Blog Series Testing: Blog number #3: Strategy for testing
By Venkat Raghavan
Welcome back to the final blog of the series, hope you enjoyed reading the last two, and thank you all for your kind feedback and comments. Before we get on with this blog strategy for testing , here is a quick summary of what we have covered thus far, If you haven’t read them then please check them out.
- Triggers – Leaders wanting their organizations to transform to deliver value and fast.
- Fast changing technology landscape – New tools, shifting left. etc. – # Philosophy
- Some interesting transformation case studies from across the globe.
- Move from away ‘break the system’ to ‘create a quality system’ thinking (Thanks to My colleague MN for this line) – #Big Picture
- Breaking barriers: Co-own and collaborate, ‘fail together and win together’ – #Big Picture, #Culture, #Learning.
- Automation at the crux of it all – driving efficiency and not just productivity
Phew! Now looking back at it, I think there we covered quite a lot of ground in those two blogs. Again, that was just the tip of the iceberg, each of these topics can be vast oceans in themselves.
Let’s kick off this blog by looking at how changing technology landscapes and transformations are going to affect the testing community, what is that they really expect from us, and how will it have an impact on the role of the tester and the tool they use, how will it evolve and how should the community adapt.
Strategy for Testing
Testing has really come a long way, and has increasingly becoming more complex and demanding, there so many moving parts and these changes are coming faster that one can imagine. I have listed a few below that you would have experienced it in the recent past, are currently working with them or expected to work on them soon…
- Digital channels – IoT, blockchains, AI etc.
- Infrastructure – PaaS, IaaS, Cloud, non-relational databases(No SQL) etc.
- Automation / Continuous Testing
- Architecture – Microservice, Containers etc.
- User Experience – Customer Experience
- Cross platforms, cross continents: scale- volume
- The Test Strategy covers all aspects and returns most value and is highly dynamic and adaptive . What could you do here, try using strategies like Testing in Production (TiP) using a/b testing, beta releases, dark launch etc. are becoming more popular. Testers are now using ‘Monitoring’ in production along with pre-release testing.
- They keep up with the Velocity – The Release is tested and deployed fast . The industry is rapidly moving to E-2-E Automation using CI /CD along with Agile and DevOps frameworks
- The Testing suite is highly adaptive and smart– There are a lot of organization that have smart and adaptive test suites tailored to a release but then they are mostly put together by the team manually based on feedback and experiences. Predictive data analytics and Machine Learning will play a big part here in the future , so watch this space.
- Optimize to changing technology stack and optimize constantly in terms of using the right tool set .Stay in touch with your industry peer via international and local forums, this helps your gauge where you are in the journey against the developing trends and then up skill as needed.
The silo-ed testing roles (automated and manual) or specialist testing roles are expected to transition to an interim state where the automated tester is expected to write repeatable tests across the functional / web / integration layers, and use manual testing as needed, say for things like exploratory testing, usability testing etc. This could be the same tester working across both or some dedicated across each, and gradually up-skilled into a hybrid capability, where anyone can work across any layers, which is essentially our future state below. This is where the tester transitions from trying to find bugs to creating quality software, i.e. into the Quality Assurance and Engineering roles. The end state quality engineer now cuts across all layers like the front end, integrations and Unit level. The tester is now closer to the code / software, design, architecture etc., this according to me is the organic progression into DevOps / SRE and engineering, which is the next frontier.
Check out this really cool google video on DevOps vs SRE.
Learning and up skilling in the current time has become so much easier, there are tons of online content available and most of them are free, plus you can join forums to further tap in / augment community expertise and help, I have mentioned a few here (in no particular order )- uTest, Stackoverflow, SQA .
