â€œHow many testers does a software project need?â€
Ask a test manager and you will likely hear â€œAs many as we can find!â€ Unfortunately, it is often difficult to staff a testing organization with as many resources as is optimal. Does this mean a project must suffer poor quality if it falls short of the magic â€œ1:1â€³ test-to-dev ratio? Absolutely not!
Projects with smaller test teams are forced into certain behaviors out of necessity. As it turns out, these behaviors can be great assets in the quest for high quality. Some of these behaviors include customer-focused planning, aggressive trimming of unneeded functionality, and balancing of traditionally test-assigned tasks across the team. While these are almost requirements in smaller organizations, teams of any size can learn and benefit from these activities as well.
A key factor for success given a small test team is the recognition that quality is everyoneâ€™s responsibility. Testers and developers must be partners, not rivals, in ensuring quality.
Brian Rogers has worked as a software development engineer in test at Microsoft for five years. For most of his career, he has focused on distributed testing of enterprise messaging systems, including a three-year assignment on the first version of Windows Communication Foundation. He is a strong proponent of engineering excellence within the test discipline, and has designed and developed static analysis tools for detecting defects in test artifacts. Brian has a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering from the University of Washington.
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