Should testers follow processes?
Testing and QA activity is very much processes oriented.Almost everybody in this area follow some or the other process.How good it is to follow processes?Should we follow each and every processes blindly?How much it really helps?Many such questions comes to the mind.I have seen many testers love to test but hate the processes.They hate the job just because it needs a lots of processes and documentations.So definitely its a big question,how helpful is this processes part for a tester as well as the product.Let me give you my point of view from experience.
Processes If followed in right sense is good for both the tester as well as the product. Hmmm..diplomatic answer??
Let me explain.I know people or organization follow processes just for the sake of it or may be the motive behind them is to achieve CMMi level 5 or get recognition in internal or external audits.Few mangers also need some numbers to present to the higher management and they need to follow the processes and get data.But this is not going to help anyone.The project may achieve the CMMi level 5,they can declare their project to be mature and stable enough to face any situation.But If the processes is not followed in right spirit the actual goal can not be achieved.The project would be still people dependent.If one key guy is on long leave or quit the company either everybody is screwed up or the whole processes is dumped or changed to some other strategy.
Collecting lots of numbers/data for analysis or presentation is fine,but it should not affect the real work and deliverable.The main goal of a test team or manager is to deliver the (almost)defect free product.Not show the high productivity or low COQ of the project to upper management at the cost of quality of deliverable.Data definitely helps in analyzing and fine tuning the strategy,but how far it is used in that purpose to be considered. Managers need data to show the increasing(only increasing,decreasing is totally unacceptable) trend in their productivity or deliverable. But number crunching at the cost of due deliverable is not acceptable.The team should not spend considerable effort in finding and reporting correct data points.Its not going to help anyone.
The process should help the people as well the product.If productivity has increased with time it should reach to the people in the form of less working hours or to the product as on/before time delivery.But without this If the trend is only limited to the graph,then its utter nonsense.Process will help the team to track their work and increase the accountability of the deliverable.The product will be easy for maintenance at the later stage.If the process is mature(in CMMi level 5) then it should be independent of the people.Absence of any resource should have little impact to the team/product.
What I feel is,the tester should follow the processes in such a way that the benefit of the same should reach him, as well as the effort to maintain the process should be enough to justify.
I have reproduced this from my old blog on testing posted on 17th April 2008 with some minor correction.