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  1. #1

    Customer based testing

    Hi All

    I am doing a project which goal is to improve our QA methods by basing our work on experience gained by QA engineers while visiting customers.
    I will be glad to have your inputs


  2. #2

    Re: Customer based testing

    Do you want us to visit your customers to provide you an input? [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]
    If serious, do you really mean QA or only a QC? I mean there are two things you could do: address lack of BA (low quality of requirements) by creating test cases based on user stories or you could analyze your process and learn how to improve requirements gathering process.
    ?:the art of a constructive conflict perceived as a destructive diagnose.

  3. #3

    Re: Customer based testing

    Here's my input:

    - Before QAers visit customers, make sure they know the intent of the visit, what they should be looking for, and how they are expected to report their observations.

    - Determine who will be going with the QA Engineers (I'm assuming they aren't visiting customers alone). You may want to consider NOT sending sales folks, for example.

    - Make sure the QAers know what they are allowed to say and not say to customers. You don't want QAers making promises about delivery schedules, or specific bug fixes, for example

    - Make sure you have a measurement and feedback loop about this process improvement. At some point you need to determine if such visits are producing the desired effects.

    When you have gotten a few visits under your belt, please come back and tell us what you have learned?
    Joe Strazzere
    Visit my website: AllThingsQuality.com to learn more about quality, testing, and QA!

  4. #4

    Re: Customer based testing

    One suggestion might be to have QA Engineers who have had direct contact with customers in the past, maybe with their current company or perhaps in previous employment. As Joe suggested, you do want to make sure that QA Engineers know what they can and cannot say to customers.

    What I have found extremely helpful is to sit with a user/customer and see what exactly how they use the product/software application on a daily basis. When I see the issues that come up in their daily work, I can better plan out what to test and even anticipate what they may or may not do. I asked questions about how they achieve their goals in terms of using the application but being careful to steer the conversation AWAY from "what do you not like about the application" as this can turn into more of a marketing conversation.
    Going out of your comfort zone requires failure. True genius is measured by your recovery.

    ...Jean Ann

  5. #5

    Re: Customer based testing

    My experience is that QA in past visit the customers sites have data that can be used in your future QA process for example list of Software using by customer at same time, Hardware using, their workflows using your s/w or using combination with other software. These can be used for Test Planning and estimation.

  6. #6

    Re: Customer based testing

    Thanks for all your inputs but - the thing that I am looking for is to formalize all those inputs that we have from our customer visit into some formal procedure - like creating test scenarios.
    If you have some suggestions please send..

  7. #7

    Re: Customer based testing

    My suggestions:
    - Get everyone who visited customers into a big room
    - Talk about the visits, what you saw, what you heard, what you learned
    - Note all the common themes
    - Try to establish a consensus around what could be done to improve your test scenarios

    Basically, just treat it like a big "Lessons Learned" session.

    Best of luck.
    Joe Strazzere
    Visit my website: AllThingsQuality.com to learn more about quality, testing, and QA!

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    ked up until rehabilitated

    Re: Customer based testing

    I would also suggest some of the following items:

    1. Is your company spending money to send folks out on a fact-finding, bug-finding, or beta-testing mission?

    If fact finding, try to get more than one person on the client side at the meeting. If you are sent there, only to get told "it works fine for me" because the customer actually doesn't remember many of the problems encountered, the visit is wasted. By getting two or more, they start comparing notes, and trying to recall other issues while their colleague is talking. They might even try to one-up each other as to who found the biggest problems. A much more detailed set of facts will come out of that meeting.

    If bug finding, then listen and thank only. Even if the person tells you about a bug that you already know about, don't say "We already know about that one, it's #20 on our list" or something to that effect. Thank them for finding the problem. They took the time to find it, give them the time to tell it. They might even give you a clue to solving it that none of the others have given you.

    If beta testing, then use an automated scripting recorder on your own laptop to see EXACTLY how they like to use the product, and so that any bugs can be recreated EXACTLY without needing to take detailed notes. That way the time is spent working with the product, not with forms.

    Finally, (and this lesson comes from a Dilbert cartoon [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img] ) remember that Engineers and especially QA Engineers make poor salespeople, because they know ALL the flaws of their product that the sales staff might not even be aware of. Be careful not to lose a customer because the QA person says "This product is a mess, we need to fix it here, here, and here." The honesty that goes great inhouse is dangerous when provided to outsiders.

    Good Luck!
    Aaron Fager
    Software Test Engineer

    If builders built buildings the way programmers wrote programs, then the first woodpecker that came along would destroy civilization.



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