Are Your Testing Practices In Line with Today’s Needs?
Practices in any discipline need continuous review and churn to ensure they are still effective and in line with current requirements. Software testing practices are no exception—the development landscape is highly dynamic, requiring periodic review and updating of practices.
However, this is often easier said than done. Where should testers start? Should the practices be revisited with a forward or a retrospective outlook? Should it be a test team or a product team activity? Should it be technology-centric or product quality-centric?
These are all valid questions, and the answer is that all these parameters need to be considered when defining what testing practices need to be.
A good place to start a review is at the end of the calendar year, when new predictions for the discipline are released by experts and analysts. Such a list is a great checkpoint to see if the team’s testing practices align with what is coming up in the year ahead. For instance, the trends for 2015 predicted an increase in social, mobile, analytics, and cloud testing; security and performance testing; test automation; and testing centers of excellence. While some of these ideas are new and forward-thinking in nature, others are retrospective practices that are regaining prominence.
Given how global product development has become, support across platforms, users, and devices has grown. This is necessitating tighter collaboration among product team members and stakeholders in order to deliver a scalable product in the marketplace. To accommodate this, decision-driven test management and keyword-driven testing are becoming increasingly important as core testing practices.
Additionally, the live environments in which products are deployed are often very vulnerable. We continue to hear stories of how attacks were planned, what assets were compromised and what lessons testers can leverage from them. For instance, a few high-visibility attacks in the banking sector this year prompted talks about the need for tighter quality gates, starting testing early on, mapping testing practices and efforts with acceptance goals, and using a more shift-left approach.
Another valuable practice being increasingly recommended lately is the art of asking questions. This is not a new practice; testers have traditionally been encouraged to be curious and ask questions for a long time now. However, many people probably do not question things as much as they used to, so it’s important to recommit to this art and make it a priority again.
Revisiting these practices at least once a year is a good idea. The team can probably time it with the end of the calendar year, when work schedules are relatively lighter. This will also serve as a good team-bonding and resolution-setting exercise, getting the entire team ready for practices in line with the coming year.