Friday, May 17, 2013

How to narrow down focus areas for test process improvement?

Once organization is convinced there is scope for them to increase effectiveness and efficiency of testing, then the next challenge is to find where to start the improvement. In my view one should look at THREE different perspective to see opportunity for improvement:
1. Process (the way testing is done)
2. People (who do testing at different levels)
3. Technology and tools (efficiency and accuracy agents used during testing activities) 

Process perspective:

It is important to look at what we have agreed as process of starting and ending testing in the organization. What are the standard deliverable to demonstrate the process defined is followed. The business scenario always demand light process so that time to accomplish the task is exactly what one can budget in the given scenario. How to know which part of the process needs a new way of doing ? There are SIX attributes I recommend to measure where the process needs fine-tuning.

Effectiveness - Here goal clarity for doing any assigned work is the key. If what is expected at the end of any assigned task is very clear there should be very less rework
Consistent - Common terminologies, common templates, repeatable across projects, reuse focus good
Efficient - Ability to do as per budgeted time/effort, do with less cost, start taking less time than previous cycle
Salable - Adaptable to any growing demand, increased people, more variety of projects
Visible - Clear mirror to see how we look at any stage from all perspective of project end-date, quality, cost
Agile - Achieved all goals for short cycles always

People perspective:

Here again it is important to set expectation for roles as clearly as possible. The competency is more looked as skills than how many times or years he/she had done that task. Here I strongly recommend methodology based testing. Look at HBT (Hypothesis Based Testing by STAG) personal test methodology so that whoever does testing activity are guided by well defined goals at any levels of  testing.

Technology and Tools perspective: 

Here the technology and tools must be looked as agent for efficiency. Any work which can be done with accuracy, with less time and less effort through tools and technology must be inducted. The common tools we see are defect tracking tool, functional test automation tools, load testing tools. But we have landscape of other tools which may accelerate unit testing, test data creation, reporting and management tools. How are we penetrating these tools keeping ROI (Return On Investment) in focus is the challenge.

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