I am speaking at DevOpsCon Singapore – Nov 2021

I am super excited to announce that the DevOpsCon Singapore conference is finally here and I am elated to be a part of the Speaker lineup!

After cancellations and rescheduling in 2020 due to the pandemic, this grand event is finally happening now from 22 to 25 Nov 2021 in an online edition.

My talk that was slated to be part of the 2020 edition remains the same topic which I have worked to enhance this year. Here are a few details of the session –

Title – The What, When and How of Test Automation

Description

Agile means pace and agile means change. With frequent time-boxed releases and flexible requirements, test automation faces numerous challenges. Haven’t we all asked what to automate and how to go about the daily tasks with the automation cloud looming over our heads? Here, we’ll discuss answers to some of these questions and try to outline a number of approaches that agile teams can take in their selection of what to automate, how to go about their automation, whom to involve, and when to schedule these tasks so that the releases are debt-free and of the best quality. 

  • What to automate: regression averse approach, selective approach, sanity automation, max automation approach
  • When to automate: sprint n-1 approach, continuous automation
  • How to automate – all-hands approach, shared automation expert, code-averse tool 

Let us have a look at the integration of these possibilities, the possible combinations, and what may or may not work.

My session will be held live on Monday, November 22 2021 17:00 – 17:45 SGT

To check out my speaker and session details, click here

For the detailed program and agenda of the conference, see this page

To Register for the event and related details, click here

Hope to see you there! 🙂

How To Compliment Software Outsourcing With Agile Development? 

As technology advances at a breakneck pace, speed and adaptability have become critical for fulfilling client requirements. While traditional project management systems such as the waterfall approach are incredibly precise and controlled, they do not foster adaptation or feedback.

However, firms across a variety of sectors have succeeded in transforming the way their projects are managed through the use of the Agile development technique. Businesses whose primary business is software development have profited the most from the Agile methodology. 

Today, the value of agile methods in software development is well recognized. Not to mention, the benefits are only brought to those who are clear on what precisely to expect from a software development service provider. Agile improves your development team’s effectiveness and results in a more coordinated project management strategy. Therefore, thorough research before hiring makes a lot of sense in order to work on your expectations.

Along with the increasing popularity of Agile software development, another trend is picking up quickly, and with good reason is software outsourcing. Outsourcing software development has overtaken in-house development as the second most popular trend in the industry. 

Indeed, several businesses have begun to include agile methodologies into their offshore development processes as well. Their purpose is to combine the cost savings associated with outsourcing with the adaptability associated with agile development procedures. However, this begs the following question:

Is it possible for software outsourcing and agile development to coexist?

IT  Outsourcing is a widely used method of accelerating corporate operations and making them more efficient and competitive. Outsourcing enables organizations or independent software vendors to accelerate project delivery. Given the benefits that both Agile and Outsourcing provide to the software development cycle, collaborating on a project is undoubtedly a good option.

Coordination with an overseas team, on the other hand, might be challenging owing to a lack of face-to-face contact, cultural differences, and time zone differences, among other factors. Meanwhile, if a strategic strategy is used to integrate these masterstrokes for software development, the project delivery cycle may be accelerated and elevated.

To overcome the obstacles that collaboration between Agile and Outsourcing entails, both sides (companies and technology partners) must work together. The below section explores some effective strategies for establishing a successful Agile-Outsourcing relationship.

How To Compliment Software Outsourcing With Agile Development?

1. Choose A Trustworthy/Skilled Technology Partner

A technology partner is a business that comprehends the underlying concept of the program and assists in its execution. To begin, a comprehensive investigation of the organization should be conducted, determining whether their portfolio and prior expertise are applicable to your project. Thus, a set of indicators may be reviewed to determine whether the technology partner has the capability to execute a project according to the needs and standards established in advance. 

2. Assess the Team as a Whole, Not Individuals

Finding excellent programmers with extraordinary talents is not a difficult task for customers wishing to outsource a software project. Agile development, on the other hand, necessitates a high level of team participation; it is all about collaboration, not individual perfection. Each team member is critical to the project’s success, and each member must feel at ease cooperating with others, whether in offshore locations or in their own nation. 

As a result, the programmers’ track record in a team context is more essential than their individual accomplishments. Consider utilizing behavioral interviewing techniques to pick team members in the same way that you would when employing staff for your business.

