Your Move to Continuous Testing
Continuous Testing was originally proposed as a way of reducing waiting time for feedback to developers by introducing development environment-triggered tests, as well as more traditional developer/tester-triggered tests. But that is a very simplistic way of describing the actual trials and tribulations of Organisations wanting to provide a real continuous testing approach.
Tricentis thought leader Wayne Ariola correctly identified years ago that 1the three primary elements Organisations need to factor into their development thinking when considering CT: Speed, Scope and Quality’: and as any IT or Test Management professional will understand these three are in a constant battle with each other.
But before you get to this inspired state, lets step back and imagine that you are about to undertake your aspirational journey towards CT, so before you get to a mature state where speed, scope and quality dominate your waking thoughts.
The first step is to acknowledge where you are currently at on your journey towards Continuous Testing.
Step 2: is to look at how you are going to develop a reasonable regression baseline suite of test cases for reuse as part of your CT effort.
Step 3: if you have done the work for Steps 1 & 2 then you must be on the road to developing a CT Transition Plan, which would include how you are going to develop your current staff and any specialist assistance with your test automation tool of choice.
Step 4: is to identify and understand your gap. How big is it? For example, you have little to no documented, up to date test case capability so the activity will be larger.
Step 5: is to map your gap against your current delivery pipeline for the next 12 months.
Virtech typically sees Clients begin to recognise the enormity of the effort at this point. Take a breath you have identified the critical path, now take action!
So, lets decompose each one of these Steps as a Solution into bite-like chunks.
Step 1: Acknowledge Where You Are At.
Common mistake we see with a lot of customers is that they refuse to acknowledge where they are currently at. So, we ask the following questions:
- what do you currently have in-house that we can reuse?’ By this I mean:
- what state is your current test collateral in? i.e., stored in 10 different tools?
- what condition are the test cases in? are they clear and reflect production state?
- Can you describe the state to me?
- Are your test cases reliant upon your test team members experience and therefore very light on in details?
- If you are still unsure ask yourself this:
‘Can an inexperienced tester come into my team and run our current test cases?
If you are not getting the right answer to (1)-(3) then you are going to require a gap analysis (Step 4) activity to complete your regression baseline.
Step 2: How are you going to develop a robust baseline test suite?
Is your test collateral in a less than ideal state? If the answer is ‘yes’, they aren’t in great shape, then this is a key consideration for inclusion in an automated baseline regression if you are going to become a Continuous Testing Organisation. You might need assistance identifying what that state is and consider things such as utilising your current test automation toolset to further develop the current test collateral (see cases/scripts) into test scripts. Can your test tool do this?
Our test tool partner of choice Tricentis Tosca can do this, is a market leader in doing this with its advanced AI and ML capabilities. Tosca can encompass test collateral from Microfocus ALM, Selenium, JIRA, nearly all the industry competitors and place them into your new Model Based Test Automation (MBTA) framework that is ideal for CT.
The tool allows greater depth and width of coverage with its unique drag and drop functionality that then automatically generates your possible test scripts when you are designing your test scenarios for the regression suite. Unique, no more time intensive activities QA’ing the inconsistent quality of the actual test collateral. Select what you want to use and drag it into your test set.
Alternatively, if your answer was ‘no we are ok in this regard’, then this is an ideal time to introduce yourself and test team members to Tricentis as part of skilling them up on their personal transition to CT.
Step 3: Develop a CT Transition Plan
Quite often when Organisations purchase a tool they get caught up in the Sales hype. I want to be clear about these next points:
- tools do not come out of the ether-wrapper and work, regardless of who is telling you they do.
- they do take time to integrate and then you need to add 50% to that time.
- despite the mania over no-code/low-code your staff will require mentoring; and
- they will require a measurable and structured learning plan.
Virtech has been providing these pathway services for many years in our role as Industry leaders on the ground at the workplace, not in a sales capacity! We can work with you at the beginning of your tooling to support CT, in developing your Tosca framework that can be reused again and again in your testing efforts.
Similarly, we customise your staffs journey according to your requirements and our experience in successfully delivering these kinds of activities. Virtech provides personalised, or classroom lead plans so your staff can achieve the required levels of expertise (see certifications) in Tricentis Tosca to do their job, not achieve a certificate and according to your team requirements/structure.
Virtech does specialise in SAP and have specific SAP tailored courses in real S4 Hana environments to further enhance your staff’s user experience.
Step 4: identify and understand your gap.
Your gap may very well be ‘we have no Automated Regression Baseline capability, and ‘that is ok, so you now have a starting position! Three questions to consider around this activity:
- can you / have you identified your highest priority items for inclusion?
- do you have capacity to assign personnel to your priority items by the dates you have set for completion?
- how are you going to capture your aspirational future state? Measure progress, celebrate progress?
Be realistic and truly understand your gap.
Step 5: map your gap against the current delivery pipeline for the next 12 months.
So, you have thought about and answered the first 4 Steps to the best of your ability, now to a certain degree you should be able to map your gap against your known deliverable milestones for the next 12 months. Remember that this must include any Production, Maintenance Support activities, if they are in the scope of your responsibilities.
This is another step where you must be realistic about your current test collateral state, as well as staff capability. The number 1 worst-case scenario I see Management make at this point is when they fail on the expectation management front. They expect current staff to be able to incorporate these additional steps on their CT transition into their already planned activities, this can be a killer blow to the team you know and cherish.
These activities will not be completed overnight, cannot be achieved in one brain storming session! It is a cliché but at this point it is worth noting that your team are your most asset, not test tools, consulting firms or methodologies. It has been my experience that your staff will put the extra effort in for you, for the team…if they feel they are valued, do not burn them out with your ambition, your lack of understanding.