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NGN Reliability Testing

May 31, 2010 2:04 PM | 0 Comments
Testing Business VoIP services is one of many important uses for a test automation framework. Ensuring continuous and reliable VoIP services for business customers is  the foucs of today's blog entry.
NGN Relaibility Introduction
US businesses expect high percentage (five-nines 99.999%) reliability from their traditional PSTN telephone services. They take it for granted and won't accept poor quality telephone calls while doing business with their customers. In 2009, a significant number of business customers cut their traditional PSTN TDM landlines to reduce costs and adopted new carrier provided business VoIP and IP Centrex phone services.
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We've talked about HOW to evaluate testing automation. We discussed staffing issues, managing equipment from multiple vendors, maximizing asset utilization, and consolidating test results into one database to easily keep track of results, updates, etc. 
But what about the WHY? Why should companies invest in test automation tools, especially now, in an economy where cutting costs is typically the response to getting through this rough time?
It is a given that products will always need testing, and there will always be the need for human interaction. But, if you cut back on the testing or the people directly involved with the testing, my suspicion is that the product will suffer, followed by reputation. If you're considering cutbacks to weather the current financial situation, it's a good bet that your competition is too. If you rely on manual testing to produce and maintain a quality product, your company may be at a significant disadvantage when compared with higher quality competing products.
So, the reason companies need to invest now, is to not only maintain their competitive advantage, but perhaps even pull ahead! Automating your testing environment lets you do that. A sustainable competitive advantage is the focal point of your corporate strategy and test automation is one way to achieve a significant advantage with a modest investment of money and time.
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Is Test Automation THE Answer?

July 10, 2009 4:55 PM | 0 Comments
Sorry, no such luck! Test Automation is AN answer, to be sure, for the right types of tests. But I don't think it can ever replace manual testing and the critical thinking the goes into testing all the permutations that a complex software product or service presents.
So, it is important to understand that test automation is one of many valuable tools that can, and should be applied to the testing effort to ensure that fewer defects reach the deployment stage. When applied properly, test automation has been extremely helpful, but too often test automation projects fail to deliver on expectations. The reasons are many:
·         Inadequate organizational responsibilities:
o        Everyone on the test team should have a stake in the test automation effort
·         Limited management support, understanding, and experience
o        Management cannot dictate success but should facilitate success
o        Test managers typically know what works and what doesn't, and has knowledge of prior test results, so upper management needs to trust the judgment of their lab managers, and support them
·         Overzealous objectives 
o        It is not reasonable to expect that 100% of testing can be automated. Automating 50% or more of tests is achievable and reasonable
·         Unrealistic time and cost expectations
o        Practical expectations for time and costs savings must be established at the outset
·         Inadequate tools and training
o        With power and flexibility comes complication. So, test automation must be simple to use and everyone who uses it, must be trained
·         Poor communication and overlapping efforts
o        Automation stakeholders all must start on the same page
o        There is no substitute for regular communication and updates on automation efforts!
In my earliest post, I promised to provide some practical approaches towards test automation based on experience and feedback from many of the engineers I've worked with over the years. All of them will tell you that test automation for certain aspects of the test effort is a must.
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As you've seen from my blogs, I am passionate about testing, and its future.  But, barriers can make a testing environment hard to navigate.


I've brought to light issues of multiple vendors and their proprietary scripts, lack of a single repository for test results and inadequate staffing. Next on my radar is accessibility.


I discussed the concept of a single repository that can house all test results for all equipment and all engineers.  But, what good is that repository if it is not easily accessible?  Often, the people who need this database are offsite, around the world, in a different time zone or maybe just caught up in meetings.


Another issue I've highlighted is the equipment. It typically lies idle or in static operation for about 16 hours a day, plus weekends and holidays.  Seems like a giant waste of resources.


But, the Internet has changed that. With just a web-enabled interface, you have access to the world!

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In my earlier blog I said I want to put the spotlight on the future of testing.  As next gen products and services evolve, the lessons from legacy testing need to be incorporated. 


The next critical issue that I have run up against, in my years in the field of testing, is the data....not the just the high-level test status themselves (Passed/Failed), but the easy access and availability of those detailed test cases, test procedures and test results. 


Many test labs rely primarily on skilled test engineers to prepare and repeatedly run hundreds or even thousands of test cases for each major test cycle, manually gathering and interpreting the results, and consistently reporting problems and progress.  So, the

question arises, how does one take the results of many tests, from multiple vendors' test equipment, which are often in separate silos and locations, and consolidate them into a meaningful report combined with logs and other resulting details from all the devices in the test?


Test organizations must collect and manage important test information manually, typically using Microsoft Office tools or some form of internally developed and maintained test management tool. Manual methods can drastically limit collaboration and reuse, and certainly restrict knowledge base sharing. Unless a concerted, manual effort is made to coordinate and distribute updated and timely test information to everyone on the team, it can be difficult to track and manage valuable test information. Test information can be lost, requiring testers to recreate the test setup from scratch.

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As my earlier blog said, we're here to get a discussion on the future of testing, and what it means to legacy testing as it melds with next generation products and services. 


I have been identifying some critical issues in the field of testing.  So, we need sensible ways to address the need to ensure product integrity and quality while meeting aggressive market deadlines and coping with dynamically changing test environments. 


Today I'm going to discuss the use of equipment in test labs. Test labs have a variety of equipment to do a variety of tests.  The equipment often is from multiple vendors, each requiring proprietary scripts. To be able to automate the multiple scripts from multiple machines into one program would be a test engineer's dream come true.


No one piece of test equipment does everything well, thus many labs utilize equipment from more than one vendor.

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I'd like to thank TMC for the opportunity to share some thoughts with you on the subject of testing and test automation. It is a pleasure to have this space to talk about this important topic.


As the title of this blog implies, the focus will be on the future of testing, and in particular, how to incorporate the knowledge and results of legacy testing with next generation products and services and yield substantive results. We need sensible ways to address the growing demand for better ways to ensure product integrity and quality while meeting aggressive market deadlines and coping with dynamically changing test environments. 


In order to understand the future of testing, it is important to identify some the key problems and challenges that are facing many of today's telecommunications software testers and managers. We'll discuss these challenges in some detail, and then offer some practical and effective means to deal with many of them.


My team and I have many years of hands on involvement in development and testing of advanced telecommunications products and systems.

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