Test Plan – an unnecessary artefact? Henrik Emilsson 4 Comments
Well, it is always controversial to criticise the making of the Test Plan (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Test_plan ). But here is an attempt that will leave some open questions for further discussions.
According to my experience, a test plan is a mandatory document that test managers and test leads often promote but seldom question.
Sometimes it is promoted and actually needed; sometimes it is promoted but not needed; sometimes it is not promoted and not needed but still produced anyway.
Why is this happening?
Is it because this is something we can do (by can I mean that this is something we done several times and therefore have developed a skill)?
A test plan is usually done in the beginning of the project and is an old remain from the V-model and Waterfall methods, where all activities are specified and planned in advance (hence the word plan).
But if these project models are out of date, why are we still doing the test plan as if nothing has happened?
Some might say that this, nowadays, is a living document and should change. But isn’t it about time that we call this document something else then? Or break it up into separate documents/artefacts/etc?
One of the main reasons of having a test plan, is the ability to communicate all the how’s, why’s, when’s, what’s, who’s, do’s, don’ts, etc, that regards the testing effort during a project. This is great, but since there will be so many things to cover, it is easy to forget some important aspect or info. Especially if this is something that should be produced in the initial project phase.
And also, what if these things change over time (ever been in such situation?). Is it then fair to expect that the test plan always is updated, at any given time?
Is it also fair to expect that all stakeholders should update themselves by reading this document say once a week? (These documents tend to be large after a while).
And is it fair to say that different stakeholders have different interests in the testing effort? Might they have different quality criterion on the info?
I would like to propose that in many (most?) cases it is good enough to have a Test Strategy to deal with what the testing mission is about; a wiki for documenting the latest useful info; the iteration plan or sprint backlog or similar to keep track of current tasks/work. This way we can address the right stakeholders with information served in the way it would be expected.
Is there something important that we miss if we would do it this way instead?
The irony of TMM Henrik Emilsson 5 Comments
At one time, I worked as a tester at a company that claims to be at TMM-level 4 (perhaps 5).
Two things struck me:
Firstly, the quality of the actual testing performed on this company was not as good as one could expect from a company that have produced software for over 20 years.
Secondly, at the project post mortem, the testers complained about the lack of respect from the rest of the organisation.
One of the issues with TMM is that it says nothing about the quality of the testing.
A maturity level in TMM is looked upon as “a degree of organisational test process quality”. But it does not say anything about the degree of test process quality; or perhaps more important, test quality.
I think this has to do with the fact that many who promote and implement TMM has little knowledge in actual testing. This means that if you are to improve the actual testing, or tester’s ability to adhere to different test processes, you need to have knowledge about testing and people.
Or put in another words: it is easier to promote a single model than to improve testers’ skill.
Another issue with TMM is that when it is implemented, you might think that it is some sort of assurance that proper work is done constantly. This is not correct.
Since it is not saying anything about the quality of the actual work performed, your colleagues will not judge you on the basis of how high you have reached the TMM stair. Since “quality is value to someone”, you will be judged by your actual work – your performance. Therefore you cannot expect to be respected only because your company has reached level 4 on the TMM.
That is, respect is something you have to earn.
The maturity levels, according to the TMMi foundation, can be found at: