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Testing 1-2-1-2… Redefining software testing at the Razor HQ

Written by Matt Christie
Published on
Greater efficiency, lower costs, better end products – just a few goals Matt Christie and the Testing Team have their sights set on – with the help of their new ISTQB certifications!

What is an ISTQB cert, we hear you say?

It’s an industry standard, recognised certification scheme run by the International Software Testing Qualifications Board.

A bit of a mouthful to say, but worth its weight in gold – every tech company out there aspires to get all of their staff through the qualification.

In short, it defines the latest processes, best practices, and methodologies to follow when testing any element of software.

What does the ISTQB process involve?

The recommended time to complete the Foundation level course is a year from start to finish (although one colleague completed it in 6 WEEKS!)

There’s multiple ways to complete the cert, but we take the self-study option – you follow online tutorials, work through the relevant reading and take tests at the end of every module. Once you’ve gone through the entire syllabus, it’s time to sit the formal examination.

Oh, and it doesn’t stop there. Two of our team members are already working on the Advanced level course, which will give them an Advanced Test Analyst Certification. Woop!

And what does that actually mean for the testing team?

So, it’s an individual qualification that each team member undertakes – there’s no overall business accreditation as such. It purely teaches the fundamentals of how to test a piece of software and gives us a solid framework to use. Our team follows the whole life cycle of a Razor project which means:

  1. Reviewing initial documentation
  2. Planning and preparation
  3. Identifying what to test
  4. Identifying how to test them
  5. Deciding what level of testing is needed
  6. Testing from end to end
  7. Recording the testing for future reference

And that applies to any element of the software we’re looking at: whether Razor is designing something like a simple web app for an eCommerce website, right through to massive data extraction systems in factory machinery.

So, we know what you’ve got to do, but why are you actually doing it?

The testing team is a pretty small junior team. Matt is spearheading the team’s journey to redefine the testing process within Razor, making sure they align with ISTQB’s data methodologies.

And that methodology lays out the different processes and techniques our team uses to get the most efficient test cases, which means rather than testing absolutely everything, we target tests in individual areas, based on the guidelines set out by the ISTQB.

Testing is also a pretty thankless task (so they say…)

There’s no tangible output at the end – so it’s always under scrutiny. But it’s a vital piece of the jigsaw puzzle… Everything the team does contributes to the improved quality of an end product.

It speeds our processes up, which has loads of benefits:

  • We save our clients money – as it’s a more cost effective way of testing
  • We build better quality products – as we have a robust framework to follow
  • We increase output in shorter time spans – because we can focus on the right things, rather than all the things!

How does this all fit together at Razor?

The ISTQB certification is very adaptable to testing and moves with the times. What worked 10, 15 years ago doesn’t work so well now. And that’s so important to Razor – as a company we’re obsessed with evolving and improving our customer output.

We’re market leaders in quality software for a reason, so we’re not just going to stop where we are. Of course, a quick pat on the back is fine, but then we move on:

How can we make the quality of our products even higher? What's the best way to do that? Transforming internal practices? Redefining processes across the board? Making sure quality is ingrained at every stage of a Razor project?

Yes, yes and yes!

By investing in our internal staff and processes we are ultimately going to make things a lot better for them, and in turn, our customers.

What does the next part of the journey look like?

Metrics! We’re working to get some metrics in place to show the benefits of our work, from an internal perspective. For example, how many issues we find and prevent before a product gets to the customer.

All of the work in our current redesign process is a prerequisite for that – once we start pulling those metrics, we can demonstrate the value we’ve added. So, that’s pretty much the long and the short of it 😊

Want to learn more about software testing? We don't just break things!