The Magic Quadrant for Software Test Automation

Mike HarrisOne of the most fundamental questions test engineers ask before starting a new project is what tools they should use to help create their automated tests. Luckily, Gartner issues a yearly report to address this issue. This report, “Magic Quadrant for Software Test Automation,” focuses specifically on functional software test automation and the UI automation facilities of tools. The use cases the report considers with regard to each tool includes:

  • They must support mobile applications
  • They must feature responsive design
  • They must support packaged applications

With those use cases as evaluation criteria, Gartner evaluated 12 major vendors:

1. Automation Anywhere
2. Borland
3. Hewlett Packard Enterprise
4. IBM
5. Oracle
6. Original Software
7. Progress
8. Ranorex
9. SmartBear
10. TestPlant
11. Tricentist
12. Worksoft

As part of its analysis, Gartner placed each vendor in one of four categories:

1. Leaders – Those who support all three use cases.
2. Challengers – Those who have strong execution but typically only support two of the use cases.
3. Visionaries – Those who generally focus on a particular test automation problem or class of user.
4. Niche Players – Those who provide unique functions to a specific market or use case.

Beyond that, the vendors were assessed by their ability to execute and their completeness of vision. In short, ability to execute is ultimately the ability of the organization to meet its goals and commitments. Completeness of vision is the ability of the vendor to understand buyers’ wants and needs and successfully deliver against them.

The Magic Quadrant

The result is above. It’s important to mention that Gartner notes that most organizations typically have more than one automation tool provider. In addition, many of the solutions are still maturing – and will continue to mature over time.

Gartner updates the report on an annual basis, and it’s valuable to any organization who does testing. Testing, as we often say at DCG, is a key part of the development process, but it’s one that is often overlooked. The information in this report can enable organizations to make educated choices about software vendors, resulting in improved software quality and execution.

Read the article: “Magic Quadrant for Software Test Automation.”


Mike Harris
CEO

Written by Michael D. Harris at 05:00
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Agile and Test-Driven Development: A Path to Improved Software Quality

AgileTDD

Agile is growing in popularity - we all know this to be true. And honestly, we're happy about it. When implemented properly, Agile offers great benefits to organizations. However, even with those benefits, there is one major drawback to the framework: it does not offer a strict definition of testing. 

With no definition, it's up to the individual organization to decide how to proceed with testing. The problem with this is that most organizations tend not to prioritize testing the way that they should. Instead of early detection and prevention, they leave testing until the end of a project, or even the end of a sprint, so it's more time consuming and costly to address. 

The answer lies in Test-Driven Development (TDD). TDD naturally complements the Agile framework, and it directly leads to software that is higher in quality. It also increases communication between the developers and testers, and ultimately between IT and the business (who are writing the requirements). 

To learn more about what TDD is and how it can work in tandem with Agile, read our latest publication, "Test-Driven Development and Agile."

Questions? Comments? Let us know!

Download

 

Written by Default at 05:00
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Test-Driven Development

James JandebeurTesting has always been a bit of a thorn in the side of software development, necessary as it is. It costs money and time, ties up resources, and does not result in easily tracked returns on investment. In a typical organization, the testing process beings after the development project is complete, in order to ferret out defects or make sure the software is fit for service. If there are problems, development needs to fix them, and then the testing process begins again. Do you see the problem with this cycle?

An alternative to the usual testing process is continuous testing, such as Test-Driven Development (TDD). TDD is not a new concept; it has been around since 2003, but it is still rarely used. The process is straightforward:

  1. Write a test for a single item under development.
  2. Run the test, which will fail.
  3. Write the code to enable the test to pass.
  4. Re-run the test.
  5. Improve the code and retest.

What is the point of this process? At first glance, it may appear that it would make the testing process more complicated, not less. However, it ensures that the testing process is continuous throughout the project. This means that testing is preventing defects rather than finding and repairing them after the fact, thus improving the quality of the final project. TDD provides a suite of tests for the software, almost as a side effect. The tests themselves, when well structured, can effectively provide documentation, as they show what a piece of code is intended to do. Finally, when combined with the user or product owner’s input, the process can be used to perform acceptance testing ahead of the coding, a process known as Acceptance Test-Driven Development, which can help to develop and refine requirements.

Each of these items will ultimately need to be done, regardless of whether they are a part of the traditional testing and re-coding process. TDD allows them to be done in a manner that reduces the number of times steps need to be repeated. Does your organization use TDD? Leave a comment and share your thoughts!

