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Testing Missions in Context:                   From Checking to Assessment                           Created for:         ...
Testing Missions in Context                        From Checking to Assessment                              Scott Barber  ...
Experiential Drivers For This TalkTeacher’s Child      Good Enough, Good, Best; Question the AnswerBS Civil Engineering:  ...
Incoming TransmissionTesting Missions in Context   © 2012 PerfTestPlus, Inc. All rights reserved.
Good morning Scott,This just in from “The PM”:Your mission, should you choose to accept it,is to test a website on desktop...
What Was *That* All About?Not so different than client calls:      Problem to solve not revealed      Solution presumed   ...
AgendaExploring the Power of Missions:      My experience: Task Complete => Epic Mission Fail      Translating that experi...
“Take that hill!”Mission: Secure hilltop 42 NLT 0545 tomorrow.Testing Missions in Context                   © 2012 PerfTes...
“Take that hill!”Mission: Secure hilltop 42 NLT 0545 tomorrow.Testing Missions in Context                   © 2012 PerfTes...
Testing Missions in Context   © 2012 PerfTestPlus, Inc. All rights reserved.
LT Barber,                                   Front And                                   Center!Testing Missions in Contex...
After Action ReviewCommander’s Intent: It is my intent that the supply convoy  safely cross the bridge spanning the gorge ...
Testing Efforts Can Fail Similarly…Even if Good Testing is accomplished due to:      Not knowing/accepting the higher miss...
To Avoid…                                          Test Team,                                          In my office,      ...
…Get The Mission RightPurpose: “…two command levels higher…”      • The higher mission IS your mission      • Coordinate w...
Context-Driven ≠ Context DriverThe most relevant context drivers come from “highercommand”:My experience suggests that for...
Common Context Driver “The Business”     No business *wants* to have to pay for testing!Business only pays for testing bec...
Purpose   The general purpose of testing in business is to:• Provide as much information as possible…• For a reasonable co...
RoleTesting Missions in Context          © 2012 PerfTestPlus, Inc. All rights reserved.
Assignment             An Assignment, as it relates to testing:• Is often mis-labeled as a mission unto itself (but it isn...
Task  Self-Managed, individual or small group activity in scope       of assignment supporting purpose and mission.       ...
Building a Testing Mission     2 Higher Mission:     Grow a successful business by increasing net profit by     producing ...
Given this Testing Mission…     Is there intrinsic value to an identified “Test Group”?         On what context considerat...
Incoming TransmissionTesting Missions in Context   © 2012 PerfTestPlus, Inc. All rights reserved.
Good morning Scott,“The Boss” has been watching your presentationand sends the following:Your mission, should you choose t...
A Work In Progress       Imagine, if you will, a “testing” model that is:• Business-Value Centric• Business-Risk Focused• ...
Software System Readiness Assessment: ModelTesting Missions in Context    © 2012 PerfTestPlus, Inc. All rights reserved.
Software System Readiness Assessment TypesTesting Missions in Context     © 2012 PerfTestPlus, Inc. All rights reserved.
Software System Assessment Report Card Follow http://scott-barber.blogspot.com for more!Testing Missions in Context       ...
QuestionsTesting Missions in Context               © 2012 PerfTestPlus, Inc. All rights reserved.
Contact Info                             Scott Barber                          Chief Technologist                         ...
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Testing Missions in Context From Checking to Assessment

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Sometimes we test to find bugs.
Sometimes we test to comply with regulations.
Sometimes we test to answer a question for someone.
Sometimes we test because its what was done before.
Sometimes we’re not even sure what we are testing for, only that someone is paying us to “just test it”.

Whether or not someone has told us why we are testing, or what we are testing for, if we are being paid (or otherwise compensated) for testing, there is a reason that someone is willing to pay for that testing to be done. That reason is (or should be) our testing mission.

During this keynote, Scott Barber explores some of the most commonly assigned or assumed testing missions, shares his thoughts on contexts in which these missions may or many not be particularly valuable and, publicly for the first time, discusses a software product assessment model that he believes has the potential to dramatically improve the alignment of our assigned or assumed testing missions with the wants and needs of the businesses paying us to conduct that testing.

Published in: Technology, Business
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Transcript of "Testing Missions in Context From Checking to Assessment"

