Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Can we do it differently now?

#softwaretesting #process 

This is a question I hear now and again. 

Got a car service this week and it reminded me of a much-used phrase - in many walks of life - which can be applied as an initial approach. If it's not broken then don't fix it.

Some might see this as a defence against change or improvement, others that it's just not ambitious.

My Experience?
I get approached quite a lot with different tools/methods in different testing projects. I encourage this creative thinking, investigation and appraisal - both of what and how we're doing things and how they might be improved.

It's quite common that I'm asked to consider a new tool to replace an existing one...

My Take?
What's my own take on this phrase in the context of my own work environment? Well I would say it's more analytical...

"Is it broken?"
"What is it that's broken?"

These are the first check questions - establishing that all are agreed on the problem. It's worth remembering that any assessment (whether of a tool, strategy, method or process) considers the whole problem by looking at:

  • The past - Pros/cons of how it's work up to now. (Reasoning behind some of the decisions taken getting to where you are today.)
  • Current - What's the situation today. 
  • Next - What are the main improvement areas and how will we achieve them?
Going through these steps in the past have usually thrown up several telling insights. 

Sometimes the original process has not been followed correctly (leading to erroneous reasoning.) This is a good pointer for where education or refreshers are needed (either for the tool or process.)

Occasionally it's thrown up issues with a tool which could be modified (rather than replaced) and at other times new process/tool improvements have come forward - and we've done the analysis to back this up and have the input into the "business case" for the new tool/process.

So, yes, question everything, even the questioner. Do it with the right intentions and get the culture of change and improvement in the team working in the right way.

Do you question enough?

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