Welcome!

Related Topics: Microsoft Cloud, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Linux Containers, Agile Computing, Cloud Security

Microsoft Cloud: Article

Reboot Testing for Modern Software Development

The testing industry must evolve and adapt to keep pace with modern software engineering.

Traditional methods of software development went over the waterfall in a barrel and smashed on the rocks below. The Agile Manifesto was written more than a decade ago. Agile adoption has worked wonders for software development. New products leap from concept to market faster than ever before.

Software updates are expected to roll out quickly into live products without disruption, the cloud is growing ever larger, and mobile technology is impacting heavily on how applications are developed. Feedback from the end user informs the design. Documentation and planning are sidelined in favor of flexibility and speed. It's a trend that has powered the app revolution, but it's so focused on developers that testing has been forgotten.

Clear Out the Old
New builds come thick and fast nowadays. It has become much tougher to estimate the required resources to properly test a project at the outset and, even if you could create an accurate estimation, it would soon be rendered obsolete.

It's not feasible to have small, fixed-size teams of testers covering an Agile project. As each new sprint introduces new features, the amount of work grows. Testers must check the new functionality, but they also have to verify bug fixes and complete regression testing. If you don't scale the team up as time wears on, or develop automated tests to reduce the workload, then things will start to slip.

Building a New Approach
The Agile mindset in the developer community has given birth to countless methodologies, supported by books and dedicated software tools. The discussion and support is lacking in the testing industry and that needs to change. Testers need software tools that are up to the job. Test management should cover the entire lifecycle of testing. An adjunct of the project management software designed for developers is not going to fulfill their needs.

The Agile age demands skilled testers equipped with tools that enable them to record tests step-by-step, link user stories and test cases, automate scripts where necessary, export and import bugs, and extract an overview of testing progress.

By developing exploratory testing skills and employing automation where it makes economic sense, testers can rise to the challenges of modern software development.

Employ Automation When Appropriate
The real value of testers is in their ability to test drive new features and validate bugs. You don't want them engaged in a regression testing slog. It means duplicating work and it's dull and repetitive for the testers. You won't get maximum value from your resources that way.

Automating regression testing can free up testers to focus where you want them. It's not easy, but with the right plan it can work. You can't create your test cases and scripts until the code is deployed. What you can do is record the testing process as your testers work through the new build and then use the steps captured to generate new test cases that can serve as the basis for automated regression testing on the next release.

Tester as End User
In the days of waterfall development, testers would have extensive documentation and requirements to pore over in order to create a detailed test plan. All the test cases would be prepared and ready to execute when the build arrived. That's often not possible with agile development. If the developers are going to adopt an agile mindset, then testers need to do likewise.

Exploratory testing can be employed to examine each new set of features when the build lands. Testers can record their steps and then edit them to create a solid base for regression testing. A core set of test cases can be fully scripted and automated. This process requires an evaluation of where the most value can be derived and that decision should be informed by what you know is coming down the pipeline from the developers.

For this to work testers must be included in the development process early and often. They need to be in Scrum meetings, they need to understand the user stories, and they must be empowered to contribute and ask questions. Testers can obviously learn a lot from developers on the project, but they should also be able to ask questions on the business side. If they can truly emulate the intended audience for the softwar, they can make a bigger contribution toward ensuring that it hits the mark.

Let's Make a Change
If we accept that the development landscape has changed irreversibly, we can really focus on ways to empower testers. Adopt an Agile mindset, but apply it from a testing perspective. Seek out new processes and new tools that really deliver the functionality and structure testers need in order to add value in a timely manner. Encourage more communication and deeper involvement in projects so that testers can emulate your end users accurately and help to ensure that expectations are met. Modern software development is still evolving and testing needs to evolve along with it.

More Stories By Vu Lam

Vu Lam is founder and CEO of QASymphony, developers of defect capture tools that track user interactions with applications. He was previously with First Consulting Group and was an early pioneer in Vietnam’s offshore IT services industry since 1995. He holds an MS degree in electrical engineering from Purdue University. You may reach him at [email protected]

