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How lean is too lean? - Making testing lean!

One of the topics that is often discussed during my interactions with the customers is around how the current testing can be leaner, smarter and cost effective?  While most of these customers agree that testing is a necessity, they are worried about the cost. Some of them have gone ahead and cut on their testing staff and budgets this has impacted the quality and timelines of their products and services adversely. Can organizations go too far with the cost and people cuts?

The need to change the services delivered to thrive in the new world is becoming more and more relevant in today's business environment. Choosing a path that will be appropriate in the long run is important for these customers. From my experience, there are a few levers that are relevant towards the lean thinking for testing services and can possibly make your testing service leaner, smarter and cost effective. These levers can help you retain this crucial function and help your organization to deliver high quality products and services on time.

1. Improving upstream quality - Testing team needs to focus on enhancing the upstream quality. Use early lifecycle validation strategies to capture "end-user experience" early in the SDLC and avoid rework.

2. Predictably delivering a program right the first time (and eliminating expensive scrap and rework) - Risk mitigation through use of an Independent Validation team. This team can give early indicators of potential risks of these programs by conducting testing in an independent manner thereby avoiding costly delays and bad quality.

3. Better alignment with business by validating technology for the processes outlined by the business by executing techniques like Requirements validation, Model-based testing, performance simulation testing etc. This will improve the ability to understand end-user experience which ensures high quality experience for end-users.

4. Reuse - Usage of pre-configured test platforms and reuse of test assets. Use pre-packaged business model based testing solutions to reduce dependency on package expertise. Use Test Case generation tools which can automatically generate test scripts based on pre-defined business model. This will save time and provide better accuracy in testing.

5. Automation - end to end - Extend test automation beyond test execution to areas such as test case design. Automate in a progressive manner rather than regression only. Automate testing across all tiers and technologies. This will provide you faster time-to-market and reduced TCO.


Cutting on your testing budgets may provide you with immediate short term gains, but choosing a long term path and implementing the lean themes in the context of your business, will result in true business value and make your services leaner, smarter and cost effective.



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