Software testing is a profession. It is a discipline that goes much further than just testing an update or a new functionality. Software testing is fundamentally about the question of how to limit risks and errors in software systems. Testing is a continuous process. Within a mature testing process a good test tool is inevitable. But how do you make the right choice? In this blog we will follow the course a test manager has to take to arrive at the choice of a good test tool.
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Strangely enough, it happens all too often that software testing gets little attention from the management of an organisation. This is strange when you consider that issues such as responsibility, safety, quality and cost control rest primarily on the shoulders of management. The fact that the tester is the lock on the door is completely ignored.
The result is that testing gets low on the priority list. All too often to the frustration of the test manager. What runs parallel to this is the lack of a solid test plan. To be clear, having a number of test scripts does not equal having a test plan. A test plan goes much further than that, having test scripts is only a part of it.
However, it is understandable that such a situation arises when the organisation is not sufficiently aware of the importance of a mature test process. In the most recent version of our column 'Let's talk about test', it was already made clear that you are not always very popular as a test manager. After all, the test manager is the person who wants to be in the middle of everything and that is not always appreciated. We are of the opinion that it is not wise to give the test manager too little space within his organisation. Testing is a priority and should be woven into all parts of an organisation.
Even more often we see that the test manager - as a result of the situation described above - has to do without a proper test tool. The use of Excel can work to a certain extent when testing software, but it brings many risks with it. As the test process becomes more complex, Excel is no longer sufficient to have grip and control over the test process. The chance of errors increases. This means that a good test tool must be found.
In the first place, the test manager will have to remove some barriers in his search for a good test tool. After all, the management wants to save costs and the IT manager is not keen on a new tool. This ignores the large degree of efficiency, cost savings and reduction of errors and risks that a good test tool entails. In short, when the test manager persuades his organisation to look for a good test tool, the question arises: how does he convince his boss?
The test manager has finally gathered the stakeholders within his organisation for a demo of a test tool. But what do you look for during a demo and which questions do you ask? Indeed, with which questions - and the answers given to them - does the test manager manage to convince his boss to purchase a test tool? And not in the last place to make a substantial contribution to bringing testing to a higher level of maturity?
It is therefore important to enter a demo well prepared. One of the most valuable questions that can be asked of the party giving the demo is: What is the vision behind the development of the test tool? In today's society, people look at each other and copy each other a lot. The real added value is to be found in parties with a clear vision who can explain to you why . Management is always sensitive to vision and strategy and, perhaps more importantly, to continuity. It is precisely this answer that provides the test manager with important ammunition to get his boss on board.
Of course, the test manager cannot make do with this one question alone. More good questions will have to be asked in order to come to a good selection of a test tool. Which questions these are, we have summarised in the Whitepaper 'Questions you should ask'. These questions have been compiled by a group of experienced test professionals who have faced the same choice when purchasing a test tool.
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