Paul Poutanen has developed extensive mobile expertise working in management for wireless hardware and cellular location firms such as Wi-LAN and Cell-Loc before launching Mob4Hire. In this interview with Jonathan Kohl, Poutanen discusses the complex global testing process for mobile devices.
Organizations look at two ways to reduce repetitive testing costs-automation and offshoring. Although either can work, combining these two approaches has the promise of even more savings to organizations by freeing up their employees for more creative testing. Because both automation and offshoring are complex operations in and of themselves, combining them adds more risks and challenges that can lead to disappointment and a "double backlash" instead of a "double benefit" if not implemented with proven approaches. Test automation pioneer Hans Buwalda shares his personal "adventures" with offshoring and outsourcing automated testing. Organized along major challenges he's faced-methodology, automation technology, cultural differences, long distances, and hard to deal with time differences-Hans presents a set of failure patterns that are common in offshoring and offers practical suggestions for how to overcome them.
Rajini Padmanaban is the director of engagement at QA InfoTech. She will be speaking about crowdsourced software testing at the STAREAST conference in April, so I took this opportunity to learn a bit more about crowdsourced testing and find out why it is better than traditional testing in some projects.
Leslie Sachs predicts 2012 as the year when companies will rediscover the importance of holding onto and developing their human resources like never before. Additionally, the year will challenge CM experts as they try to manage effectively when cloud providers often control significant resources.
Open source is widespread and growing in many software development organizations. While there's no purchase cost, the code does come with license obligations. Understanding open source from an intellectual property perspective can help avoid downstream legal.
In large outsourced projects, the contractual aspects of testing are often poorly defined even though testing may be half the overall project cost. Why is this? Test activities may be split between the development organization, customer, and test outsourcing partners. When things go wrong, the test process and the contractual obligations relating to testing will come under close scrutiny. Unfortunately, many projects get their contracts wrong with regard to testing. In Paul Gerrard's experience, few organizations’ contract and legal experts know how to structure a contractual testing schedule that is fair, unambiguous, explicit, and comprehensive. As testers, we may need to help our own “experts.” Paul describes the critical aspects of a contract that must be included to ensure supplier obligations for testing are documented and will be met.
Test managers often choose solutions to problems without sufficient analysis, resulting in a cover-up of the symptom rather than a solution to the underlying problem. Later, the problem may surface again in a different disguise, and we may mishandle it again, just as we did initially. Alon Linetzki describes a simple process you can use to identify the root causes of problems and create an appropriate solution to eliminate them. Alon shows how he enhanced the classic root cause analysis method to create an approach to finding insidious problems in software and processes. His method includes ways to differentiate symptoms from problems, understand the connection between them, and determine the strength and direction of that connection. Alon illustrates this method with data from two testing projects and shares the lessons learned along the way.
Simple, robust method for determining underlying problems
Efficiency and effectiveness are the cornerstones of successful quality assurance and test automation effort. Jeff Beange describes how RBC Financial Group successfully implemented a quality assurance and automation outsourcing engagement, using a blended onshore/offshore approach. He describes the details of the engagement model and outlines the risks they encountered. Jeff describes their mitigation strategy, governance structure, and the metrics used to evaluate their implementation. Learn a communication strategy and automation framework you can use to implement automation using an outsourcing partnership. Find out what setup is required before any outsourcing model can be successful: detailed requirements, a complete set of test data, and a test lab that is accessible to all. Jeff describes the common pitfalls of offshore engagements and the three categories of outsourcing problems-people, process, and governance.
Ten years of experience with test outsourcing at Polteq Lucent Technologies has shown that it can be successful. However, on the way to success, many-and sometimes painful-lessons were learned. Kees Blokland shares the most common test outsourcing mistakes others have made with the hope that you will not repeat them. One key mistake is the expectation of large and rapid cost savings-many that have been seduced by this temptation have not been successful. Another mistake is to believe that the outsourcing vendor actually knows how to test your applications-just because they are far away doesn't mean they know your business. Kees presents a full list of outsourcing mistakes and discusses how you can prevent them from happening-or repair the damage if mistakes have already occurred. If you're planning to outsource testing or are in the middle of an outsourced project, you will find Kees' insight very useful.
The essence of Extreme Programming (XP) is making the customer a part of the team who works very closely with the developers, ideally communicating on a daily basis. However, what about a situation where your development team is offshore? Is it possible to have the best of both worlds, realizing the gains of offshoring without losing the benefits of XP? How do you keep the momentum and the communication flow going, at the same time ensuring seamless integration of the deliverables into the customer's production environment at the XP pace?