Rethinking Software Testing – A Series

Every once in a while something or someone comes along and fundamentally redefines a game or an outlook. Humanity believed the earth was the center of the Universe until Galileo came along to suggest and prove otherwise. In the game of cricket, Sachin Tendulkar came along and batting has not been the same since. So what’s the game changing event happening in the software development industry?

There are many key new trends occurring in the software industry, from Virtualization to Software + Services and more. I would like to focus your attention on an area of the software development lifecycle that has stagnated for a very long time - testing - and we at Microsoft are looking to change the rules of the game!

Testing is a critical part of the software development lifecycle that has long since been dominated by practices and tools that segregate the testing teams from the development teams. In a world where testers and developers don’t collaborate effectively, software projects, end users, and ultimately the businesses are the real losers.

We have been learning from our customers and partners as to why such an important area (viz..testing) of software development lifecycle, is falling short on providing developers what’s needed to make software more reliable. We have listened to our customers and have recently announced a series of capabilities as part of the VSTS 2010 product line that address this critical gap.

Over the past couple of years, we spent a lot of time with testers, trying to understand their pain points, understanding how their daily life unfolds with challenges not only interacting with development but also feeling helpless, and at the same time getting no respect.

We have been working hard at Microsoft to bring a set of integrated technologies that we hope will change the rules of the game. We hope it will not only help address the pain points of these testers but fundamentally change the way they feel about testing – by enabling them to be respected as equals in the SDLC, by creating a tighter interaction between developers and testers, and by allowing them to embrace the changes that occur in software development projects.

I will blog about this change and the way we have been thinking about it and developing tools for it in a series called “Rethinking Testing”. This is my introductory post for the series. As part of the series, I plan to pick a specific area of testers challenges and share with you how we are addressing it. I hope you will follow this series to understand and visualize the complete picture of our solution that we believe will fundamentally change the way software teams have been thinking about testing & software quality.

I also take this opportunity to wish all reader and their familes and friends Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and a Very Happy New Year! Enjoy the holidays and talk to you soon …

Amit Chatterjee