Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Teaching the ‘Product Life Cycle’ in my Test Practice course?

Why I teach the ‘Product Life Cycle’ in my Test Practice training course.

For those that have attended the Test Practice Course* you may recall we open up by introducing the Product Life Cycle. Most folks in software development and testing start thinking from the Development Life Cycle onwards. So, why do we teach about the Product Life Cycle?

From the course you’ll know that we put the Software Development and Testing Life Cycles in context with each other and the product Life Cycle. In this way we learn how the Test Life Cycle supports the Development Life Cycle which in turn supports the Product Life Cycle. What we wait to discuss later in the Test Management Course is how awareness of the Product Life Cycle allows more effective management of the test function. How so?

When a product is released from the development phase and goes into maintenance (live) then the project is usually considered to be over. The test and development teams are done with it and they move onto the next project. This is a fallacy for most organisations, because it simply doesn’t work this way. More often than not the reality is developers and testers are dragged back to fix and test issues with live products. Some organisations are a little more aware of this need and have a process of bug-bash days for just this type of activity. The problem here is it’s approached as something that needs brute force to address and make go-away.

The Test Manager who wants a more complete understanding of how effective the test function is will be keen to know what happens when a product goes live. Thinking back to the Product Life Cycle the Test Manager will be mindful of how long the life span of product is in the market. They will consider the Product Life Cycle Phases and take interest in measures such as; No. Of bugs found overtime, across Life Cycle Phases. How many of us know that? How many bugs, by severity per functional area get reported by your customers?

With this insight a Test Manager can assess needed testing resource for the duration of the products life, analyse what bugs are found when and start to effect a quality improvement plan, this allows assessment of effort and costs and a way to show reductions in the cost of quality and reduction in cost of ownership in real terms.

That’s two reasons why we teach the ‘Product Life Cycle’ in our Test Practice training course.

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