Creating a testing department is easy

    There is a typical corporate task - to create and develop testing practice for several departments, products or projects. As one of the universal solutions, consider the organization of the department.

    I put the issue of efficiency and rationality at the forefront, so the question of whether or not testing practice should be discussed not in this section. Those who don’t need testing and who want to do it on their own by the developers can don’t read further :) or still weigh the arguments:
    1. The profession of a tester does not need substantiation, life has proved the need :)
    2. Independent testing allows you to do work for several departments , products or projects.
    3. Complex types of testing require an organizational form for the purchase of a tool that will be used (and amortized) for several departments, products or projects.
    4. Testing at the acceptance stage in corporations is performed for a wide range of products or technologies.
    5. Testing of long life cycles requires the interchangeability of participants and group (not only personal) competence, for example, tests of supported systems by the customer or organization of implementation or maintenance.

    Disclimer : there are no universal recipes, the author proceeds from the experience of creating and developing testing practices in large IT companies and does not claim to be true in all instances :)

    Creating something is easy. But in order to achieve efficiency, you need to go a long and expensive way !

    Where to start? There are many nuances, but I will try to highlight the basic principles and detail them.

    For what?
    The department is created for:
    1. Formation and development of a professional center of competence (for testing) for a wider range of tasks.
    2. More flexible management of groups of testers by project or product.
    3. Allocation of legal responsibility for actions in the Testing Process.
    4. Financial independence from the development department and other units.

    Necessary and sufficient:
    1. The desire and ability of your leadership to organize and maintain a department (dedicated group) for testing internal or external developments. The desire of management should be based on financial opportunities - this is an investment for several years. Salaries of employees are not the most difficult. In the best case scenario, there will be a purchase or integration of auto-testing tools and, possibly, also auxiliary tools - task / bug-tracking systems, requirements management systems; versioned storages, equipment or virtualization systems are required for organizing test benches, etc.
    2. The presence of a test manager - head of department. He must understand the goals and objectives of building a department, coordinate all strategic changes with management, and improve the testing process day after day.
    3. The training of employees.
    4. Motivation of employees.

    Optional (evolving) requirements that improve efficiency:
    1. Improving corporate culture.
    1.1. Implementation of development methodologies (Agile / SCRUM, RUP, MSF) taking into account the interaction of groups / departments.
    1.2. Development of instructions for employees (with a small or greater degree of formality).
    1.3. Development of regulations for the interaction of units / project teams.
    1.4. Creating practices for improving methods through committees or the like. (SEPG, IT committees, etc.)
    1.5. Employee training as an ongoing function of HR and leadership through employee requests for relevant courses.
    1.6. Team building.

    The need to have a dedicated testing practice is:
    1. Outsourcing companies of a full cycle to provide tests for custom development.
    2. IT integrators (in-house, service companies, etc.) for acceptance testing.
    3. Development companies (at least for load testing types).

    Continued planned ...

    Comments are welcome!

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