Testing perspectives: The Test Lead
As a project test lead and senior consultant at Experior, I’m deeply involved in our client’s businesses. We believe testing is a holistic process, and not something that can be done in isolation. I therefore work alongside business focused project managers and take time ensure that the technical side can make business processes happen, in the end. And that usually means meeting some user experience expectation, in our experience.
What this often means in practice is that during the course of a project I’m asked a lot of questions—questions on project progress, on next steps etc. The most common one by far though is:
How many tests have you passed?
Now I can’t particularly blame project managers for asking this question—they have a budget and timeline to bear in mind, and ‘passing a test’ brings them closer to their goals in their eyes… But there are many issues with this question. Obviously the end game for the test team is to pass tests, but this should be as a consequence of a job well done, not the only thing they are looking to do. A tester’s job shouldn’t be measured in how many tests have been passed.
So what should a tester’s job be? In my humble opinion, our job should focus on:
- Understanding the business processes and building the tests based on this
- Prioritizing the tests to ensure the most critical tests are executed first
- Ensuring the business processes determined work in the system
- Identifying any defects and ensure they are resolved
- Ensuring the processes work as efficiently as possible
A few of my colleagues have expressed, in previous blogs, that the “test everything!” approach is quickly becoming obsolete as business IT infrastructure and requirements become ever more complex. At Experior, we also truly believe restricting our job to pass the tests rather than make sure it works for the business does our clients a major disservice.
To be specific, if we just look to pass tests, projects come across the following issues:
- Business processes are not validated
- Corners are cut in relation to priorities
- Defects are hidden
- Testers are blamed for finding defects not praised
In a nutshell — if we just look to pass the hundreds of tests a project will go through, we’ll ultimately fail the most important one: the user experience test. Our job at Experior as testers therefore isn’t to pass the many technical tests we undertake as testing professionals, it’s to produce software that’s business ready.
It’s a challenging, different perspective on the job of “software testing”. But as our customers attest, it’s the right approach to take in order to successfully navigate the challenging world of modern business systems
Originally posted September 29, 2015, by Paul Mainwaring, Experior Group