A panel consisting of Justin Hunter, Lanette Creamer, Selena Delesie, Catherine Powell and Petteri Lyytinen and hosted by Matt Heusser (all of whom are contributors to the book, Reducing the Cost of Testing) briefly introduced themselves by speaking about the sections or chapters of the book they were responsible for. They then took turns answering questions from the audience about the various ways to reduce costs and improve efficiencies in the testing process. Questions from the audience varied from Deming’s process improvement to the real probability of convincing management that benefits outweigh costs to the use of automated testing techniques. Several concepts were discussed including value vs. cost, opportunity costs, the need for good communication skills, how to calculate the true cost of inadequate testing (loss of customers, brand deterioration, customer satisfaction), and the inherent value in a testing team that gives management the confidence to make the informed decisions it needs to make.
When asked why they would write a book that might lead to reductions in the testing team (i.e. lay-offs), the panel members were quick to clarify that cost reductions do not necessarily translate into layoffs. By improving efficiencies and designing more effective tests, the goal is to free up tester time to address other more strategic and challenging problems in the software. The book also addresses how to survive with good test coverage in spite of layoffs which have been inherent in the economic downturn.
Reducing the Cost of Testing is a definitely a recommended read after observing today’s panel discussion.
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