Testing practices evolve in transversality.
The themes at the heart of this edition of the Software Testing Evening in Sophia Antipolis, Nice (STLS) reflect this trend. Beyond the necessary test expertise, the interventions demonstrate a focus on value creation.
Animation of transversal communities, organizational culture and software craftsmanship are all themes on the menu of this conference. The embarrassment of choice made you want to be able to clone yourself.
The good organization of the event allows you to access video content and presentation materials here. Congratulations to the Telecoms Valley association for the realization of the event as well as to the sponsors All4Test, Smartesting and Xqual.
This article shares with you the 7 takeaways for 2022 representative of the various interventions of the event. The various exchanges in the form of workshops, conferences and round tables supported dynamic sharing.
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Software craftsmanship across the entire software chain
The best way to deliver software in just-in-time is to limit the number of back and forth activities. For that, you don’t necessarily need more tests. We must organize ourselves to build and validate the level of quality as soon as possible.
Software craftsmanship is a paradigm pushing continuous value delivery and generating code at a high standard. Sándor Dargó from Amadeus shared the points of difficulty in the session “Why clean code is not the norm?”. Clean code should be easy to understand and adapt.
It requires discipline and self-confidence to be a counter-force to the existing culture and project constraints. The main takeaway is to act by starting ourselves to apply that high standard.
This high standard must also be reflected in the entire software chain.
Quality and tests to contribute to real Quality at Speed
Clean code is one thing, it is still necessary to be able to deliver it efficiently. Companies paradoxically need velocity to continuously adapt the user experience while ensuring non-functional needs such as security or performance.
Aurélie Lebreton shared her experience using the Accelerate metrics. This report demonstrates that improving delivery cycles with its availability, stability and recovery of service are key factors in improving the business.
In her specific case, Aurélie used the indicator of delivery acceleration to structurally improve the value and satisfaction of the product in question. The key message is knowing how to choose a minimum of key metrics to channel improvement efforts.
To be successful with these structural improvements in software delivery, action must be taken at several levels. The agile test maturity maps shared by Christophe Moustier demonstrate the need to act transversally and reflect the transversalization of quality practices.
The cards are organized into 5 categories reflecting the need for complementary practices to set up agile testing. The animation of the dynamics is the object of the presentation which you can realize in a workshop with Christophe 🙂
We are thus far from focusing only on automated tests, even less in an isolated way.
For quality-inclusive test automation
Testing does not necessarily mean quality. However, it is necessary to be able to validate functional and non-functional requirements in software delivery. The balance is knowing how to measure the minimum effort to contribute to the quality of the product and minimize the risks.
Yves Richard and Mickaël de Vlechouver, both QA / Test experts at Ausy, conducted a dynamic workshop on test automation strategies. Their sharing covered the why of automation, the real difficulties in the field and their concrete practices to address them.
A strong message was that a successful automation process begins with being able to work across the board with the product team to align the right priorities and be aware of the other tests carried out. Ultimately, it is necessary to go back to the customer in order to avoid optimization in silos of the test matrix. In addition, a shared vocabulary using modelling is an interesting avenue, creating a process and knowledge asset of the company.
This message of automation at the service of the product was also found in the presentation of Badis Messaoud “End-to-end test automation in agility mode at scale”. They structurally improved the software delivery at CDiscount with Nicolas Marchand on the implementation of an end-to-end test framework. This is deployed in product teams and combines Robot Framework with real foundations of CI/CD, datasets and environments.
But measurement and tools are useful when the organization allows them to put them to good use.
Dynamic organizations with a swarm of intelligence
Organizational choices are structuring in several respects. They define the most favorable interactions between the players, their modes of exchange and ultimately, their capacity to create value.
Current levels of competition and innovation require a capacity for rapid and continuous adaptation. Marc Hage Chahine, method and tools expert at Altran and author on the tester’s tavern, shared a parallel organizational performance and swarm intelligence.
The performance of decentralized collaboration mechanisms has been observed in nature and validated on robots. The principles are found in the different agility models pushing for decentralization of decisions in order to accelerate.
However, care must be taken to minimally balance this decentralization.
