Every IT delivery model, framework, mindset, organization etc. has its own development approach, workflow, phases, roles, work products and/or activities. On top of that one could try to impose a QA and testing model on all these different approaches. But that does not seem to be the best way to proceed.
Therefore, we defined a set of generic QA & testing activities – the so-called "topics" –, which are applicable – in one way or the other – to all these different development approaches. Using these topics, the quality of an IT system can be assessed based on indicators which is mainly done by testing. This will ultimately result in information which stakeholders use to establish their confidence level whether the pursued business value will be achievable.
Two groups of QA & testing topics
The quality assurance and testing profession is very broad. Many people have structured it before in one way or another. With today's wide variety of IT delivery models in mind, we have described a common set of topics that are always relevant for quality engineering, regardless of the IT development, operations and maintenance approach that is followed by the organization. The way these topics are addressed in your situation depends on many factors, not in the least by the IT delivery model you use. We are convinced, however, that for effective and efficient QA & testing, all of these topics need to be addressed in one way or another.
While describing the topics we noticed a distinction should be made about the kind of activities a topic relates to. This resulted in two overarching groups: Organizing topics and Performing topics.
- Organizing topics
The Organizing topics are aimed at orchestrating, arranging, planning, preparing and controlling the QA & testing activities.
- Performing topics
The Performing topics are aimed at the operational QA & testing activities. Of course the world isn't black and white, so some topics may be relevant for both organizing and performing, in which case we have grouped them where the emphasis of the topic lays.
Overview of the organizing and performing topics
A further description of the organizing topics.
A further description of the performing topics.
The lists of topics do not imply any specific order
The lists of organizing and performing topics are described above in a generic logical order. This by no means implies that this is the order in which topics should be addressed. How topics are handled by the people in the teams largely depends on the IT delivery model that has been implemented. The following chapters provide an overview of how the topics can be plotted to the three main IT delivery models that we distinguish.
And please keep in mind that quite a great number of topics have aspects of both organizing and performing in them. After careful consideration we have made the division as presented here. Still, in some situations you may find that a specific topic that is classified as organizing in your situation, is a mainly performing topic, or vice versa. Instead of spending effort thinking about the best possible classification, please use these topics to assist you in making sure no important quality engineering activities are forgotten.
Topics and test plan
The list of topics can be used as a checklist to determine whether the relevant topics for a certain project, release, team etc. have been covered or at least thought about.
In addition to using the topics list as a checklist, topics can also be worked out – whether detailed or not – for a specific situation. Depending on the IT delivery model that is used, the relevant topics can then be included in, for example, a "way of working", or "Definition of Done" (such as in a high-performance IT delivery model), or be included in, for example, a (master) test plan (as in a sequential IT delivery model).