Tuesday, 15 February 2011

First, Fast, Now Testing

Testing in today's world has to be done yesterday. Such are customer demands and in turn, project demands. Good Project Managers and Companies at least attempt to ensure that testing is not squeezed as a result and that the due time and attention is given to ensure at least adequate testing, is carried out. But a lot of the time, their hands are tied.

So how do we ensure adequate testing in a world that is deadline driven?
Any UK and Ireland Sports fans among us will be familiar with 'Sky Sports News'. Essentially this is an around the clock news channel dedicated to sport, almost sycophantically at times reveling in the 'exclusives'. Their philosophy is 'First, Fast, Now'.

I liken agile testing to this, or any testing in today's world. Many companies carry out 'sky sports testing'. The need to do everything immediately, quickly quickly, 'best we can'.

In some instances, that may be fine, as long as you can be confident that you have covered all you think you should and provided the stakeholders with as much information they need to make their decisions on whether to go live. You have done as much as you can. This is a skill that the better testers have. Usually not through design but neccessity.

However, sometimes as Testers, we need to push back, sometimes we need to incorporate a 'steady as she goes' mentality. Take the time to do the testing, investigate, explore, provide more information that merely the confirmatory type.

Hand on heart, how many times do we ever do this?

Admittedly, we are testers and under the direct management of others who are under the direct management of those higher, who want the project done without delay. 'Sure, we can get the customers to test it'. So we might not be able to take our time and perform the due diligence.

Again, that's fine. As Testers, our primary role is to provide information to the health and status of a project. The time we are given to do this is usually someone else's call. As long as that someone is aware that there is the chance that 'Sky Sports Testing' might not lead to a 'Sky Sports Product'.

Wouldn't it be great though, just a little more often, to be asked by PM, 'how long would you like to test' as opposed to 'here is what is left to test, what can you do?'