The definition of a shared ecosystem, rules of interactions and transversal solutions make it possible to establish a framework for interactions. Applied to the various software delivery processes such as development or testing, the key message is that decentralization must be organized so that it is really efficient.
To facilitate these interactions, games are potential solutions.
Gamification in the service of corporate collaboration
Games are increasingly entering learning methodologies and corporate collaborations. Far from playing Pokemon Go with colleagues, real games designed for business purposes can be used.
Marc gave a second presentation on the interest of games for software testing. The accessibility of games has the first advantage of facilitating collaboration between actors from different backgrounds. The activities carried out involve a greater contribution from stakeholders.
To be successful, gamification needs a framework and to be professionally organized to contain the constituent elements of a game. Marc’s message is to apply this gamification to the areas of testing for different issues of skill development, awareness or dissemination of practices.
Once again, agile test maturity maps are also aligned with this paradigm, where we find the elements of decentralization and dynamic team composition under the concept regularly pushed by Christophe of X-Teams.
Ultimately, games facilitate the performance of professional tasks through the human appetite for entertainment. These mechanisms can also be found in serious games widely used by companies offering coaching and group activities, of which Marc will clarify the difference in a future article.
These trends are pushing the tools to support an accelerated and transversal collaboration of the actors. Hence the need for platforms.
Tools are evolving towards augmented platforms
Artificial intelligence or AI, we are all talking about it. Reaching a production state of machine learning or deep learning services is real for cases such as recommendations inside content aggregator. Quality and testing tools are evolving towards real platforms to be able to integrate these new capacities.
Bruno Legeard and Julien Botella from Smartesting shared their solution Gravity. By collecting data relating to the use of the product and the tests carried out, the algorithms carry out correlations and clustering. This processing then makes it possible to visualize customer journeys and their potential coverage through tests.
This automation allows actors to focus on decision-making with higher added value instead of performing log analyzes. In addition, the platform can generate the tests from the traces to inject them into test repositories and automation tools.
The product is clearly in line with this platform logic by connecting partners and users to provide a value-added service. Partners are solutions for collecting traces, repositories and test execution natively integrated by APIs. Gravity then delivers actionable results to users.
It is a real trend of integrated quality that must be able to be deployed throughout the company.
Communities of practice to unite and accelerate
All of these trends reinforce the need for transversality in organizations. It is necessary both to compose cross-functional teams to iterate quickly and to maintain an overall coherence of the ecosystem to contain the complexity.
Communities of practice are useful for facilitating actors outside their standard framework. Antoine Brebant and Nelly Present-Raynal shared their practices in the workshop “How to unite your community of testers within your organization?”. To succeed, a real animation of the group on concrete objectives must be carried out by one or more leaders.
This theme was also moderated by Julien Van Quackebeke in the round-table “Facilitating the identification and sharing of good QA / IT practices within a company”. It was an opportunity to have a dynamic exchange with the entire audience.
Here are the key points shared for organizing a community of practice:
- Facilitate with one or more experienced leaders without a hierarchical link
- Define a vision of shared priorities and deliverables
- Organize collaboration rituals (documentation, chat, meetings)
- Share knowledge within the community and across the board
- Create bridges and different relationships such as coaching and mentoring
- Leave the level of animation to the actors, including up to the stop
- Valuing the participation of actors through feedback and objectives
Company communities are also a way to accelerate cross-functional collaboration, strengthen the feeling of belonging and more importantly, support personal development to maintain skills.
Continuous improvement is no longer an option.
Quality and testing on the way to Quality Engineering
These trends demonstrate the increasing level of expertise in the areas of quality and testing. Like the convergence of technologies, the compositional capacity of these practices will increase performance tenfold.
Organizations need to build their software delivery chains to a high standard. For this, they must iteratively address their limiting contextual factors which by nature require action at several levels.
A systemic approach is therefore necessary. That of Quality Engineering under construction in the QE Unit revolves around the MAMOS framework: Methods, Architecture, Management, Organization and Skills.
This end-of-year conference was an opportunity to plan for 2022. We have plenty to do by setting an example through our cross-functional actions focused on business value.
What priorities will you retain for 2022?