Tasks, tasks, tasks – happy new year 2013 :-)

The year 2013 has began for me with an enermous number of tasks – as well private as vocational.
In this article I only want to focus all the tasks in the job.

I work as a software tester in Germany for a big international company with different sites in different countries. The ultimate goal of our testing departement for the next years is it to define one and only one testing process for all sites (and their testing departements) and to reconcile all testing activies from all sites. And I swear: This is a very hard task!
Examples why? Here they are…
1) Different approaches of developement and testing and also different testing processes defined – or maybee no one!
2) Different release streams and languages but one big software product…
3) Different testing tools
4) Different working instrutions (As an example: The french testing collegues are using „continous integration testing“ while we here in Germany beginn with our test phases after the end of delivery dates for a release!)
And so on and so on….

And now, I want to write something about the concrete tasks for my colleagues and me for 2013:

Task 1: Change of our testing management tool
Long discussed and now it should be true: We want to switch from „IBM Rational Clearquest Test Manager“ to „HP Quality Center“. here some reasons: betther performance, support from HP, easier to handle and more stable (because Clearquest Test Manager has never been configured well over all the years of use), maybee bether interface functionallity to our own bugtracking-/defect- and problem management tools, simply more functions (e. g. grouping testcases to sets possible, plannning sets of testcases for certain test iterations possible, and so on)

Task 2: Help to create some working instructions
I’ve to write down some working instructions. Examples: 1) A short description and „HowTo“ for using our test environments, 2) Help with the definition of „howTo“ write testcases with our test management tool. (That’s something I don’t like very much – because that all is depending on different test levels, approach of testing, product knowhow and so on – see also my last article about that topic…)

Task 3: Beginn with test automation
I get stomachache when thinking of this. In our testing departement we are doing integration testing for a big software system existing with at least 50 modules. And the fact is: There are hardly functioning automated test scripts for the test level „modul test“. So how and why can we think, we could automate someting in higher test levels?!? In my opition: Never ever! And by the way: The is no humen beeing in the company who knows, what testcase is the right one to beginn with test automation. And unfortunately I know: Some test automation scripts have been automated – but that are the wrong ones. What a waste of time and effort!

Task 4: Planing workflow testing
Our system under test (SUT) is allways this one big software system with more than 50 modules.
We have to define workflow test scenarios with our testcases as part of our integration testing. The difficulty will be to define the right order of testcases to perform when doing workflow testing. Module 3 can only be used after interface functionallity from module 2 has been used and module 2 can only be used after interface functionallity from module 1 has been used and so on and so on. And unfortunately I believe that asking our cutomers to help us with this topic will never be an option.

Task 5: The yearly overhead of round about 4 releases and their software updates
Every year or managers and stakeholders will plan round about 4 releases of our software product and they plan that regularly with a derisory amount of time for testing. Side effect of this: Testing software releases and software updates parallesl. Example: test phase 1 (release 1): 01.01. to 15.02., test phase 2 (release 1, SU 1): 01.02. – 28.02.) So we will test release 1 and release 1, su 1 from 15.02. to 28.02. during same time!

Task 6: The fight against wind mills
Our test management told us what to do for 2013:
1) only rise bugs/defects when a test case in test management tool exists
2) For every planned test iteration, assign your planned testcases from test management tool to the test iteration and pay attention that only those testcases (and no other) have to be performed during the corresponding test phase!
3) Write logs for every executed testcases with our test management tool (passed tc, failed tc, not run tc, and so on)

But honestly: Either I find bugs and bring some value for the quality of the product or I don’t find bugs and bring some unnecessary numbers to the statistics which no one will read! I swear!
And with the rest of my time I will doing the tests of the fixes of the bugs the customers have found instead of mine! Because I don’t have the time to create a testcase when I find a bug or to search for the testcase! This kind of working in testing is „monkey work“! Every monkey can do that!

You know what I mean? At least me I can find the most of my bugs when doing exploratory testing! But unfortunatley with the requirements above I’m not allowed to do that!
What’s more: Statistics about testing are allways a fake! So why is it so important to log every step of your work in testing? When you have to reproduce a test scenario or a bug of course you have to log every step of your work! But in my opinion it’s a waste of your time when log every other step of your work!

Maybee I’m a context based and exploratory testing fanatic tester but isn’t that the testing style of our time? For me the requirements of task 6 above are a step backwards!
And a nother thing is: The management hasn’t thought about new requirements in developement. You as a tester often don’t know the details of such new requirements in SUT when they are the first time under test. You have to try and do some exploratory testing before you can create one ore more good testcases for it!
I already hear me say to my developers or product owners: „Sorry that I didn’t found that bug! I had no chance because I doesn’t have the time to look for it because I had to execute and log my testcase! Very sadly. . .

What’s your opition about all this tasks 2013 for me and my colleagues?
I hope your tasks for 2013 will be betther!

Kind regards,
Ralf

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