Beauty in Testing

My favorite test magazine had a guest editor for last month's issue. He picked an excerpt from his book on beautiful testing for one of the articles. I guess when you are the boss, you can give yourself a competitive advantage. Let's see what this guy had to say about the beauty in testing.

You got to know who you are testing for. You must know your stakeholders. Otherwise you cannot please them. This can be anybody from developers to managers to support staff to users. Many of these people could have unrealistic expectations of your work. Get used to it.

It can be hard to impress the stakeholders. They want more than you finding a lot of bugs. Developers may want you to do the opposite. Metrics can help you quantify your success. I just want testers to find problems early so we can fix them on the cheap.

Outsourced Testing

It is becoming popular to outsource testing. How do you make sure it turns out well? You might need to appoint a third party adviser to oversee the activity. You should also define what your goals are. Do you want a little extra help to test? You alternatively may be looking for someone else to do all the testing. Or perhaps there is a skill lacking in your test organization. Define your objectives up front.

Choose outsourced help that has a process which matches your own. This results in less pain. To ensure you don't get ripped off, try to negotiate as fixed price contract for the outsourcing. Then the risk is put in the hands of the outsourcing company.

Exercise caution when you grow the outsourcing effort. Also watch out for expensive tool choices by the outsourcing company. They may not have your best interests at heart. More importantly, the costs of the tool might be prohibitive. Luckily our own project has a good sized test team. They also have some really good talent. So far they have only outsourced a little work to other employees in our own company. They have been short term engagements. But you never know. We might look outside for some help to test.

Testing Trends

What's new in the state of software testing today? That was the question posed to the editor of Software Test and Performance magazine. It is difficult to get the top three. There are many important topics in modern testing. What did the editor choose?

One is the creation of testing centers of excellence. Next is the use of test outsourcing. The third is delivering value to stakeholders using a technique called beautiful testing. These topics are the contents of the latest issue of the magazine.

I will be talking more about these topics in the future as they are the state of the test art.