Currently my organization has testers that do not have a uniform approach to testing. They are all allowed to approach testing inside their projects any way they feel comfortable. We have just recently implemented a requirement to write a test plan prior to testing. We would like to go further in establishing a set methodology for testing. Are there any recommendations for the best approach. We have been considering trying to follow the philosophy of QAI - Quality Assurance Institute. Any help you can provide will be appreciated. Thanks
I don't believe you will find the "BEST" as each one has it's own pros and cons and also its followers. The best for you is the one you adopt and utilize as long as it is comprehensive and works for you.
We do not follow any specific one, as we take from each as it suites our needs.
Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.
~ Winston Churchill ~
The most important factor is that whatever approach/strategy you use aligns to the development strategy.
i.e. it is no point trying to align to the V-Model if development use XP.
The equal first/second factor is that you get buy in from the project team as a whole.
You must also take into consideration the skills sets/predilictions of your team - unless you are free to hire and fire, trying to impose a method on a team that either do not have the skills or resent the change is going to be an uphill battle.
Within that framework, you are free to choose any method that achieves your goals.
Personally, I use no one method, I have drawn from several and produced a custom approach for our site.
I think your first step was a very good one: let the team develop a test plan that fits their needs. It must be clear though what is expected from that test plan. This is typical for a CMMI level 2 organisation.
Once all teams know what is expected and have succesfully applied this (with support and coaching so that good test plans are developed), you can use this as input to develop an overall approach to testing. Let the teams learn from eachother on a continuous basis. Guide them by consolidating their efforts in one overall methodology that is suitable for most of them. Note that some projects will still have specific needs, so let them tailor the organizational approach to their needs.
This improvement has a higher level focus and is typical for a CMMI level 3 organisation.
Improvement works best if the ideas comes from the bottom and if improvement is sponsored from the top.
You might also want to formally assess what is currently working within the organization. It is often best to take a hard look at these practices since there may be gold in them hills that you may want to keep as best practices. This would also increase the chances of success for broad change.
You indicate that you now require a test plan. I'm assuming they weren't happening before. The fact that test plans were scarce or didn't exist is only a symptom of something broken. It doesn't necessarily mean the testers are not in line with process. This symptom could be (and usually is) indicative of broken process upstream and the inability of the organization to estimate and allocate proper resources. If this is a typical Level 0 org, I would lay odds that your best bang for the buck is gotten from implementing better practices upstream in the sdlc.
Thank you all very much. I appreciate the feedback. I think your right. We can not try to apply a specific methodology across the board. But I would like to 'assess what is currently working' - and put a more formalized wrapper around that.