April 2013

The 38th Test Management Forum took place on Wednesday 24 April 2013 at the conference centre at Balls's Brothers, Minster Pavement.

The meeting was as usual, FREE to attend.

PROGRAMME

13.30pm Tea/Coffee
14.00pm Introductions
14.15pm Paul Gerrard, Gerrard Consulting, Goldfish Bowl: Ad-Hoc Discussion - bring your HOT Topics Michal Janczur, Deutsche Bank: BA and QA Communities of Practice at Deutsche Bank - Working to improve Quality of Requirements Susan Windsor, Gerrard Consulting, Delivering Business Value not just Software!
15.30pm Tea/Coffee
16.00pm Paul Gerrard, Gerrard Consulting, How Techy Should a Non-Techy Tester Be? Graham Thomas, Independent Consultant: Software Testing Secrets We Dare Not Tell Susan Windsor, Gerrard Consulting, Transitioning to Outsourcing? What’s the impact on your role?
17.15pm Drinks Reception

Session Abstracts

Graham Thomas, Independent Consultant: Software Testing Secrets We Dare Not Tell I firmly believe that “There are some fundamentals of software testing that we really don’t understand or know the answers to yet.” Here are some simple questions. They are very easy to ask. Unfortunately they are very difficult, if not impossible to answer.

  1. What is the purpose of Software Testing?
  2. Just how effective is the way we test – and how do we know? (Trad, V-Model, Structured Testing, agile or any other form of testing for that matter?)
  3. If checking isn't software testing, then why is it that ‘checking’ is what our stakeholders are paying us to do?
  4. If software testing is so difficult, demanding and challenging, then why is it that we keep on assigning the least skilled or experienced to perform it?
  5. Why do software testers spend so much of their time running tests that do not find bugs?

These questions are important because they drive at the very heart of what we are doing in the software testing industry today, and understanding the answers will surely prime the future direction that our industry will move in. This session has been designed to be a highly interactive discussion which many people might find challenges their basic understandings. I will act as facilitator, give an introduction to each question, then actively moderate the debate and if needed take on the role of arbiter. Come along, expect to be involved, and if you have a view then please share it. Help to drive forward the discussion – and potentially the software testing industry.

Susan Windsor, Gerrard Consulting, Delivering Business Value not just Software!

When a business initiates a project, they have a vision of what value will be delivered. Frequently projects have to compete for budget and so the value of potential benefits is critical in securing budget. A great deal of time and effort goes into identifying these potential benefits and defining measures to track their realisation. But, how often is that information lost once the software element of the project kicks off?

There is a lot of discussion in our industry about delivering business value rather than just software, but what does this really mean? How can the role of Business Analyst and Test Analyst work together in support of that goal? What techniques really work in terms of delivering value? We’ll explore all these questions and then I’ll share some ideas on how we can demonstrate that delivered software components relate back to the original project benefits. We’ll then open up a discussion to share ideas and experiences on how we can collaborate together to improve the value we deliver to our business stakeholders.

Michal Janczur, Deutsche Bank: BA and QA Communities of Practice at Deutsche Bank - Working to improve Quality of Requirements

  • DB is an organisation of over 90,000 people with thousands in technology delivery
  • DB have promoted Communities of Practice within Technology groups
  • Collaboration across COPs should result in improved practices across the organisation
  • Quality and timely requirements are essential to quality software delivery
  • What are the priorities and opportunities for cross BA and QA professions?

Paul Gerrard, Gerrard Consulting, How Techy Should a Non-Techy Tester Be?
There seems to be an increasing demand for testers who have technical skills. The range of skills being requested varies very widely in technologies and depth of knowledge and capability. Some are the traditional technical oriented testing skills like automation tools and performance testing, but other roles sound like 'developers who test'. Recent roles I've seen include:

  • Performance testing (proprietary and e.g. JMeter, The Grinder etc.)
  • GUI test automation and frameworks (proprietary and e.g. Selenium, Watir, RobotFramework etc.)
  • Database manipulation, query and other SQL-based products (e.g. Oracle, DB2, MySQL etc.)
  • Scripting languages for text processing, job control, build and release processes (e.g. Python, Ruby, Perl, PHP)
  • Programming languages proper e.g. Java, C#, C++ and JavaScript
  • Developer/unit testing frameworks e.g. xUnit
  • Behaviour-Driven Development tools e.g. Fitnesse, Cucumber, RSpec, JBehave etc.
  • Oh, and did I mention open source?

In this session, we'll explore the range of technologies testers are increasingly needing and how non-techies and teams can acquire transferable technical skills to enhance their capabilties (and CVs).

Susan Windsor, Gerrard Consulting, Transitioning to Outsourcing? What’s the impact on your role?
When considering outsourcing or off-shoring activity, it’s normally development and/or testing activity that will transition over to the supplier. Whatever the relationship, there is always an impact on the role of Business Analysis.

One aspect to consider is where the ownership of requirements sits within a new operating model? Where is the analysis activity actually performed? If the supplier has domain knowledge, is it reasonable for them to undertake analysis and guide development and test activity? If all the analysis is still performed in-house, how can the supplier obtain the level of support required to fully understand requirements? Is there a hybrid solution where ultimate responsibility lies in-house but much of the analysis is performed by the supplier?

During this session, we’ll explore these different models and share experiences of supporting the transition to an external supplier. In addition to these questions, how else is the role of the BA affected by outsourcing? Is there a role to perform as part of the supplier selection? Is it necessary to more fully define your method? Do you need to change your method to align with your new supplier? What about additional skills you may need to support your new role, particularly with respect to management skills?

At the start of this session, we’ll review the types of models and additional skills; prioritise those we’d like to discuss as a group and then open up for discussion on our views; knowledge and experiences.


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