Documents available for Download
This report is the output of a research project by QA Consultants – the North American leader in onshore software testing. This paper focuses on the primary challenges of testing Big Data systems and proposes methodology to overcome those challenges. Because of the complex nature of both Big Data and the highly distributed, asynchronous systems that process it, organizations have been struggling to define testing strategies and to set up optimal testing environments. The focus of this primer is on important aspects of methods, tools and processes for Big Data testing. It was completed with the support of the National Research Council of Canada.
We are regularly called upon for advice on designing and deploying testing automation
tools and frameworks. Choosing the right automation approach is vital for ensuring proper testing, minimizing development cost and delivering the lowest possible ongoing maintenance expenses.
For North American companies looking to stay competitive, outsourcing some or all of their software development to India has achieved the status of dogma. Many CIOs, managing under the perception that farming out non-core operations is always cheaper and better, view software testing as an obvious candidate for outsourcing, particularly to India.
The dust has not completely settled but what we now know is not a pretty IT project outcome. HealthCare.gov is a high profile $400M web portal that did not launch on time, does not work well, and has produced significant political and vendor embarrassment. How did this disaster happen and what can all public and private organizations do to avoid these problems?
Outsourcing is widely considered a good way to reduce cost, offload business risk and gain strategic focus. A poorly considered strategy, however, can negate all the advantages. Case in point is the recent flap over RBC’s use of the Temporary Foreign Workers (TFW) program and the damage that was done to the firm’s brand and reputation as a good employer.
Agile development environments pose unique challenges for software testing, beyond the obvious issues like development speed, lack of documentation and planning horizon that does not extend past a couple of weeks.
Many companies seek to reduce cost and increase scalability by offshoring IT testing to India. One of the underlying assumptions is that testing, particularly the people who perform and manage the activity, is a commodity that is undifferentiated and transferable. In this line of thinking, many firms automatically look offshore and base their provider selection criteria on a few variables with price per hour being predominant. This is a shortsighted and knee-jerk approach.
Much has been written on the best way to perform software testing. Surprisingly, little thought leadership has been written on choosing the right testing vendor. For many testing projects, the choice of provider can be the difference between financial and technical success or failure. This white paper will provide some best practices on vendor selection so that organizations can make better, more informed decisions around their testing activities.
When it comes to leveraging new applications and getting more from their existing IT assets, businesses face a cornucopia of opportunities – and risks. Companies want to get to market or value quicker with new products and applications. At the same time, cost containment is de rigueur. Risk mitigation – ranging from preserving operational continuity to ensuring data security and protecting the brand image – is now table stakes everywhere.
We are often called in by CIOs to serve as their ‘clean up crew.’ What this means is that a testing project has gone off the rails and a vendor needs to come in and get the project back on track and the major bugs cleaned up. Thankfully, many of the issues are preventable. Quite often, the problems arise from a lack of compliance to testing fundamentals. Below are five of the most common oversights in testing projects.
The past 15 years has witnessed a stampede of IT services and business process outsourcing to Asia, particularly India. In many but not all cases, North American and European companies have benefited from outsourcing large amounts of their back office operations to gain lower costs and quicker scalability.
Many companies are coping with a faster pace of infrastructure, application and product change by adopting Agile development methodologies. There are many flavors of Agile but all of them employ iterative, dynamic and team-based features. The Agile approach differs significantly from the traditional, mechanistic and linear Waterfall development method.
In 2008, QA Consultants launched the most disruptive innovation to hit the software quality assurance industry since the rise of off-shoring. The Test Factory, a Canadian-based testing facility, was designed to be a compelling alternative to remote offshore testing and expensive in-house efforts. The value was immediately recognized; this unique business model was a success right out of the gate garnering dozens of mission critical projects and Fortune 500 clients.
Virtually every organization we speak with is exploring the best way to migrate their applications from the desktop and web to a mobile environment. In fact, much of our testing and consulting work these days is helping companies test their apps in a mobile environment. Through this work, we have learned a number of testing best practices for this unique space.
If Rodney Dangerfield was a tester he would claim he didn’t get enough respect – and he would be right in many instances. Traditionally, the software testing function often gets the short end of the stick when it comes to corporate priorities, funding and attention. Moreover, testers often get blamed for the bugs they find and the ensuing delays that come from the reports they pen.
Many organizations are reaching a boiling point of frustration when it comes to maximizing the value from their outsourcing software development vendors. In many cases, the entire vendor management model needs to be overhauled because the existing procurement-driven, typically adversarial model no longer works.
Over the past couple of years, we have witnessed a paradigm shift in attitude and attention to how organizations can improve software quality, particularly around testing applications and products. One sterling example of this trend is Facebook. This social networking giant announced earlier this year that its beloved hacker culture needed to be reconsidered, and has taken considerable business steps to change the way they build and deploy software.
Successful software testing outcomes are highly dependent on the skill and commitment of the testers. Clearly, having great testers will significantly improve the odds of project success and the delivery of higher quality outcomes. Before committing to specific human resources strategies or funding, however, it would be wise to consider the question whether the best testers are born or nurtured. How you answer and what your experience has been will have a major impact on your firm’s ability to maximize its human capital and how it is allocated.