Testing Schedule, Making Use of Resources Effectively
Jan 03

Testing Schedule, Making Use of Resources Effectively

Three reasons, why handling open issues systematically is important

There are three difficult steps in testing:

  1. How to get testing started effectively
  2. How to solve defects effectively
  3. Finalizing testing. Readiness 85%->100%

In this article, we focus on points 1 and 3.

When you make everyone work effectively, you can keep the right resources testing. If testers find themselves unused and then have to wait around, abracadabra – they have vanished. Fixing a bad start takes a lot of effort.

Now we create testing schedule for the example plan, ergo a plan about what to do and when.

Starting point:

  • Acceptance testing, where the testers are people from the business
  • Duration: four weeks
  • Resources available 50% of the working time
  • Simplified example, so that the idea is clearer
Projecttop testing schedule - calendar invites

Note: Calendar invites for the business should be made at least one month in advance, otherwise all other activities will start to fill up people’s calendars. This of course means that the planning needs to start early on as well.

Kick off

Going through acceptance testing on schedule, and with sterling quality, is vital for the success of business critical projects. The kick-off -event is a good place to sell your plan to the people taking part in acceptance testing. If the sale is not done, several things might happen:

  • The value of your calendar invites crashes down. Everything else overrides the testing invites and eventually testers won’t arrive for testing.
  • Testing and logging of observations is not systematic. Reporting and management gets more difficult.
  • Testers and vendors are not committed to your plan.

Even though everyone is always busy, it’s important to find time for communication.

Smoke testing

Before starting acceptance testing, it’s good to put it through so called smoke testing. This will make sure that we actually have the readiness to start acceptance testing.

“Testing is also marketing. People can create activities on their own. If the first contact is a failure, testers will complain about the solution. “I knew it wasn’t going to work”. This message will only hinder the project. Resources will have to be used to change the users’ opinion.

Projecttop testing schedule - smoke testing
Projecttop testing schedule - days

Testing days

The most effective days for testing are usually Tuesday, Thursday and Friday before lunch.

  • On Monday, there’s usually a lot to do for the business to start the week.
  • On Wednesday fixes are usually made, so there’s something to test on Thursday.
  • On Friday afternoon people’s minds start to wander.

Be ready early on, so you can get the days you want. Keep in mind there are a lot of other important things going on in the business besides testing.

Week 1: The beginning is always the hardest

To get the testing effectively going, there needs to be a strong start:

  • Clear work lists, so that everyone knows what they are doing.
  • Clear instructions, so that everyone knows how to test and log observations.
  • Strong support from testing, so that testing is done right.
  • Strong ability to react, so that the problems can be solved.

Week 2 and 3: Keep on going ahead with the testing

Make sure that every tester is working effectively. When things seem to go well, don’t let it fool you. Make sure fixing and retesting are working effectively as well.

“Important: Make sure the testing manager has enough time for managing. This means no extra meetings, because managing testing should be made a priority.

Projecttop testing schedule - testing schedule
Projecttop testing schedule - testing schedule

Final week: Finish testing

Finishing every last test takes huge effort from the project manager. How to fix correct defects, so that the tests can be properly finished? It’s like solving a giant puzzle.

Because this is something we know, room should be made for the final spurt, when planning the testing schedule. If you look closely at the picture below, there are one or two days left to spare.

Things missing from the example

I simplified the example, so that the idea would stand out better. When you are planning a testing phase, take note of other things going on as well. Communicate and negotiate.

  • Others make plans too and want the best resources.
  • Training, introductions, planning implementation and acceptance testing are usually going on at the same time. Make sure resource plans don’t conflict with testing.
  • Make sure there aren’t any major events coming up in the business. They will most likely surpass testing.
  • Vacations, leave of absence etc. For example, if there are several people absent from the same department, your resource might have to fill in for them.

Jyrki Autio

CEO of Projecttop He’s often hired to save projects that are far behind schedule, are going over budget, or aren’t meeting quality standards. He also commonly trains people in specialist and consulting companies that sell project management or software development services.