Thursday, 10 December 2009

A way to improve test coverage?

So here is my first blog on the subject of software testing.

This article is taken from an article I published internally for the company I work for.

I was having a few conversations recently about the way we work within the company and how we appear to get fixated on our own areas and are not really aware of what our colleagues are doing in other areas. I am not saying we are an unsocial set of people rather the opposite that we do talk with each other and exchange pleasantries but rarely do we discuss our projects in detail with other teams.

At the end of the discussions I got thinking how we could improve our testing and at the same time get other project teams the opportunity to interact more,. I came up with an idea which I feel would be interesting to put into practice.

The idea is that one member of a test team, not necessary the test lead, organizes an informal 30 minute discussion to talk about a feature/area they are currently looking to test. They should spend five to ten minutes explaining what it is and five minutes should then be spent on describing the test ideas they have to test that feature area. The rest of the time should then be a general discussion with the group to see if there are any gaps in the tests or add test areas that the person chairing the discussion may have missed. During the discussion part someone should be recording details of what is being said, whiteboard post it notes, video recording, audio recording etc.

The crucial part of this informal chat is that it should involve people from outside the project for example if you are working on the project X you could invite someone from the Project Y and so forth. It does not need to be testers it can be developers and project managers, architects in fact anyone who you feel would like to attend.

One drawback of this idea is that I can see people saying they have not got the time to attend a session since they are too busy. However on every project you are in someway involved in reviews regardless if it is code, test or requirements hence my thinking of making sure the sessions are very short so that really they could be done over a coffee break. Think of the brown bag sessions but even shorter.

I think the benefits of using this could be quite large, not just from the perspective of what can be measured such as new test ideas uncovered and defects found but what cannot be measured. The things that can not be measured are items like people within the company from different projects working together and talking together building up product knowledge outside their normal domain, the building of stronger links between projects and the thought of being able to help fellow colleagues.

One thought to think of if you are approached and asked to attend one of these sessions is……

I may learn something new to today if I attend…..

This for your own personal development is always a good thing.

One thought that came up after I wrote the above article was that it might not just apply to testing but to any area within software development.


  1. Hi John,
    This sounds like a great idea.

    It sounds a bit more than what I call 'bounce buddying'

    but more aligned to Simons 'roundtabling?

    I have also found an informal roundtable that can happen at lunch...


  2. Congratulations Peter on being the first to comment on my Blog.

    and thank you for the comments - I can see where what I am thinking ties in with what Simon says about round tabling and I will look at adding that info internally for my company blog site.

    I hope in the near future (after the holiday period) to do some blogging on my thoughts on exploratory testing and automated checking (NOT Testing according to the gurus!!)