Below is the article that was published in October 2011 issue online edition of The SmartTechie.
Although software testing has undergone significant progress in recent years, organizations have been demanding something new. Global market pressures are pushing organizations to get more for less. Innovation is not just for the principals, and they expect the same from their QA partners too. “The typical activity-based testing model has overworked itself too long. What the industry needed was a scientific approach” explains T Ashok, CEO of STAG Software, a boutique test engineering company headquartered in Bangalore. STAG is the pioneer of a scientific approach to testing – Hypothesis Based Testing (HBT).
“Today, there is severe pressure on the captives to cut costs and over the years HBT has proven itself to significantly cut costs” says Ashok. In addition to standard offerings like outsourced QA, functional test automation, performance assessment, etc., STAG works with various organizations to deploy HBT. “STAG engages with its clients and restructures the entire approach of testing. The fundamental change has to come from the way a QA professional thinks and approaches a problem,” explains Ashok. While traditionally, the process is put together and people are forced to comply it, STAG’s approach differs. It leverages the organization’s available intellect first, before installing the process. A consultant typically engages with client over a period of three to six months where the testing team is made to unlearn the old techniques and start looking at the problems with a logical bent of mind, and then the process is set. The company has also licensed its methodology to the system integrators and service oriented companies.
Apart from deploying HBT in organizations, this year STAG is looking forward to release the HBT toolkit being developed over the last couple of years. The tool acts as a coach for a test professional and provides ‘guidance’ to test the right way.
Ashok feels that there is a much larger picture which needs addressing “It is not just the IT companies that need a change in approach but it is also the way colleges teach software testing to the students”. In order to make sure the students do not fall into the old routine, the company has started several programs through its newly formed CleanSoft Academy. CleanSoft Academy is also actively seeking to increase its network amongst educational institutions to make software test engineering part of its academic program. CleanSoft Academy is working to close the increasing gap between Industry requirement and available pool of skills. Instead of generic programs, four streams of test professional programs that are aligned to market requirements are available as a choice to specialize.
HBT is a goal-centered methodology wherein the goal of software cleanliness is set up, potential defect types that can impede the cleanliness criteria identified, and then activities performed to ensure purposeful testing that is indeed effective and efficient. HBT has been applied by STAG in various domains like Mobile, Healthcare, ERP/SCM, Media, eLearning and more, over the last ten years in various process models including Agile. This has resulted in lowered defects escapes (up to 10x lower), increased test coverage (at least 3x), better RoI on automation, lower support costs (by 30 percent) with no increase in effort, time or costs.