Improving testing processes

Michael Hackett, Senior Vice President of LogiGear Corporation and Editor-in-Chief of Logigear Magazine, weighs in on how to improve existing testing processes.

On the whole, everyone wants to do a great job, have a better work environment, happy clients and customers, and to be employed by a company earning lots of money. All great goals!

But this is not always the case. When it is not, you can suggest process improvements, better tool use, different estimating techniques, etc. Suggestions are generally evaluated based upon whether they are opinions, complaints, thoughtful, useful, possible or even mean-spirited.

A large part of my work over the past few years has been consulting on process improvement for entire software teams or specific test groups to help companies and teams achieve their goals.  This all sounds great but I have to say, that achieving meaningful change is often painful!

I see a lot of common misses.  Companies that claim they are Agile when they are not, which creates confusion and conflict.  Many development teams fail to take advantage of testing tools, which slows testing.  And top two misses, bad requirements and unreasonable schedules, doom a project from the start.

We all want to improve but change is difficult. There are ways to do process improvement well and ways to set-off turf wars.  An unbiased test process assessment is the place to start.  You want to present a clear picture of what is going on in testing: the positive aspects, the problems, and the possible paths to improvement. Fundamentally, a test assessment is a data gathering process. To make effective decisions you need data about the current test process.

It is important to note a thorough assessment is broader than the test team alone. It will often be necessary for the assessment to cross organizational and management boundaries. Issues will arise over who owns quality as well as defining what the goal of testing actual is.

An assessment helps to provide clear comprehension and understanding of the core objective of testing so that you can develop a roadmap for improvement that will substantially improve the performance of your software testing organization and help to solidify your test strategy.

Learn more about LogiGear and how we can help you with your testing processes.

Michael Hackett
"Michael is also a co-founder of LogiGear Corporation, and has over two decades of experience in software engineering in banking, securities, healthcare and consumer electronics.

Michael is a Certified Scrum Master and has co-authored two books on software testing. Testing Applications on the Web: Test Planning for Mobile and Internet-Based Systems (Wiley, 2nd ed. 2003), available in English, Chinese and Japanese, and Global Software Test Automation (HappyAbout Publishing, 2006). He is a founding member of the Board of Advisors at the University of California Berkeley Extension and has taught for the Certificate in Software Quality Engineering and Management at the University of California Santa Cruz Extension. As a member of IEEE, his training courses have brought Silicon Valley testing expertise to over 16 countries."