Software Testing Framework: How-to Guide
Welcome! Today, I am going to blog about the things to consider when setting up software testing as a framework within an organisation with no existing test capability. Read on, to learn more…
A great starting point is the who, why, where, what and when approach. These things will enable you to create a plan about how you begin and what else you need!
For example, it could be to reduce live operational critical severity issues, system outages, customer complaints and commercial, operational or reputational barriers. Other goals could be to deliver change/launch new products, rebranding, a better customer service, improve speed to market for changes, incentives fixes, enable accessibility, as per our associated blog and obtain a competitive edge! If you do not already have a robust testing team then you may well be thinking... ‘Yes! all the above!’
Consider where you will facilitate testing from given the greater number of people now working from home – choosing the right location or blend of locations may help motivate the team. Those business areas most critical or smaller in size could serve as a pilot phase upon which you can build. Will this be at Head Office or at a satellite branch first? Will it be on premise systems or cloud-based applications?
Thirdly, you need to understand time and cost. These are especially important and vary depend upon the size and scale of your organisation. These are highly likely to change over time.
Next, you need enough buy-in amongst stakeholders. Many people are unaware of what software testing is or why we need it. People can feel daunted by change, insecure about their job safety, unfamiliar with the time and cost associated with initialising and supporting a quality & robust collaborative testing function.
To make this happen you need people who understand the value of testing. Failure to get buy-in means not everyone will be committed to the targets and there will be consequences which will threaten the success of the entire venture! If you think you do not have this or are unable to get it, then it is important to reach out to the relevant people to get traction to ensure stakeholder buy-in and engagement.
Listen to and strive to understand the constraints faced by those teams and promote how testing will be beneficial to their operational unit and departmental business targets whilst mitigating their concerns. Your communication and negotiation strategy will be key! Ensure you review recipient audience for your testing communication. There will undoubtedly be changes, so you need to ensure you keep everyone aware, even if they are not at this stage considering using your forthcoming testing capabilities.
To begin with, you can consider these aspects. This list is not exhaustive!
Resources: Who will you need people-wise?
- Consider ownership and accountability - who will own, drive, support and manage the testing function, data security and technical support.
- Consider managers – who will manage development, testing, change control, legal, compliance, marketing, suppliers and third party affiliations?
- How will you address training needs?
- How many people might you need to begin with?
- Do you need separate admin support?
- How will you manage spikes & dips in unexpected demand fluctuation and testing & development capability? Will you use a testing partner or will you use internal resource only?
- Who will manage the respective departmental budgets?
- Who are the final decision makers?
- Who will manage your environments, rollout release deployments disaster recovery and system performance?
Find which tools you need to perform testing, there is a plethora of offerings with different costs, benefits and capabilities.
Do you need a cloud-based offering which offers dynamic diversity across geographical locations and time zones? Do you have sufficient funding for software licenses?
When you run tests, you will need a replica of the live production environment so that you have a more accurate indication of how changes are likely to affect the live environment. Many organisations have a need for multiple environments to protect data configuration integrity and to offer a sand box experimental area; a performance test area and a stable separate area for user-based testing.
Standards & Documentation
You will need to create and support quality documentation to facilitate standards, record keeping, reporting and stakeholder management. Consider how and where you will achieve this. There are many helpful easy to use tools out there which support collaborative working!
When will you plan to implement the framework? Will it be iterations or 'big bang' approach? Do you need to consider seasonal impacts to your business or have you got calendar periods when it might be best to avoid instigating momentous change, such as month/ quarter/ year end/ school holidays? Find your most important, most suitable target areas and prioritise periodically as they will evolve! This ensures your focus is on the critical areas.
By now, you will have a good insight into how you will begin tackle the challenges and implement to the software testing centre, the structure, and accountabilities.
You will need help in progressing actions on these key areas: Risks, Issues Assumptions and Dependencies – known as a Risk Register or RAID log.
It can be a significant undertaking to set up, support and grow a successful testing capability! That is where we come in! We have considerable experience and a proven reputation in supporting people just like you with all aspects of software testing and successfully helping businesses to implement related frameworks.