Saturday, April 28, 2007

Compuware leads the software testing tool market says Ovum

There was an interesting press release from Compuware this week. It covers the latest Ovum report on the Software testing tool market.

"The Ovum report titled: "Summary of the Software Testing Tools Evaluations," the top-six test automation tools vendors were evaluated on scope of support and strength across all features. According to Ovum, the top test automation toolsets are now all part of a larger application life cycle management and/or quality management portfolio.

The Ovum model rates test automation support through the whole lifecycle including development, not just the late, independent QA test stage. "When balancing both the breadth of offering and the depth of the products, Compuware is the leader," stated the report.

In Ovum's evaluation of Compuware, Ovum principal analyst, Paul Herzlich, wrote: "Most of the industry's test management tools provide very little support for test planning. Compuware's ability to associate risk with tests, calculate optimum test resource usage and align test plans to business objectives remains unique among the major test automation vendors."

The Compuware PR does not mention the other tool vendors but if you look at the quadrant presented in the Ovum report Borland, IBM and HP are in a cluster some way behind Compuware with Parasoft and finally Empirix following up at the tail.

Services software testing automation

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Fixed price projects and UAT

There is an interesting article in Dr Dobbs Agile Newsletter by Scott Ambler. It looks at the pitfalls of fised price projects:

"The fundamental problem with fixed-price projects is that they motivate you to perform very questionable things which invariably result in wastage. To develop an accurate estimate you need to understand the requirements which you are supposed to implement and the architecture which you are going to build to. The greater the need for accuracy in your estimate, the greater the need for more detailed information. As a result of the pressure to develop an accurate initial estimate you are typically motivated to adopt:
  • A big requirements up front (BRUF) approach where you create a detailed requirements specification early in the lifecycle.
  • A change management process which strives to avoid "scope creep" throughout the project.
  • A big design up front (BDUF) approach where you attempt to specify your architecture in detail before coding begins.
  • A software development lifecycle that is mostly serial in nature. "

It identifies the lack of stakeholder involvement as a major issue:

"BRUF and BDUF are two aspects of a serial lifecycle; serial lifecycles seem to offer few control points for stakeholders, thereby increasing overall project risk. Although stakeholders are usually actively involved up front with the BRUF effort their role is often greatly diminished until user-acceptance testing at the end of the project (assuming time permits). There may be the occasional milestone review where they go over status reports and technical documents which are presented as representing so form of earned value, but for the most part the majority of the software development process appears to be a black box to stakeholders: They won't know until close to the end of the project if they're going to receive anything of value in return for their IT investment. "

Finally it concludes:

"Fixed-price IT projects aren't good for the developers working on the project because it motivates questionable behaviors which put your job at risk in the long term. Nor are fixed-priced projects good for business stakeholders because they seem to increase risk instead of decrease it as promised. It's time to rethink our approach to funding IT projects."