How Right Preconditions Influence Test Success

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PreConditionsLet’s imagine a situation lots of you have probably been in. You enter a project that is going on for a while already. And you are given some progress reports, of course and an elaborate test plan, you do need to catch up, right? But what is a testing plan or even worse an elaborate plan? That’s right, a huge pile of papers. And yet this time you are surprised (in a pleasant way, which is even more rare) with the way the preconditions and assumptions are stated. They are miraculously addressed in the progress reports.

So what makes you happy about such a twist of events? Well, for starters the ‘paper pile’ is used to increase control over the project rather than to make foul excuses of why and how everything went or might go wrong. Software testing does require the professional to do his job, that’s the way to succeed.

I’d bet most of you have faced preconditions like, “the test environment is set up in a proper way and will be running by the 4-th of July 9if enough support given by supplier)”.  And it’s not even the misty ‘proper’ and ‘enough’ that buzz me off, it’s the fact that nobody’s responsible. Test environments don’t just run by themselves in a kind of magical and mysterious way. It’s all about hard work.

So we now understand what gave you that happy smile the moment you saw the preconditions at this project. The stated responsibility for appropriate provision of the test environment as well as the confirmation of the agreement given by the responsible side. Then the progress reports have been listing the actual status of the preconditions as reported to the responsible. So now you don’t have to worry about such unpleasant surprises as the environment being late or is received without appropriate support. And even if it will – none of your problems.

Thus you are now safe from PM’s, client representatives, scrum masters, the janitor lady kicking back and simply tossing the blame around after the done earlier easy preconditions. And that is of drastic importance for a software testing professional.

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