  1. 1. Testing Missions in Context: From Checking to Assessment Created for: By: Scott Barber Chief Technologist PerfTestPlus, Inc.Testing Missions in Context © 2012 PerfTestPlus, Inc. All rights reserved.
  2. 2. Testing Missions in Context From Checking to Assessment Scott Barber Chief Technologist, PerfTestPlus, Inc. sbarber@perftestplus.com www.perftestplus.com @sbarber Co-Founder: Workshop On Performance and Reliability www.performance-workshop.org Author: Co-Author: Contributing Author: Books: www.perftestplus.com/pubs About me: about.me/scott.barberTesting Missions in Context © 2012 PerfTestPlus, Inc. All rights reserved.
  3. 3. Experiential Drivers For This TalkTeacher’s Child Good Enough, Good, Best; Question the AnswerBS Civil Engineering: Systems Thinking; Design of Experiments, Testing & Inspections; Project Management; Regulatory ComplianceU.S Army Officer: Management of Things; Skills, Tasks, Roles & Missions; Responsibility, Accountability & LeadershipInformation Engineer: Real Value, Business Modeling, Operational EfficienciesMS Information Technology: Tech Management/LeadershipBusiness Owner/Executive Consulting: Value, Business Decision Drivers, ExpectationsTesting Missions in Context © 2012 PerfTestPlus, Inc. All rights reserved.
  4. 4. Incoming TransmissionTesting Missions in Context © 2012 PerfTestPlus, Inc. All rights reserved.
  5. 5. Good morning Scott,This just in from “The PM”:Your mission, should you choose to accept it,is to test a website on desktop, tablet, andmobile platforms, across all modern browsers toensure operational and visual consistencycompared to the baseline IE9 deployment and toprovide a detailed report of all discrepancies.Any discrepancies found in production will beblamed entirely on you.Do you accept this mission? YesTesting Missions in Context No © 2012 PerfTestPlus, Inc. All rights reserved.
  6. 6. What Was *That* All About?Not so different than client calls: Problem to solve not revealed Solution presumed Value for cost questionable (at best)Highlights common perception of the tester’s role: Unfortunately necessary To mechanically check against expectations To be held accountable for “bad stuff”… Without being responsible for “good stuff” Not seen as a “real” stakeholderEpic Fail as a Mission: That was a task, not a mission.Testing Missions in Context © 2012 PerfTestPlus, Inc. All rights reserved.
  7. 7. AgendaExploring the Power of Missions: My experience: Task Complete => Epic Mission Fail Translating that experience into “tester-speak”Near Ubiquitous Context-Driver: Businesses pay for testing Business Value == Good TestingPurpose, Role, Assignment, and Tasks (oh my!): A heuristic model for classifying testing tasks Value proposition of “titled Testers”?Preview; A Business Value Oriented, Context-Driven Model: Base assumption The model (a collaborative work in progress)Q&A, Praise and/or Public Shredding of Scott’s ModelTesting Missions in Context © 2012 PerfTestPlus, Inc. All rights reserved.
  8. 8. “Take that hill!”Mission: Secure hilltop 42 NLT 0545 tomorrow.Testing Missions in Context © 2012 PerfTestPlus, Inc. All rights reserved.
  9. 9. “Take that hill!”Mission: Secure hilltop 42 NLT 0545 tomorrow.Testing Missions in Context © 2012 PerfTestPlus, Inc. All rights reserved.
  10. 10. Testing Missions in Context © 2012 PerfTestPlus, Inc. All rights reserved.
  11. 11. LT Barber, Front And Center!Testing Missions in Context © 2012 PerfTestPlus, Inc. All rights reserved.
  12. 12. After Action ReviewCommander’s Intent: It is my intent that the supply convoy safely cross the bridge spanning the gorge between hilltop 42 and hilltop 57 between 0553 and 0558 tomorrow.Testing Missions in Context © 2012 PerfTestPlus, Inc. All rights reserved.
  13. 13. Testing Efforts Can Fail Similarly…Even if Good Testing is accomplished due to: Not knowing/accepting the higher mission: “The boss says ship date is most important, but obviously, this bug overrides that!” Assuming the logic behind assignment(s): “Clearly we’ve been asked to cross-platform testing to ensure consistency.” Focusing on the assignment role over the mission: “My job is to find and report problems, not to concern myself with competitive landscapes” Treating tasks as missions: “I know the other team is behind, but I can’t help until I finish automating these regression tests.”Testing Missions in Context © 2012 PerfTestPlus, Inc. All rights reserved.
  14. 14. To Avoid… Test Team, In my office, NOW!Testing Missions in Context © 2012 PerfTestPlus, Inc. All rights reserved.
  15. 15. …Get The Mission RightPurpose: “…two command levels higher…” • The higher mission IS your mission • Coordinate with adjacent & dependent groups to improve chances of mission accomplished Inspired by:Role(s): Based on… • Needs of the mission first • Specific skill areas second • Individual preference when you’re luckyAssignment(s): “Yours supports theirs, not vice versa” • Intermediate goal(s) supporting the larger missionTask(s): • Activities necessary to mission success • Often turn out to be quite different than anticipatedTesting Missions in Context © 2012 PerfTestPlus, Inc. All rights reserved.
  16. 16. Context-Driven ≠ Context DriverThe most relevant context drivers come from “highercommand”:My experience suggests that for testing, “higher command”equates to: “The Business”…………………………………………(~95%) Teacher/Professor/Certifier…………………………….(~3%) Self………………………………………………………….(~1%) Obscure scenarios only people at CAST or Let’s Test would challenge a keynote presenter with………….(<1%)Testing Missions in Context © 2012 PerfTestPlus, Inc. All rights reserved.
