Thursday, 19 September 2013

Test policy considerations


"Test" is a holistic expression used randomly across the organisation until 2 (weeks/days/hours) before go-live.

You've worked with test for more than six months, you know the above is true. Some exceptions exist but they are exceptions.


Write an ultra short test policy and if organisational acceptance fails, at least you know that things will never change.

A fellow test blogger has done an interesting blog entry about test policies (in Danish). So based on her headlines we tried to come up with the shortest possible test policy that can be adapted to almost all organisations.

Why not a 20 page document? Because they are never read, never updated and never detailed enough to deal with the fact that IT-development is a one giant moving target, no two projects are alike and change happens fast.

So instead of spending months and weeks on that unpolished jewel, spend 1 hour. Preferably with fellow test professionals and see how short you are able to fill in 9 sections below - or if they are relevant for you at all.

Test policy for you

  1. Definition of- and purpose of test in the organisation. This organisation recognises the importance of structured test, with the aim of providing valuable and tangible information to relevant parts of the organisation and the senior management group.
  2. Test is organised according to demand since it is a support activity to 1) projects of whatever size, 2) maintenance and 3) IT-operations. Test is a distinct discipline and thus also has its own distinct manager (insert name).
  3. Career tracks and competence development of the testers is subject to demand from the organisation. Competence planning will be carried out at least two times a year or at the end of each (project) assignment.
  4. The overall test process that must be followed is embedded in the 1) project model and the 2) development model that are implemented in the company. No stand-alone test models are accepted. The implementation of test activities and related gates are evaluated and adjusted when the models are up for revision.
  5. Standards that must be followed. Since test is a professional discipline we follow the vocabulary of ISTQB as a standard. In the case we are working within a regulated industry we follow (insert name) standard(s).
  6. Other relevant internal and external policies that must be followed - refer to (4)
  7. Measurement of test value creation is based on the following three criteria:
    • Input from test in terms of blocking defects (number of accepted, requirements traceable bugs that have required a fix)
    • Input from test in terms of implemented process improvement suggestions (time to market improvements).
    • Assistance with defect prevention activities (number of accepted bugs found during analysis and inspection of requirements and other static test environments)
  8. Archiving and reuse of test results are determined at the end of each task or project.  A peer review will be conducted to determine which test artefacts are worth saving for re-use, and which existing test artefacts must be discarded.
  9. Ethics for the testers:
    • Bugs must be documented and made visible to the organisation
    • You own your own bugs until handover is accepted by the receiver
    • All testers are expected to speak up when they come across something "fishy" i.e. improper solutions, processes, implementations or the like.

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