The Three-Facet Approach

Experience Reports, Software Testing

As I’m writing this, at least 21 other people are feeling distressed at this very moment and the hours to come.
The first release of the current project has been deployed last saturday. Tomorrow, monday, 600+ people’s work-life will have been impacted tremendously.

These past few months have been a series of accomplishments. I have seen a team timetravel from the late 90’s to the modern’ish age of software development.
When confronted with tight deadlines, an oversold, over marketed product, extreme expectations and a new way of working the team showed they could keep on growing.
They’ve shown incredible tenacity. And it is through this persistence that the deploy was made possible.
Tomorrow will show how well we did.

Before starting this project there was one tester present. She used to test mostly informally, doing a final check whether fixes actually fixed the problem and didn’t break anything else. Development was limited to implementing small changes on a staging environment before deploying on the live one.

Since that day, 5 consultant developers and 1 consultant tester, me, joined the team. Next to working on the product, we were asked to implement a methodology that would make them more agile and put more structure in the process.

TFS, Test management and the Three-Facet Approach

How has this ‘improved process’ had an impact on our testing?
Among other things, We implemented a few triggers so that the testers became part of the team. No longer will we hear that quality is only our problem or that we are responsible if any bugs are found in production. We’ve also made sure we integrate with the TFS environment, further penetrating ourselves in the development cycle.

Considering Test Planning:
– We want to be able to participate in the Definition of Done
– We want to achieve some sort of traceability
– We want to have a set of core tests
– Most of all, we want to find problems fast

This lead to a compromise approach:

  1. Test Cases: Per User Story that is put on the scrum board, the testers create a test case or three. These describe core functionality and when all these pass, our part of the Definition of Done is completed.
  2. Regression Test Set: A checklist is maintained. “Can I sort the grid by clicking the header?” This regression test checklist can be used for UAT, as a basis for automation and regression tests.
  3. Charters, sessions and test ideas. Even though this facet has yet to be fully clarified and followed. Most of our testing has been primarily informal testing. We’ve found 600+ bugs in limited functionality in only a few months time by following this approach, but we have yet to fill out one charter.

The three-facet approach is a made-up Bug Priorityname for a methodology that serves our projects needs. It is a compromise. It gives us the room we need to do good testing while keeping the overhead to a minimum. These last few weeks, people have asked us many questions.

  • “How many ongoing bugs to go?”
  • “What do you think of the quality?”
  • “Do you think go-live is possible this weekend?”
  • “Have you tested the billing functionality already?”

The question whether all test cases were written and/or passed didn’t make the list.
Should I take this as a lessons-learned?
In any case, I plan to further implement Session Based Test management into our testing now that the pressure of go-live is off.