Test Strategy

Where I work I am the only tester who is employed to work on general software testing, we have a small team that works on the web site, they are quite separate to the rest of the business though, and constantly engaged in testing patches and updates, as you’d expect.

So my boss asked me to write a test strategy for the business, as you’d imagine I was over the moon at the chance to move us towards good quality testing, and away from meaningless metrics.
I thought the best place to start would be James Bach’s heuristics strategy, as its broad and easy to apply, and to that I have added some information about session based test management to give them some comfort around easily understood measures and metrics that will fill the void of the pointless test case counting graphs.
It has been broadly accepted by my boss, I suspect he doesn’t actually understand it, even though when I ask him about it, he assures me he does, and requires no further explanation, I do however have the dev team leader totally on board with it, and he loves the way it works, and is trying to support it as much as he is able, which is fantastic.
However we are about to undertake a major project to install a new ERP , AX to be specific and they are looking for a consultant to help write the test strategy for this project, now obviously I’ve asked why we are not using the strategy they just asked me to write, and I’ve been assured that any consultant will be writing a test strategy, with me based on what I have already done.
The downside is the CV’s that are coming in all read like factory school of testing grads, and I’m not looking forwards to having to counter everything they say about how I want us to go about testing, when I need them to support me in attempting to explain that we can not test an ERP with me and may be a couple of others in 4 months.
I really wish I knew some ET testing consultants in the area who were able to come in and help, they would still have to get past my boss and the project manager, but they would at least be starting with the advantage that they would be supporting the test strategy my boss has already said he wants to use.
He does however keep going on about getting in a consultant to ask about best practices, it’s deeply frustrating.
well minor rant over, pointers however more than welcome
Doug

Project drawing to a close

So for that last 4 ish months i’ve been involved in a sizable, for us, project to change some of the software used in our warehouse, I was brought in late to the party, they wanted to recruit a tester who had warehouse experience, we never found the right person, so they gave it to me. right of the bat I had to explain the volume of testing and checking needed for what they were doing was well outside what I had time to do, in the time frame they gave me. So they brought in a consultant to help with/run the testing.
From that point on, it all became about test cases, how many there were to do, how many had been written, how many had been done.
We had these amazing user stories that would have given us such a great place to test from, but they disappeared into the background, something I believe we are now paying for.
We bludgeoned our way through unit testing, well mostly, we did all the test cases so that must be good. the project team were happy though, They had a pie chart that was all green, I’m still not sure what they think its told them.
At this point i’ll say, i’ m not fond of how we have gone about this, but I didn’t feel able to sway the business over a trusted consultant and there decades of previous experience, I am after all just a very new tester, with no significant wins to point to to demonstrate my worth. So I have done my best to test what I can the way I know we should, and i’ve demonstrated how I can very quickly find issues.
We move on from those lovely unit tests to some system testing, out came those test cases again, even more this time, thousands (possibly an exaggeration), but as time went on, config was altered, stuff added, more tests cases were written to deal with the new or changed parts, and on this went, we still produced some lovely graphs, I’d managed to get a time required to test, estimate vs actual added to give some tangible info, unfortunately the consultant was really unsure about how to deal with this, so its been a bit adhoc in how it gets updated, no actually feed back from the team we now had running these test cases on how long they had spent on what, just an estimate on how long an area should take, and when all the test cases were done, that meant they musty have spent that long testing it!
I have learnt an awful lot on this project, it’s really  reinforced how much we as a company don’t know about testing, and how much I personally dislike the test case driven testing. The project is slowly drawing to a close, my work will be done in the next few weeks and I’ll be of to new and shiney grounds, which i’ll tell you about in another post.
Even though this was probably one of my least enjoyable projects I have come away from it a great deal wiser, and more experienced than when I started. I wish in those early days i’d had the confidence to push for using the user stories as the basis for testing. Hopefully I have learnt from it though.

Tell me about how you came to some of your critical learnings

Doug