of the ticket, therefore you will foresee any blockers. 

Found a blocker? Communicate it with the team. After this, you find a solution and give a suggestion to fix it. You will end back up with ownership you’ll have to show to fix the issue. 

You can look at it as a cycle, but the beautiful thing about the cycle is that no matter where you start, you can go either way and will end up being a really valuable asset to the team.

Summary

So now you have learned what it takes to be a valuable asset to a digital agency and having fun while doing so! Using these principles can be a guideline in your digital agency experience. Bear in mind that they are guidelines, not rules. Try to experiment and look at what other principles will work for you and feel free to let us know. We hope that this article sharing our experience of working with Digital Agencies was useful for you.

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Written by: spriteCloud

This is the spriteCloud company author. We use this profile when posting general company-related things and as a catch-all for posts that were written by former colleagues.

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