Improve Your Software Testing Strategy: A Testing Maturity Model
Here's a guide to assess your test strategy and see how you can take it to the next level as you work towards continuous improvement.
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Does your development team feel stuck when it comes to knowing what specific things to focus on to improve your software testing and quality management? Need to figure out how to fill in the gaps and improve efficiency and results?
In this post, I’ll share the process behind this software testing maturity assessment my team and I devised at Abstracta so that you can bring some of these ideas to your test strategy, working towards continuous improvement.
The Assessment Focuses on These Three Elements of Testing: Quality, Risks, and Costs
In the end, we believe that mature teams are those who have mastered the practice of continuous testing, which is what we’ve designated as our highest level of testing maturity. A continuous improvement approach for your test strategy is what can help your team to succeed along with the adoption of CI/CD.
The assessment deals with how teams go about efficiently matching testing and quality control tasks with several processes throughout the software development and establishing the appropriate feedback cycles for continuous improvement.
Firstly, we analyze the three main pillars of software engineering: people, technology, and processes.
Software Testing Maturity Levels
To keep things simple, we’ve defined three different levels of software testing maturity:
When performing the assessment, we follow a three-step process:
- We analyze the team’s context and objectives
- We carry out the evaluation based on our defined maturity criteria, going over the complete quality and testing strategy
- We arrive at an action plan that we then suggest putting in place to advance to the next level
One of the first things to analyze, after understanding the objectives and the context, is the maturity of the team in terms of skills, communication, and other aspects that also influence the quality of the final product.
In the same way, we analyze everything related to the process, methodology, (whether the team works in agile, waterfall, or a hybrid environment), etc.
Putting it all together, we see something like this:
Next, we delve into other points that are largely related to the technological and process aspects of software development, but highly focused on everything that affects quality.
For each of the areas we analyze, we define a table with three levels of maturity, for which certain preconditions should be previously met to be at each level.
This leads us directly to the action plan because to advance to a higher level, it’s clear what else must be tackled first. Of course, everything is validated in context, prioritizing accordingly, and weighing the benefits, costs, and risks of each activity.
In the chart above, you can see a base model for the different areas we analyze, from how teams manage the source code to usability testing.
Read more about how to achieve maturity in all these areas in the Ultimate Guide to Continuous Testing!
Of all the ISO 25010 quality factors, we included only the most common ones that are relevant for most companies, but for each quality factor, we can similarly define levels.
For each area, we identify key activities for each level. As you can see, we define precedence between activities. For example, a team can’t claim to have continuous integration if it doesn’t first have a centralized code repository that manages artifact versions.
Associated with this analysis, the following chart shows some of the most common pain points that each level of maturity manages to eliminate or solve for:
A Tool to Level Up Your Software Testing Practices
I hope this software testing maturity model can serve as a useful reference when analyzing how to improve your testing strategy.
My team has found it to be a helpful tool to clarify which are the most important areas to prioritize, what gaps exist in a test strategy, and how to make a plan to reduce risks and optimize quality under controlled costs.
Published at DZone with permission of Federico Toledo, DZone MVB. See the original article here.
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