S12-601: The Future of Testing: Managing the Inverting Testing Pyramid

h4>Track: Leadership Perspectives for Testers

The testing and quality assurance function is changing. Key drivers for this change include shrinking release cycles due to pressures of time-to-market, acceptance of what quality can be at the time of release, Agile practices, the amalgamation of development and QA functions, growth of platform and app based technology, and the need to continuously understand and keep-up with business and technical domain knowledge.

If viewed from the perspective of resources and cost, historically, a testing organization has a large set of product and application testers, mostly manual, as the base of such a pyramid. This has been followed by system testers, then by user acceptance testers with specialist groups like automation and QA operations forming the top of the pyramid.

The drivers mentioned above are inverting the testing pyramid. Software engineers in test, ones who usually have computer or engineering degrees, and who primarily test with the developers to find and fix issues early and often, will become the base of the pyramid. QA automation will drive much of the deterministic application and system testing. Manual testers will be the smaller customer and exploratory-focused team at the top of the pyramid.

How does a QA organization change and move to this reality and be successful at it?
This session will explore the organizational, business and technical challenges of such a future and offer innovative levers, with illustrations, to overcome these challenges. Organization levers that can help include the following: building & communicating a roadmap for change; forming a guiding coalition across the organization, not just QA, for leading the change; championing initiatives to effect the change; structuring the QA organization and defining new QA competency tracks to transition to this change; and implementing a learning program to build skills and help teams navigate the change. Business levers that are critical to this future include the following: redefining and implementing different service levels and KPIs; defining acceptable quality; and working with the business to mutually manage quality risk throughout the lifecycle. Technical innovations should include the following: redefining test objectives and test cycles to be modular and hierarchical; building a quality platform including an automation platform that is easy to use and extend by anyone in QA and development; and moving to event-driven find-and-fix mindset, i.e. automated testing after builds & deployments and continuous integration.

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Session Speaker:

Harish NarayanHarish Narayan – Director of Technology, Vistaprint
Harish Narayan is a software engineering and information technology leader with over 15 years of experience and is currently focused on quality assurance and automation at Vistaprint. He has expertise in building and leading world-class quality functions, and in championing enterprise-wide process and capability improvements. He is passionate about instilling a culture of quality in technology organizations and has been a proven business partner in diverse industries including financial services, telecommunications, enterprise software and consumer products. He also brings years of strategic planning, global operations, project management, performance management and team-building experience.