Tom Cagley the Only TMMi Accredited Assessor in the U.S.

TMMi Accredited Assessor

We're happy to announce that we officially have the only Test Maturity Model integration (TMMi) Accredited Assessor in the United States, Tom Cagley, our Vice President of Consulting.

In case you haven't noticed, we're passionate about the TMMi. There is no doubt that it is one of the most effective ways to improve software testing processes, leading to improved software quality and reduced risk. What this news means for you is that we're here and available to help you with a TMMi assessment - or even just to answer your questions.

Only an accredited assessor can perform a Test Maturity Model integration assessment. Assessments include a Gap Analysis to help evaluate how an organization functions against the model, identifying strengths, weaknesses and areas for improvement. To become a TMMi Accredited Assessor, a person must be a certified tester, take the TMMi Foundation training course and pass the examination. 

Tom has actually been an assessor for quite some time, and he's helped a number of companies here in the U.S. utilize the TMMi framework (you can read about one engagement here).

The TMMi framework was developed by the TMMi Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving test processes and practices. It is the de facto international standard to assess and improve test maturity, featuring independent best practices from more than 14 quality and test models.

DCG Software Value is a TMMi Accredited Supplier. More information about our TMMi services is available here.

Written by Default at 05:00
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Test Maturity Model integration (TMMi): Definition and History

Tom Cagley“All models are wrong, but some are useful.” – George E. P. Box

Testing is a mechanism for affecting product quality. The definition is of quality is varied, ranging from precise (Crosby – “Conformance to requirements”) to meta-physical (Juran – “Quality is an attitude or state of mind”). Without a standard model of testing that codifies a definition, it is difficult to determine whether testing is affecting quality in a positive manner. The Test Maturity Model integration (TMMi®) is an independent test maturity model. A model provides a framework of the activities and processes that need to be addressed, rather than merely laying out a set of milestones or events that need to be followed explicitly.

The TMMi is a reference model representing an abstract framework of interlinked concepts based on expert opinions. The Wikipedia definition suggests that a reference model can be used as a communication vehicle for ideas and concepts among the members of the model’s community. The use of a model as a tool to define the boundaries of a community also amplifies its usefulness as a communication tool, as it defines the language the community uses to describe itself. Thus, the TMMi is a testing reference model, for the testing community, defining the boundaries of testing, the language of testing and a path for process improvement and assessment.

Many developers (and development managers) think of testing as a group of activities that occur at the end of coding. This flies in the face of software engineering practices that have been in use since the 1980s and the Agile tenant of integrating testing into the entire development process. The TMMi model explicitly details a framework in which testing is not an event or gate that has to be hurdled, but rather a set of activities that stretch across the development lifecycle (waterfall, iterative or Agile). The TMMi model extends the boundary of testing to the entire development process.

The model lays out a set five maturity levels and sixteen process areas, ranging from test environment to defect prevention. The model has a similar feel to the classic CMMI model. The TMMi, through its framework of maturity levels, process areas, practices and sub-practices, lays out best practices for testing that should be considered when developing testing practices. Like other reference models, the TMMi provides a framework but does not prescribe how any project or organization should do any of the practices or sub-practices. By not prescribing how practices are to be implemented, the TMMi can be used in any organization that includes testing. A framework that is neutral to lean, Agile or waterfall practices is a tool that can be molded by managers and practitioners to make testing more efficient and effective in almost any organization.

DCG is a TMMi Accredited Supplier, which means that we can walk you through the model and address all of your questions and concerns, as well as assist with TMMi assessments and appraisals. If you're interested in learning more about how the TMMi works, read this case study on how DCG helped one organization to apply the TMMi and improve its testing processes.


Tom Cagley
VP of Consulting, TMMi Accredited Assessor

Written by Tom Cagley at 05:00

Southwest Airlines: Testing Matters!

Tom CagleyIn light of the technological difficulties Southwest Airlines experienced this weekend, it seems like the time is right for a good refresher on the importance of software testing. The company's mobile app, website and in-person registration centers were all down, leading to unhappy passengers and major delays. But with proper testing, this situation could have been prevented!

Testing is a mechanism for affecting product quality. The average reported cost to fix a defect at the end of the lifecycle (or in the middle of a meltdown!) is 470-880 times greater than if it were addressed earlier. Our recommendation is to use the Test Maturity Model integration (TMMi®). The TMMi is an independent test maturity model. It is a reference model representing an abstract framework of interlinked concepts based on expert opinions.

