Test Process Improvement (TPI) using PDCA Model
The Guru99 Bank project has successfully completed. The management board appreciates your work as you have done a great job. However, your boss still has some questions for you.
To answer these questions, you have to know about the Test process improvement.
What is the Test Process Improvement?
Managers often term Testing as a troublesome and uncontrollable process. Looking back at the project Guru99 Bank, did you face any of the following issues in the project?
These are common issues in any test project. Many organizations realize that improving the test process can solve these problems. Learning from past mistakes can help in improving test management process.
Why Test Process Improvement?
Following scenario shows you why you need Test Process Improvement –
The Guru99 Bank project is complete. The quality of testing was great! You got good feedback from customer.
What is the lesson learned from this scenario? It is “Always try to do better”.
Even if you think that you have done a good job, there’re always others who do better than you. Because they have the better solutions, better idea than yours.
Any business wants want the project completed with highest quality, lowest cost, shortest delivery time.
Test process improvement helps you reach these targets
How to implement Test Process Improvement?
To implement Test Process Improvement for the project Guru99 Bank, the Test Manager can follow the PDCA model. PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) is a four-step management method used in business for control and continuous improvement of process.
Step 1) Plan
This is again divided into 3 steps
Step 1.1) Identify the problem
The first activity of a test improvement process is identifying the problems that occurred in the current project. The problems in this project may happen again in other project. Solving problems and finding out the solutions in order to avoid them in the future is the primary goal of Test Improvement.
Now back to the project Guru99 Bank website, do you find any problems or improvement point? Select below
|1||Quality||Customer still found some Defect after release|
|2||Delivery||The project was delayed|
|3||Team||Some employees didn’t co-operate with other team members|
|4||Skills||Team member lacked desired skills to complete their tasks|
|5||Management||Test Manager did not monitor the progress well which caused some project delayed|
|6||Communication||No constant contact with customer; misunderstanding the customer’s requirement|
|7||Cost||The Project cost was overrun beyond set budget|
Step 1.2) Determine the target
Understand the problem and the issues which occurred in the project. This way, you will determine what are the improvement points and what test phases you should focus on.
Suppose you have identified that the test execution phase took too much time & cost to complete. Could the testing be faster and cheaper? It is one of the targets
Step 1.3) Define the improvement actions
Based on the set target, improvement actions are determined. These actions should be gradual and improved bit by bit because it is not easy to change everything immediately.
For example, to make the testing faster and cheaper, here are some recommended actions
In the above example, to make the testing faster and cheaper, you should use option A and B. The option C could make the testing faster, but will cost more because you have to pay more salary for the experienced tester.
Step 2) Do
You have already defined the improvement points. It is time to make a plan to implement them. In this plan, you have to answer the following questions
- Which improvement points have to be implemented?
- When to finish this plan?
- What steps should be done to achieve the plan?
Perform improvement actions
Once the plan is established, it needs to be implemented. The improvement activities may impact the current test progress. A Test Manager must pay attention to these activities to avoid the unwanted consequences.
Consider the following scenario –
In the project Guru99 Bank, in order to make the testing faster and cheaper, you decided to use the automated testing instead of manual tests. After applying the action, the productivity increased significantly.
Step 3) Check
In this step, you –
- Evaluate the efficiency of the test improvement actions
- Measure how effective the solution was
- Analyze whether it could be improved in any way.
In this phase, the goal is to check whether the improvement actions were implemented successfully as well as to evaluate whether achieved the desired target.
The best way to perform the evaluation is using the metrics. Metrics are essential to successful organization management. The Test Manager collects data and uses them to measure parameters such as productivity, quality… etc.
For example, before applying the automated testing to the project, the productivity of testing is 10TCs/man-hour. After applying the automated testing, the productivity is measured to be 20TC/man-hour.
But an unwanted problem happened
In this case, applying automated testing helps you to increase the productivity of the testing, but the quality of testing decreased. Therefore, the improvement action may cause serious consequences. In such a scenario, you need to select the testing tool more carefully. You will learn more about it in Test tool Selection tutorial
Consider the same scenario again. The Guru99 project cost was overrun because your team members took too much time to execute the test cases. By using the automated test tool, you saved 30% project cost. It is good improvement but your boss expects more
Therefore, you always have to find new & newer solutions to improve the testing process more & more. In such scenario, you can use some other solutions to save on the project cost
- Effectively manage your human resources
- Negotiate better bargains from your vendors
Step 4) Act
When the improvement actions are implemented successfully as well as the target is met, the Test Manager should do the following-
- Review the improvement activities and take action on lessons learned
- Standardize the improvement point in the management process.
- Update the policy documents and plan as well as the standard process documents
- Determine when and where to apply these changes in the next project.