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Testing and Quality: Correlation does not equal Causation

Presented to meetup :

Talk: How often have you heard "Our quality is poor, we need more testing (or testers)"? When you hear this, know that this indicates a fundamental misunderstanding of what testing is or does. Improving or increasing testing does not necessarily lead to improved quality. While testing and quality can be correlated, let's talk about how they are distinct as disciplines and in causality.

Speaker: Theresa Neate is a QA practice lead & developer advocate, who loves lean and agility and advocates for holistic system quality and systems thinking. Her recent experience includes ThoughtWorks, Australia Post’s Digital Delivery Centre and since early 2016 she has been at digital media icon REA Group. You can find out more about her here:

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Testing and Quality: Correlation does not equal Causation

  1. 1. Quality =! Testing Testing and Quality: Correlation does not equal Causation Theresa Neate | Lead QA, REA Group 11 February 2020
  2. 2. About me Lead QA @ REA Group DevOps Girls co-organiser & coach ~20 years of “IT experience” ~8 as Lead QA / Practice Lead @TheresaNeate @DevOpsGirls @TheresaNeate 2
  3. 3. Tonight Testing Quality Building in quality @TheresaNeate 3
  4. 4. Famous last words “Our quality is poor, we need more testers (or testing).” @TheresaNeate 4
  5. 5. Spurious Correlations @TheresaNeate 5
  6. 6. Testing Testing is inspection & feedback (not assurance) @TheresaNeate 6
  7. 7. Testing is disciplined @TheresaNeate 7
  8. 8. Minimise your manual testing But make it count Beware “Inattentional Blindness” @TheresaNeate Appropriately involve testing personnel 8
  9. 9. Testing should be continuous @TheresaNeate 9
  10. 10. Quality “Quality is value to some person” – Jerry Weinberg @TheresaNeate 10
  11. 11. Measuring quality Testing Static Analysis Linting Testability analysis BDD or TDD Continuous Integration Monitoring and Alerting @TheresaNeate 11
  12. 12. Improving quality Reacting to the feedback, e.g. postmortems, bug triages, etc. @TheresaNeate “You can’t ‘fix’ people, but you can fix systems and processes to better support people making the right choices when designing and maintaining complex systems.” – SRE Handbook 12
  13. 13. Building In Quality @TheresaNeate Let’s take a proactive look 13
  14. 14. Building In Quality - ideas @TheresaNeate Work slicing 14
  15. 15. Building In Quality - ideas @TheresaNeate Reducing waste 15
  16. 16. Building In Quality - ideas @TheresaNeate Flow 16
  17. 17. Building In Quality - ideas @TheresaNeate Just Culture 17
  18. 18. Building In Quality - ideas @TheresaNeate Collaboration & visibility: Pair programming Pull requests *-driven-development Test coverage Kickoffs 18
  19. 19. Building In Quality - ideas @TheresaNeate Systems thinking 19
  20. 20. Moral of the story? @TheresaNeate Quality has both a proactive and reactive approach. You cannot test in quality. 20
  21. 21. Closing @TheresaNeate “Inspection is too late. The quality, good or bad, is already in the product.” – Deming 21
  22. 22. References for this talk @TheresaNeate Slides: Blog: 22
  23. 23. Thank you! @TheresaNeate