James Jandebeur
CFPS | CTFL

Written by James Jandebeur at 05:00

May Conferences with DCG Software Value

Last month we spoke at QAI's QUEST Conference and ITFMA's Financial World of IT Conference. Both conferences had a great turnout, and we are happy to report that we had engaged crowds for our presentations. Now we're looking forward to May. Here's where we're headed:

STAREast

STAREast is a TechWell conference focused exclusively on software testing and quality improvement. The conference runs May 1-6 in Orlando, but you can see CEO Mike Harris' presentation on May 4th at 1:45pm.

 

His presentation, "Budgeting, Estimation, Planning and #NoEstimates - They All Make Sense for Agile Testing!," shares a case study that provides an approach that “checks the box” for standard corporate estimation requirements, while staying true to the Agile planning and estimation processes. Using the Agile Planning Onion popularized by Mike Cohn, this approach includes team and project-level implementations of #NoEstimates concepts. Attendees will take away an approach that can be applied to testing for both small and large Agile efforts.

 

We've attended this conference several times, and we're interested to see what the hot topics are around testing this year.

 

CMMI Conference


CMMI's Capability Counts conference, May 10-11 in Annapolis, MD, is a must-attend for capability and process improvement enthusiasts. The conference has really broadened its focus to more than just the CMMI framework, allowing for more individuals to find value in attending.

 

For example, Tom Cagley, Vice President of Consulting, will be presenting on estimation. His presentation, "Budgeting, Estimation, Planning, #NoEstimates and the Agile Planning Onion - They ALL Make Sense,” part of the the “Advancing Your Capability” track, will discuss the many types of estimation, why they all have value and when they should be used (and in what combination).

CIO Forum

May 15-16 you can find Mike Harris back in Florida - this time in Miami - for The CIO Forum, which brings together senior-level IT executives to discuss critical, timely IT issues. Mike was invited back as a speaker for the conference (last year he spoke on the Value Visualization Framework). His presentation, "Portfolio Software Value Management," will discuss the strategic steps necessary to implement software value management at the portfolio level.

 

IIBA Philadelphia

 

Finally, if you're a member of The Greater Philadelphia Chapter of the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA), you can catch Tom Cagley and Tony Manno, Vice President of Outsourced Services, presenting at the May 20th meeting on Agile Story Telling.

 

As always, we'll share links to these presentations once the conference are over. If you're attending any of these events, let us know - we always enjoy catching up with old friends or meeting new ones!

Written by Default at 05:00
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April Conferences with DCG Software Value

Conference season is back in full swing! This month you'll find us at two different conferences - coincidentally held in the same city, on the same dates! Both of these conferences are ones we return to year after year, so we can be sure that this year's events will not disappoint.

QUEST conference

First up is the QUEST conference (Quality Engineered Software and Testing). The conference features an exhibition hall, presenters and workshops/tutorials with a focus on testing. Tom Cagley, our Vice President of Consulting, will present, "Budgeting, Estimation, Planning and #NoEstimates - They ALL Make Sense for Agile Testing!," on Wednesday, April 20, from 11:15am-12:15pm. Tom will explain the difference between budgeting, planning, and estimation, as applied to testing in an Agile environment, and when they make sense, when they don’t, and in what combination for testing.

He will also teach a workshop, "Agile Estimation," on Monday, April 18 from 8:30am-4:30pm. The course focuses on providing QA managers, test analysts, and test automation engineers with an in-depth understanding of the principles and methods of estimating leveraged in an Agile development environment, through a combination of lectures with hands-on technique practice.

DCG is also a sponsor of the event.

Date: April 18-22, 2016
Location: The Renaissance Chicago Downtown; Chicago, IL

IT Financial Management

The second place you'll find us is the IT Financial Management Association’s (ITFMA) Financial World of IT Conference. The focus of this event is how to improve IT financial management capabilities. Harrison Zipkin, our Director of VC/M&A, will present "Shifting Operating Expense to Equity Value," on April 20th in the afternoon. His presentation will discuss how to convert operating expenses to equity value, highlighting current methodologies in IT and finance to enhance ROI.

Date: April 18-22, 2016
Location: Palmer House Hilton Hotel; Chicago, IL 

So, that's where we'll be in April! After each conference the presentations will be available for download - we'll be sure to post the links on the blog (they'll also be in our newsletters).

Our full event calendar is available here.

Written by Default at 05:00

"It's frustrating that there are so many failed software projects when I know from personal experience that it's possible to do so much better - and we can help." 
- Mike Harris, DCG Owner

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