The Allocation of Testing Resources



The test engineer will inform the development manager about the product quality during the test cycle.

Intermediate Allocation System
This system is for projects that have eight to twelve PMs allocated. The development manager is obliged to ask for testing services if the project fits this criterion.

The main purpose of this allocation system is to provide a light testing service to the development team, not to fully qualify the software. In this system, the development manager is the main person responsible for product quality.

As these sorts of projects are not big and we have already implemented CMM Level 3, we have decided to take more risks. Taking more risks means that applying the new approach in the projects would make our testing methodology less expensive and more flexible.

Some nonessential activities were suppressed from our testing methodology, and they are not executed at all in this allocation system. Some others were merely adjusted. The intention is to allow the project to be delivered earlier and for less cost. For that reason, some risks may become real.

The following activities have been changed in the testing methodology for this allocating system:

  • have only one regression phase
  • do not have a time gap between the execution and regression phases (time for fixing defects)
  • report only defects with severity from one to three during the execution phase
  • do not give suggestions for product improvement during the testing cycle
  • test the solution only in one environment (even if there are others)
  • use simplified document templates for documenting the testing activities
  • do not verify the user's manual

But the main change is that the testing schedule is fixed for all projects in this allocating system. The preparation phase has ten working days with two test engineers at 100 percent allocation. The execution and regression phases have eleven working days with one test engineer at 100 percent allocation. Then, the testing cycle is twenty-one working days altogether. One team leader is also allocated throughout the period, but only at 50 percent allocation. The total testing resource allocation represents two PMs.

As the effort is always two PMs, the testing costs are also the same for all projects that fit this criterion. Therefore, the development manager may know previously how long the testing services would take and how much they would cost. Predictability is going to be a major advantage with this new approach.

It is easy to notice that the testing costs do not seriously impact the project costs in this allocation system. The testing costs vary from 15 to 19 percent of the total project costs. The testing costs were around 40 percent of the total costs when the testing methodology was applied fully in this kind of project.

Full Allocation System
This allocation system is for projects to which the development team has allocated more than twelve PMs. The development manager is obliged to ask us for testing services if the project fits this criterion.

In this case, the systems test group applies our testing methodology fully. The testing resources are estimated and allocated in the project based on the software requirements. This is described in my article " The Test Estimation Process. "

The tests are planned, executed extensively, and reported by an independent testing team as predicted in our testing methodology, using testing tools when required. Systems test has the main responsibility for diagnosing the product quality at the end of the test cycle. The development manager follows our advice regarding release of the product to the field. The testing costs for these projects vary from 20 to 30

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