As you may recall, I embarked on this effort to describe a quality test suite in hopes of defining an “elevator pitch” I could use in the work that I do as a manager at a company that develops testing solutions. No elevator pitch is complete without a value proposition.
Creating a quality test suite is time consuming and requires deep domain knowledge. There are high development costs due to the time commitment and experience level required. It is an investment. Therefore I should expect some return for any investment in a test suite. The return I expect is in the currency of time.
These are four important areas where a quality test suite delivers a return on investment in the currency of time:
- Accurately describes the system or component requirements – The test suite is designed to enforce the specifications of a system. While documents may describe the system, they are often vague. During development or integration projects much of the vagueness is clarified through discussions and interactions. The clarified rules should be enforced in the test suite. Codified rules through test cases will reduce time spent clarifying the same documents with subsequent projects.
- Directs attention to defects with laser precision – Each test case in a test suite must test one, and only one rule for the system under test. Ambiguous test cases that validate multiple points of the system require more time zeroing in on the offending portion of the system. When a defect is found the analyst’s attention should be immediately drawn to the failing portion of the system.
- Never wastes valuable resources by drawing attention to false negatives – A quality test suite should never send analysts and developers looking for a defect that isn’t a defect. Not only are those situations colossal time wasters, but they also reduce faith in the test processes altogether.
- Requires no human interaction to fully test the system or component – This is by far the biggest return on investment for a well-developed test suite. A test suite that can be seamlessly incorporated into an automated test framework will immediately begin paying dividends. Experienced test case designers are no longer executing and analyzing tests. Instead they’re building more and more quality test suites.
My elevator pitch is almost complete. I still need to describe how one might go about delivering on the value proposition. I’ll explore that in more detail with my next post.
Until then, here is the elevator pitch so far:
A quality test suite will simulate any endpoint in a transaction path through a test harness that automatically executes the suite, verifies the results and notifies if variances are found. The end result is an efficient testing process that:
- Accurately describes the system or component requirements
- Directs attention to identified defects with laser precision
- Never wastes valuable resources by drawing attention to false negatives
- Requires no human interaction to fully test the system or component
More to come in a week or so.
This is the third in a series of posts focusing on developing and describing a quality test suite. Additional posts include:
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