Here is the setup at work
Test team (1 person being test coordinator and tester)
Here are the two scenarios.
In scenario number 1. The solutions team is building a website for a project.
I would expect that there would be unit tests written by the developers for their respected modules and that there would also be end user (UAT) testing done by the test team. I'm not worrying about regression, stress, security testing... I'm just worrying about functional (unit) and Performance (UAT) testing. In this scenario it makes sense for the testers to write the UAT and perform them.
In scenario number 2.
(the one I'm having a hard time explaining to the team)
the operations team is implementing a new MTA security appliance and a VoIP server.
I believe that the Administrator of each accountability (SMTP and VoIP) would be writing the test cases for these projects. There is no way that a tester would have the knowledge that the admin would of a certain discipline, thus not being able to write test cases. Even if requirements are supplied as they normally would be, this still wouldn't be enough for the tester to understand on exactly how to test. They should write the test cases and the testers will run through them. If the tester in this case was to write up the test cases, he/she would have to be an expert in this area to be able to do that.
I previously worked at a security appliance development shop and the testers there (myself) did write up the test cases and ran the tests, but we were experts in TCP/IP connections, OSI, NAT, UNIX, telnet, SMTP... etc, thus making it natural for the testers to write test cases.
I've looked at MOF, ITIL, GAMP and I haven't found a concrete answer. Can anyone help??
Re: Test Specification
I think that you need to approach this from a different perspective (at least this is what I would do in your case).
If for some reason the "Administrators" (I didn't really understand your organizational scheme) do not want to write the tests (for whatever reasons they have); let them understand that for you (or any other person without deep knowledge of the subject) it will take extra time to learn the subject, experiment with it, and then start producing acceptable test scripts. This will certainly delay the project and cost more.
Offer an alternative where you work together with the subject matter experts and in that way they are both helping to develop the cases and at the same time they also transfer the information to you in order to use it on future versions of the same project or different projects around the same technology.
Just make sure that whoever is in charge of the timelines and budget for the project understands that there is a tradeoff and that if you do it alone it will cost more and delay the project, you'll see how fast the situation turns around.
My 2 cents,
Re: Test Specification
I was going to mention in the original post that I have suggested for them (Administrators = System Admin) to at least do the initital test spec. That way, the first time it is done by some that is responsible for that accountability and who is an expert.
I was hoping that you would also notice something else that I put in the original post... I mentioned that there were teams or groups of us by role type (support, solutions, operations... etc) however one of them mentioned only had one body/person. That is QA (or Test)
If there are say 2 - 4 projects going on at one time and even if out of those few, one or two are significant, there is going to be problems and delays if one person is responsible for the stabilize phase for all projects.