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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"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." 
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