Hyper-Changing Tooling World
In my opinion(from a tooling perspective) the industry is moving towards a more open source and tools agnostic approach to testing and development. Testers have now started to lean on pure programming as opposed to tools because of the growing and connected developer /tester community and the agility it provides. There are so many libraries on offer, now a tester is just required to download a library, and associates dependencies to the test code, and wallah… he/ she are done in a jiff! And it’s just not libraries, the tools are getting so much smarter too, tools like ItelliJ, Eclipse etc. server managers / environments like NodeJS, containers, dynamic data platforms etc. As inviting as these may sound, one should tread carefully and try to avoid getting lost in the maze of these new tools /tech offerings. If you ask me, there is always some tools or utility or tech on offer that claims to better, so take your time before you decide on anything, do not be pressured or overwhelmed.
Lets call it a wrap now
Like I previously said, if there is code produced, it will need to be tested, and we will continue to exist, but only if we continuously keep evolving i.e Up-skilling, keeping up with the changing technology,process, tools, frameworks and adapting with the industry, accepting changes and even leading where possible.You can be that change /thought leader too and Yes AGILE and DEVOPS are here to stay, so get on to the boat sailor.
I hope you enjoyed reading this blog series as much as I enjoyed writing it. I would love to hear your feedback, experiences and thoughts on this topic, so please comment on this blog or write to me firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is Jira?
Jira is a platform that allows teams to handle issues throughout the life cycle of the problem. Jira can be tailored to fit different organisational structures and is highly customisable. It is mainly used for software development to track and manage development progress. The product was developed an Australian company called Atlassian and is written in Java. It provides bug tracking, issue tracking and project management functions. Continue reading what is Jira..
There are three main parts of Jira. The first is Jira Core and it is intended for project management. The second is Jira Software this includes the base software with the agile project management features. Finally there is Jira Service desk and this is used by business service desks or IT. Jira integrates with source control programs such as Clearcase, Git, Mercurial, Perforce, Concurrent Versions Systems and Team Foundation server.
It is the number one software used by Agile teams in the world. Another great feature of Jira is real time reporting. The real time data allows people to act fast on improvements along the process of your project.
What is Jira and Agile?
The Software supports Agile methodology whether that is scrum, kanban or another view of Agile. You can plan, manage and track all your agile software development projects in this one single Jira tool. It’s an agile project management tool.
What is an epic?
It is a broken down larger user story which is broken down into a smaller number of user stories. It might take a few epics several sprints to complete an epic. There is no difference between a story or a task.
What is a user story?
A user story is a tool in Agile software to capture a description of a software feature from an end user perspective. It helps create a simplified description of the requirement from the user story.
LPS encourages staff to be skilled this tool as it is becoming more common to use it on client site. The software is used all over the world and has a very high present in New Zealand as well as Australia where it originally was created. Udemy is a great place for individuals to become certified so we encourage staff to up skill.
Are testers headed towards Extinction: BLOG# 2: Key Drivers
By Venkat Raghavan Test manager
And I am back… 😊 with Part II of my Blog Series. I hope you enjoyed reading the last one. Thank you all for your kind feedback and comments.
In the previous blog, we briefly looked at the triggers for change and the reason for the change. In this blog, we will look at the key drivers that will pave way for the future.
Shift Left, Fail early and Fast. Shift left and Fail early translates to using defect prevention techniques like establishing proper coverage (design, devand test), stringent peer reviews and early defect detection techniques like developing smart and effective unit tests, some examples are TDD , BDD or ATDD . Fail fast translates to using repeatable and scalable automation solutions. These can be for unit testing, code build /merge, deployments, functional and nonfunctional testing – Continuous Integration /Continuous Delivery.
And how do I embrace this #PHILOSOPHY: How do I Shift left? The answer is simple, get involved in design, solutioning, unit testing (provide prescriptive list of quality goals) ; talk to the Product owners / BAs / architects /solutions designers / developers (#CULTURE) (#LEARNING) to understand why they are building the solutions in context to business value, what are the important levers, start thinking performance, security, scalability, functionality, recoverability, availability and start mapping these to the testing pyramid, and try and get as many early tests in as possible.
Upskilling isn’t just an organization mandate or personal development milestone anymore. It’s now starting to become an integral part of our job and making our team (#CULTURE) successful.
