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When Testers Feel Left Out in the Cold

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When you're responsible for testing, it's almost a given that you will find yourself in a situation in which you feel alone and out in the cold. Management’s commitment for testing might be lacking, your colleagues in the project might be ignoring you, your team members might lack motivation, or the automated testing you had planned is more complicated and difficult than you anticipated. You feel you can't test enough, and you will be blamed for post-release quality problems. Hans Buwalda shares a number of chilly situations and offers suggestions for overcoming them, based on his experiences worldwide in large projects. Specifically, Hans focuses on management commitment, politics, project dependencies, managing expectations, motivating team members, testing and automation difficulties, and dealing with overwhelming numbers of day-to-day problems. Take away more than forty-five tips and approaches to use when temperatures drop on you.

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When Testers Feel Left Out in the Cold

  1. 1. 4/27/2015 1 © 2015 LogiGear Corporation. All Rights Reserved Hans Buwalda LogiGear hans @ logigear.com STAREAST 2015 Orlando, Florida "Test Management" Track Session W1 Wednesday, May 6, 11.30 – 12.30 © 2015 LogiGear Corporation. All Rights Reserved Who is your speaker Software testing company, around since 1994 Testing and test automation services: − consultancy, training − test development and automation services − "test integrated" development services − focus on big and complex testing projects Products: − TestArchitect™, TestArchitect for Visual Studio™ − integrating test development with test management and automation − based on modularized keyword-driven testing www.logigear.com www.testarchitect.com Dutch guy, in California since 2001 Background in math, computer science, management Since 1994 focusing on automated testing − keywords, agile testing, big testing Hans Buwalda LogiGear Corporation hans @ logigear.com www.happytester.com
  2. 2. 4/27/2015 2 © 2015 LogiGear Corporation. All Rights Reserved Scope of this talk Introduction to the management aspects specific for a test project Not a project management course A personal view, based on experiences with my own method Collection of ideas and experiences, not necessarily a complete picture Input and discussions welcome (also talk with each other!) The ideas are coming from mixed European, American and Asian experiences, apply with care © 2015 LogiGear Corporation. All Rights Reserved The Challenges for a Test Process testing should be fun testing should be effective testing should be efficient testing should be under control
  3. 3. 4/27/2015 3 © 2015 LogiGear Corporation. All Rights Reserved Actions 4 actions, each with an action keyword and arguments read from top to bottom fragment from a test with actions acc nr first last open account 123123 John Doe acc nr amount deposit 123123 10.11 deposit 123123 20.22 acc nr expected check balance 123123 30.33 • The test developer creates tests using actions with keywords and arguments • Checks are, as much as possible, explicit (specified expected values) • The automation task focuses on automating the keywords, each keyword is automated only once • This technique can be very scalable. A similar approach is behavior based testing, which also works with human readable tests, but is more verbose © 2015 LogiGear Corporation. All Rights Reserved High Level Test Design - Test Development Plan Objectives Test Module 1 Test Cases Test Module 2 Test Module N Actions . . . AUTOMATION Objectives Objectives interaction test business test Overview Action Based Testing define the "chapters" create the "chapters" create the "words" make the words work Test Cases Test Cases window control value enter log in user name jdoe enter log in password car guy window control property expected check property log in ok button enabled true user password log in jdoe car guy first last brand model enter rental Mary Renter Ford Escape last total check bill Renter 140.42
  4. 4. 4/27/2015 4 © 2015 LogiGear Corporation. All Rights Reserved Discussing costs and benefits © 2015 LogiGear Corporation. All Rights Reserved Examples of costs and benefits Involvement of users and business specialists Need for investments Build up of a test organisation License costs Training, coaching Maintenance of (much) testware ... Preventation of incidents Shorter time to market Increased quality and certainty Lesser dependence on users and experts Elimination of dull work Improved documentation ... Costs? Benefits? Business Benefits • Time-to-Market • Quality-to-Market • Control
  5. 5. 4/27/2015 5 © 2015 LogiGear Corporation. All Rights Reserved What can make testing miserable . . . Discussions about costs and benefits Resistance Commitment Politics Dependence Unrealistic expectations Difficulty Motivation Practical issues and problems © 2015 LogiGear Corporation. All Rights Reserved Resistance is Normal “Let's reconsider” Now is not the time All the time new objections “Fine, but are we ready for this?” Saying nothing Saying yes, acting no The method is good, but in this specific case . “I don't understand this” “I didn't expect all this” “This is going to cost me my job” I'm the star here, I don't need the competition “We can't achieve this” We will become too dependent on those guys Now they will find out how bad we are testing WHEN THEY SAY : THEY COULD THINK :
