Insights from Test Talks (Part 1/2): Testing trends, processes, strategy and organization

Recently, I’ve attended to the 6th episode of the Test Talks event held on September 29th, organized by Keytorc Testing Consultancy. This event is claimed to be the first in the world to gather more than 50 high-level executives from the industry’s leading companies to attend roundtable style meet-ups.

The event revolved around 3 topics ”Process”, “Strategy & Organization” and “Technology & Tools” and was moderated by Barış Sarıalioğlu, Keytorc’s Managing Partner. Online and interactive questionnaires were directed to participants, discussions followed and results were compared to reliable industry reports.

The results gathered during the event will also serve the “Test Manager 2015-2016 Insight Report” which is one of the trailblazer benchmarks for the software testing industry in Turkey.

Here are some of the highlights from the event’s first session — Process

Standish Group Chaos reports that 78% of software development projects in the world use agile or agile-like frameworks. Also, a great number of the software development projects are in the new product/feature development category. On the other hand, the number of maintenance projects have been declining over the past years. This result stands in line with companies’ tendencies to prefer agile processes. The event’s findings also supported these findings.

Distribution of Conducted Test Types

The first topic discussed at the event was the distribution of conducted test types and findings revealed that functional test cases rank first among all test types with a 96% share and it’s a must-have consideration for all companies. Functional test is followed by performance and usability testing with 73% and 71%, respectively.

Performance and Usability Testing

Today, rapidly increasing penetration of mobile devices into people’s lives is a very solid reason for all companies to focus on performance and usability testing, intensely. The consensus at the event was that integrating usability and user experience (UX) best practices into testing processes is simply unavoidable.

Testing Challenges

Another important question that was addressed at the event was, “What are the most frequently faced challenges faced during the testing process?” As we testers know by heart, time constraint is above all other challenges — 84% of the time, according to the research. Number of team members and lack of skills are other important challenges without any doubt. At the very core of these problems lies lower wages offered to testing professionals compared to developers and analysts in many companies.

Let’s continue with insights gathered at the second session — Strategy & Organization

Annual Testing Budgets

When the question about the annual testing budgets for the year compared to last year was brought up, over half of the participants responded “Yes” (54%), while 22% claimed that they have not finalised the budget yet. On the other side, only 4% of them declared that they were planning to cut the budget. Depending on the complexity of testing projects, budgets can vary impacting how companies shape up their recruitment policies.

The Golden Ratio

The tester to developer ratio in companies is expected to increase in the short run. Current status of these ratios among the event’s participants were 1/3 and 1/5, for 30% of the companies in attendance. 1/10 and 1/10+ followed these ratios and only 2% of the participants’ companies declared that they have an equal number of testers and developers. The golden tester to developer ratio should be 1/3, considering the “Law of diminishing returns” as the individual contribution factor is reduced by 40% after the 6th iteration of a newly added tester to the existing system.

Ideal Skillset for Testers

How about the most desired skillset for a tester? 85% of attendees responded this critical question underlining skills such as testing process competency and testing technique knowledge. 78% of attendees mentioned eagerness to learn and research, whereas 76% mentioned domain expertise. Nevertheless, having strong and effective interpersonal communication skills and taking personal responsibility for quality assurance were also listed as key skills for career progression.

Outsourcing Distribution

Event findings revealed that the United States leads the way in outsourcing test services with a 70% share amongst all testing services acquired. In Europe, it is around 60%, followed by Turkey with 41% percentage. Since testing services are mainly outsourced to Asian countries like China and India, the trend goes exactly in the opposite direction in these regions.

Allocation of Testing Resources

Most companies position testing professionals in departments directly related to project management, product and/or software development. Most contributors agreed that the organizational structure should place testers in a position where they can directly report to an authority directly connected to C-level executives.

I’ll be writing more about my impressions about the 3rd session of the event, “Technology & Tools”, in my next post.

Stay tuned and feel free to start a discussion below.

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