Overview of From Waterfall To Evolutionary Development And Test Agile Testing

Confirmit √is a powerful web-based software package that enables organizations to gather,analyze,and report on key business information across a broad range of commercial applications.Some twenty staff(including a quality assurance team of three people) work in the Confirmit AS research and development department and have responsibility for developing the core Confirmit √ functionality,s well as for developing custom bespoke modules for specific clients.

Early in the company’s history, when Confirmit AS had just a few clients,the development process was fairly ad hoc and customer-driven. Changes to the software were made on an almost daily basis, driven by client feedback,and while this delivered stakeholder value quickly, the process also resulted in numerous defects, long working hours, and poor control of the software development and testing process.

As the Confirmit √ client base grew,Confirmit AS was faced with the need to become more effective and efficient in its development and testing of the product; it was clear that a more formal process was needed.Initially,Confirmit AS looked to adopt a waterfall approach,incorporating process improvement via the Capability Maturity Model(CMM). After following a waterfall approach for a number of years, a number of issues were identified:

  • Risk discovery and mitigation was delayed until the later stages of the project.
  • Document-based verification was postponed until the later stages of the project.
  • There was dissatisfaction with the need to stipulate unstable requirements too early;requirements change is perceived as a bad thing in waterfall.
  • Operational problems were discovered far too late in the process(typically at acceptance testing).
  • There were lengthy modification cycles and too much rework and retesting.
  • Most important, the requirements were nearly all focused on functionality, not on the quality attributes of the system.

With increasing dissatisfaction with their waterfall approach, Confirmit AS began to work closely with Tom and Kai Gilb to roll out and adopt an Evo approach in order to improve their development process for Confirmit√.In particular, three key goals were identified:

  • Reducing the integration effort – that is, the amount of effort for each developer to get the latest build to work on his or her workstation so that they were able to code against the latest code platform;
  • Reducing the time in minutes to upgrade – from a previous code platform to the most recent code platform from the past figure of three hours to a goal of two minutes;and
  • Improving the reliability of builds –which historically had been an area where there had been significant quality issues.

Historically, the Confirmit AS development process for the Confirmit√ Product had focused mostly on functional requirements, but with Evo the requirements process changed with the realization that it is the product quality requirements thatprovide Confirmit AS with a competitive advantage over its rivals.

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