Transforming Your Test Culture: One Step at a Time

Thomas Wissink, LM IS&S

Whether we develop software-based systems to create invoices, solve difficult physics problems, diagnose heart disease, or launch rockets, we've learned that nothing stays the same very long and software defects are inevitable. However, one thing has remained constant—the role and value of testing has been misunderstood by many in senior management. A Lockheed Martin Fellow since 2005, Tom Wissink describes steps undertaken at Lockheed Martin to change this culture of misunderstanding into a culture of appreciation, satisfaction, and excitement. Tom's experience has convinced him that this change is not just theoretical but both possible and rewarding. In a few organizations, both large and small, this has resulted in dramatic changes including greater tester satisfaction, increased company profits, and improved software quality often delivered on time and within budget. Tom’s transformational steps—using robust test design techniques, practicing exploratory testing, developing and conducting regular test training, and developing a return on investment (ROI) model for test automation in your environment—are defined such that test organizations and individuals can begin to implement them now. Tom describes a complete set of steps together with specific examples of implementation successes.

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