Introduction:

We have been doing software testing for quite a long time now. There are many organizations who have invested a considerable amount of time in their testing capabilities. How mature are those capabilities? Each organization has different set of processes , methodologies etc to carry out their testing activities. Through this presentation a Test process Improvement  model is being emphasized upon. This will give the organization an insight on their testing maturity status and ways it can incorporate to make the testing process more robust in their respective organization. 

Audience:

  • Test Management Professionals — Managers, Architects, Test Leads, Software Test Engineers
  • Quality / SEPG Management Professionals — Managers, QA Leads, Software QA Engineers
  • Project Management Professionals — Managers, Leads, Software Engineers

Area of Application:

Testing Projects

Benefits:

Organization will have a mature testing process and this will help the organizations in the longer run.

Content

  • There are a large number testing engagements.
  • Approx 40% resources are engaged in testing various  application systems – development or migration or reengineering or testing only projects – web based or mainframe technologies – unit testing thru’ integration/system testing to UAT.
  •  Undoubtedly Testing encompasses a major mass of our delivery process, capability and success.

However, we face pains or problems as the industry faces too.

  • Delivery quality of tested system is not consistent.
  • Testing effort is more than estimated.
  • Fire fighting close to the delivery / release date.
  • Customer not always satisfied with deliverables.

Challenges in Testing

In general the following challenges/issues are observed in past or present in the projects. The challenges/issues are distributed across various projects in various degrees.

  • Lack of system or domain knowledge. Domain or system complex?
  • Unstructured/less formalized Knowledge Transfer(KT) mechanism. KT Planning or Knowledge repository?
  • Less structured approach to testing. Process oriented?
  • No formal test related risk identification or mitigation plan in consultation with business partners. Promising delivery with known risks?
  • Ambiguous or incomplete test specifications. Walkthrough meetings effective in closing gaps? Are requirements testable?
  • Less importance adhered to Sign-off process for critical test artifacts impacting quality. Ownership or Accountability?
  • Test objective is to meet timeline. Compromise Quality ?
  • Compromise to defined quality gates at various stages of testing. Are business impacts assessed?
  • Mindset or focus is to pass test cases. Destructive testing ?
  • Loose coupling of interaction between Testers & Developers. Insight into functional behavior? Defect prevention?
  • Minimal or zero Regression testing. Defects introduced after defect fix?
  • Minimal or zero Test Automation. Maximize test yield? Test more in less time?
  • Less or no Test coverage – Requirements and Code. Traceability Matrix or Code Coverage measurements?
  • Poor analytical skills of testers. Right talent hiring ?
  • Aligning testers vis-à-vis test module complexity. Complexity  vs resource skill & maturity?

Next Step: To do Health Check of Testing

  • Any process improvement effort should begin with some kind of assessment, to establish a baseline understanding of current practices and problem areas.
  • You need to know what is your test capabilities and maturity. A maturity assessment can give you a visibility.
  • You need to be committed to the goal of test excellence.

Drivers for Test Process Improvement

  • Enhanced Ability of the test process to find critical defects early
  • Enhanced Value of testing activity
  • Enhanced Predictability
  • Enhanced Quality of product delivered
  • Making Test function Efficient & Productive
  • Improve test process Quality
  • In Time delivery
  • Accelerate testing

Objectives – Test Process Improvement Framework (TPIF)
Immaturity in testing practices can lead to increased defect leakage, lower customer satisfaction, inefficient schedules, lower employee morale and other ills.

The objectives of the TPIF are:

  • Assess project specific test capabilities in key areas & test maturity
  • Mark the ‘to-be-state’ for key testing capability areas vis-à-vis customer’s expectations
  • Develop test process improvement roadmap
  • Raise the profile of testing
  • Be confident in your testing
  • Increase testers’ morale
  • Meet or exceed customer/business partners expectations

TPIF – Life Cycle is Assess,Analyze,Priortize,Change.

What Tools Will Be Used in TPIF?

  • Briefing of the Project being Assessed by the Project Team
  • Assessment Questionnaire
  • Personal Interviews
  • Document Reviews
  • Documenting the Current Testing Process.

Expectations from The Assessed Project

  • The meetings are interviews.
  • The main interest is an open discussion of the work and ways to improve the work processes.
  • Give honest answers, please don‘t try to hide problems.
  • Provide the facts and not the evaluation.

Conclusion

A maturity assessment based improvement approach like TPIF can provide a clear visibility of current state of capability and enable creating incremental roadmap to refine processes and reach the next level.

Definitions, Abbreviation and Acronyms

Acronym Description
QA

Quality Assurance

SEPG

Software Engineering Process Group

KT

Knowledge Transfer

UAT

User Acceptance Testing

TPIF

Test Process Improvement Framework

References

The whole content has been written based upon my past experiences. The views may differ based upon circumstances. Feel free to get back to me at shyam_sunder1@dell.com in case of any clarifications.


About the Author

Shyam Sunder Shyam Sunder is a PMP® Certified Test Program Manager working in Dell Services, Qatar. Shyam has got total IT Testing Experience of 14.5 Years and has worked in various reputed organizations like IIS Infotech, HCL Technologies etc before joining Dell Services. Shyam is strong in the area of Test Management, Software Testing areas and Client relationship management. He is well versed in testing areas and has been actively involved in IV&V along with his testing delivery projects. The strong testing background which Shyam inculcated in previous organizations is being put into forte in Dell which is reaping rich dividends of his testing acumen and expertise. Shyam has a consistent track record of successful product introduction and implementation. And is Productive as both individual contributor and Project Manager. Shyam also possesses excellent communication and relationship-building skills.

Shyam has been a regular contributor in Testing Forums like Quality Assurance of India (QAI), Software Testing Conferences (STC), Step-in-Summits etc with his papers, presentations and workshops.