Old Year, New Year

As we come to the end of 2016 – and for my company – the end of another release cycle, we have been looking at what we accomplished in the last year.  We just had a meeting where various team leads from our division went through their team’s accomplishments in the past year.  The slide shown for the quality team got me thinking about what we accomplished in the past year and what I would want us to accomplish in the next year.

If I could write next year’s end of year accomplishments right now, what would they look like?  What things do I want to see happen in the coming year?  When I looked at this year’s slide there wasn’t anything that stood out to me as something that would make me stand up with my head held high for what we had done.  It was mostly the normal stuff of the testing life, but there was nothing that would make people perk up and raise their eyebrows.  Nothing that would give a ‘hmm that’s interesting’ reaction.  Part of the reason for that is a communication problem in that we haven’t effectively communicated on up the chain what it is that we are doing, but part of it could be that we just don’t have the goals in place that will keep us on track towards a more impactful role.

So what do I want to see on the 2017 Quality Accomplishments slides?

Slide 1 – Automation 

  • Effective and efficient automation.
    • Effective – More regression defects are caught by automation
    • Effective – Tests run very ‘close’ to code changes (most tests run every hour)
    • Effective – A shift to more property based tests
    • Efficient – Reduction in time spent on regression test maintenance
    • Efficient – less duplication in tests
    • Efficient – Shorter run times due to pushing testing down the test pyramid
  • Interesting new applications of automation
    • Test suite that allows us to get a holistic view of the effect of one area’s changes on the overall workflow performance
    • Development of a set of tests that helps us pinpoint which area of the code errors originate from
    • Cleanup of an existing test suite to get more accurate information about which kinds of changes will help customers get an accurate answer faster
    • Custom data generator to rapidly give a high level of coverage to UI input field testing

Slide 2 – Interactive Testing

  • Increased adoption of group exploratory test sessions
    • Developers included in some of them leading to an increased familiarity and collaboration between testers and developers
    • Increased collaboration with other related testing teams
  • Formalized ‘definition of done’ and staged releasing helps push defect discovery closer to the time of introduction
  • Lighter weight and more targeted test documentation techniques reducing the amount of time spent on test case preparation
    • Dynamic test plan and checklist generation
    • Collaborative ‘10 minute test plans’
    • Test cases produced as an artifact of the interactive testing process
  • Better formalization and capture of interactive testing effort via peer review process and improved note taking processes

And there you have it.  Even before everyone starts posting about their New Years resolutions and 2017 goals, I’ve got mine ready to go.  Ahead of the ball for once!

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