Friday, August 24, 2012

How different Software Industry segments see Testing ...

Consider these views expressed by few real people about testing - cutting across the software industry segments. You (a tester) might be surprised by few of these comments - but take it from me - these reflect true state of how stakeholders see testing as.

A manager from a Software Product Company : "We follow Agile model - every team member in the team is responsible for quality and will do a bit about testing. We believe in Agile practices like test driven development, continuous integration, automated unit testing - our code is naturally comes out with good quality. We do not employ any "plain vanilla" black box testers. That is waste of our time. We would get all our testing done by developers mostly or in some cases - testers cover the rest through automated testing. We dont have anything called "testing" phase in our process. We hire testers that are capable of writing production level code - as most of their time will be spent in writing unit tests and automation to help developers.

A manager from IT/Captive Unit : "We believe in providing agility and value to our customers. Testing is one small bit in that whole process. We don't actually worry about how testing is done as long as it aligns to our business purpose. Bulk of testing that happens is done by our partners. We constantly seek to commoditize testing and aggressively deskill so that - we can gain the cost efficiencies in testing. More than testing skills - we value business domain skills. Testers eventually either become managers (and manage customers, IT services deliver/management and other stakeholders) or become business analysts.

A manager/consultant from IT services Industry: Testing is all about assuring quality and process improvement. We constantly develop tools and frameworks to help our customers to do testing efficiently and cheaply. We provide value driven testing services based our process maturity and experience in setting up large scale test factories. Our number 1 aim  is to reduce cost of quality - we do it by focussing in tools, processes and domain skills.

A consultant from Software Tools Company: Testing is an essential part of SDLC that can gain significantly from Tools - Automation tools. Usage of Automation aggressively can help reduce cost of testing. Software Testing tools help in implementing Software Test factory so that non technical and business users can use them and achieve faster cycle time and enhanced quality. Not to forget our strength in terms of Six Sigma, CMMi and other Software Quality models. We endorse software quality management through rigorous metrics and quantitative measures.

Now - dear tester - identify yourself where are you working and how are you improving skills in testing to suite the industry segment you work now or hope to work in the future. Does this sound similar to the view of testing that you read in text books or conferences ? Did you know software industry sees testing in such variety of perspectives?



Fionna said...

I do encounter a lot of people who want to push testing - user-level, black-box acceptance testing - onto their customers and partners.

Pushing these people, I usually get them to talk about how, you know, testing is hard and they are confident of their code quality because of their unit tests. Pushing further, they admit that unit testing is also hard to do well. But they still think they don't need professional testers.

Shrini Kulkarni said...

Thanks Fiona for dropping by. Unit testing is being hyped beyond what it can actually do. With STE's calling writing unit tests as all of testing that can happen - no wonder that testing other than unit testing is difficult to be seen as essential part of creating software.

Unit testing becomes difficult as dev's continuously run a rat race to complete stories and release new features - they need help - STE's pitch in and write unit tests.

Time to ask what would a professional tester do now - writing unit tests, explore software problems and bugs, act on be half of customers or simply enable the rat race that product team is running to release software features?


Unknown said...

I have worked in Product & a IT services company. What you have written is matching closely regarding the Test Team's responsibility.
In the product company where i worked, Automation Testing(Checking) is hyped up(70% of scripted test cases to be automated irrespective of version as goals), how ever Black box testing focus was never reduced.

Lots of brainstorming happens over the Test Strategy & Design phase. Now i feel, Testing can still be improved.

Currently i work in Services company in a Test Centre of Excellence for a Client and no one (Including the client) focus on Test Quality. Focus is on Process & Cost at all levels(including the client(i think we have sold the ideas to the client))

In my opinion, the Reason behind this issue there, is mainly because Testing is driven mainly by QA Processes(CMM)

Some time back, when i discussed with our onshore team regarding Function Interaction Testing, Multi Variable, Orthogonal Array analysis etc to improve the testing practice in India office, the reply i got was "It is not needed as they are not part of the prescribed processes and our existing quality is very good"

Anonymous said...

Hi Shrini,
MY company manager also told same what u mentioned in blog s no.1. he hired me as tester now he dont want to work me as tester whole time. he asked me how to put quality in product? im confused what to do?" plz help me

Shrini Kulkarni said...


"how to put quality in a product" - Ask your manger what is his/her definition of quality.

If testing is about evaluating a product - you cannot add features into product by testing.

Standard phrase - "add quality into the product" - usually means team up with everyone in the team and help the team to build better product.

This is management or marketing jargon - not an engineering term applied to software