Friday, January 11, 2008

Open System Thinking and Software Testing (2)

As mentioned earlier I will try to continue with the Congruence model.
In the previous blog I Open System Thinking and Software Testing (1) stated the following:

  • Task & Formal Organizational Arrangements (Which might support creating Order)

  • Informal Organization & Individual (Which might lead to Chaos)

In test projects you also see a similar behavior. I will try to give an example how there is a relation.

There is a tendency to gain control over the situation by assigning testers to the project performing tasks out of their expertise (testing) on a defined way like a test method, Formal Organizational Arrangement.

The chaos is created because people have as individual their own agenda to act in the project. Also there is interaction with others which is not written down, still that information might be valuable for the project. An other example is that due to immaturity not all things are captured in procedures and work instructions.

Is order good? Or is Chaos bad? I don't think so. Organizations are sometimes called as living organism. Why not a test project? Sometimes some items which lead to chaos can intensify the means which leads to better control.
For example: In the coffee corner there is a conversation between testers from 2 different projects. This is done on informal manners. During that conversation the tester is explaining he struggles with a way to structure the test. The other tester explains that she has a good simple template for it. This template can be used in the other test project as well.
In this situation an informal conversation can support a formal organizational arrangement, using a test method and support this method with means.

Michael I. Harrison presented in his book: Diagnosing Organizations - Methods, Models and Processes 1987, the following model

In my opinion these are just other words for: Task, Individual, Informal Organization, Formal Organizational Arrangements.

In the next blogs I will use the elements from M.I. Harrison. The reason to do this is because it might be easier to classify. As there might be conflicting goals and supporting goals. Also technology is much easier for us testers to understand :)

The next step would be identifying the items which can be placed under the categories:

  • Goals
  • Technology
  • Culture
  • Structure

This should be related to the test project. As you might already noticed that I started to identify on Micro level. Feel free to post your suggestions.

The next article related to this post can be found on: Open System Thinking and Software Testing (3)

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