Thus far we have discussed two fundamental areas of testing software. These are
- Architecting the Environment (Principles behind setting up hardware environments.)
- Quality Assurance Management (Principles behind managing QA projects.)
Now we are ready to discuss Managing Software Quality Assurance Test Rounds (Principles and examples for managing testing rounds.)
Each test round is a separate project. It has a budget, resources and tasks to manage and includes a start date and end date. As previously discussed software testing is more like preparing a meal than building a bridge. The elements of this menu are test levels, test methods and test types. I prefer to order the vast array of software testing terms into these elements because they offer a quick and logical approach. For more details on the elements used to create software test cycles, read this helpful article on Wikipedia.
Flying an airplane offers a second helpful metaphor. The goal is to get from A to B safely. Each level (unit, regression, system and acceptance) is the altitude at which we
fly. Each method (white, gray and black box) is the routine we go through to get the plane in the air, cruise and land. The test types are like our instruments. Each serves a purpose and should be applied depending on the current need.
Managing software quality assurance test rounds also involves identifying and reporting risk. Among the great quotes from Peter Drucker this one hits home for managing risk, “What gets measured gets managed and what gets managed gets done.” Identifying, following and reporting your critical numbers is crucial to good quality assurance management.
Finally skillful software testing management involves knowing how to put this all together. Understanding how to combine the test elements, identifying the risk and following the numbers should result in a great test round. Each success creates a positive “feed back loop” allowing the manager to become increasingly adept at creating and navigating projects. If personal and enterprise expectations are managed properly, even less successful projects should support this positive loop of every widening experience.
Click her for Part One – Understanding the Nature of Software Testing