International software testing qualifications board

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© International Software Testing Qualifications Board 3.1 Introduction to Model-based Approaches 3.1.1 Desirable Characteristics of Test Process Improvement Models Test process improvement models can be characterized by the following attributes: Easy to use Publicly available Available support by consultants Not a marketing vehicle of a commercial organization Accepted by professional bodies Include provision for improvement Provide many small evolutionary improvements Built on a sound basis, meaning it is practical, empirical, theoretical, published and justified Provides details of how to assess, identify improvements and make improvements Quantifiable improvements Tailorable (project-specific) The degree to which the model prescribes the improvement activities to be performed Support for the order of improvement Whether the improvement is represented in a staged or continuous way Level of detail on testing content Richness and variety of suggested solutions to specific testing problems Level of formal accreditation required for assessors Certification possible for an organization 3.1.2 Continuous and Staged Representations Process models show process maturity using either a staged or a continuous representation. The staged representation offers a systematic “one step at a time” approach to improvement. The model architecture prescribes the stages that an organization must proceed through so that its test process improves in an orderly fashion. Achieving a stage ensures that an adequate level of process maturity is established (in TMMi, this is called a Maturity Level) before moving up to the next stage. The focus of improvement is on achieving the individual levels of capability for a predefined set of process areas (e.g. Test Planning and Test Environment in TMMi at level 2) which are allocated to a Maturity Level (e.g. TMMi level 4). A maturity level represents a well defined evolutionary plateau towards achieving improved organizational processes. The advantages of a staged model lie mostly in the simplicity of the concept. It provides a maturity level rating that is often used in external management communication and within qualifying companies (e.g., a customer company may require that all potential supplier companies achieve a minimum process maturity of, say, TMMi level 4). The problem with the staged representation is its limited flexibility. An organization may achieve relatively high levels of capability in many of the required process areas, but still fail to achieve an overall maturity level. A tendency to use this as an “all or nothing” approach or a “once and done” approach can result in not achieving the desired business goals. Within the continuous representation there are no prescribed maturity levels which the development process is required to proceed through. The TPI Next model uses a form of continuous representation (see Section 3.3.1). An organization applying the continuous representation can select specific areas
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Christopher Reinemann
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