“There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance – Socrates”
So, where did I START, … I started off with my online certifications (Udemy learning LPS can be a great place to start), youtube videos, brown bags, case studies, meetups etc.… to better understand the principles while still on the job and starting to apply those principles. I was interested in test management so I started moving into the enabler function. Then I stood up a few KANBAN and scrum teams. I also worked with the developers to drive an effective versioning strategy.
I helped the team move from SVN to BIT BUCKET, put together the automation strategy for continuous integration, kicked off developer peer reviews, created the first checklist for Unit testing, came up with the definition of done with the team, estimation techniques, did JIRA admin tasks like organizing epics, stories, setting up the board, setting up dashboards, integrating releases, testing, confluence, piloting the first rapid release change management process for agile projects, helped pilot automated deployment…etc. etc.
Now looking back I wonder if I have all the skills when I started? No, I didn’t. The team and I learnt and upskilled where there was a need and helped each other out. (#CULTURE) Did we limit ourselves to only testing? No, we did not. The testers sometime would do the peer review. Also the developers sometimes write the tests, etc… In summary, the team will have to rely on each other. Individuals will have to constantly keep upskilling and adapting with the team goals, as the team starts to continuously improve and optimize.
This is at the very heart of any successful organizations.
“CULTURE is the invisible happy energy in an organization that makes boring work sound like play “ -Venkat Raghavan 😊
Does that mean you should have fancy slides, e-bikes, massage/sleeping pods, gourmet café and buffets etc. To make your organization “cool “… well in my humble opinion infrastructure can only do so much to get the buzz going. It is the interaction between people and people itself that drives this invisible force. How does one start, and how did I start…? It was not easy I must admit.
1) I started off with breaking the convention and removing the barrier of the what I am supposed to do as part of my role…If I saw a problem I either tried to solve it myself or take support or get the experts together and resolve it. It could very well be someone else’s problem that they weren’t able to solve, doesn’t matter… as long as it helps the team get better. Keep in mind, you may end up stepping on people’s toes, and they may not like, so tread with caution. To avoid such predicaments, it is best to rationalize and discuss the ideas you have beforehand with your team or workmates, and collaboratively solve the problem.
2) being truly humble and coming out of the “I” mindset and thinking of “We”, make it a point to celebrate the success and failure as a team, make everyone feel welcome and express themselves in decision making/meetings, make them each feel valued.
3) Sharing is caring. Sharing knowledge and expertise with the team and at the same time learning something new from each of your team members, everyone has got something to offer for sure, you just need to look closer.
4) Avoid unnecessary personal tension or politicking. If you have a conflict try and discuss it with your colleague. Sort the conflict out rather than sitting on it. Believe me most of the time it just some silly. Learn to forgive and take one more for the team (this was my magic mantra). Just let it go. Remember you have so many other things you can invest your energy on. 😊
One must have the attitude to:
– Move from independence to collaboration
– Be flexible and move towards stability
– See common team goals over his or her personal goals
Traditionally, as testers we would just look at requirements ignoring why they were created. This would mean we would focus our siloed tests (System test, Integration test, performance test etc.) to cater to these silos, prioritize them if need be and test. Developers followed suite, they just picked up what was given and seldom viewed the objectives holistically. Things like integration, performance, scalability etc. All that now is slowly changing or has begun changing as Product Managers / Product Owners are collaborating directly with developers and testers.
The POs’ work closely with their business counterparts and come up with a prioritized list of business features or problems, these are then picked up by the developers and testers who work autonomously to a develop a solution or increment that will create/generate value and finally deliver it. The whole team works towards a common goal and always prioritize value creation over everything else i.e. look at how this will benefit the customer and or generate $.
You can start right away by asking questions to yourself or your team (without annoying them too much). For example, what is my project really trying to achieve, and what is the business outcome, who is impacted, how does this make things better for them etc. If you don’t have the answers, ask your project team members. Try and put the product owner or business hat. Dare yourself to put that architecture/solution hat and see what they are trying to achieve with your project, how would you have done it differently to achieve better outcomes, any good ideas that you get, bounce it off your team and together drive it.
