Transparency through Automated Testing

One of the challenges that businesses have for projects is an awareness of the true status of tasks.

Project Methodology continues to advance with concepts of Agile Project Management which work well for larger projects. One of the value statements from Agile is the question to project resources when they can complete a task. This question provides a view into the mindset of the resource’s skill set and confidence to meet the task goal. If the resource is a junior resource or has limited skill in the task, then the effort provided to the team will be high. With Agile methodology using this process, it becomes very easy for resources, while they frantically research, to inadvertently drain the project bucket of effort, e.g., a 4-hour task that turns into a week duration.

Another area that has great success with enforcing transparency is automated testing. Automated testing may be used for unit, integration, use-case, performance, and scale testing. However, for project transparency, to lower business risk and project cost overrun, we would state the value of automated testing is from use-case & regression testing.

After technical and business requirements are complete, ensure that a project scheduled or WBS (work-breakdown-structure) has a defined milestone to migrate ALL manual use-case testing to automation. The effort to convert from manual use-case testing to automate testing will be considered by a few to have little value. However, when the final parts of a project are to meet a go-live over a weekend or to add in new business release with adjusted business logic. What would you trust to reach your goals 100%?

Below are two (2) common scenarios:

  1. Solution Upgrade Go-Live over a weekend. You have to be allocated 48 hours to backup of solution data & all platforms, perform a data snapshot, migrate data, integrate with newer solution components (possible new agents), combine with production data, and validate all use-cases for all business logic. And allow time for roll-back if, during triage of issues, the business team determines that show-stopper issues will not be addressed in the period. If you fail, you may be allowed one more attempt on another of your weekends, with all 2-20 people.
  2. Solution Business Release Cycle – Over a weekend or business day. You have the option to deploy new business logic to your solution. You can lower business risk to deploy during a business day but will require additional use-case and regression testing. If you have no automation, you will leverage a QA team of 2-10 people to exercise the use-cases; and sometimes negative use-cases.

Math: Assume your solution has twenty (20) use-cases & sub-use-cases where each use-case may have twenty (20) test scripts. Assume that you have an excellent QA/business/technical resources that have adequate capture the initial conditions (that must be reset every time) for each test script & they are checking for data quality challenges as well. Assume each test script takes about ten (10) minutes to execute, where your QA team resource (not the same skill set) will follow exactly and record success/failure. Perhaps you have trained them to use QA tools to screen capture your failure messages, and assign a technical project team resource to address.

20 use-case x 20 scripts/use-case x 10 min/script = 4000 minutes for one QA resource. Well, we have 1440 minutes in a day, so 4000/1440 = 2.78 days or 66.7 hours. Assume we add ten (10) QA business resources, while we have lower the QA cycle from 66.7 hours to 6.7 hours; we will be required to “freeze” any additional updates during this QA cycle; and likely impact our maintenance window for remediation of “found” issues for either scenario above.

Be aware of the “smoke” testing follies. This type of testing still leaves issues “burning.”

Enforce transparency for project owners, project managers, and team members.

Ensure that the effort to build the automated testing is kept for future regression when the new business logic phase is implemented. Prove to yourselves that prior business logic will NOT be impacted.

Many tools can be leveraged for automation, e.g., Open Source Jmeter (used by many customers), Selenium, or paid tools (Broadcom/CA Technologies Blazemeter), SOAPUI

Let us help.

We firmly believe, encourage, and perform knowledge transfer to our customers to help them succeed, and ensure that the introduction of automated testing lowers TCO of any solution. We can train your staff very quickly to leverage Jmeter from their desktop/servers to automate any written testing plans for solutions. These JMeter process can then be shared with all project team members.