A Software Testing Health Check can determine the effectiveness and benefit of current business practices/applications. We offer audits and assessments of test efficiency, in order to examine the health of a test process within an organisation. A Testing Health Check involves an e-testing Principal Consultant being assigned to a customer and carrying out an investigation into the software development and test process. This involves interviews with key staff, reviews of documentation, metrics and processes, in order to assess the efficiency of an organisation’s test process. The output of this exercise is a report and a set of prioritised recommendations on how to improve things. Industry standard benchmarks are used to provide a formal measure of maturity of the test process, along with an ordered list of improvements to be carried out to best improve it.
The following key areas, essential to effective QA in any organisation, are reviewed in a typical health check;
- Any methods / processes currently in place for QA
- All relevant documentation and reporting in place
- Issue logging / Defect tracking and fixing procedures
- Current tools used (Defect tracking etc.) where they are used, their implementation, methods of use, maintenance and current commercial / licence issues
- Current testing practice – unit testing, system testing and regression testing as a part of the development lifecycle
- Test/Release frequency testing environments – their use, maintenance and support
- Reporting between and within departments including structure, reporting and staffing across all aspects of testing
- TPI (Test Process Improvement) maturity level and recommended next steps.
If there are areas of the development lifecycle of particular concern, then the scope of the health check can be focused on them, in order to provide the maximum benefit in the time available.
Test Automation Health Checks
Our standard health check include an assessment of the use of tools and test automation generally, however we also offer a dedicated test automation health check service, carried out by a tools specialist. Our experienced consultants take an impartial, detailed look at the test automation in use within an organisation. This includes looking at what tools are used, the skills with the team/company and the level of automation being employed, along with the rate of change of functionality of the application. A full audit of automated functionality can be carried out so it can be optimised and the most can be achieved from running automated regression scripts. e-testing consultants can re-write automated scripts to make them more efficient as well as supplementing existing scripts to cover additional functionality. As a part of this service we also put in place guidelines and best practice for test automation, to ensure that future tests are developed in the right way.
Companies New to Test Automation
The first steps are to identify most suitable areas, if any, for automation whether it be for unit, system, integration, performance, operational and user acceptance testing. Once a need has been established, along with a positive ROI calculation, a tool selection exercise can be run in order to identify the best tool for the job when related to the type of testing, architecture and software to be automated.
The tool selection process includes a proof of concept on site, to ensure the selected tool is suitable for purpose. Once successful, implementation is carried out, accompanied by configuration, staff training and provision of initial elements of automation to get started. We have found this approach to quickly deliver the benefits of automated testing, while avoiding the pitfalls of what is an expensive and significant undertaking.
During this process, a tools champion is usually identified with the organisation to manage the tool and encourage its use so that the benefits will continue to be realised even when the systems under test change. Once handed over to the staff who will run the automation, our consultants can provide support (both remotely and on site) as necessary.
Companies Already Using Test Automation
This exercise is a review of how test automation is being used within an organisation and aims to ensure that:
- Automation is being used appropriately
- Automated tests are designed to give clear meaningful outcomes
- Where appropriate, tests relate back to original requirements or specifications
- The test architecture is still most suitable for the task and that the most appropriate tools are being used
- Automated testing is focused on the areas where most benefit can be realised
- Where frameworks are being used that they are optimised, current and reflect the applications under test
- Where standards are in place, that they are being followed and that they are appropriate.
- The expertise of the staff using the tool is appropriate and whether any additional training is required.
Test Process Improvement (TPI)
During health checks, the current state of the test process can be assessed using the TPI Process.
The TPI model is used to analyse the current situation of a test process and to identify its strong and weak aspects. For this, it is necessary that the model looks at the test process from different points of view e.g. the use of tools, test specification techniques and reporting. These are known as key areas.
The examination of each of the identified key areas leads to the classification of the test process into certain levels of maturity. The ascending levels improve in terms of time (faster), money (cheaper) and/or quality (better). Because all areas and levels are not equally important for the performance of the complete test process and because dependencies exist between the different key areas and levels, all key areas and levels are mutually linked in a test maturity matrix.
The test maturity matrix identifies all the areas that relate to the test process and scores them against pre-determined criteria. The main advantage of this process is that the areas to focus on next can be identified as the areas that will provide the maximum benefit to the overall maturity of the test process. This means that effort and resources can be targeted on the areas that will make the most difference to the organisation, so that maximum efficiency can be obtained. Additionally, our clients can be assured that the maturity of their test function is being measured against industry standard metrics.
We have carried out successful health checks for many organisations in all industry sectors. We would be happy to provide references as a part of a qualified business proposal.