Example: We got rid of an excel based utility (which we were asked to update) and we in turn ended up delivering a user-configurable report straight out the upstream system, saving valuable time and effort, and above all simplifying the whole experience, all because we asked the right question and saw the big picture. It’s amazing what a right question to a right person can do.
This concludes BLOG#2. In the next blog I will touch on impacts to the current testing world, what is changing is and expected to change, and finally, conclude my blog series, so stay tuned…
The LPS Wellington Office has moved.
We can now announce from the beginning of July we will have a new LPS Wellington office. On July 2nd the following address will be the new location for the Wellington office: Level 10, 142 Featherston Street, Wellington 6011. Our team is super excited about the new office. We can’t wait for our staff, clients, partners and wider connections to visit the new modern space.
Photos of the new LPS Wellington Office:
Here are a few images of what the office looks like. We can’t wait for you all to help us transform the blank canvas into our new LPS home.
Keep an eye out for photos once the team has moved into the space.
What are the triggers for change for testers? Are we headed towards Extinction?
By Venkat Raghavan Test manager
Morpheus (From The movie Matrix): “This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill – the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill – you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.”
So, did I really have to make the title this dramatic? Of course I had to, and why? It is because this is my first blog at LPS and I wanted to spice it up…just to get more hits / read, a dramatic title (most of the times) gets the job done 😊. Jokes apart, this has kept me up at nights (or was it Netflix… um) and I started looking around for answers asking colleagues, attending brown bags, drink-ups and reading online content. I started to realize that I was not alone. The community plus industry was filled with people like me, and they all had similar questions, questions.
Where is this industry heading?
What is the next big disruptor, emerging trend?
Are my skills and me still relevant? What skills do I need and how far will they take me?
Agile or DevOps, is it here already and to stay what happens to SDLC?
Is Manual Testing going to become obsolete, Do I need automation? and it goes on…
I am sure there are many more questions, and many of you may share similar thoughts or feelings, so what better than addressing the elephant in the room and kicking off my blogging career LPS by seeking answers to some of these questions.
Why and what is causing the change?
“The Only Thing That Is Constant Is Change” – Heraclitus
Before we get into the trends and disruptors, I think it would be good to set some context and get into the leaders’ shoes and see what they are seeing and why they are driving this. So, what do the leaders really want…? In summary, and based on the patterns of some of the industries and businesses in NZ, they are all striving to (my simplistic view, the list otherwise can get quite long).
1) Deliver better business outcome / value and fast via efficiencies /automation
2)Staying relevant and in most case ahead in terms of techno-business trends and disruptions in this highly volatile and competitive climate. (Some good examples: Banking-NFC payments /Big Data / Machine Learning/AI. TV and Music – Streaming /online content. Automotive -Autonomous vehicles/ Battery driven etc.).
This vision has led to organizations embarking on transformation programs – call it technology transformation, new ways of working, automation, Dev Ops journey, Agile journey etc. and there are some splendid examples of what organizations have been able to achieve through their journeys. Some interesting case studies and success stories – Capital One , ING and good old Spotify.
How does this affect us the “Testing guys “?
“Here is a test to find whether your mission on earth is finished:
If you’re alive, it isn’t “. -Richard Bach
Now that we set some context and triggers causing change, how do we Testers fit into all of this. The simple answer to all of this is – If there is code produced, there will exist bugs and it will need to be tested. Software Testing and or Quality is an integral part of the process / lifecycle and it cannot be ignored, as there are consequences or risks, and these risks will always need mitigation.
So, what will be different for us testers?
I have summarized what I think is the continuously evolving picture of the key drivers that will affect our community, and each of these can be vast oceans in themselves, so we will try and look at each of these key drivers at a very high level in my next blog.
Again, this is purely my personal perspective and interpretation on the topic, and the ever-changing testing landscape, would be great to hear your thought and comments and stay tuned to read my next blog, coming soon…
What is Change Management?
People quite often ask what is change management? Change management is how you approach dealing with transition or transformation of organisations. This can involve their technologies, processes or goals. Strategies are used to help people adapt to the change and to also control the change. Procedures are included in the strategic plan to align with the change requests. Mechanisms are also used to follow up on the changes and respond to the requests.
