I’ve been fortunate enough over the past few months to be involved in a number of high-level Test Maturity reviews for several organisations, and found myself asking the question “why do we test?”.
A very simple answer may look like “We test to ensure that the application under test works as expected”. So often we fail to define exactly what “expected” looks like and we don’t come to a common understanding of what we are producing and what we should be testing.
One of the reasons, I have seen many times, is that we don’t come to a common understanding of what is expected because we “don’t have time”. We have all seen what happens next; the project is de-railed by applications that, all too late, don’t meet expectations – which of course were never understood – with deadlines missed, budgets blown, customers disappointed.
If we were to pause for a moment and define these “expected” outcomes, what could the final outcome possibly look like?
Shared understanding of expected result
Clarity on what is or isn’t a defect
Defects and changes caught earlier
Re-work reduced and ultimately,
Projects delivered on or close to Go Live dates
I’m not suggesting a ‘plan everything upfront before being built’ waterfall approach, but more of a collaborative approach between those members of the team that need to be involved. Something similar to the concept of the 3 Amigo’s; where BA’s, Developers and Testers work together to gain a shared understanding and agree on how they know when something has been done correctly.
I’ve worked on many projects where a solution is developed by a 3rd party. The developer produces code based on their understanding, the code is unit tested by the developer and then tested again by the vendor’s test team. Each pass with flying colours, only to be delivered to the client to fail dismally.
You ask yourself the question “Why?”. You jump to the conclusion that ‘they’ didn’t test it properly. But more often than not, it comes down to a misunderstanding of what was actually required. Taking the time up front to communicate amongst the team, the BAs, Developers, Testers and the Business would have given a much better chance of common understanding leading to a better view of what is to be delivered and when.
The cost associated with these misunderstandings is evident in Boehm’s Law, illustrated below.
There isn’t a “one size fits all” model but perhaps a clearly defined set of principles we adopt may help us along our journey. So, next time you find yourself testing in a world where project members are clearly not communicating to get to a common understanding and where there is not enough time to elaborate the requirements, consider promoting a collaborative requirements gathering, involving all the team and a JBGE (Just Barely Good Enough) approach.
This isn’t an excuse for doing a poor-quality job because quality is in the eye of the beholder: the audience for an artifact determines if it is sufficient, not the creator of it. If your stakeholders require an excellent, detailed artifact then it is JBGE when it reaches that point of being excellent and detailed.
Given the promise of Agile, can we adopt similar agile-like practices into waterfall or hybrid projects, what do you think?
In the meantime, when you are faced with a project that hasn’t got the time (or other excuses) for requirements gathering, ask yourself in the words of Dirty Harry “Do I feel lucky?” (Well do ya….?). Because you’re going to need luck to get this one done on time.
Contributor: Wayne Kelly
LPS is proud to announce super rugby sponsorship of the Hurricanes
LPS has jumped at the incredible opportunity for the 2017 Super Rugby season… to sponsor the Hurricanes in their bid to become back-to-back Investec Super Rugby champions.
The LPS logo will be proudly emblazoned on the field during the 7 Hurricanes home games and we will be delighted to wear black and yellow this season!
“We are really honoured to become part of the Canes family in 2017” says LPS Chief Executive Officer, Paul Alexander. “We see the organisation as such a united and cohesive side whose hard work and planning has led to the ultimate reward”.
They have consistently turned out some of the biggest superstars of All Black and New Zealand rugby, yet work together as a team that defines the underlying strategy and class of the group.
We feel that LPS shares the same ethos, as a hard working, future-focused Project Service organisation that supports its partners in achieving their ultimate goals.”
As LPS focuses on growing its presence in Australia, as well as having half of its New Zealand operations based out of the Wellington region, the alignment with the champion Hurricanes is even more exciting.
“We are really thrilled to be able to share some of our knowledge with the the franchise where we have the opportunity, in return for the motivation and humbling sense of achievement that comes with being aligned to such a successful group” says LPS Chief of Staff, Doug Clarke.
We know that 2017 is going to be a huge year for us. We are hoping to continue grow our team by over 30% across Australasia, and key strategic partnerships are really important to us. Without a doubt its going to be a huge year for the Canes too!”
Go the Canes!
A formation entry into Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour will be held at midday on Monday 8 February, 2016 as part of the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) 75th Anniversary celebrations.
It will include a 17-gun salute from HMNZS Canterbury as she passes Devonport Naval Base at midday, and this will be reciprocated with an 11-gun salute fired from HMNZS Te Mana, berthed at Devonport Naval Base.
The gun salute is part of the 75th celebrations that are designed to showcase the Navy of today to the community, while valuing the historical contribution of those who have gone before us.
The salute is a naval tradition in which the Maritime Component Commander of the RNZN is formally acknowledging the newly appointed Chief of Navy, Rear Admiral John Martin ONZM.
“Whether it’s disaster relief, peace support operations, ensuring that the sea trade on which we depend for our survival can get through, or protecting New Zealand’s exclusive economic zone and marine resources, the Royal New Zealand Navy as part of the New Zealand Defence Force protects and serves the causes important to us and our way of life.”
The ceremony can be viewed from North Head and other vantage points around the Harbour.
LPS is proud to be sponsoring this event and the overall 75th Anniversary celebrations.