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Archive for February, 2011

Top Trends in Software Quality for 2011

I discovered this article recently released by QA InfoTech, which outlines 4 main software quality trends for 2011. The article does not however state how QA InfoTech discovered what the trends would be or whether they are based on facts from a survey. So we can only assume that these trends have been uncovered from what the company has been seeing in the market place.

What really caught my eye about this article was the trend that:

“There will be less reliance on formal tools and instead a greater use of frameworks built using open source. Increasingly, quality testing frameworks are being developed using open source tools such as Selenium and JMeter. Formal tools from companies such as IBM and Hewlett Packard are still being used, but are being augmented, and sometimes replaced, by test automation frameworks created using open source. This brings down testing costs for companies, sometimes by hundreds of thousands of dollars, and often these savings are passed on to consumers.”

Surely this isn’t an accurate trend? If it were true, isn’t this just fuelling the maintenance burden of testing and increasing costs? Let me plant this seed of thought; hasn’t the traditional technology, or ‘formal tools’, used by software testers struggled to keep up with the times? Open source may be a way forward, but in my opinion, it continues to add yet another burden to the cost of testing. What companies are looking for are an easy to use and maintenance free testing tool that makes the testing function more efficient and much more productive.

Our Original Insight, (Throw Away Test Automation), explains this idea very well. Since we first saw software test automation tools appear 20 years ago, software testing technology had not moved forward in line with current new market technologies. With increasing software development complexity and more and more IT departments taking on an agile approach, traditional test automation has become too cumbersome for most to sustain. The creation of the automation has to be fast and painless and the investment minimal, so that you can afford, both financially and
emotionally, to throw it away. This just wouldn’t be true with an open source framework.

What are your thoughts about the article by QA InfoTech? I look forward to your comments!


A Drip Under Pressure

I came across an interesting blog a few days ago called “A Drip Under Pressure” by Tony Simms, Test Manager and author to Roque Software Testing blog.

Tony describes a situation, I am sure the majority of us have come across, where you have been sold a concept, a solution or a vision and like an excited child you are keen to move forward having placed your trust and faith into the vendor and self-proclaimed “expert” you are now engaged with.

The problem is the fact that these “experts” have let you down, the relationship has gone bad and your company could have ruined its reputation because the “experts” idea of software quality and quality management, was thrown together by the little guy with an enormous ego!

Tony comments in his blog: “Just because someone says they are an expert, that does not mean that they should be above inspection, be allowed to get away with shoddy work or feel that they don’t have to try too hard. It’s easy when you have specific knowledge that others don’t, to think that somehow that makes you immune from criticism, above reproach and that us mere mortals should be grateful for the work you are doing for us. However if this leads to arrogance and laziness then you can expect that the paymaster will require an account. Remember; Today’s expert may soon be just one more has been and under pressure.”

If you have experienced something similar whether it is with a vendor or even within your own organisation, please feel free to share!

Software quality should not be held ransom to so called “experts”. Heros like Tony Simms, who has challenged them means that the stability of his company’s website is kept in tact and the reputation of his company has been left unscathed.


HMRC Software Glitch Makes Returns Taxing

Yesterday, January 31st, was the last chance for self-assessors to submit their tax return online at the website for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC). Even though the HMRC said only on Friday that their computer system was working well and they did not foresee the problems experienced in recent years, our majesty’s government failed to test thoroughly again!!

Apparently, accountants were having problems after it appeared that the company that supplies software which allows accountancy firms and advisors to access the HMRC website had shut its links early. Returns that should have taken no more than 10 minutes to file, were taking up to an hour. HMRC confirmed that some advisors using third party software were experiencing what they called a ‘slowdown’.

CCH Personal Tax was the software concerned and although its parent company, Wolters Kluwer, said they had not been notified of any issues with the software, problems certainly existed.

Now we can’t be sure what the problems really were,  but this story is yet another example of poor or incomplete testing. Such high profile software glitches only go to justify Original Software’s mantra that “application quality must become a business imperative” – especially if government reputations are to remain unscathed.

Source: Yahoo News


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