Adequate staffing for testing environments

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. We've experienced a host of problems on almost every project we've encountered.


Today's posting will be on adequate staffing for testing environments.


The economy drives business decisions, and today's economy has resulted in reduction of staff. Not only is the number of engineers cut, but their expertise and knowledge base are gone, as well. The remaining engineers still have their tasks, but the other tests still have to be run, the delivery schedules have likely not changed, and the number of hours in a day to be on site to run these tests is finite.


Many test labs rely primarily on skilled test engineers to prepare for, and repeatedly run hundreds or even thousands of tests cases each major test cycle, manually gathering and interpreting the results and consistently reporting problems and progress. Running hundreds or even thousands of test scripts per release is challenging. People tire from running the same manual tests every test cycle, yet they cannot be eliminated.


The answer, at least in part, is automation. In fact, at least 50% of manual tests can and should be automated.

Many tests, such as regression tests, are good candidates for automation. They must be repeated exactly for each release. Running tests the same way each time can ensure nothing obvious slipped through the cracks and fewer embarrassing deployment problems arise that must be isolated and patch in the field.


Not all good test engineers are software developers and not all software people are good testers. Test Automation solutions should enable the creation and executions of tests with zero programming required. In-depth knowledge of the device or system under test is of course crucial to effectively applying any test automation solution.



Manual testing and human coordination go hand in hand. Both will always be needed in test environments to be truly effective. Test Automation can have an immediate and significant impact when applied appropriately. Automated test procedures targeted at solving specific project pain points can be extremely effective and have lasting benefits.


I'd love to hear about your experiences in a test lab, and any comments,


My next blog will focus on limited test equipment.







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This page contains a single entry by Terry Caterisano published on June 29, 2009 8:57 PM.

Test equipment from multiple vendors is the next entry in this blog.

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