Work Process in Testing a Software Product

Work processes are the policies, standards and procedures in a quality IT environment. Test work processes are those work processes specific to the testing activity. A process to improve the test work processes should be implemented to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the policies, standards, and procedures.

Policies provide direction, standards are the rules or measures by which the implemented policies are measured, and the procedures are the means used to meet or comply with the standards. These definitions show the policy at the highest level, standards established next, and procedures last. However, the worker sees a slightly different view, which is important in explaining the practical view of standards.

The Importance of Work Processes

It is important for a quality IT environment to establish, adhere to, and maintain work processes in the testing activity. It is also critical that the work processes represent sound policies, standards and procedures. It must be emphasized that the purposes and advantages to standards discussed below exist only when sound work processes are in place. If the processes are defective or out of date, the purposes will not be met. Poor standards can, in fact, impede quality and reduce productivity. Thus, constant attention is needed to operate and improve an

organization’s standards program.

The major purposes for and advantages to having work processes for testers are:

1o Improves communication : The standards define the products to be produced. Not only are the products defined, but also the detailed attributes of each product are defined. This definition attaches names to the products and the attributes of the products. In an environment without standards, the communication between workers is reduced because when one says requirements, another is probably not certain what that means.

2o Enables knowledge transfer : Once a procedure has been learned, it can be formalized and all people in the department can perform that procedure with reasonable effort. In an environment in which processes are not well defined, some people may be able to do a job very effectively, and others perform the same job poorly. The formalization of process engineering should raise the productivity of the poor performers in the department and at the same time not hinder the productivity of the effective performers.

3o Improves productivity : It is difficult to improve productivity throughout a function without first standardizing how the function is performed. Once it is clear to everyone how the function is performed, they can contribute to improve that process. The key to productivity becomes constant improvement. Since no one person can do everything the best, each shortcut or better method identified by anyone in the organization can be quickly incorporated into the procedures and the benefits gained by everybody.