  6. 6. 4/27/2015 6 © 2015 LogiGear Corporation. All Rights Reserved GETTING COMMITMENT... © 2015 LogiGear Corporation. All Rights Reserved Management Commitment Offer solutions, not additional problems Tell managers that a good tested system creates a positive image (not only negative reasons for testing) Present/show what you're doing (glass box) Try to get clarity about policies and directions for testing Keep in mind: managers want things to be under control − give clear and timely information about (1) progress and (2) results Use outsiders and/or books/articles to make your case Try to find some bugs . . . Testing is often not popular . . . Nobody wants an extra task (extra problem) Bugs are bad Testing is good
  7. 7. 4/27/2015 7 © 2015 LogiGear Corporation. All Rights Reserved Commitment, specifics “No time, no money, ...” − back to the problem − you should not become the problem owner! “It is so expensive/it is so difficult” − testing is expensive and difficult − test automation is difficult “The others should do the testing” − figure this out − you can't deal with this yourself (strategic context mismatch) − "doing things right" versus "doing the right things" General vagueness − hidden problems and conflicts © 2015 LogiGear Corporation. All Rights Reserved Politics . . . Notify the responsible managers early about what is going to happen Make clear written down procedures, especially for the test execution phase Not every bug is equally important (pick your battles) Make the test process transparent Maintain an atmosphere of cooperation and communication with all Ask for help, sound the alarm, − don’t underestimate the “politics of failure”, it can hurt you Who is to blame when things go wrong Systems are sometimes released while not finished Testers tend to get the bullet
  8. 8. 4/27/2015 8 © 2015 LogiGear Corporation. All Rights Reserved The Life Cycle of an IT Project Enthusiasm Disappointment ! ! ! PANIC ! ! ! Looking for guilty ones ("blame-storming") Punishing the innocent Rewarding those who had nothing to do with it An (Old) Joke, Still Valid © 2015 LogiGear Corporation. All Rights Reserved The 3 questions for a bug 1. Is it a problem? 2. What is the root cause? 3. Why did we not catch it? Ask these question, in the given order bug fixing…
  9. 9. 4/27/2015 9 © 2015 LogiGear Corporation. All Rights Reserved Dependencies . . . Make clear arrangements with everybody about everything, as early as possible − written down Keep in touch with the rest of the project Make the high level test products as early as possible Testing and automation is dependent on many factors: • Working systems • Test environments (like virtual machines) • Specifications, requirements, domain knowledge • People • ... © 2015 LogiGear Corporation. All Rights Reserved Dependencies, specifics “The system under test isn't available” − The automation will be the first in trouble − Discuss this (early) − Allocate resources when really needed “The system under test doesn't work” − The automation will be the first in trouble − Create a “health check” (smoke test to see if all functionalities that are relevant to the automation work) “There is no test environment” − Start planning this as early as you can − Make clear how important this is − “No test environment, no test”
  10. 10. 4/27/2015 10 © 2015 LogiGear Corporation. All Rights Reserved Expectations Around Automation Message: testing is difficult, automated testing is even more difficult Make clear what is happening Communicate, manage expectations Don't put too low figures in a test plan − let somebody else lower them (in writing) Ask managers and other people involved what they expect The impression can arise that automated testing (in particular with keywords) is just a push of a button . . . . . . even if nobody said so! © 2015 LogiGear Corporation. All Rights Reserved Difficult to Keep People Motivated Watch the signals Make sure that the right people are assigned − Automation engineers should have a programming background − Testers should have a testing and/or business background Avoid “monks work” (Dutch expression for tedious repetitive work) Differentiate the work Avoid isolation of the test group Be prepared to switch roles Consider agile approaches Be ready for this problem in advance Create operational and professional communication structures − for example special interest groups to regularly discuss professional topics Motivation of team members can erode when time progresses Happens to both test developers and automation engineers
  11. 11. 4/27/2015 11 © 2015 LogiGear Corporation. All Rights Reserved Complexity: The Work is Difficult Don't be over-confident, use coaching from experienced peers or outsiders Consider reference visits to other projects or sites Talk about the work, even create special interest groups Keep in touch with others doing the same work Organize interactions (meetings!), for example with: − users − developers − auditors Delegate tasks (better lazy then crazy...) Making tests is supposed to be "difficult": • Finding bugs of others • Making concrete examples Automating them is difficult as well © 2015 LogiGear Corporation. All Rights Reserved Practical Issues and Problems Be prepared for this, automated testing is a “cloud of details” Put suitable team members in leading roles, and delegate responsibilities to them For larger test projects test management is a full time job, make sure you get this time Try to find easier ways, organize things better, or automate more − “If you have a difficult task, ask a lazy man. He will find an easier way” Does the test tool work here ? ? Do we have authorizations on the test environment ? ? Where do we keep our test products ? ? Which tests do we have ? ? Questions, chores, details, . . .
  12. 12. 4/27/2015 12 © 2015 LogiGear Corporation. All Rights Reserved Some final remarks Changing a process can mean: − changing of work processes − a learning curve − risks and benefits It is not the same as: buy a tool and all will be well Changing any process is more than anything an organisational change and should be managed as such © 2015 LogiGear Corporation. All Rights Reserved Thank you for listening and... keep cool, even in the cold (or, in Florida, the heat . . .)