SOGETI UK BLOG

In my previous post, I shared some of the specific steps that we have already made to develop PointZERO®, our approach to helping our clients to shift their quality measures earlier in the lifecycle, or to ‘Shift Left’. It’s important to bear in mind that the primary purpose of PointZERO® is to do it right the first time – to conduct quality measures at the start of the software development lifecycle, making the whole process cheaper and faster, with far fewer change requests to deal with at the end of projects.

In this final post in the series, I wanted to examine some of the cultural and philosophical challenges that software testing professionals must now face and overcome in order to successfully adopt new organisational principles for the ultimate benefit of their whole business.

No other firm has such a structured approach to this philosophy of Shift Left like Sogeti, but we believe it’s vital if we are to change the mind sets of our clients. The greatest obstacle for many businesses is that in times of austerity they are naturally averse to seeing the majority of time and money expended on software testing projects frontloaded at the start of the lifecycle. Project leads, steering committees and other business representatives can often regard Shift Left as merely delaying the finishing of projects. But we now know that this frontloading of effort actually returns far more in terms of time and budget across the total lifecycle, delivering completed projects more quickly, cheaply and accurately without the additional overheads of on-going change requests.

Our pilot projects and international experience to date have provided us with the proof to show sceptical customers who up to this point have only seen delays at the beginning and not the benefits and ROI at the end. In fact we’re so confident in the benefits of a Shift Left approach to testing that we’re putting our money where our mouth is. We are now assessing some of our customers’ historical testing projects, analysing prospective projects, telling them up front where we expect to see the origins of defects, and then explaining that detecting those issues early in the cycle next time will save them, say, 20 percent in time, or €20k in budget. We’ll even pay the investment to help our clients make the necessary cultural shift, because we are so certain that they will get the returns necessary to refund our investment. It’s almost like a service-level agreement, with Sogeti paying the money up front.

To give you one example, we recently conducted a Shift Left project for a client, investing €20k of our own budget. We saved that client €750k over the next three months by reducing the average number of defects from 372 to 170, ensuring that the client no longer spent time and money on those over 200 defects because they had been eliminated at the very start of the lifecycle. Clients who adopt this approach can go into production earlier, provide better services earlier and reap the revenues earlier than businesses resistant to cultural change.

Most businesses have a top-down approach to decision making, investment and culture. But adaptations in working practices must be embraced on the ‘shop’ floor to produce real change. Different departments with different levels of competence must all buy-in to organisational change. In order for this to happen, business must clearly communicate what they are doing, why they are doing it, and the past successes that have spurred the change. And this isn’t a one-way street – business leaders must also listen to what each department is saying, and commit to incorporating valid ideas and feedback into working processes.

If you’d like to learn more about PointZERO® and Shift Left, you’ll be pleased to know that Sogeti is in the process of writing a pocketbook on the PointZERO® vision. The book with be published in September, so please contact your Sogeti account executive to get on the distribution list. In addition, it is worth noting that Shift Left is the theme for our TestExpo 2012 software testing and QA event to be held in London on Thursday 21 June. Registration is free at http://www.testexpo.co.uk/.

Ewald Roodenrijs AUTHOR:
Ewald is a Research & Development consultant for Sogeti.

Posted in: A testers viewpoint, Shift Left, Software testing, Sogeti books, Test Expo, Testing and innovation, Working in software testing      
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I previously expanded on Sogeti’s latest software testing project, PointZERO®, and our efforts to help clients to shift their quality measures earlier in the lifecycle, or to ‘Shift Left’.

We now know for certain that it is cheaper and faster to conduct quality measures at the start of the software development lifecycle. The main purpose of PointZERO® is to do it right the first time. That doesn’t mean all software will be perfect immediately, but clients at least won’t be spending their time and money creating software around errors that could and should have been eliminated from the beginning. If we get the right people involved early, including end-users, then there will be far fewer change requests at the end of each project.

So far, in addition to extensive modelling work, we have also collaborated with numerous clients at pilot sites in Norway and the Netherlands. During this work we have identified three explicit tracks that we know we need to implement to ensure clients meet their best case scenarios for test lifecycles.

• The first step is ‘Industrialisation’. We need to ensure that testing becomes more efficient by reducing the time and effort expended on testing and code reviews. We will introduce standardisation, use models to automate test specifications, reuse existing test assets where possible, and establish test data management. Our world-renowned methodology is TMap®, a business-driven, risk-based approach for structured software testing, designed to address the key issues of results, risk, time and cost, across the testing phase of the software development lifecycle
• Our second step is ‘Quality & Collaboration’. Efficiency gains can be achieved through Agile Application Lifecycle Management (ALM), aiding the development of solutions using team collaboration. We will implement Quality Gates, Business Case Management, Business Acceptance Management, reviews and inspections – using Agile not merely for design and development but across the whole software development lifecycle
• The third step we have identified is ‘Smart Inspiration’. Here we will implement measures for model-driven, virtualization-driven and simulation-driven development, embracing the cloud.

