Thursday, 29 March 2018

An outline of testing

Recently I needed a quickly digestible "outline of the testing we are doing”. This was to be shared across the sprint teams and stakeholders, which included technical and non-technical roles.
We have tech docs, wikis and strategy documents but we were after was a high level snap shot that could be put up on our walls as a reference point for anyone working in or visiting our teams.

We wanted to show:
The [testing types] we are undertaking,
… using [tools] and [techniques] we’re using,
… in test environments which use [data],
… executed by people / tools / pipelines,
… at the points in the [SDLC/Story Development/Pipeline],
… in order to [proove to quality criteria], [mitigate risk], [speed up delivery].
Which leaves us with [risks] and [further investigation activities].
Ultimately we were addressing 'six W's and an H'.
The [testing types] we are undertaking, (What)
… using [tools] and [techniques] we’re using, (How)
… in test environments which use [data], (Where)
… executed by people / tools / pipelines, (Who)
… at the points in the [SDLC/Story Development/Pipeline], (When)
… in order to [proove to quality criteria], [mitigate risk], [speed up delivery]. (Why)
Which leaves us with [risks] and [further investigation activities]. (Worries)
Running through these questions on our project resulted in a grid like this:

The audience (both in our sprint teams team and around them) liked it. They found it a clear and simple, and it helped both answer and inspire questions.

As a bonus the exercise of making the grid helped the team refine and clarify their understanding of the testing happening in the project. We discussed the pros and cons of what we were doing. It became a sort of retrospective.
The headings worked well to focused us, and the question prompters reminded us of what we were trying to achieve.
Overall, the exercise for our team took less than 45 mins to run through.

I’m a big fan of clean, lean and context driven documentation, and this grid fits that definition.
I’ve gone back to our (short) strategy document and incorporated a version in to it.
At the moment the version in the strategy is just showing the What, How and Where. The Who, When, Why, and Worries are covered in other sections of the strategy.

Going forward I’m hoping to use these "six W's and an H" as part of my toolkit when working with teams to develop new test strategies and strategy reviews.

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