Monday, August 25, 2008

Testing Simulator For Wireless Telecoms Now Available

The Open Source movement and the drive to improve testing have once more joined forces to create a wireless testing simulater. For the full story visit The Wireless Developers Network.

The WiMAX Forum today announced the availability of its open source system level simulator to characterize applications over WiMAX networks. Available to all WiMAX Forum member companies, this NS-2 based testing application tool provides a unified simulation tool based on the WiMAX Forum’s system profiles and facilitates sharing of results and publication of technical papers.

This WiMAX Forum NS-2 Simulator enables vendors and service providers to test an applications performance over WiMAX networks, such as voice over Internet protocol (VoIP). The simulator will help vendors evaluate schedulder algorithms and technical solutions, in addition to helping service providers perform network planning, capacity evaluation and product evaluation. Testing in this simulated environment allows the tester to optimize the performance experienced while decreasing the costs associated with testing on a live network.

Software testing telecom sector

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Testing the testers

The recent debacle with the SAT marking in the UK has now reached its climax with the termination of the ETS contract. As the Guardian reported earlier this week:

"The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority and ETS Europe agreed to dissolve the five-year contract to handle the national curriculum tests with immediate effect, after test results were delayed this summer. Under the deal, ETS will make a payment of £19.5m to QCA, and the watchdog will save approximately £4.6m in cancelled invoices and charges.

Full results for tests sat by 14-year-olds this year were still not available when national figures were released earlier this week.

The agreement to end the contract early has been made by both parties and there will be no payments made by QCA to ETS Europe for any future years of the contract.

QCA signed the £156m five-year contract with ETS in February last year. However, serious problems with the administration and marking of the tests this year meant the publication of results for key stage 2 and 3, which should have been released on July 8, were delayed by almost a month."

This type of story has no obvious winners. There is already an inquiry into why this situation was reached but it looks like the competence of both the QCA (in its procurement selection process) and ETS (in its operational processes) will be called into question. Hopefully the outcome will lead both procurement divisions and organisations running new processes to view testing more seriously. Testing is often viewed as an IT activity, but business process testing and regulatory requirements testing are wider in scope than just testing the technology, computers and software. It is uncertainty that testing helps eliminate not just defects. And in this case more certainty would have saved a lot of trouble.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Customer Experience Testing

I've had a quick look around the web for articles about customer experience testing. There is a lot of testing articles out there and one interesting one was also one of the older ones I found. It ranks from way back in 2005 and the start of that year at that. It can be found at xchange, entitled simply enough "Testing the customer experience". Go there for the full article but the intro sets the scence well for the article:

More service providers are starting to do customer-experience testing to gain the assurance they need that new offerings won’t wreck their reputations with customers, their bottom lines or both. Traditional enterprise testing seeks to answer whether applications and technologies behind a service launch will perform as intended. Customer-experience testing moves beyond that exercise, going further to evaluate whether the people working with the systems and the business processes defined for them are likely to prove successful.

There’s a standard suite of enterprise tests -- unit testing, string testing, system testing, integration testing, user-acceptance testing, stress-and-volume testing, 508-compliance testing, etc. -- that almost every service provider relies on to ensure the systems underlying an offering will perform as intended. These application and technology tests are critically important.

But as traditionally executed, these tests fail to show whether the service can be implemented and serviced successfully. A service provider must go further and evaluate people, processes, technology and the interrelationships among all three. In doing so, the service provider can eliminate logistical uncertainties and uncover operational complexities that could undermine profitability and ruin its reputation with customers.

Customer-experience testing -- delving more deeply into the service provider’s processes and internal and external user communities -- is designed to deliver these results and benefits.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Test release processes early and review regularly

There is an interesting article in CIO on 7 Ways to Improve Your Software Release Management.
Of the 7 ways the one that stood out for me was 3. Get lightweight processes in place. Test them early and review them regularly. If you are fan of agile processes this will appeal to you. It combines immediacy, flexibility and iteration - all important characteristics of agile development. To quote the article:

Lightweight processes are those that do not require lengthy bureaucratic approvals or endless meetings to get agreement. They usually require only the minimum acceptable level of inputs and outputs. What they lack in bulk and bureaucracy, they make up for in response to change and popular adoption!

Underpinning this approach is the thorny issue of documentation. You need to record what you did and how you did it. Otherwise, what do you review and how do you improve?

We don't mean the kind of documentation that endangers rain forests and puts its readers to sleep. We mean documentation that people (technical and otherwise) can read and act on.

Combining this attitude with the other 6 points in the article looks far more likely to support change than many of the inflexible and slow methods in current corporate use.

Agile testing services