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Latest Stories
WebRTC is bringing significant change to the communications landscape that will bridge the worlds of web and telephony, making the Internet the new standard for communications. Cloud9 took the road less traveled and used WebRTC to create a downloadable enterprise-grade communications platform that is changing the communication dynamic in the financial sector. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Leo Papadopoulos, CTO of Cloud9, discussed the importance of WebRTC and how it enables companies to focus...
With an estimated 50 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2020, several industries will begin to expand their capabilities for retaining end point data at the edge to better utilize the range of data types and sheer volume of M2M data generated by the Internet of Things. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Don DeLoach, CEO and President of Infobright, discussed the infrastructures businesses will need to implement to handle this explosion of data by providing specific use cases for filterin...
IoT generates lots of temporal data. But how do you unlock its value? You need to discover patterns that are repeatable in vast quantities of data, understand their meaning, and implement scalable monitoring across multiple data streams in order to monetize the discoveries and insights. Motif discovery and deep learning platforms are emerging to visualize sensor data, to search for patterns and to build application that can monitor real time streams efficiently. In his session at @ThingsExpo, ...
Enterprise networks are complex. Moreover, they were designed and deployed to meet a specific set of business requirements at a specific point in time. But, the adoption of cloud services, new business applications and intensifying security policies, among other factors, require IT organizations to continuously deploy configuration changes. Therefore, enterprises are looking for better ways to automate the management of their networks while still leveraging existing capabilities, optimizing perf...
Early adopters of IoT viewed it mainly as a different term for machine-to-machine connectivity or M2M. This is understandable since a prerequisite for any IoT solution is the ability to collect and aggregate device data, which is most often presented in a dashboard. The problem is that viewing data in a dashboard requires a human to interpret the results and take manual action, which doesn’t scale to the needs of IoT.
When building large, cloud-based applications that operate at a high scale, it’s important to maintain a high availability and resilience to failures. In order to do that, you must be tolerant of failures, even in light of failures in other areas of your application. “Fly two mistakes high” is an old adage in the radio control airplane hobby. It means, fly high enough so that if you make a mistake, you can continue flying with room to still make mistakes. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Lee...
Internet of @ThingsExpo has announced today that Chris Matthieu has been named tech chair of Internet of @ThingsExpo 2016 Silicon Valley. The 6thInternet of @ThingsExpo will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Continuous testing helps bridge the gap between developing quickly and maintaining high quality products. But to implement continuous testing, CTOs must take a strategic approach to building a testing infrastructure and toolset that empowers their team to move fast. Download our guide to laying the groundwork for a scalable continuous testing strategy.
SYS-CON Events announced today the Enterprise IoT Bootcamp, being held November 1-2, 2016, in conjunction with 19th Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Combined with real-world scenarios and use cases, the Enterprise IoT Bootcamp is not just based on presentations but with hands-on demos and detailed walkthroughs. We will introduce you to a variety of real world use cases prototyped using Arduino, Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone, Spark, and Intel Edison. Y...
What does it look like when you have access to cloud infrastructure and platform under the same roof? Let’s talk about the different layers of Technology as a Service: who cares, what runs where, and how does it all fit together. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Phil Jackson, Lead Technology Evangelist at SoftLayer, an IBM company, spoke about the picture being painted by IBM Cloud and how the tools being crafted can help fill the gaps in your IT infrastructure.
CenturyLink has announced that application server solutions from GENBAND are now available as part of CenturyLink’s Networx contracts. The General Services Administration (GSA)’s Networx program includes the largest telecommunications contract vehicles ever awarded by the federal government. CenturyLink recently secured an extension through spring 2020 of its offerings available to federal government agencies via GSA’s Networx Universal and Enterprise contracts. GENBAND’s EXPERiUS™ Application...
Much of IT terminology is often misused and misapplied. Modernization and transformation are two such terms. They are often used interchangeably even though they mean different things and have very different connotations. Indeed, it is somewhat safe to assume that in IT any transformative effort is likely to also have a modernizing effect, and thus, we can see these as levels of improvement efforts. However, many businesses are being led to believe if they don’t transform now they risk becoming ...
"We provide DevOps solutions. We also partner with some key players in the DevOps space and we use the technology that we partner with to engineer custom solutions for different organizations," stated Himanshu Chhetri, CTO of Addteq, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Using new techniques of information modeling, indexing, and processing, new cloud-based systems can support cloud-based workloads previously not possible for high-throughput insurance, banking, and case-based applications. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, John Newton, CTO, Founder and Chairman of Alfresco, described how to scale cloud-based content management repositories to store, manage, and retrieve billions of documents and related information with fast and linear scalability. He addres...
DevOps at Cloud Expo – being held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – announces that its Call for Papers is open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's largest enterprises – and delivering real results. Am...