zaterdag 27 maart 2010

Blooming of the Testing Garden

*** Column published in Capgemini's CoP IT Testing Newsletter ***

Days are getting longer and some of the bulbs my husband and I planted in autumn last year are already blossoming. As I watch this coming alive in our garden, I think of all the ideas that are blossoming in the testing industry. Creativity and innovativeness are qualities that particularly seem to bloom in the spring, as do the bulbs. Spring also seems the time that many professionals choose to share their experiences on usage of new ideas in practice. Currently I’m in the position that I get to see lots of these ideas, inspiring ideas and enthusiastic stories.

So let me share some insights with you.

Two years ago ‘Agile’ was just a hype word, a bulb that was planted but many could not see what the result would be, very conceptual. Last year Agile became more ‘solid’, it showed its potential and was applied in some projects with successful or not so successful results; like the bulbs you put in the ground in autumn, some come above the ground, but some of them didn’t seem to be ‘doing’ a lot. This year, ‘Agile’ is definitely grounded, all bulbs have fully bloomed. In fact, I read so much about ‘Agile’ now, that I get a bit tired of it, a bit numb. I even see some developments on Agile, specialized process improvement, specialized tooling, specialized test management. A lot is evolving around ‘Agile’, the bulbs are not only blooming, but they are also cultured more and more.

Another bulb that will bloom strongly this year is Chain testing and testing of software integrated in the actual organization. Not only from a testers perspective this is blooming, but also from the organizations’ perspective. It seems like organizations are now, more than ever, becoming aware of the importance of testing. Organizations with a solid test program in place are willing to share their stories and organizations that don’t have them, will – I expect- definitely be willing to have testing integrated in their processes.

Organization-wise there is also a need for quality in their information processes. BI(M) and Testing thereof will also be a flourishing field. Data warehouse testing will definitely have its roots solid in the soil this year. There aren’t yet that many specialists on this area it seems, so this will be an area that will have to be developed and teached. I encourage people to gather information on the subject and help develop this underestimated field of expertise.

Some other bulbs that will be planted or will start showing their beauty this year are ‘Testing as a Service’, Cloud related testing (testing of applications in clouds or cloudofferings in testing), Weekendtesting (just Google…) , other test process improvement methods than TPI and TMMi and all kinds of Exploratory-like testing techniques.

So this year will be a very colorful garden which will certainly need it’s gardeners, but will also provide beauty and enough flowers to pick from.
Get inspired to plant your own testing bulbs or to pick from those wonderful flowers that have already bloomed! I’m certain that something beautiful will bloom in our Testing Garden.

zaterdag 13 maart 2010

's been a while...

I realize it’s been a while – again- since I blogged. I’ve been just so very busy, that blogging just moved to the background.

Firstly I’ve been writing my first large article, which will be published in the Software Test & Performance of April. It’s about Software Testing Ethics and I’ve written about some feedback that I got in the debates I held till now, among others the Ethics Debate held at EuroSTAR 2009. It was a lot of work, but I’m pretty proud of the achievement.

Secondly I also worked on an article on Test Architecture, Test Architecture Framework and the use of Eclipse Method Composer, together with a colleague of mine, for Testing Experience. Alas the editing board thought it was a sales pitch so it was rejected for publication. So me and my colleague (mostly my colleague) are now rewriting the article so that it will be a more scientific article, as the article was intended to be. We never set out to write a ‘sales pitch’.
Although, also this project is a bit on the background now, due to....

The larger part of my time I’ve been – besides working a lot- busy with reviewing the EuroSTAR 2010 submissions. I’ve set out on a quest to review all the submissions. It just seemed fair to know them all, before making the decision on the final program.
And there have been a LOT of submissions, it’s a record number this year! 433 submissions have reached my mailbox and I’m only as far as 229 in my reviewing process.
It is a slow process, since I take a lot of breaks, every submission deserves a fresh review without being ‘numb’ of reading dozens before.
Qualtech has anonymized them all (I can’t even imagine the amount of work that must have been), so I review purely on contents, applicability, innovation and – what else – passion, so I’m not biased by the knowledge of who the submittee is.
It’s a fun progress to be engaged in, but again, it takes a lot more dedication and effort than I would have suspected. Nice is that by making small notes on the subjects and keeping ‘topic keywords’ I’m a bit able to make some statistics. Alas, I’m not able to share anything of content related material of information at this time. But perhaps later this year, I’ll write another blog about this or a small article in the STARtester, we’ll see.

So, until I’ve reviewed all the submissions on EuroSTAR, I guess blogging is on the second plan. Hang in there and take care!

maandag 1 maart 2010

STaaS on Request

Suddenly it was there in my mailbox: “How do you feel about Software Testing as a Service, a.k.a. STaaS and could you blog about that?”. A request for a blogpost, hmmm, that’s different. Especially since I haven’t had much to do with the subject (yet), other than reading the different articles and offerings on Cloud, SaaS and the sporadic services that are offered as ‘hosted testing software’. But I like a challenge and I’m also interested in the topic so I set out on my information-gathering quest, there’s no such thing in my world as giving an opinion without knowing the background of the subject under discussion.
Sure I got a feeling, but is that feeling realistic and based on founded grounds or is it just based on (false) assumptions?

First of all: is STaaS any different than SaaS? Well, simply said: NO. Bottomline is that SaaS is, for those of you who didn’t already know, software that is offered as an online service. So if looked at it black-and-white; STaaS is nothing more than offering software that can enable software testing activities offered as an online service.
When I look at it this way, I say: “Good initiative”. Organizations that don’t have testing as a core business or don’t have the infrastructure (or recources) to host that kind of software, this would be a great solution. Think about the possibilities: imagine a big library-like site where you can choose-and-click the software testing software you need and then make use of it as long as you like without having the pains of administration.

Alas, STaaS as term, is used for more types of ‘products’ or ‘services’. So with the explanation above, I won’t be giving a complete answer. There are at least two more perspectives.
The first one is the infrastructure for testing ones software itself (the space/ hardware), for which I find the STaaS term isn’t appropriate. This should be more like ‘Serviced Test Environment’ or something like that. You can think of ‘virtual environments’ and so on. For example: when more testruns are done where older versions have to be ‘frozen’, this is ideal, because you can temporarily upscale your infrastructural capacity without having to buy the whole hardware package yourself. When not needed anymore the virtuals are just ‘deleted’ and you don’t have the hardware still in your server room and thus no maintenance and administration costs.

The second one is the service of Software Testing itself (activity). I find, that there is nothing new here and certainly not worth naming ‘STaaS’. For one, the meaning of aaS is that of product-like nature and not activity-like nature. Secondly; when one hires people for doing their testwork one can call it ‘Consultancy’ or if one hires people who test their software off-site, than it’s called, among others, ‘outsourcing’, ‘offshoring’ or even ‘testfactory’.
I do – however- think there’s still some development in these kinds of offerings. I think there are still services to be offered that will fit much more to the business needs than just ‘hiring people’ or ‘letting the product be tested by a company’. All of these shouldn’t be named ‘STaaS’ though.

So, my conclusion (now), is that STaaS as term isn’t necessary at all, it’s redundant and confusing. SaaS will do just fine. The ideas behind the different explanations of STaaS are however worth developing or investigating, but should be named in a way it’s clear what is meant by it. I think organizations will benefit from products which will enable high qualitative software activities without having to be burdened by the administrative and organizational hassle. I think this kind of products, services and offerings are still scarcely out of the egg and need some serious development, but it has an important role in the way software testing will be done in the future.