Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Risks against test start

Problem: Test is delayed already before it has started

A test may be delayed due to different reasons, causing the start of test to be delayed. Test not starting on planned time is due to events that violates the start criteria for the test activity.

Solution: Monitor and act on risks against your test start criteria.

In order to monitor the risks you need to know what they are – Most common risks against starting a test is related to delays in activities that are on critical path for your test. I have listed the most common problems I see:

  • Missing test component or system.
  • High error levels in test component or system.
  • Testware not complete.
  • Missing or wrong testdata.
  • Too many (partial) deliveries for test

There are two ways of approaching these risks – reactive and proactive.

Reactive approach is easy, but introduces waste in your development life cycle:

  1. Wait until test is delayed by one of the above.
  2. Look for rootcause for dealy. 
  3. Eliminate rootcause. 
  4. Start test at first possible time. 

Proactive is also easy, but requires a higher degrees of advance planning than the reactive approach:

  1. Do a risk identification workshop, listing things that will derail your test.
  2. List actions that minimize likelihood and impact of identified risks.
  3. Adopt actions in your test plans, and follow-up on these.
  4. Do a test readiness review in due time before test starts.

To help you on your way you might want to consider the following actions to mitigate the mentioned risks:

  • Missing test component or system.
    • Likelihood is reduced through continuous integration, automation of deployment / build process, release management of test deliveries. A high degree of automation is preferred in order to ensure timeliness and correctness.
  • High error levels in test component or system.
    • Test as part of development and cooperation between developers and testers. Focus should be an early test, and on test of critical items that is a must-have in the following test phases. Furthermore a bug triage session on regular basis might help utilize resources on important (from a test perspective) bug-fixing, rather than random bugfixing.
  • Testware not complete.
    • Test planning is paramount. The plan needs to include all activities and the delivery these leads up to. Follow up on critical path, and make sure that you update the plan as you go along.
  • Missing or wrong testdata.
  • Too many (partial) deliveries for test
    • Release management will get you far – Know what is in the box, and bundle test to match the partial deliveries. Prioritize test cases based on the release content, to ensure that you do not run cases prematurely.

Happy testing!

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