Change management is what guides how companies prepare, equip and support people to successfully adopt the change in order to drive business success. Providing employees with structured approaches for supporting individuals through changes is very important. All changes will be different for each organisation due to the people and the organisation itself. There are three important parts of any change in a company explained further below.
Organisational Change Management
A project team will be used to manage changes on a one on one basis. Change Management provides companies with step by step actions to take projects to the level needed to support the individuals impacted by those projects and changes. The change will happen on an individual level but on team project managing change one on one doesn’t work.
Organisational change involves sectioning off the projects and people attached to each project and what those changes will be. Then create a plan that is customised for each project and group of people involved. This will include what training needs to be made and what those people need to be aware of prior and also after the change has been made.
Organisational change comes hand and hand with project management. Project management ensures your project’s solution is designed, developed and delivered, while change management ensures your project’s solution is effectively embraced, adopted and used.
Enterprise Change Management Capability
Enterprise change management is an organizational core competency that provides competitive differentiation and the ability to effectively adapt to the ever-changing world. An enterprise change management capability means effective change management is embedded into your organization. This is through roles, structures, processes, projects and leadership competencies. Change management processes are applied to initiatives. Leaders have the skills to guide their teams through the changes and this leads employees to know what to ask for in order to be successful.
In conclusion enterprise change management capability allows individuals to embrace change more quickly and effectively. A company can respond quickly to market changes, embrace strategic initiatives, and adopt new technology. As a result of responding quickly to market, there is less productivity impact. The following needs a strategic approach to embed change management across an organization.
Individual Change Management
Individual change is the understanding of an individuals experience throughout the change. It is understanding what this person needs in order for the change to go well. It involves knowing what messages to tell people and at what times. You also need to factor in that you need to coach people and help them develop the new skills that are involved in the change. Individual change management is based on psychology and neuroscience. It applies actionable frameworks to individual change. In conclusion to answer what is change management really depends on the organisation and it’s stricture to determine what changes need to be managed and in what ways.
By Deanna Sorrell – Change Manager RBNZ
Change… we’ve all encountered a change in some shape or form (good or bad!), especially at work as we’re encouraged to be ‘agile’, ‘lean’, efficient and effective. In many organisations change is the new norm and so is actively encouraged and embraced. Ensuring change is adopted and sustained is the challenge, and there are eight steps you can follow to help with the success of your change journey.
*Kotter’s 8-step process for leading change:
Creating a climate for change
1. Increase Urgency
2. Build the guiding team
3. Get the right Vision
Engaging and enabling the whole organisation
4. Communicate for buy-in
5. Empowering action
6. Create short-term wins
Implementing and sustaining the change
7. Don’t let up
8. Make it stick
Let’s explore each step in more detail, outlining what you should do as well as what you should try to avoid…
Creating a climate for change
1. Increase Urgency
* Examine market and competitive realities for potential crises and/or untapped opportunities.
* Convince at least 75% of your managers that the status quo is more dangerous than the unknown.
* Underestimating the difficulty of driving people from their comfort zones.
* Becoming paralysed by risks.
2. Build the guiding team
* Assemble a group of change agents with shared commitment and enough power to lead the change effort.
* Encourage the group to work as a team outside the normal hierarchy.
* People with no prior experience of teamwork at the top.
* Relegating team leadership to HR, or elsewhere rather than a senior line manager.
3. Get the right Vision
* Create a vision to direct the change effort.
* Develop strategies for realising this vision.
* Presenting a vision that’s too complicated or vague.
Engaging and enabling the whole organisation
4. Communicate for buy-in
* Use every vehicle possible to communicate the new vision and strategies for achieving it.
* Teach new behaviours by the examples given by the guiding coalition.
* Under communicating the vision.
* Behaving in ways that oppose the vision.
5. Empowering action
* Remove or change systems or structures undermining the vision.
* Encourage risk-taking and non-traditional ideas, activities, and actions.
* Failing to remove powerful individuals who resist the change effort.