3. Interact

To flourish as an outsourced and Agile software firm, there is a need for adjustment, since these two concepts do not always mesh well. To be successful, it is necessary to carefully modify the Agile software development process as well as the communication channels between the customer and the outsourced provider.

4. Mitigation of Risk

Everybody will claim to be agile. Therefore, if you are otherwise satisfied with the provider, condition awarding the project on a successful iteration/sprint that results in the delivery of functioning software to you. Make Certain that your sprints are brief. Define the success criteria in detail, including acceptance tests and the delivery timetable, as well as any additional criteria that are critical to you and your business. Following each sprint, you’ll have the chance to evaluate the offshore team’s performance, make required improvements, and lead the project in the correct path.

After analyzing the team’s performance and working style, you should be able to determine whether you can accomplish your business objectives while collaborating with this offshore team.

Conclusion

Embedding agile practices throughout the IT department is a journey – a lengthy one. By enlisting a vendor as a partner on the journey, businesses may alter their IT development while retaining the benefits of outsourcing. This dispersed agile partnership necessitates collaboration on a variety of levels, as well as the ability to learn from and adapt to the outcomes. The incentives are substantial for those that do it right, including much cheaper costs, access to a big pool of technology-savvy labor, and the capacity to operate constantly and fast across different time zones.

<This is a guest post by Emily Cooper.>

Author Bio – Emily Cooper is a technical writer with a passion for writing on emerging technologies in the areas of software development, .NET and Dedicated Software Development. 

<Image Credits – Unsplash.com>

How to create a document outlining your Test Strategy?

With the software revolution, all excellent project managers know that if you hasten into the testing process, that particular project is considered to face a lot of issues. 

Working with the best test management software and its particular strategy planned before testing starts is essential because software becomes more complicated with more sequences of code to evaluate. 

Without a definite outline to develop, the QA team might not be sure what their duties are, what type of testing should be performed first and how the project’s progress is being determined.

The initial action to developing a test plan is to understand what you are attempting to perform with the testing strategy document as it will change software testing strategies. 

According to this post created by TatvaSoft experts, the purpose of a test plan is to describe the complete scope of the QA method from both a comprehensive and granular standard. 

Let’s take a look at one of their sections and understand why they consider that having a Test Plan for every business is beneficial— 

A Test Plan is a thorough document that outlines the test strategy, objectives, timeline, estimation, deliverables, and resources needed to execute software testing. The Test Plan assists us in determining the amount of work required to confirm the quality of the application being tested. The test plan is a blueprint for conducting software testing operations as a well-defined procedure that is meticulously documented. Read More 

The software testing approach helps to create a test plan as it is one of the most essential aspects of the complete testing process, as it describes accurately what the testing team requires to succeed and how to proceed to achieve those aims. Test Strategy is a crucial part of the Test Plan.

The task of writing a whole document test strategy from start may seem daunting, especially for bigger projects. If QA managers need a systematic approach to this responsibility, however, they’ll discover that planning and compiling an efficient and comprehensive test strategy isn’t so hard.

Here are a few tips for your team’s benefit-

Steps To Create A Test Plan Using Best Test Strategies!

Understand the product or feature you’re testing

We will begin with one of the essential aspects of software testing strategy, which is having a broad knowledge of the product or feature before you begin developing a test plan for it. 

For instance, let’s assume you’ve just worked over a website redesign and need to test it before you launch it in the market. For that, you will require to know these below-mentioned factors: 

  • Discuss with the designer and developer to know the extent, goals, and functionality of the website.
  • Review the project documentation which is developed by the project manager that includes SOW, project plan, and the responsibilities in the project management tool.
  • Conduct a product examination to know the functionality, user movement, and defects.

This action provides you with the setting to write a good test strategy document, purposes and begin to plan out the sources you’ll require to create it.

Define the test objectives and their criteria

As you describe every other test you’re continuing to work on, you are required to apprehend when your test is “finished.” 

This implies establishing the pass and fail standards for each particular test, and some of the information we can discuss, such as departure and delay criteria.

To perform this, you’ll need to recognise different system metrics that you’re monitoring and select what progress means for them. 

