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OCS Launches Its e-Testing Services & Process Improvement Model - Professional Tester, June 2000

OCS Lanuches Its e-Testing Services

Following the successful delivery of leading edge web test, load management and performance monitring services to its clients, OCS has now developed a full scope of e-Testing services.

All of these services have been developed through work with a variety of profitable organisations helping them to achieve thousands of online financial transactions per minute, dynamic balancing of traffic into web servers, application servers and firewalls, capacity planning of infrastructure to ensure throughput at maximum volumes, replication of live environments to contral aplication and hardware changes, worlweide monitoring of site, monitoring of network traffic with a site and automatic testing of browser deployed applications.

OCS' e-Testing service encompass the full software development lifecyle from e-Testing strategy through load testing using automated tools, all the way through to complete site monitoring.

Process Improvement Model - Gavin Wilson, OCS Consulting

Software development is an evolving process and to assist the onward refinement of that process and improve the quality of the software, we should look at all the information and techniques available to us.

Inspection and Testing as different disciplines, form key subsets of the overall software development process. By their nature they provide feedback on the success or otherwise of an activity be it testing or reviewing documents, hence improving the final product from the activity. It makes sense to use the information derived from the results and metrics, as an aid to building improvements to the development process itself. Many organisations do not realise the value of the resultant information, and even less use it to improve their methods. This article suggests how to utilise this information to improve the overall systems development process. It is important to bear in mind that I refer here to processes and not people.

Testing practitioners will be familiar with the V Model. Looking at the various stages of this model, there are activities on the left hand side which lend themselves to the inspection technique, i.e. requirements specification, system design and technical specification. On the right hand side are outputs and activities which refer to different testing techniques. The tests themselves, the test plan, test cases, test documentation etc, can all be subjected to the formal inspection process so errors are found before being coded in. Evidence shows that errors are as likely to be made in these activities as in any other activities performed in the development process.

Each stage of the inspection or testing processes will produce a set of metrics and information which after analysis can indicate areas where improvements to the development and or testing process can be made.

Process Improvement Model

Looking at the process improvement model above there are three stages to be undergone after the completion of each inspection or test. The first of these should be to analyse the issues raised and identify the main causes. The second is to identify improvements that can be made which will avoid a recurrence of these issues in future projects. The third is to implement the changes to the process method.

Let us consider an example of how the process improvement model works in action. If we inspect the outputs from the requirements analysis phase we may find that there are several issues arising. These may show that there are ambiguities and clashes, or that the data gathering exercise was insufficiently rigorous. Thus the inspection allows us to consider the issues for the current project. But, by invoking the process improvement model we can improve the requirements analysis process for subsequent projects. This will lead to higher quality products and reduced rework and costs. A further spin off will be a reduction in the on-going system maintenance.

The process improvement model is a simple but cost effective concept. Initially it will undoubtedly add effort and time to the project, however, longer term the benefits from continual process improvements and associated reduction in rework will cover this.

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