Building and Executing Test Cases
Building and executing test cases
With the environment set up, you need to build and then execute the test cases. While you can involve users in these tasks, building and running tests are skilled activities. You should consider using professional testers, either as contractors or as full-time employees. Be sure to plan ahead, as it usually takes a couple of months to get a good test team and test process set up.
You should also plan ahead for the bugs you are going to find. It is very rare to run a set of tests and not find bugs. With systems you've built in-house, you need to be ready to have the programmers fix the bugs. With acquired software, check your contract (ideally before signing it!) to see what your options are.
Finally, make sure you have a process in place for managing these risks on an ongoing basis. The ever-accelerating march of computer technology means that data centers change faster and faster. For example, think about the security risks created by USB drives and syncable mobile phones over the last decade. As another example, how about the occasional issues created by automatically-downloaded updates to software?
If you want to avoid getting back into a situation where your data center is suffering unexpected problems during routine use, you'll need to integrate quality risk management into your overall application development and acquisition life cycles.
If this all seems like a lot of work, you're right. Proper QA of a data center is certainly not trivial. However, consider the costs associated with incidents such as data center crashes, incorrect operations, security breaches and data corruption. In our experience, we typically find that every dollar spent on testing saves anywhere from $2 to $32 in avoided failure costs-and that doesn't account for the less-quantifiable stuff such as opportunity costs and reputational damage you can suffer. Just ask Amazon, Google and RIM about that!
Rex Black is President of RBCS. Rex is also the immediate past president of the International Software Testing Qualifications Board and the American Software Testing Qualifications Board. Rex has published six books, which have sold over 50,000 copies, including Japanese, Chinese, Indian, Hebrew and Russian editions. Rex has written over thirty articles, presented hundreds of papers, workshops and seminars, and given over fifty speeches at conferences and events around the world. Rex may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.