Testing Production Volumes

Where multiple teams are involved, new things must be motivated, synchronised, piloted, and rolled out to other teams upon success. A test manager on a small project isn’t necessarily prepared for managing numerous simultaneous projects where production volumes of testing are required. Testing does not scale linearly. With increasing production volumes, comes the requirement (and added benefits) of increased productivity. Good communication is easy to maintain in a small team, in larger groups it is necessary to rely on more thorough planning, standardisation, fixed processes, templates, reports and frequent meetings to keep people on the same page, and get the work done timeously, within budget, without a drop in quality. In a small team it is easy to try something new. With multiple teams, new things must be motivated, synchronised, piloted, and rolled out to other teams upon success. A larger size helps an organisation to reach critical mass and to specialise. Critical mass in testing terms might be when an organisation has enough work to keep 1 or more specialists busy full time.

Often these established processes existed before the advantages of testing were understood and the latest approaches to testing were known. The up-scaling of testing may force a change in the timing and way development are done, and will create new initiatives in testing. A formalised approach to large production volumes of testing will necessitate large (albeit positive) changes in the development environment.

There is good cause for companies with large testing volumes to create a test policy document. This document sums up the company’s testing philosophy. It’s approved by senior stakeholders and can be used to guide decisions and direction that testing must take. It states the company’s view on testing, helping individuals, projects and divisions to make decisions that are aligned to the policy. Providing that the policy is created with important stakeholder input, it can be very useful for aligning everyone to the testing imperatives of the organisation. To experience success in companies with large production volumes of testing, one must measure testing parameters. Unmeasured productivity is nonsensical, for the essence of productivity is based on work accomplished/rand, hour or person. At the least, to see improvements and trends in productivity, measure the current work done, and rands, hours, people used to achieve this and compare this to the past.