Monday, October 5, 2009

Testing Maturity & Improvement

Testing is an important and significant part of the product or service lifecycle. This is true of any industry but more so in the case of IT where the sheer complexity of the trillions of bits and bytes zipping around bring about an incredible permutation and combination of possible ways things could go wrong. To counter for this complexity the implementation of a high level of testing maturity is essential within the IT organization.

For overall organizational maturity, organizations can avail of CMMI and its 5 maturity levels. Testing also has 5 levels of maturity within the Testing Maturity Model (TMM) that integrates well with CMMI and other methodologies. Furthermore, the Test Process Improvement model also exists that has been developed based on practical experiences and knowledge of test process development.

TMM was developed in 1996 at the Illinois Institute of Technology, and was designed to be a counterpart to the CMMI model. The 5 maturity levels are similar in definition to CMMIs levels which can be easily viewed online. TMM advocates the implementation of various test processes that increase testing maturity within the organization.

Similarly, TPI offers 20 Key areas with increasing levels of implementation for each area. Some of the key areas (not all) include:

  • Test Strategy

  • Moment of Involvement

  • Estimating and Time Planning

  • Metrics

  • Test Tools

  • Evaluation

  • Communication

  • Reporting

As may be deduced, this is a far more structured approach than the old fashioned write a few test cases at the last minute and frantically test till midnight strategy that some organizations are utilizing to this day. Moving beyond simply preparing for testing by creating test cases and test plans is simply not enough. It is now imperative to be optimizing the test processes and continuously improving to be at the right combination of efficiency and quality.

Simply put, organizations should make themselves aware of the latest in testing techniques and methodologies like TMM and TPI and implement the recommended processes before the competition does. Not doing so will only put the organization at an unnecessary disadvantage that is a great handicap in today’s difficult times.

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