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SOA World Expo: The Agile Life Cycle for SOA

Test & Quality Management - Part Two of a Six Part Series

John Michelsen's iTKO Blog

In the past, test “scripts” in TM tools were largely recorded as actual step-by-step instructions (in a Word doc or Excel spreadsheet) for a manual tester to point-and-click through a finished interface to test the application. When tests were completed, the tester would then “check a box” in the test management UI, to indicate that the test had passed or failed.

With so many changing components and middle tier systems in today’s enterprise apps, that form of manual testing is no longer enough, so teams are trying to define (and run) far more sophisticated tests that can actually test behind the user interface, where the business logic lies.

In addition to deeper functional testing, teams using TM tools are asking for a higher degree of automation from their test suites. A thousand manual test scripts can delay cycles by days or weeks while they are executed, costing the team serious agility, and making the testing less valuable over time due to repetition and human error.

Therefore functional, regression and load/stress tests need to be stored directly within the TM tool – for instance as executable command line or XML scripts that launch a test from a ready server-side tool. In this way, a sophisticated set of tests can be executed with just one click in the TM tool, and the pass/fail and other results and issues are automatically written back into the TM tool.

In this way, the whole team gets to use the test process they are familiar with, while getting much deeper tests that can talk to middle tiers, and as much as a 95% improvement in test execution time compared to manual tests. In addition, quality is improved as the teams can focus on testing new functionality, instead of repeating the rote execution of tests against existing functionality.

We are asked for this kind of functionality at virtually every customer engagement - so I'll mention our solution here. iTKO LISA provides connectivity to Test Management (TM) tools, such as HP TestDirector for Quality Center (formerly Mercury TestDirector), giving them a key point of automated test execution, enforcement and test feedback. A welcome “byproduct” or end result of this integration between LISA and test management software is auditable documentation of the test, with details about the status of the many systems under test – showing that at a specific point in time, the system was working as expected, or not working as expected. The testing tool has then fulfilled the requirement of being the "long arm of the law," by spotting the issue, enforcing or “making judgment” on it, and reporting the issue to the TM tool.

The overarching goal of this process is to allow better Collaboration on testing, by sharing and iterating on tests across Development, Testing, business analysis and IT Operations teams. This increases the level of reuse in SOA and enables faster release cycles, as all teams can focus on delivering quality into new features, instead of repeating test creation and execution manually with each new release. In our next post, we will cover application lifecycle management.

More Stories By John Michelsen

John Michelsen is co-Founder and “Chief Geek” at iTKO. He has over twenty years of experience as a technical leader at all organization levels, designing, developing, and managing large-scale, object-oriented solutions in traditional and network architectures. He is the chief architect of iTKO's LISA cloud virtualization and testing product and a leading industry advocate for efficient software development and quality. Before forming iTKO, Michelsen was Director of Development at Trilogy Inc., and VP of Development at AGENCY.COM. He has been titled Chief Technical Architect at companies like Raima, Sabre, and Xerox while performing as a consultant. Through work with clients like Cendant Financial, Microsoft, American Airlines, Union Pacific and Nielsen Market Research, John has deployed solutions using technologies from the mainframe to the handheld device.

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