Saturday, March 1, 2008

Does the testing school fits the organization?

Can Approaches support organizations?
Here is another posting related to testing schools. In my previous posts I started to explore my thoughts if I belong to a school. Schools of testing, can you decide?

And continued to think if there is some dependency related to organizations: Testing Schools and Organizational Schools

As Paul Gerrard there is a lively discussion going on towards this topic Clients, Contexts and Schools

Today, on this rainy and windy day, I continued thinking about it. Though, I still have the feeling that the quest for answers is not over yet. (Probably there are no good answers, instead solutions that might work.)

Over the years I saw different people using methods/approach what they knew the best and sometimes forcing organizations to adapt their processes so their method might work. I also saw people adapting their method/approach towards the processes of the organization.

Both approaches might lead to the solution the organization was waiting for. And both approaches create new risks for the organizations. Some people say that risks can be accepted based on the change of failure in relations with the cost of that failure. Less people are asking why to accept those risks. To give an answer to that question I think it is important why organizations initial choose for a certain approach.

I could try to search for answers why to choose for a certain school. And try to start discussions about it. Instead, I try to think out side the box and find out how both ways can be good, how schools can help, how solutions can be provided to organizations.

How would my "box" look like?
To create a picture of the "box" you might ask the following questions:

  1. Does the organization have other goals to improve the testing process and increase quality of the software?
  2. Does the organization have the means to get to those sources which support these goals?
  3. What is the life cycle of these goals?
  4. Can the tester based on his/her skills and experience commit to these goals?
  5. Is the tester able to adapt their approach/method to these goals on continues basis?
  6. Are tester and organization able to communicate on equal basis?
  7. What is the life cycle of the tester in the project?

Imagine how that box would look like if the answers were like:

  1. The organization is not able to change other processes like development on short time. They also using a test method and there entry criteria to dictate that process.
  2. The organization has the means like time, money, though the market is not providing the right people within time.
  3. Improving test process is long term goal, extend the project life cycle. Improving development process for documentation is short term goal, only should extend over other projects. Deliverance of high quality software is explicitly needed for this project.
  4. The tester they found is able to meet these goals under restriction. This means that the tester doesn't have experience with defining strategies based on the several schools. Though he/she is well skilled using on test method like TMap.
  5. The tester is not able to change his approach as he is well trained on one method.
  6. Based on organizational hierarchy tester didn't get full commitment.
  7. As the market for experience testers is small the tester will attend the project till the end.

Now, close your eyes and investigate the feeling these answers are giving you. Now open your eyes and try to answer the same questions no under best circumstances. Close your eyes again and you might notice a different feeling.

Creating borders
Feelings can lead you into a good direction. Though, it is hard to translate them into risks. To identify risks you need borders. I always try to find the borders of a method. This helps me when a method can be used successfully or when a potential risk might rise. Therefore it is good to have those testing schools be defined. This help to define the borders of your picture. And give you information when you are crossing that border. If you cross the border then this is a sign that a school related approach doesn't fit the organization. And reaching the goals might come into danger.

As organizations are dynamic, testers also should be. I think there is an organization for every school. Only a school might not fit the organization. I don't think that it makes you a less good tester if you belong to one school or a better tester if you know about all the schools. It might help to give the organization an usable solution they need if you have knowledge about them.

A tester should be aware of their skills, be honest towards the organization about their skills. It is not wrong to belong to one school. It might help to know about the "Schools of Testing" and their approach and vision. Be aware that good testing is not a purpose, a good solution should be. And you should help the organization to decide that it is and was a good solution.

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