Bringing testing on board

Last month I argued that a good starting point for the CIO grappling with the transformational changes wrought by virtualisation lay in considering its impacts on each of three landscapes:

- the technology delivery landscape
- the vendor competitive & contractual landscape
- the enterprise operational, systems & contractual landscape.

A key fourth landscape certainly in need of transformation is testing.

Testing has a very techie reputation in our industry — testing professionals risk being conceptualised as Mr No. A project team sweats to write complex code against a client’s specifications, and back it comes from the testing folk, rejected.

In a recent paper I co-authored with Geoff Thompson of the specialist testing consultants Experimentus, we noted that:

“The biggest impact on the costs and timescales of any IT project are the stops and rework required to fix defects found during testing in the later stages of the project”.

In the emerging world of the virtual, the creation and delivery of software and systems demonstrably requires a reformed testing discipline.

For a start, in a turbulently changing world, requirements will be more fluid. In one failed government contract I reviewed recently for the board of the contracted supplier some 3000 detailed specifications had been written in stone three years previously.

Little wonder the exercise came to an expensively sticky end for both parties. In today’s world, requirements flex, and rightly so.

The IT profession is responding with the development of new agile methodologies. The testing profession is making its integral contribution.

But even then, what happens when the new software is launched into operational use, and what happens if later in its lifecycle the underlying computing and network services that support it are themselves transformed?

And what if the new systems structure is actually an assembly of existing software objects and only a modicum of new code — think apps developed on

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