Test Management Summit - Abstracts and Materials

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George Wilson, Original Software: Agile Test Automation – Can it be Done?

Agile is a methodology that is seeing increasingly widespread adoption. Yet for the QA professional an Agile approach can cause discomfort. In the ideal world they would have a 'finished' product to verify against a finished specification. To be asked to validate a moving target against a changing backdrop is counter intuitive. It means that the use of technology and automation are much more difficult, and it requires a new approach to testing, in the same way that it does for the users and the developers. This session will explore how to define a test process to ensure application quality within an Agile environment.

Alan Richardson, Compendium Developments: Exploratory Testing Techniques

In this session we will discuss a range of topics on exploratory testing that are important to test managers and to provide answers to some critical questions to help you improve your team's exploratory testing.

  • When is it appropriate to use exploratory techniques and how do we provide feedback on value of this test activity to stakeholders?
  • How can test managers track the exploratory testing being done and remain sure that their testers are doing the 'right' testing?
  • What do managers need to know to effectively mentor their testers in exploratory testing?
  • What techniques do exploratory testers use?
  • What tools do exploratory testers use?
  • How do you recruit good exploratory testers?
  • What are the secrets to exploratory testing that will make the biggest difference to your implementation of it?
  • What are the steps you need to take to improve the quality of the exploratory testing done on your team?

Rob Lambert, iMeta: Agile is a mindset, not a methodology

Critics of Agile suggest it is chaotic and unstructured, but this misses the point. Agile empowers teams to define their own structures and frameworks that are right for that team, at that moment in time. This is because agile is a mindset, not a methodology. It's about getting things done the best way, not a set way. It's about adopting a new way of thinking, placing the power back with the people that need it, the team.

Gordon McKeown, Facilita: Establishing an effective performance testing environment

Creating and managing environments for effective load/performance testing is challenging and often “ends in tears”. After a breezy overview of the issues the session will be directed by the participants and we will share views and exchange experiences from the coal face. Topics to be covered include:

  • Test v Live; extrapolating from small scale to large.

  • Managing test configurations: who with what?
  • Testing needs versus security & other regulations.
  • Test data: logistical, legal and ethical issues.

Ray Arell, Intel USA: Case Study - Moving to an Agile Environment

A while ago I went into my software staff and declared “Hey! We are going Agile!” Yep, I read an Agile project management book on a long flight to India, and like all good reactionary development managers I was sold! A few years later our adaptation of the Scrum framework has taken shape, but it was not without strain on our development, test, and other Q/A processes. This session focuses on a retrospective of what went right and more importantly what went wrong as we evolved to our new development/test process and the effect it had on our team. This will include an introduction to the software validation strategies we developed and adapted for SCRUM; an overview of what makes up a flexible validation plan; how we defined an iterative test development methods and execution processes; how to define a customer persona to help test teams understand customer expectations on quality in each sprint delivery; exploratory testing and usage in the SCRUM development flow as well as the development of key checklists and done criteria that can enable a team to find success in the fast pace world of agile development.  Perhaps it will convince you that the shift to Agile is the way to go, and hopefully give you just a little more info on what you may be in for.

Graham Thomas, Independent: Test Process Improvement – Answering the BIG questions!

We all need to improve the testing process, but very few people actually answer the BIG questions, such as:

  • Why?  Is it just to save money, or do it quicker?

  • How?  Do we follow an accepted method – TPI, TMMI? What change methodologies are there that we can use?
  • What? Is it just automating test execution. What about planning, preparation, measurement and metrics, etc.?
  • Where and When? So where in our organisations, large and small, do we do this, and when is the best time?
  • And Who? Is this just a testing team initiative? Do we need help? Who else is involved? 

It is easy to ask the BIG questions but what we really want to know are the answers! This session will work through these questions to draw useful conclusions from the group’s collective experience.

George Wilson, Original Software: Maximising Your Test Automation Success

For at least 20 years, test automation has been heralded as one of the saviours of IT development. But manual testing is still a vital part of the software testing process – 80% of testing is still carried out manually due to the failure of automated testing processes. This session will explore what determines the short and long term success of test automation, what to automate and what to leave as manual and how you can jump to automation in a seamless and painless manner.

