Putting any part of your organization under the microscope can be uncomfortable, but doing so is a necessity to ensure payer plan builds and configs are going into production with the quality that’s required.
So far in this series we’ve introduced you to the reasons why you should assess your testing process, as well as the 14 key areas you should be targeting during your assessment. (In case you missed them here’s Part 1, and Part 2). In today’s article, we’ll be covering the assessment process itself; the goals of an assessment, and the steps involved in a thorough assessment.
The principle goals of an assessment process are: 1) to support the development of a test process profile and the determination of a maturity level; 2) to guide the organization in developing action plans for test process improvement; 3) to ensure the assessment is executed with efficient use of the organization’s resources; and 4) to guide the assessment team in collecting, organizing, and analyzing the assessment data. A brief summary of the steps in the assessment procedure follows.
- Preparation. This includes selecting the assessment team, choosing the team leader(s), developing the assessment plan, selecting the projects, and preparing the organizational units participating in the assessment.
- Conducting the assessment. In this step, the team collects and records assessment information from interviews, presentations, questionnaires, and relevant documents. A test management support system is very helpful for collecting and organizing test process related data and for use in cross-checking data from multiple sources.
- Reporting the assessment outputs. The assessment outputs include an assessment report, a maturity level, and the assessment record. The assessment team prepares the assessment report, which gives a summary of the state of the organizations’ testing process. The report also includes a summary of test process strengths and weaknesses, as well as recommendations for improvements.
- Analyzing the assessment report. The assessment team, along with management and software quality managers, now uses the assessment report to identify and prioritize improvement goals. Quantitative test process improvement targets need to be established in this phase. The targets should support the action plans developed in the next step.
- Action planning. Management teams and the assessment team work together to develop plans that focus on high-priority improvements identified in the previous step. This team can include assessors, management, software quality assurance staff, and/or opinion leaders chosen from the assessment participants. The action plan describes specific activities, resources, and schedules needed to improve existing practices and add missing.
- Implementing improvement. After the action plans have been developed and approved they are applied to selected pilot projects. The pilot projects need to be monitored and tracked to ensure of task progress and goal achievement. Favorable results with the pilot projects set the stage for organizational adaptation of the new process.
- Follow-up. A follow-up is recommended 6 months after the initial assessment. This follow-up will gauge your progress on the action plans. This should only take about half the time, since the only things that will be assessed are the action plan and any new process that were implemented since the initial assessment.
Staying on top of your testing program’s efficiency is the key to making sure you’re putting quality builds into production. I hope this series has been helpful in guiding you along the way.
Blue Eagle Consulting can provide you with the consulting resources you need to make sure all your testing operations are in top shape. If you have a project coming up or a need that we can fill please call us at 1 (866) 981-1095 or email email@example.com