When I was first being introduced to the Software Testing industry, my knowledge is only limited to the ISTQB Syllabus. During that time I had no job experience related to software testing at all and only acquired a few of the certifications.
But one of the topics in the syllabus that caught my interest in was Test Process Improvement. I find it interesting because as we improve the test process it becomes more systematic, organized, and efficient. Therefore we will not only able to deliver the best quality software product, but also deliver it efficiently. Little that I know, to improve the test process in the “real-world” is a very challenging process.
After 5 years of working in this industry, in my fourth working year, I had been given a chance to help with improving the test process. So here are the first 6 steps that I have done :
Understand the current test process
To identify what could be improved, the first step is to understand the current process. There are many ways we can gather inputs such as :
- Collect and understand all current related documents including current test process, test templates, guidelines, etc
- Have a chat or talk with the QA team members. Discuss with them what are the challenges or pain points and their suggestions to improve the current situation
Top management involvement
This step is crucial and the hardest one. To convince the top management, you need to have concrete reasons why we need to improve the test process. This is because any changes to the process might impact product delivery. Moreover to make a change is not an easy task, it involves not only the QA team but also the Product and Development team.
So based on the first step, concrete justifications can be derived properly. Despite that, you need to approach the top management at the right time (hahaha). I was lucky because there was one time that the QA team need to handle several test projects concurrently and we could not afford to support it and end up declined some of it.
This situation has caught the Head of Product’s attentions and they initiated a meeting to discuss what QA can improve. This is our chance! All points, reasons, justifications were prepared. We just need to present to them (with confidence!) 😀
Implement in phases
Usually, during the brainstorming session, we tend to think deeply and try to solve most of the problems in one go. It is good to think big but it is better to start small. The idea is to chunk the solutions into phases or maybe can set a pilot project to validate the process. Slow progress is still progress 😉
Metrics to measure success
Metrics are one of the keys that can help us to identify whether the improvement that we planned to make is good enough or needs to be better. There are many metrics that we can use to measure success. You can find them all over the internet. But it is better to come up with personalized metrics that suit your organization best.
Get regular feedback
During the implementation, regular feedback from the team is important, not only from within QA but also Development and Product team. This can help to get more inputs on how we can tailor and improve the process
Always believe that there is always room for improvement. A failed pilot project does not mean our effort is wasted as we can learn from the experience. Always remember that we are not only learning new things but we can also learn from our past 🙂