The War Within


Quality Is Dead. Long Live Fixes!

The Agile, DevOps or DevTestOps transformations are yielding to mindsets of “let’s get the release out at the end of the sprint” ; “Let’s deprecate those functions that we don’t think are ready” ; “Let’s bother about technical debt later” ; “Let’s equip ourselves to fix it, should it fail” and so on. The key being : ship out before it’s too late.

Organisations are channelling resources into ensuring that failures when they happen, can be fixed & deployed faster. It isn’t that testing isn’t focused on, but then testers are constantly racing against time to ensure that they can get adequate time with the product, and achieve a level of coverage, even if it means stretching themselves week after week. Clearly, the Mean Time To Repair (MTTR) – or the ability to fix, is winning this war against the Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF) – or release an improved product.

If we accept that as a given, testers today, need to be able to quickly assess the risks of deployment, provide faster feedback to developers, whilst also keeping end to end customer experience focus in mind. However, the aids they need to do that aren’t much. A testers skill at the right areas of focus needs to be coupled with the right set of insights (under the hood, so to speak) to ensure that they provide more meaningful data in the shortest time available.

There are more tools that help focus on end user automation, than API tests in combination with say, service virtualization to be able to test early; more that talk about the promise of scriptless screen based automation, as opposed to providing inputs on the underlying behaviour of application as the application is exercised; and far less that talk about the intelligent use of analytics to aid a testers knowledge of areas of risk by analysing changes to requirements, code, underlying technology dependencies, support capabilities etc.

Probably, this is a war may never be won in this era of need for speed. But testers can fight back with added insights, improved risk assessments, and still win the Quality battle!