It is amazing if you think where we have got to in technology over the last few decades, so too in testing. When I started testing in the previous century it was all about squashing bugs during different types of test phases. Traditionally we worked in different phases of testing. Some of that is still the case but testing is now working a lot closer together with development and also with requirements. There was even a movement born out of it… Agile, you might have heard of it, or to be honest different degrees of Agile. I can hear the purist say that there is either Agile or not Agile, but I think there are different degrees of applying Agile. Then again if you are not going fully into Agile you are missing out, but at the same time, Agile is not for every organisation/ project.
Over the last few years, we have moved on or taken a different direction when Req-Dev-Test started working with Ops too. Indeed that is DevOps, you guessed it. It is good to see that teams become more autonomous in DevOps to allow them to get a faster throughput from the requirement to production. Unfortunately, we do tend to often ignore or leave out other domains and let them do their own bits. We should include those too to allow closer cooperations and aim for a truly joint up approach. And before we get other new concatenations (DevSecOps I have heard) we simply refer to this as “multi-domain operations”.
To make multi-domain operations work well, it is critical to share information from each of the domains with one and another. This will allow each domain to learn from each other to improve the way they are working and also important to potentially foresee issues in other domains and perform corrective measures to avoid these issues from appearing. The result from a testers point of view is that we (and other domains themselves) can find bugs earlier but also finding them using different methods and providing expertise for those domain themselves to find bugs so that the overall quality of the program is drastically improved. It is the cross-domain flow of information that enables that increase in overall quality. At Sogeti we are calling this NextGenQA where QA is looking for the next generation of quality assurance where we actively work together across multiple domains and use technology to our advantage.
In NextGenQA, we are enabling different information sources to exchange information even if the tools are incapable of working together. We will use existing APIs or build our own and even utilise RPA (Robotic Process Automation) ourselves to allow information to be more freely shared and build dashboard and documents. Within development projects we use automation widely, nightly builds, running unit tests, functional test automation, data extracts, or even environment builds, but so far other repetitive project tasks are still left to manual interactions. There are now so many RPA tools in the market that there is a tool for almost any occasion (please do use common sense though!!).
As soon as there is enough information available we even incorporate our CognitiveQA solution which will help determine effective test execution and predict where defects might appear and therefore allow focused and targeted specific test suites. NextGenQA is all about automation on many different levels and the exchange of information to allow project-wide informed decisions.
The ability for one domain to say that new functionality is being considered or that a particular functionality has been difficult to achieve will alert others to move effort so they can be prepared when they get to deal with that new functionality/requirement.
Every domain still has its own goals but by working closely together those goals will amalgamate into the overall project goal of delivering the project on time with the expected quality and for the right price. That is a win for all those involved in the project and those benefiting from the project outcomes.
If this seems something for the far future, think again. I came across this video from Destin of SmartEveryDay (who got a pretty cool job!) when he got to interview the US military on multi-domain operations… Fascinating. This shows coordinated multi-domain operations are very much the here and now, and we know that a lot of these types of development have roots in the military which have a subsequent impact in the civil society. And while cross-domain information flow is happening within organisations it is not across all domains and not always shared/used but all domains. NextGenQA incorporates this all and will allow organisations to achieve new levels of efficiencies in timelines, budgets, and quality.
Video Courtesy: Destin of SmartEveryDay