Friday, September 14, 2012

Test Execution - How can we do faster?

Development deadlines always slip, but release dates do not change; caught between these 2, the testing time is always compromised. Hence the testing teams need to work faster. If the application has withstood the first one hour of critical tests, it indicates the basic stability of the app. But every test is important from functional point of view. Here are some simple techniques to make it faster.

Testing teams may have a mix of people with different experience levels. It is very uncommon to see a testing team with uniform experience level. The first thing we need to do is to assign navigation and field level validation tests to the junior-most members of the team. The number of tests will be more, but they are relatively simpler to execute. For every screen, let them do the same, and in one or  two rounds they will get familiarized with the app.

Assign the form level tests to mid-level experienced testers. This will involve submitting a variety of data thru forms and trying add, modify, delete, view test cases. 

Assign business flow tests to seniors and leads. They need to wear the cap of the end users and move data across screens to achieve the business flow. These people are the best bet to test the reports. The senior people must start feeling the semantics behind the data that flow across the application and understand the business value of the flows. If this is not done, end user testing will always find finer problems and that may lead to escalation.

Always people feel happy to execute new tests (progression tests, for new features added or for change requests). But by principle, a fix or new feature introduction may create issues at some other place. So we try to cover those areas by doing regression tests. The first set of regression tests must be performed for the form in which  the new features/changes are introduced. The next set of regression tests must be done at the module to which the form belongs. The next set of regression tests must address the path in which the feature or change is introduced. Once these are covered, then only do other regression tests. This will ensure the the impact of the changes are minimal.

For every round of testing, reallocate people. Doing the same test again and again will make them slow. You cannot reallocate a person to a totally unrelated module. Every application has a flow of information from one module to another; e.g. request spare item in spares module, cater the service in service module, raise invoice in accounts module. If tester A has done testing of round 1 for spares module, for round 2, assign tester A to service module and in the 3rd round assign to accounts module. This way, the tester also logically moves to the next step rather than landing on a dark area.

Last but not the least. Ask every tester to stand up and do a simple neck and shoulder exercise for 20-30 seconds every hour. Remember, you need good blood flow towards head. When you are too attentive for hours, doing testing, with eyes locked to the monitor, you will develop neck and shoulder pains. You must be physically good to perform better. So take care of your body well.

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