Many developers (and development managers) think of testing as a group of activities that occur at the end of coding. This flies in the face of software engineering practice and the Agile tenant of integrating testing into the entire development process. The TMMi model explicitly details a framework in which testing is not an event or gate that has to be hurdled, but rather a set of activities that stretch across the development lifecycle (waterfall, iterative or Agile).

The TMMi model lays out a set five maturity levels and sixteen process areas ranging from test environment to defect prevention. Because the model provides a set of definitions and a language to talk about testing and how it integrates into development, it provides the mechanism for members of the testing community to communicate more effectively.

Like other reference models, the TMMi provides a framework but does not prescribe how any project or organization should carry out any of the practices or sub-practices. By not explaining how practices are to be implemented, the TMMi can be used in any organization that includes testing.

These technological hiccups continue to happen - with increasing frequency. But, it is possible to keep your company in the good graces of your customers by making testing a priority. Whether you implement the TMMi or something else, we are here to help. Avoid the fate of Southwest and evaluate your testing processes now!


Tom Cagley
Vice President of Consulting

Written by Default at 13:02
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Visit DCG at the QUEST Conference!

QUEST2015

We're headed back again this year to the QUEST conference - this time in Atlanta! Not familiar? QUEST is the best source for new technologies and proven methods for Quality Engineered Software and Testing. Thought leaders, evangelists, innovative practitioners, and IT professionals from across North America gather together for a week of events.

From April 20-24th, you'll be able to find DCG representatives all around the conference.

The easiest place to find us is at booth #12 in the exhibition hall! We urge you to stop by to see what we're giving away at our booth and to hear a little bit about how you can use the TMMi framework to give you more time and more money for other things (including a cup of coffee!).

We'll also be giving an EXPO Talk, "A Cross Section of TMMi Survey Results 2014." So if you're interested in learning more about how other companies have progressed through TMMi Maturity Level Three, don't miss out! We'll provide a profile of the level of capability found in a typical testing organization, areas of the model that tend to give respondents the most trouble and a general pattern of progression.

Finally, don't miss Tom Cagley, VP of Consulting & TMMi Accredited Assessor, when he gives his presentation on April 22nd at 11:00am. "Scaling Agile Testing with TMMi" will discuss how to effectively tailor and use the TMMi model in plan-based and Agile environments and how to measure the results.

Have we piqued your interest about TMMi? Take this high-level evaluation of how your organization's testing compares to the TMMi. Tom Cagley will personally follow up with your results - and you can always stop by our booth at QUEST to chat some more!

See you in Atlanta!

Written by Default at 05:00

Exploratory Testing and Technical Debt

Software testing is a costly – but important – activity, as any software developer knows. While it’s a necessity, there are a number of ways that organizations can carry out testing. Automated testing, which requires significant investment but reduces required effort, and manual testing, which is labor intensive but the more common approach. Both techniques can be effective, but they also both have their own set of challenges, including technical debt.

Exploratory testing (ET) is a type of manual testing. The IT Pro article, “Exploratory Testing as a Source of Technical Debt,” examined this technique for a better understanding of the technical debt it creates.

Using this technique, testers run tests based on their intuition and knowledge of the system, which requires less test documentation and planning – it’s a flexible system that is most useful when there is only limited time available for testing. As a testing technique, ET is known to be quite cost effective – at least to begin with – but it can also increase the amount of work that has to be redone, creating additional costs.

The diagram below, recreated from IT Pro, illustrates how ET results in technical debt, and the type of technical debt created.

Exploratory TestingSource: IT Pro, "Exploratory Testing as a Source of Technical Debt"

Technical debt is not necessarily bad, nor is it entirely avoidable. The article notes three methods for dealing with technical debt, as proposed by Frank Buchman:

  • Paying the interest: Deal with the debt and the additional costs associated with it, on a regular basis.
  • Repaying the debt: Rework the system to eliminate the source of technical debt.
  • Converting the debt: Replace the source of technical debt with another solution that results in less debt.

Regardless, management will need a strategy for dealing with it, which may mean adjusting testing techniques. With both structured and unstructured techniques available, like ET, it is up to management to choose a solution that best fits the project at hand.  

For more information about technical debt, check out our Trusted Advisor report, What is Technical Debt and What Should We Do About It?

Of course, if you’re interested in new ways to improve your testing processes, you may be interested in the Test Maturity Model integration (TMMi) framework. The framework focuses on defect prevention, not detection, to help you find and fix errors more effectively.

Read the IT Pro article: Exploratory Testing as a Source of Technical Debt

 

Mike Harris
DCG President

Written by Michael D. Harris at 05:00
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"It's frustrating that there are so many failed software projects when I know from personal experience that it's possible to do so much better - and we can help." 
- Mike Harris, DCG Owner

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