People and organizational issues in testing
This chapter focuses on preparing the reader to address two fundamental maturity goals at level 2 of the TMM: (i) developing organizational goals/ policies relating to testing and debugging, and (ii) test planning. These maturity goals are managerial in nature. They are essential to support testing as a managed process. According to R. Thayer, a managed process is one that is planned, monitored, directed, staffed, and organized. At TMM level 2 the planning component of a managed process is instituted. At TMM levels 3 and 4 the remaining managerial components are integrated into the process. By instituting all of the managerial components described by Thayer in an incremental manner, an organization is able to establish the high-quality testing process described at higher levels of the TMM. The test specialist has a key role in developing and implementing these managerial components. In this chapter concepts and tools are introduced to build test management skills, thus supporting the reader in his/her development as a test specialist. The development, documentation, and institutionalization of goals and related policies is important to an organization. The goals/policies may be business-related, technical, or political in nature. They are the basis for decision making; therefore setting goals and policies requires the participation and support of upper management. Technical staff and other interested parties also participate in goal and policy development. Simple examples of the three types of goals mentioned are shown below.
1. Business goal: to increase market share 10% in the next 2 years in the area of financial software.
2. Technical goal: to reduce defects by 2% per year over the next 3 years.
3. Business/technical goal: to reduce hotline calls by 5% over the next 2 years.
4. Political goal: to increase the number of women and minorities in high management positions by 15% in the next 3 years.
Planning is guided by policy, supports goal achievement, and is a vital part of all engineering activities. In the software domain, plans to achieve goals associated with a specific project are usually developed by a project manager. In the testing domain, test plans support achieving testing goals for a project, and are either developed by the project manager as part of the overall project plan, or by a test or quality specialist in conjunction with the project planner. Test planning requires the planner to articulate the testing goals for a given project, to select tools and techniques needed to achieve the goals, and to estimate time and resources needed for testing tasks so that testing is effective, on time, within budget, and consistent with project goals.