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Test Management & Analysis

The unsung hero of successful project outcomes

Effective test management needs to be an integral part of your project and not, as is all-too-often the case, an afterthought. Testing a solution, be it on an Agile, iterative basis or a phased implementation, needs to be planned, executed and evaluated - throughout the lifecycle of the project. At Asq, we manage software, hardware and process test artefacts and resources as a continuous improvement process.

Whilst your team may be best placed and most qualified to execute testing it is likely your business does not keep the required test management resources sat on the bench. Asq has test management and analysis expertise, resources and personnel to fill any gaps that may exist in your project team to successfully implement and oversee an objective Test Management strategy.

Test Definition

This should include: a test plan, associated to the project requirements and specifications, which builds a relationship between individual tests so that precedence can be established, i.e. if test A is parent of test B and if test A is failing, then it may be useless to perform test B. Tests should also be associated with priorities. Every change on a test must be versioned so that the QA team has a comprehensive view of the history of the test and its robustness.

Test Planning (why, what, where and when to test)

A test plan is a document detailing a systematic approach to testing a system, application, process, procedure or combination of these things. The plan typically contains a detailed understanding of what the eventual desired outcome or workflow will be. A test plan documents the strategy that will be used to verify and ensure that your project outcome meets its design specifications and other requirements. It's usually prepared by, or with significant input from, the Test Manager and Business Analyst.

Depending on the project a test plan may include one or more of the following:

  • Design Verification or Compliance testing - to be performed during the development or approval stages of the project, typically on a small sample.

  • Production testing - to be performed during preparation of the project and on-going for purposes of performance and quality control.

  • Acceptance or Commissioning testing - to be performed at the time of delivery/installation/hand-over of the project.

  • Service/Support testing - to be performed on-going and as required throughout the service after handover of the project.

  • Regression testing - to be performed on an existing operational system, process or procedure, to verify that existing functionality didn't get broken when other aspects of the environment are changed.

A complex system may have a high-level test plan to address the overall requirements and supporting test plans to address the design details of subsystems and components of the project.

Test plan document formats can be as varied as the projects and organisations to which they apply. There are three major elements that should be described in the test plan: Test Coverage, Test Methods, and Test Responsibilities. These are also used in a formal test strategy.

Test Coverage

This portion of the test plan states what requirements will be verified during what stages of the project lifecycle. Test Coverage is derived from the design and scoping stages plus other requirements, such as safety standards or regulatory codes, where each requirement or specification of the project design will have one or more means of verification. Test coverage for different project stages may overlap, but will not necessarily be exactly the same for all stages. For example, some requirements may be verified during Design Verification test, but not repeated during Acceptance test. Test coverage also feeds back into the design process, since the project may have to be designed to allow test access.

Test Methods

Test methods in the test plan state how test coverage will be implemented. Test methods may be determined by standards, regulatory agencies, or contractual agreement, or may have to be created new. Test methods may also specify test equipment, standards or methodologies to be used in the performance of the tests to establish pass/fail criteria.

Test Responsibilities

Test responsibilities include what individuals, teams or third parties will perform the test methods at each stage of the project. This allows test participants to plan, acquire or develop the test resources necessary to implement the test methods for which they are responsible. Test responsibilities also include what data will be collected, and how that data will be stored and reported ­ the deliverables. One outcome of a successful test plan should be a record or report of the verification of all design specifications and requirements as agreed upon by all parties.

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