For instance, if you were working on a performance test you need these measures to succeed:

  • Response time: Complete time to forward a request and receive a response.
  • Average load time: Average time it needs to address all requests.
  • Peak response time: The most extended time it needs to complete a request.
  • Wait time: It is the duration it needs to get the first byte after a demand is sent.
  • Requests per second: The number of requests it can manage during that one second.
  • Events passed/failed: The whole number of passed or failed requests.

Don’t worry you can proceed with testing and repeating forever. So you are required to determine what’s best for your software out and in the palms of users.

Plan the test environment

The outcomes of your test plan always depend on the point you’re testing as well as the environment you’re testing it in. 

As a component of the test strategy document scope, you are required to decide what hardware, software, operating system, and tool compounds you’re running to test.

This is a condition where it pays to be particular. For instance, if you’re going to define an operating system to be utilised throughout the test plan, specify the OS edition/version rather than just mentioning the name.

Define Test Objective

Test Objective is the complete purpose and performance of the test execution. The purpose of the testing is to discover as many software errors as possible; guarantee that the software during the test is bug-free before release.

To determine the test purposes, you need to perform these 2 steps:

  • Record all the software features such as functionality, appearance, and GUI that may require testing.
  • Determine the purpose or the object of the test according to features

Use these steps to get the test goal of your testing project

Also, you can use the ‘TOP-DOWN’ approach to discover the website’s features that may require testing. In this process, you break down the app following the test to component and sub-component.

Conclusion

The test strategy document provides a definite concept of what the test team will perform for the entire project. It is a latent document that means it won’t fluctuate during the project life cycle. 

The one who prepares this document must have enough expertise in the product field, as this is the record that is running to manage the complete team, and it won’t fluctuate during the project. 

Test strategy documents need to be distributed to the complete testing team before the testing ventures start.

<This is a guest post by Matthew Jones – who is a tech enthusiast. and he likes to share his bylines.>

How to Decide if You Should Automate a Test Case

Test automation is imperative for the fast-paced agile projects of today. Testers need to continuously plan, design and execute automated tests to ensure the quality of the software. But the most important task is to decide what to automate first.

In my article published on the TestRail Quality Hub, I have compiled & shared a list of questions to help you prioritise what you should automate next and guide your test automation strategy.

Here is a checklist of questions to ask yourself as you decide on automating a Test Case–

*******

Is the test going to be repeated?

Is it a high-priority feature? 

Do you need to run the test with multiple datasets or paths? 

Is it a Regression or Smoke Test?

Does this automation lie within the feasibility of your chosen test automation tool?

Is the area of your app that this is testing prone to change?

Is it a Random Negative Test?

Can these tests be executed in parallel, or only in sequential order?

Are you doing it only for the reports?

********

For the detailed explanation of each of these points, read the complete article here –>

Are your Test cases really effective?

Test teams are forever designing and adding new tests, running them, and reporting results. But is your test team creating tests that are effective at finding real problems?

How do you know if your tests are actually working, and not just adding to the ever-increasing test count?

In my article published on the Testrail blog site, I discuss some ways you can gauge the effectiveness of your tests — and improve them.

Defects Found

The top and most obvious indicator of the effectiveness of your test cases is the defects you find when executing them. As you and your team execute the designed test cases, constantly ask yourself these questions:

  • Are these tests guiding me toward defects?
  • Am I finding problems with the predefined test cases? Or do I have to do more exploration before even getting close to a problem?
  • Are these tests exercising unique flows or use paths?

Metrics

You can also look at your defect lists and find related test cases for the defect logged (if you have that ability in your defect management system). This interlinking helps the team understand what test cases led to the issues found.

You can then further analyze whether that test case was created during test design or later added to the list when the issue was found.

Exploration

If your test cases are not effective, you will not find any useful bugs in test execution. That will mean most of your time is spent in unplanned exploration or ad hoc testing. So, by looking at the time spent in actual test execution versus the time spent on ad hoc testing, you can figure out the effectiveness of the test cases you designed.

If your test cases are effective, you will find issues, explore more use paths, navigate through different integrations with other features, and test different aspects of the same functionality.

If at the end of your test execution, you feel that you have not done all of that, you can infer that is because your test cases might be too simplistic or obvious, and therefore not effective enough to find any useful bugs.