Alan Gordon, SQS: Open Source vs Commercial (Performance) Tools - pros and cons

An option to reduce your performance test tool costs to zero sounds attractive - so why isn't everyone using open source tools?  Alan Gordon from SQS will facilitate a session to discuss whether we could get more out of open source tools.  In which situations are they most useful?  What skills does your team require?  How will it affect my performance test estimation & strategy?  We will discuss our past experiences and the likelihood of increased open source usage in the future.

Paul Gerrard, Gerrard Consulting: Innovative Testing Practices

What are the emerging testing practices that have most promise? What have you tried and works for you? Importantly, what did not work? Current buzzwords include ‘testing in the cloud’, ‘testing in the crowd’, ‘lean test management’, ‘open source test automation’ and of course Agile. This session attempts to separate the hype from the reality and provide some pointers for the future.

Paul Godsafe, Independent: Non-Functional Testing

Why is this so often not done at all or done badly?  Can we build a Test Managers toolkit to help?  What would it contain?

There are a range of possible reasons why effective non-functional testing is not more common than it is today. In this session we will have the opportunity to explore some of these reasons and decide whether we can realistically address them by building a toolkit for Test Managers.

The proposition is that it takes much more than a toolkit to implement a worthwhile solution for delivering non-functional testing. We can investigate this with a view to determining whether there is scope for improving the uptake in these types of testing and whether Test Managers have a realistic chance of making a difference in this challenging field.

Susan Windsor, WMHL Consulting: Selecting our Testers and Measuring their Performance

This session will look at how to identify the skills and competencies your testing team will require (driven by your testing approach) and then select staff to meet your needs.  This includes reviewing their potential for contribution against a framework of Skills and Competencies; techniques for skills assessment; some pitfalls to look out for; and identification of training needs.

Come to this session if you want to learn more about this topic and if you’ve got your own experiences, hints and tips to share.

Sam Clarke, nFocus and Giles Davies, Microsoft: “How can I tightly integrate my testing into the Application Development Lifecycle?”

Testing has a role to play throughout the entire lifecycle of a software development project. However test is still often seen as a “necessary evil” getting in the way of progress. Even newer methodologies such as SCRUM struggle with how testing should be implemented. It could be argued that testing protects the reputation of the product, business and ultimately the company by reducing the risk of shipping unreliable or difficult to use software. This can cover many things for example software defects, missed requirements, usability, performance, security and manageability.

Sam and Giles will demonstrate how Microsoft’s Visual Studio 2010 enables full integration of the software testing process focussing on how facilities within the tool  help test deal with the problematic area of changes which could  potentially damage existing tested function. There will then be a workshop session where we will look at the critical success factors of fully integrating testing into the Application Lifecycle Management process.

Please note that this talk and workshop is applicable to iterative fast moving agile style projects as well as most other development methodologies.

Paul Gerrard, Gerrard Consulting: Regression testing: what to automate and how

Regression testing continues to be the main focus of test automation. However, regression and testing is still a bit of a black art.

How much regression testing is enough? What and how much could and should be automated? What is the measure of success for regression testing? What is the best approach to building, running and maintaining an effective regression test suite?

This sessions looks at what to automate and how.

Susan Windsor, WMHL Consulting: TMF Requirements Debate: “Testers need formal, written requirements to test”

Textbook approaches usually assume that we have perfect requirements, well-understood and agreed by our stakeholders.

But we know things are much more complicated. Requirements are never perfect, understood or agreed.

Should we, as testers press (and wait) for perfect requirements or should we go with what we have and just get on with it’?

This debate considers the issues.

Giles Davies, Microsoft and Sam Clarke, nFocus: TMF Test Manager Debate: Are Test Managers Necessary?

It could be said that a test manager is the project manager for the testing activities. If so, why don’t project managers pick up this role? Agile approaches seem to not mention the test manager role at all – is it necessary?

This debate considers whether test management is a role for an individual or an activity that others might fulfil.

Should we be seeking to manage our way out of a role or better establish our position’s value?

Giles will present the developer’s angle and Sam will put the tester’s case.

Mike Scott, SQS: Test Driven Development

What is TDD? Is it a technique for developers, testers or both? What do I need to know about it? How do I get my team started? Should I believe the excuses the developers give for not doing this? What tools and skills do my team need?

Mike will facilitate a group discussion around these and other pertinent questions in this interactive session.