  17. 17. Common Context Driver “The Business” No business *wants* to have to pay for testing!Business only pays for testing because it believes it ischeaper to pay for testing than not to pay for it. In the eyes of business, testers are a necessary evil.If you wish to continue being paid to test… I’m guessing you wouldn’t be here otherwise.… you must validate that belief… And do so in a way the business understands.… by helping them succeed. To a business, success = $Testing Missions in Context © 2012 PerfTestPlus, Inc. All rights reserved.
  18. 18. Purpose The general purpose of testing in business is to:• Provide as much information as possible…• For a reasonable cost…• To stakeholders involved with developing, customizing, implementing, assessing, managing, and/or making business decisions…• Related to the relevant product• Where that information allows the product to start generating, protecting, or supporting revenue more quickly and cheaply• Than it would if the business had *not* done testing.Testing Missions in Context © 2012 PerfTestPlus, Inc. All rights reserved.
  19. 19. RoleTesting Missions in Context © 2012 PerfTestPlus, Inc. All rights reserved.
  20. 20. Assignment An Assignment, as it relates to testing:• Is often mis-labeled as a mission unto itself (but it isn’t)• In some cases, is viewed as a subordinate/supporting mission• Distinct from core mission in that Assignments: • Identifies who is to take charge of • Completing one or more intermediate steps • Progressing toward core mission accomplishment• Includes freedom, responsibility, and accountability to adapt as situation (context) changes to better support purpose and mission• Typically relates to groups vs. individualsTesting Missions in Context © 2012 PerfTestPlus, Inc. All rights reserved.
  21. 21. Task Self-Managed, individual or small group activity in scope of assignment supporting purpose and mission. Check Test Assess Demonstrate Field Study Scott’s Heuristic Model for Test Task CategorizationTesting Missions in Context © 2012 PerfTestPlus, Inc. All rights reserved.
  22. 22. Building a Testing Mission 2 Higher Mission: Grow a successful business by increasing net profit by producing products and/or services considered valuable for the price. 1 Higher Mission: Produce product/service X, as quickly and cheaply as possible considered valuable at target price. Testing Mission: Support the product/service development team by identifying, assessing against, and generally assisting to deliver the easiest quality bar associated with “valuable at the target price” as quickly and cheaply as possible.Testing Missions in Context © 2012 PerfTestPlus, Inc. All rights reserved.
  23. 23. Given this Testing Mission… Is there intrinsic value to an identified “Test Group”? On what context considerations is your opinion based? If the context could be changed, would your opinion? Is there intrinsic value to “Titled Testers”? Is there individual/personal value? Context considerations? In the “proper context” how would the title “Product Delivery Team Member” feel? Scott’s Point of View Title detracts from collaborative work Title detracts from focus on business value Title (currently) enhances executive misunderstanding & micro-management.Testing Missions in Context © 2012 PerfTestPlus, Inc. All rights reserved.
  24. 24. Incoming TransmissionTesting Missions in Context © 2012 PerfTestPlus, Inc. All rights reserved.
  25. 25. Good morning Scott,“The Boss” has been watching your presentationand sends the following:Your mission, should you choose to accept it,is to, by any means necessary, tune this messagefor all product/service delivery roles, andshare the message as broadly as possible withthe goals of increasing the realized businessvalue of testing and generally improving thebalance of cost, quality, and time to market.Do you accept this mission? YesTesting Missions in Context No © 2012 PerfTestPlus, Inc. All rights reserved.
  26. 26. A Work In Progress Imagine, if you will, a “testing” model that is:• Business-Value Centric• Business-Risk Focused• Mission-Driven• Comprehensive• SDLC Agnostic• Executive Language Compliant• Context-Driven• Built by Synthesizing Lessons from Established Industries• Reflects the Complexity of, and Skill needed to do well…Testing Missions in Context © 2012 PerfTestPlus, Inc. All rights reserved.
  27. 27. Software System Readiness Assessment: ModelTesting Missions in Context © 2012 PerfTestPlus, Inc. All rights reserved.
  28. 28. Software System Readiness Assessment TypesTesting Missions in Context © 2012 PerfTestPlus, Inc. All rights reserved.
  29. 29. Software System Assessment Report Card Follow http://scott-barber.blogspot.com for more!Testing Missions in Context © 2012 PerfTestPlus, Inc. All rights reserved.
  30. 30. QuestionsTesting Missions in Context © 2012 PerfTestPlus, Inc. All rights reserved.
  31. 31. Contact Info Scott Barber Chief Technologist PerfTestPlus, Inc E-mail: Web Site: sbarber@perftestplus.com www.PerfTestPlus.com Blog: Twitter: scott-barber.blogspot.com @sbarberTesting Missions in Context © 2012 PerfTestPlus, Inc. All rights reserved.
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