History

Continue Reading here–>

Achieving the Goal of In-Sprint Test Automation

Getting test automation done is a challenge, especially within the tight deadlines imposed by Scrum. As much as the thought of continuous in-sprint test automation sounds enticing, the practicality of it may elude most Scrum teams.

In my article published here– I look at some of the main things you need to consider in order to get your test automation done within the confines of your sprint.

Framework

The first thing to focus on is a framework that is useful, is easy to understand, and helps all stakeholders participate in test automation.

This is essential because you want to make test automation a continuous activity that is a part of daily work, not a once-a-sprint (or once-a-release) work item. For this to happen, the framework must make it equally comfortable for a businessperson, developer, functional tester or automation expert to add their contribution and see the results of their efforts.

There are many business-friendly frameworks and techniques, like behavior-driven development (BDD), as well as many tools that can create tests in a domain language and then translate them to script code.

All stakeholders must be trained on using the framework, and their area of contribution must be made clear to them, with practical hand-holding. The automation tester can then focus on maintaining the framework, generating test suites and editing failing scripts, while the creation of test automation will be a continuous task assigned to everyone involved.

Collaboration

The next thing to focus on is collaboration between the various stakeholders. A continuous automation framework can only survive when it is being fed and tended to by everyone on the team.

  • The business people, like a business analyst or a product owner, can help by adding user scenarios or defining the requirements in a framework-friendly format. This may require them to be trained on the preferred format based on the framework being used
  • The developers can help by creating reusable methods for steps of the script. They can also create and maintain an object repository for all elements they add to the UI while testers use the pseudo names of the elements in the test scripts. This means that the scripts can be created before (and independent of) the application UI, and such scripts won’t need editing when the UI changes, as long as the object repository is kept up to date
  • The testers can help by adding more scenarios, specifying and creating test data, and executing the scripts periodically

Strategy

How to strategize the development of test scripts is crucial to making in-sprint automation a reality. Using API-level automation whenever possible will reduce the time and effort.

Continue Reading –>

Read More »

How to Decide if You Should Automate a Test Case

Test automation is imperative for the fast-paced agile projects of today. Testers need to continuously plan, design and execute automated tests to ensure the quality of the software. But the most important task is to decide what to automate first. 

In my article published at the Gurock Blog website, I have have compiled a list of questions to help you prioritize what you should automate next and guide your test automation strategy.

Think of this like a checklist that helps you make automation decisions quickly and effectively and create a standard process around them for your team to follow. Here are the list of questions to ask yourself.

Do check out the complete article for a detailed discussion on each of these-

Is the test going to be repeated?

Is it a high-priority feature?

Do you need to run the test with multiple datasets or paths? 

Is it a Regression or Smoke Test?

Does this automation lie within the feasibility of your chosen test automation tool?

Is the area of your app that this is testing prone to change?

Is it a Random Negative Test?

Can these tests be executed in parallel, or only in sequential order?

Are you doing it only for the reports?

Test automation tools will provide you with useful insights into the quality of the software that you can showcase with the use of some insightful reports. But are these reports the only reason you are looking at automation? Just looking at the red or green status results of the test reports might not be the best way to assess the software quality. You will need to spend time analyzing the tests that failed, why they failed, and what needs to be corrected. Tests created once will need maintenance and continuous monitoring to keep them up to date. All of that needs to be kept in mind and the effort needs to be accounted for.

There is more to test automation than just the fancy reports!

Looking at the questions above, analyse the state of your test case, the intent behind its automation, and its feasibility, as well as the value that you might get out of it. Hope that helps you decide what tests you should or should not be picking for automation!

<Image credits – https://unsplash.com/photos/FlPc9_VocJ4 >

Ways to Generate Quick Test Ideas

As testers, we look at everything with a critical eye. As soon as something comes up for testing, our instinct is to get down to examining it and looking for problem areas. After getting a written test script, a new tester would be tempted to begin executing scripted tests right away.

But stopping to gather our thoughts about possible test ideas first is a smarter approach that leads to better, more unbiased test coverage. However, we don’t always have a lot of time to imagine scenarios and different paths. Luckily, there is always some planning we can do beforehand.

In my article published at Gurock Testrail blog I shared some tips for generating test ideas in a time crunch.

