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High quality outcomes depend on high quality solution testing. High quality solution testing depends on informed, empowered, autonomous and challenging test delivery teams. Poor results are found when testing plays second fiddle and is a “necessary evil”. Great results come when it is recognised that testing is a fundamental contributor to success and the teams are set up to provide that contribution.
The nature and behaviour of the business/operational domain, how the organisation does its work, the way the solution is intended to support activities, how it operates, where it is vulnerable and how thing crash and burn. These are all things the team needs to have a comprehensive understanding of. A team can’t work without understanding. Relying on other parts of the organisations to be the “brains” and blindly following “instructions” leads to poor results.
Approaches need to adapt to the nature of the activity to be done. Plans and work in progress need to adapt as the situation evolves. Adaptation is a critical behaviour. Following text book methods or doing what you did last time, simply because it is what you know, is a major reasons people question the value of testing. Tailored approaches and flexible responses are essential.
Even today, a lot of testing is not “smart”. It follows formulas and rules laid down “in far off lands” or “in the dim and distant past”. It is done like that because “that is how we do it around here” or because “that is how you do an ERP project”. This is a source of both a great deal of waste and, worse, of testing that fails to spot critical problems.
The alternative, Smart testing, has at its foundation a systematic in depth risk assessment that then drives a test approach built to tackle the risks. Smart testing depends on professionals who are skilled in their discipline and who possess a quality ethos backed by a large dose of pragmatism. Above all it requires clever people who understand things and make sound evidence based decisions.
There is no getting away from it, testing is hard. Pressures come in many forms. Tight timescales, late decision and information, late or partial delivery, things that don’t work, disputes, too much demand and the need to get it done come what may. Team resilience is essential. The team has to remain effective despite the pressure and must not degenerate, becoming less productive or less careful, as the pressure mounts. Professionals who have “seen it before” and who have a “esprit de corps” provide this resilience.
SQC has been testing systems since the early 1990s. In twenty five years we have learnt a thing or two about effective solution testing. Our experience is broad, the systems we have tested range from embedded real-time software through bespoke desktop applications, finance systems and web sites to enterprise scale CRM and billing systems. We have innovated as we have gone, conceiving novel, smart, ways of organising, analysing and exercising systems to assure their quality.
Solution testing is not a single discipline. It contains overall risk analysis, design of a test architecture and delivery model, test suite design, test analysis, test set and data design, test preparation, test execution, anomaly analysis and defect resolution. It contains both exploratory testing and scripted testing, both manual activities and automated tests, both assurance of specifications and assurance of systems. We have capabilities in all of these areas.
We have built a successful long standing business based on the outstanding results we achieve for clients. Our testing is known for its rigour and its effectiveness. We have a reputation for breaking things. We are known for bringing quality issues to the fore where they can be addressed well before they cause problems in released systems.
Just as solution assurance needs tailoring, so do the services available to clients. We have worked in many varied ways to make solution assurance a success. We have taken full responsibility for the definition, resourcing and execution of a solution assurance campaign. In other cases we have provided the vision and technical leadership for a campaign and overseen its execution. In some cases we have focused on the testing, whilst in others we have provided everything needed to enable testing from test environments through test management tools to places to work. We work with small teams and with very large organisations, with skilled development teams and with end users who lack their own technical team.
Concerned about quality or about the cost of delay? Have a testing gap or major challenge coming up or suffering from low quality, low value test delivery. Need certainty, quality and clear visibility of status? Contact us to discuss how independent solution assurance will increase the value you deliver out of your development pipeline.