I am working for a software consulting company, we provide software testing service to our customers.

Not long ago, we developed a test suite for our customer. By the end of our contract, one employee from our customer volunteered to look after this test suite. I was given a job to pass on the knowledge to her.

Over time, I realized she was unlikely to take up this job in time. She knew next to nothing about programming. My manager wants me to finish up with her asap as every week I spend 4 hours (unpaid) to train her. It is not I am not paid, it is the consulting company I am working for is not paid, my manager wants to build up a good relationship with them.

I have been thinking I can help her speed up her learning by doing the following:

  • Draw details program flow diagram and UML, use them to show her further how the test suite works
  • Get her to do all the debugging and maintenance while I am advising her.
  • Report to my manager on a weekly basis about her progress.

Any other ideas?


  • 2
    That really seems like something that you should be discussing with your manager and/or the client. What works for one user may not work for another. It is possible that the user's lack of programming knowledge is simply too great a hurdle to overcome (at least at a mere 4 hours a week). – Justin Cave Oct 12 '16 at 0:49
  • @JustinCave, good point, thanks. Will discuss it with my manager. – Yu Zhang Oct 12 '16 at 1:03
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    Develop software that is user friendly to maintain. If it requires a developer to do basic maintenance, then it's inferior software. – Kilisi Oct 12 '16 at 1:57
  • @Kilisi, I have to add, it depends on what kinds of maintenance you were referring to. All software require maintenance, what happens if the subject under test receives an update and its behavior changes? – Yu Zhang Oct 12 '16 at 2:24
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    SHe should not need to know programming, she isn't going to program the test suite most likely. She is just going to run the tests. She should understand how to use the user interface. You need to get down to her level and stop thinking of this as a programmer's job. Giver her user materials not development materials. – HLGEM Oct 12 '16 at 21:30

Prepare documentation as though you are leaving it behind for someone with some technical aptitude, but who you have never met, nor will meet.

I have a saying I've used for quite a while: "You can't be mad at your cat for not balancing your checkbook." If this person doesn't have the skill or the aptitude to develop it, then realize the documentation you leave behind will be needed by someone else, later.

If this person is unlikely to take up the job, but the customer needs the job done, the customer will either hire someone or task someone later who can, and they will need to be able to rely on your documentation.

  • Thanks, I have left plenty documents for her to keep as references, but she has not read anyone of them. How do I know it? She asked me questions that I answered in the documents I left her with. I am thinking perhaps the documentations I left behind are not really rookie-friendly, so I want to give her something visually friendly to work with this time. – Yu Zhang Oct 12 '16 at 1:03
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    How much documentation is there? Sure, the answer might be answered in it (and I say might because you are reading it from the point of already knowing the content; you will subconsciously fill in the gaps when others can't), but that doesn't mean your tutee will remember it word-for-word, or that they picked up the idea and not just the actual words, or that they've read those particular sections instead of others, or that they aren't asking just to be sure they understood you correctly. – user53718 Oct 12 '16 at 2:50

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