Revisit classic test techniques

Our old, trusted test design techniques like boundary value analysis, equivalence class partitions, decision tables, and state flow diagrams are always a help when thinking about test cases. Although most of them are ingrained in the thought process of a tester and are mostly common sense, giving them a revisit, however informal, may still give us some more test ideas.

For example, creating a quick decision table for the interaction of two or more variables to observe the behavior of the system may reveal some unique combination that we might have missed. Or a quick boundary value analysis for the age field in our we form may show us a special case we might have missed.

Similarly, using state transition diagrams to draw end-to-end flows can help not only the testers, but also the developers in imagining the overall system flow and revealing problem areas.

Look at the history

The history of the project or the system can give us many insights into what we are dealing with, where the common defect clusters are, and the most problematic components.

If you are new to the test team, start by having a look at the defect tracking from past sprints or releases. You can then define and think of more test cases based on past defects and the components that have had the greatest number of defects.

If you’ve been part of the team for a while, you are probably intuitively bound to focus on these areas. But even then, it will help to consciously make an effort to list the most common types of bugs encountered and most problematic areas based on your experience. This will help not only you, but also your new and junior team members. Read full post->

Read More »

4 Tips to Create a Simplified Test Plan for Your Agile Project

Planning is an integral part of initiating any project or activity, including software testing. Although formal test plans may seem outdated and unnecessary to most fast-paced agile teams that prioritize cutting down on documentation, it’s still a good idea to keep a pared-down test plan that can guide the testing effort throughout the project.

In my article published on TestRail blog, I talk about four useful tips to create a simplified test plan for your agile project.

1. Include the basics

A test plan can be as detailed as the team requires, but at the minimum, it must contain the context, timelines, and a brief overview of the testing activities expected to be performed in the project, release, or sprint.

Based on what level of test plan you are creating, begin with a basic heading, like schedule and timelines, testing activities and types of testing expected to be performed, people involved in testing, or any new hires or training required for the project or release.

2. Build off the project plan

Most of the test plan can be derived from the context set by the overall project plan, so give that a thorough read and get the details of the project lifecycle, expected delivery schedule, interaction points with other teams, etc.

Note any specifics that emerge, like shared resources with other teams, sync points for integration tests throughout the project’s lifecycle, or special types of testing needed, like performance, load or security testing.

3. Define a clear scope

Let’s say your project is a mobile application that needs to work on both Android and iOS. It would be beneficial to list all the environments and OS versions that need to be supported. Including them in the test plan ensures you set up the test environments early and allocate testing tasks across all of them. It also ensures that you are not bogged down by repeated testing on numerous test environments at the time of release. What is not defined in the initial test plan can automatically be considered out of scope.

Continue Reading ->

4. Use visual tools like mind maps

A simple Agile Test Plan using a Mind map

Read full article here

Continuous Testing in DevOps

Agile testers need to constantly rethink their processes and tooling in order to move toward faster and more reliable software delivery. The key there is to embrace the continuity. Continuous delivery is necessary for agile development, and that cannot happen without having continuity in testing practices, too.

In my article published on TestRail blog, I discuss the various aspects of Continuous Testing in DevOps-

Continuous testing

Continuous testing can be defined as a methodology focused on continuous quality and improvement. It can use a number of practices and tools to help do that.

Continuous testing encompasses the verification and validation of each piece of the software under development to ensure:

  • Code quality — Are developers creating code of good quality?
  • Application correctness — Are developers creating the correct features?
  • Place in the pipeline — Can the application code flow through the pipeline and across environments and specified tests successfully and easily?
  • A good customer experience — Are users seeing value in the delivered application?

Continuous testing is the way toward continuous delivery. Teams that struggle with continuously delivering on time or with high quality often find the solution to their problems by setting up good continuous testing practices.

Read the full article for some tips to improve your continuous testing framework and help your DevOps succeed, like-
  • Ensure test automation is the best fit
  • Leverage automation benefits in all aspects
  • Select the right tools
  • The Typical Pipeline & what it requires

Continue Reading ->

Agile teams must strive for continuous improvement of their continuous testing strategy. If they’re successful, they can reduce their release times from months or years to weeks or days (or even hours!). By adopting the correct practices and embracing the spirit of continuous learning and improvement, we can help our testers to become champions of agile.

<Image Credits – manufacturingchemist.com>