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Chris Manuel on Continuous Testing and Culture Change

| Podcast with Chris Manuel Follow 1 Followers by Shane Hastie Follow 28 Followers on May 28, 2018 |

In this podcast Shane Hastie, Lead Editor for Culture & Methods, spoke to Chris Manuel who heads the global test engineering service for Mindtree about continuous testing, cultural change and creating a culture of quality in organisations

Key Takeaways

  • The application portfolio of every organisation has become much more complex and this needs different ways of approaching the testing challenges that just having legions of people banging away at keyboards
  • The value of moving away from testing at the end to injecting quality throughout the lifecycle
  • This needs to extend beyond just testing functionality in the product, it needs rethinking about testing at the different levels and different targets in parallel
  • The value of bringing analytics into the right-hand side of the software development lifecycle and feeding that information into the ongoing development activities
  • There are lots of things that prevent the effective collaboration and mitigate against developer-tester collaboration in many organisations
  • Even in organisations that have adopted agile approaches, most haven’t truly addressed the cultural changes needed to have a one-team, quality first mindset
  • 0:24 Introductions
  • 0:45 Defining what Test Engineering Services covers
  • 1:18 Finding ways to test faster and earlier with the minimum amount of people
  • 1:32 Moving away from testing at the end to injecting quality throughout the lifecycle
  • 1:49 How Chris got into a testing career
  • 3:16 What continuous testing means, and why it matters
  • 3:44 The purist definition of continuous testing is aligned with continuous delivery – how are you able to deploy software very frequently with high quality and consistency
  • 4:08 As soon as you’re able to build it, you’re able to build it, test it, deploy it lifecycle
  • 4:25 This needs to extend beyond just testing functionality in the product, it needs rethinking about testing at the different levels and different targets in parallel
  • 5:14 Extending the definition to be the ability of the quality team to be able to perform testing on a regular basis without dependencies
  • 5:31 Eliminating constraints so test teams are totally autonomous, they are able to generate their own test data, have control over the environments and are not waiting on external support to enable their work 
  • 6:02 Exploring “shift-right” testing – constantly monitoring what is happening in the live environment and using that to inform conversations about quality in the development process
  • 6:38 Bringing analytics into the right-hand side of the software development lifecycle and feeding that information into the ongoing development activities
  • 7:35 This matters because of the pressure on speed to market – building in the feedback loops and learning cycle enables organisations to adapt their products to customer needs faster
  • 8:05 The need for getting feedback and building quality into the proliferation of channels that need to be supported by software teams
  • 8:24 The expectations of the users of software products have changed very significantly, which demands the ability to adapt very quickly
  • 8:38 Explaining how this impacts the airline industry, as one example of how these pressures appear
  • 9:25 This matters because we have to put products of high quality into the hands of users as quickly as possible, and we need to keep up with the pace of the changes that are occurring
  • 9:48 These ideas have been around for a while;  what’s different now is that some organisations are making quality first and shift-left part of their culture
  • 10:15 The unfortunate fact is that for many organisations these changes are not yet happening
  • 10:25 The hierarchy of ego between the development and testing teams is a huge constraint
  • 10:53 Changing the culture means recognising that development and testing are complimentary skills and that testing is an enabler of development speed and high quality
  • 11:25 Things that prevent this collaborative culture from forming include organisational barriers that pit development and testing against each other
  • 11:55 The is also reflected in the individual attitudes of people in the developer and tester role
  • 12:20 There are changes needed by both development and testing teams in order to see themselves as working towards common goals
  • 12:32 An example of how some organisations have done this very well
  • 12:48 What happened when a company merged testing and development into a single group and rebranded the whole group as “Quality” and they are responsible for building software that
  • 13:25 How developers and quality engineers collaborate to ensure that what is built is of high quality and thoroughly tested
  • 13:52 The cultural shift needs top-down support and focus
  • 14:03 Shared KPIs mean the group is fully aligned on collective outcomes
  • 14:58 These ideas are not new – they have been a key part of all the agile approaches for the last 20+ years, yet for many organisations they are still not being applied
  • 15:21 Software product organisations are more advanced in applying these practices than organisations for whom software is an enabler of services
  • 15:48 Even in many organisations that are using agile approaches the divide between developers and testers is still a significant issue
  • 16:01 Most organisations have not addressed the cultural changes needed to be able to produce good software rapidly
  • 16:24 There is no silver bullet to enable the cultural change, but there is evidence that some companies are achieving it
  • 17:10 The changes that some companies have made are a step too far for many, and these changes will still take a long time to become pervasive through industry
  • 17:25 Things that organisations can do to bring in some of the “shift-left” ideas even if they are not making the wholesale changes that are ultimately needed
  • 18:05 The cultural changes will follow as the pressure for rapid feedback and responsiveness forces organisations to adopt different ways of working
  • 18:12 This will most likely happen organically rather than being engineered through cultural change management
  • 18:28 Explaining why this shift is necessary for organisations to survive in the highly competitive, rapidly changing business environment of today
  • 03:20 Efficiency and optimization of the development process has happened with the adoption of agile approaches, but there is still a rift between development and testing in most organisations
  • 19:20 70% of the software test lifecycle is still manual for most organisations – this needs to change
  • 20:52 The cultural changes are happening at the operational level in a lot of organisations, which is a positive sign.  It needs to happen with more explicit leadership support
  • 21:28 The conversation is happening about the need to make these changes; however, many organisations are struggling with what to do
  • 22:50 Leading edge organisations are merging the testing and development teams and adopting different structures, and seeing the benefits in time to market and quality of products delivered
  • 23:58 The application portfolio of every organisation has become much more complex and this needs different ways of approaching the testing challenges that just having legions of people banging away at keyboards
  • 24:45 Advice for people in the tester role
  • 25:05 There will always be a need for manual user experience testing
  • 25:42 At the end of every application, irrespective of the delivery channel, there is a human being who is using the product and we need to test that the product works for them
  • 26:14 Every tester needs to sharpen their technical skills
  • 26:46 It is important to be able to do more than just manual testing

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