Q&A with a consultant | Planning your test strategy

Tell me about the work you’ve done recently.

I have just completed the testing of Phase1 XMPie Integration for a client. XMPie and Xerox applications were integrated to produce a more fluent and updated printing process. Students create artwork, schools supply artwork to our client and order the products which contain the student artwork. The completed products, with artwork and comments, were inspected and verified against the student supplied art.

Can you tell me about some specific challenges you faced, and how you overcame them?

The first challenge was the absolute non-existence of system documentation. I developed a Business Requirements Document which stipulated the business requirements. I developed system diagrams of the current and integrated systems and developed a set of Used Cases on which the Test Cases could be based.

Secondly, the test strategy was completely different from any I did in the past. For this client, testing was verifying the printed product and not the User Interface. Normally, the User will have several functions that can be performed on a system and all the paths and functions are tested. In this case, the only User action was to click on a ‘Complete’ button and the different sets of art prints will be printed on a variety of printers. At that point the testing was about prints being correct (art plus data) and verifying the printers printed all the jobs completely and correctly.

What successes did you have on the project?

While developing the Business Requirements I asked questions to the development team and successfully uncovered several design issues they hadn’t even thought about. Due to this, the original testing strategy was completely changed to accommodate the client’s needs and basic practicality. Work flow diagrams assured everyone was on the same page.

What do you think the future of testing will look like?

For this particular client, Phase 2 testing is going to change completely. In phase 1 the printing system has been proved. The ordering leg of the system is totally going to be rewritten to include Web orders and streamline the existing order process. The payment process is also going to be revamped. In short the testing of this phase is going to be the standard functional testing process.

Rudolf van Vuuren

About the Author

Rudolf van Vuuren has 30 years’ experience consulting for Wall Street Banks, Military, large corporations and small fast growth companies. He consults on the entire spectrum of Software Quality Management and has extensive knowledge leading and participating in the development of the entire practical Software Development Life Cycles (SDLCs).

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