6. Create short-term wins
* Define and engineer visible performance improvements.
* Recognise and rewards employees contributing to those improvements.
* Leaving short-term successes to chance.
* Failing to score successes soon enough.
Implementing and sustaining the change
7. Don’t let up
* Use increased credibility from early wins to change systems, structures and policies undermining the vision.
* Hire, promote and develop employees who can implement the vision.
* Reinvigorate the change process with new projects and change agents.
* Declaring victory too soon – with the first performance improvements.
* Allowing resistors to convince the ‘troops’ that the war has been won.
8. Make it stick
* Articulate connections between new behaviours and corporate success.
* Create leadership development and succession plans consistent with the new approach.
* Not creating new social norms and shared values consistent with change.
* Promoting people into leadership positions who don’t personify the new approach.
*John P.Kotter is internationally known and widely regarded as the foremost speaker on the topics of Leading Change. He is the premier voice on how the best organisations actually achieve successful transformations, having identified and extracted the success factors into a methodology, the 8-Step Process for Leading Change.
Change Management in an Agile Environment
By Helen Franklin Change Manager – Vodafone
If you’re new to the idea of change management, or you’ve never really understood what it is, it’s most simply defined as “managing the people side of change”. It’s a simple definition of something that can be pretty complex and messy in real life. In a given day our change managers can work on everything from gaining the buy-in of senior leaders to a controversial solution, to finding creative ways to make difficult changes exciting and engaging for the people in our companies.
We have a number of change managers working with our LPS customers today, in industries as diverse as telco, financial services, and logistics. We also work today on both waterfall and Agile programmes, as well as programmes with one foot in each camp!
In March I was lucky enough to spend a few days in Las Vegas. I was able to attend the global Association of Change Management Professionals (ACMP) conference. The big topic of discussion was how we adapt our change management practices to align with Agile ways of working.
When we talk about change management and Agile, we’re usually talking about one of two things:
1. Transforming to Agile: Helping people to transition to Agile ways of working
2. Delivering within Agile: Helping manage the people side of initiatives that are being delivered by Agile teams
Insights from ACMP about effectively delivering within Agile.
– Understand that the principles of change management are just as important in an Agile environment, but accept that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach or framework that will apply exactly to what you are doing. Instead of focusing on tools, methods, or checklists go back to the basics of what outcomes you are trying to achieve and what you think will help deliver those outcomes.
– Treat your change management activity as “plays” in a playbook, or experiments, instead of a set in stone plan. Create a backlog of change activity that you think will help achieve your outcomes, but be willing to adapt or throw ideas away if they aren’t working. Align your planning and experimentation to the sprint cycles of your Agile teams.
– Set and manage expectations early. Both your sponsors and your “users” need to understand not only what’s changing because of your initiative(s), but what’s different about how the initiative is being delivered (if Agile is new or new-ish to them). Taking the extra time to explain the approach early will be worth it.
– Consider how you can do training and communications in small bite-sized pieces. Explore Digital Adoption Platforms, Micro-Learning, and Point of Need Learning, which all aim to provide the right amount of information to the right person at the right time.
So there are some interesting ideas for your next Agile change – what have you tried that worked or didn’t?
The new LPS tagline launched at the Hurricanes opening game for the Super Rugby season.
The new LPS tagline was launched during the opening home game of the Hurricanes for the Super Rugby season. The tagline aligns with the direction of where LPS is heading as a company. The last tagline was “We do Projects” and as LPS grew the company also outgrew the tagline. “Transform : Deliver”. The new tagline aligns with where the company positions itself as a market leader in its industry.
Transform : Deliver
LPS chose “Deliver” as a keyword for the new tagline because as a company we help our clients deliver high-level projects. We also deliver top quality service aligning with our client’s culture as well as our own. By delivering great projects we are able to transform our client’s companies. With the age of digital, this is a key part of our business model making sure we’re able to make positive change for our clients. LPS wouldn’t be the company it is today without living and breathing the company slogan. LPS delivers large transformation programmes for private and public enterprise organisations throughout New Zealand and Australia.