Friday, 24 April 2009

Are you doing your bit to save money?

*I just wrote this as a blog at work, so thought I'd share it*

As we all know, it’s key that in the current climate (not the Sauna!) we ensure we’re doing our bit to reduce spend and monitor cost across projects. So, off the top of my head here are a few things we can be doing to make efficient use of our money.

1. More Exploratory Testing – the savings aren’t clear, but it is evident that the big-upfront-test-scripting approach could be replaced by exploratory testing. There may be a need to invest more time in training for your testers and you may take people out of their comfort zones but choosing to adopt a more explorative approach to your testing could reduce the cost of your test cycles.

2. Write less detailed test scripts – how much detail are you putting in to your scripts? And, more importantly, is that level of detail really required? We know that people who’re new to a product require detailed steps to guide them through the product but as with the exploratory point, could appropriate training replace this? Less detailed scripts could also reduce maintenance effort later on in the project when functions and features change which require script updates and re-writes.

3. Complete clarity on coverage PT1 – are we spending time and money testing on configurations which aren’t high priority? Will testing on those configurations provide useful information? Or is that testing which can wait for another time? Are the project team in agreement with your planned testing scope? Let’s ensure we’re not burning time and money running tests which aren’t producing useful information, and information which is required here and now.

4. Complete clarity on coverage PT2 – how are you ensuring that you’re not going to find showstopper or major defects via new tests in later test cycles? How can you make sure the really important bugs are found as early as possible? Are you talking to the right people to understand what the high risk areas of the product are? Ultimately, are you test the right stuff?

5. Risk Assessments – the primary aim of a tester should be to find important bugs fast and using a risk assessment is the main tool which facilitates this. So, have you performed a risk assessment? Are you testing the most important or complex areas first? How are you going to make sure you don’t come across a showstopper on the final day of your testing?

There are undoubtedly numerous other ways in which we can actively control and reduce cost and it’s also worth considering that whenever a decision is made to cut cost there can be an impact on time and quality. I don’t want to teach my grandma to suck eggs but hopefully this will make you think a little about how you’re doing things, and whether you can be working smarter, or more efficiently, or just making decisions about your approach with one eye on the cost aspect.

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