“What gets measured gets managed and what gets managed gets done.” – Peter Drucker
Before the project is organized and critical numbers are calculated, I recommend running a risk assessment exposing weaknesses in your quality assurance planning and processes. This analysis is a great tool that identifies issues well in advance. The assessment is much easier than it may sound. Here is what you need:
- List of known quality assurance risks
- Risk stake holders
- Category (optional)
- Assigned Risk Score
I quantify the risk by assigning each risk a number. One represents the least amount of risk and five the highest. You may quantify risk by assigning any number you like, but this system of 1-5 works well for me. Assigning the score comes from experience. The more projects you manage, the more accurate your estimations will become. Insure you inform those receiving the report the risks are based on your experience. The more they interact with you and your numbers, the more they will grow to respect your judgment.
I assembled a list of risks by searching the web for typical software testing issues. I continued searching and reading about testing issues until they began to repeat themselves. This may sound rather unscientific, but blog posts, book reviews and community discussions are about as close to “ground zero” as one can get. If you want to collect a list of risks which reflect the project you manage, deriving them from others managing the same type of project is extremely beneficial. The list is not static. As you become accustom to identifying and managing your own project risk, you may want to add or remove items from this list, until you have a catalog that works for you.
The following example contains 23 of the software testing issues most often reported by other software quality assurance managers. I organized these into categories and assigned them to the team which represents the risk. I then assigned risk scores based on a hypothetical situation.
Here is what the numbers reveal. The QA team is generally experienced, but has had little training on the application they are testing. Testing and reporting processes are in place and experience has confirmed they are solid. Post deployment bug management requires improvement and there is some scope issues with the development team. Along with not being familiar with the application sufficient unit testing and having sufficient test cases or scripts pose the greatest risk to this project. Keeping this in mind, the overall average of these scores is 2.28 which is moderate. If the quality assurance manager mitigates all tasks with a risk score of four, the project or test round should result in few bugs finding their way into production. If time allows, resolving issues with a score of three will greatly enhance the effectiveness of the test round.
Risk Assessment Model
|Risk||Risk Category||Risk Stake Holders||Risk Score|
|Sufficient QA experience||Training||QA Team||2.5|
|Sufficient application experience||Training||QA Team||4|
|Sufficient Authority||Policy||Cross Team||2|
|Sufficient bug reporting solution||Policy||QA Team||1|
|Sufficient bug reporting process||Policy||Cross Team||2|
|Sufficient bug mgt. process (acceptance testing)||Policy||Cross Team||1|
|Sufficient bug mgt. process (post deployment)||Policy||Cross Team||3|
|Appropriate QA Location||Policy||QA Team||1|
|Sufficient QA Environment||Policy||QA Team||1|
|Sufficient Dev Scope Defined||Policy||Cross Team||3|
|Sufficient QA Scope Defined||Policy||QA Team||2|
|Sufficient ÒHand OffÓ Policy||Policy||Cross Team||1|
|Sufficient Unit Testing||Policy||Cross Team||4|
|Sufficient testing||Policy||Cross Team||3|
|Sufficient team communication||Policy||QA Team||1|
|Sufficient domain experience (acceptance testing)||Policy||Cross Team||3|
|Sufficient testing time available||Planning||Cross Team||3|
|Sufficient test level applied||Planning||QA Team||2|
|Sufficient test method applied||Planning||QA Team||1|
|Sufficient set of test types applied||Planning||QA Team||3|
|Sufficient test cases developed||Planning||QA Team||3|
|Sufficient test cases / scripts selected||Planning||QA Team||2|
|Sufficient test case / script updates.||Planning||QA Team||4|
|Risk Score for this test round||2.28|
Now that the general quality assurance risk is assessed, you may turn your attention toward planning your projects or test rounds and working your critical numbers.
Click her for Part Three – Developing the Project Matrix