We explain the Shift Left approach to software testers and QA specialist by demonstrating that what we say is true. We now have the numbers to back this up – for example we know that if collaboration begins early, we can ensure that 90 percent of the desired software functionality will be available when the business is ready, rather than 50 percent.

When we go to clients to discuss PointZERO® and ask to conduct an analysis of their pain-points, they welcome us because they already instinctively ‘feel’ what is wrong – they just need it proving for sure. We ask them their opinions, and then we analyse to see if they’re correct. When we compare the results, it is always a perfect match with the theories of those individuals that had a full picture of the lifecycle. Experience and evidence each prove that testing earlier in the lifecycle delivers a faster and cheaper development lifecycle, and a higher quality output and end result.

In my next and final post in this series, I’ll conclude by examining some of the cultural and philosophical challenges that software testing professionals must now face and overcome in successfully adopting new organisational principles, for the ultimate benefit of their whole business.

Ewald Roodenrijs AUTHOR:
Ewald is a Research & Development consultant for Sogeti.

Posted in: A testers viewpoint, Shift Left, Software testing, Testing and innovation      
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In my previous post I introduced Sogeti’s latest software testing project, PointZERO®, with which we are helping clients to shift their quality measures earlier in the lifecycle, or left along the timeline. We’re calling that part of the initiative ‘Shift Left’.

It would be useful at this point to explain some of the history and inspiration behind the PointZERO® philosophy and the Shift Left concept. The most recent drivers arose from a combination of great leaps forward in the general maturity of technology, coupled with three-to-four years of lean economic times. Together these conditions compelled software developers and modern businesses to strive for shorter times to market, while simultaneously reducing costs and making improvements in quality. At Sogeti we understand that all these elements have to be achieved simultaneously – succeeding in or one or two areas is simply not good enough.

In any case, the days when a ‘good enough’ approach to technology would suffice vanished decades ago. Businesses today must continually learn from both their mistakes and their achievements, and instill a pipeline of iterative improvements. We looked at broader industrial practices and saw that many sectors were shifting their quality measures earlier in their product lifecycles. For example, we learned from the Shift Left approaches in action at a major French aeroplane manufacturer, which uses modelling to test the efficiencies of the planes it is producing way before they are ever built. Just like software professionals, these engineers aspire to do things right the first time. The same goals have been in place across a wide range of industrial sectors since the 1950s, and each of them has contributed valuable insights to our own understanding.

Despite the lessons of history, no other software testing and quality assurance specialist other than Sogeti has a structured approach and philosophy in place like PointZERO®. Our aim now is to help our clients to change their mind-sets, and appreciate the business benefits of expending time, effort and budget getting things right at the beginning of the software lifecycle, rather than spending far more in remedial work and change requests at the end of each project.

In my next post I will expand on the explicit tracks we have already identified during the pilot phases of our PointZERO project, and how we intend to explain the Shift Left approach to software testers and QA specialist unfamiliar with the concept. My final post will then go on to discuss our thoughts on the successful adoption of new organisational principles.

Ewald Roodenrijs AUTHOR:
Ewald is a Research & Development consultant for Sogeti.

Posted in: A testers viewpoint, Software testing, Testing and innovation, Working in software testing      
Comments: 0
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In this post I’d like to briefly introduce you to an entirely new Sogeti software testing project. Since the beginning of 2012 I have been the international project lead in a team developing ‘PointZERO®’. As you know, the majority of testing conducted today takes place at the end of the software development lifecycle. A key part of PointZERO is to help our clients shift their quality measures earlier in that lifecycle, or left along the timeline. This is why we’re calling this part of the initiative ‘Shift Left’.

The overall project revolves around the concept that it is cheaper, faster and simply better, to get quality measures established at the start of the lifecycle, and as far as possible, to do everything right the first time. Our initial challenge was to assess the current state of play thoroughly and analyse where client pain-points currently exist in their development lifecycles. We have been studying what can go wrong and where, what the best-case scenarios would be, and what steps we then need to implement as early as possible in order reach those ideals.

Right now we are populating an ideal list of all measures that can be initiated at the front-end of each project, and filling in as much detail as possible as we go. For example, we want our clients to be able to run reviews and inspections at the very start of their development cycles, and so we need to educate them and support them in making this Shift Left. We also want to clearly present the tangible problems these shifts will overcome, and the clear business benefits of front-loading software testing in the development lifecycle. We will then use models to automate test specifications, and establish quality gates as collaboration points to ensure we move from one to the next with clients as smoothly as possible.

In my next post I will share my knowledge on the history and inspiration behind the PointZERO Project and the Shift Left concept. In subsequent posts I’ll expand on the explicit tracks we have already identified during the pilot phases of our PointZERO project and how we intend to explain the Shift Left approach to software testers and QA specialist unfamiliar with the concept, before discussing some thoughts on the issues surrounding the successful adoption of fresh organisational principles.

Ewald Roodenrijs AUTHOR:
Ewald is a Research & Development consultant for Sogeti.

Posted in: Software testing, Software testing news, Testing and innovation, Working in software testing      
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