Examine the software architecture and its target environments
To gain an understanding of the software architecture and its relationship to the target deployment
To perform this task within the appropriate context, it is important to have a good understanding of the software being
developed, its architecture and the key mechanisms and features that it will support. Examine the available
documentation for the software architecture to gain an initial understanding and supplement this with interviews or
discussions with the software architect as required. Consider the impact that each target deployment environment might
have on this information and note any important findings you think may be relevant to the test effort.
Identify candidate mechanisms for test
To identify the potential test mechanisms that the testing approach will require.
Using your knowledge of the software architecture and its target environments, examine the information provided in the
test approach. Consider the key technical aspects of the approach and assemble a list of candidate mechanisms that will
be needed to support it. Here is a partial list of common mechanisms you should consider as candidates; persistence,
concurrency, distribution, communication, security, transaction management, recovery, error detection handling &
reporting, and process control & synchronization.
Note that these mechanisms often apply to both manual and automated test efforts, although a specific mechanism may
have more or less relevance to manual or automated testing. Also note that even where the same mechanism is required
for both manual and automated test efforts, the characteristics of the implemented solution will usually differ.
Inventory the existing test mechanisms
To identify opportunities to reuse existing implementations for the candidate mechanisms and identify which
additional implementations will need to be developed.
Examine the available test tools and existing test implementations and create an inventory of mechanisms that have one
or more existing solutions. While this step is more obviously relevant in terms of the automated test effort, there are
some equivalent considerations for the manual test effort.
Start by compiling a list of the tools available to you or that you plan to purchase. Remember that automation tools
take many forms and your list will usually include more than the automated test implementation and execution tools. For
each tool, examine the mechanisms provided by the tool. For example, does the scripting tool you plan to use provide
its own data persistency mechanism, and if so, is it appropriate for your needs or will you need to supplement it?
Other questions might include; Does the execution tool allow concurrent execution of test scripts on multiple host
client machines? Does the execution tool allow distribution of scripts from a central master machine to multiple host
Where existing test automation implementations are available, there will be additional mechanisms to inventory. Some
aspects of these implementations will extend or supplement the basic mechanisms provided by the tools to make them more
useful. Other aspects will offer implementations for additional mechanisms not provided in the base tool.
At a basic level, this will involve reviewing the test guidelines that exist for test implementation and execution. You
should look for existing process solutions for issues such as concurrency-how testers can share data sets, especially
existing data beds without adversely affecting each other; distribution-if the test team is distributed, what solutions
are available to coordinate the separate test efforts.
Define the test mechanisms you will use
To communicate the decisions made about the required test mechanisms.
Now that you've decided on the test mechanisms required, you need to communicate your choices to the test team and
other stakeholders in the test effort. We recommend you document the decisions about the test mechanisms required for
automation as part of the the Test Automation Architecture documentation, and those that relate to manual testing as
part of the Test Guidelines.
As an alternative to formal documentation, you might choose to simply record this information as a set of informal
architecture and process notes accompanied by some explanatory diagrams, possibly retained on a white-board. During
test implementation and execution individual testers will make use of this information to make tactical decisions.
Where you have identified the potential requirement for special test interfaces that will need to be built into the
software being developed, you should consider recording this requirement by creating one or more outlined Test
Interface Specifications; this outline should provide a name, brief description and enumerate the main test interface
requirements or features. Avoid spending a lot of time on these outlines; the list of requirements and features will be
subsequently detailed in Task: Define Testability Elements.
Evaluate and verify your results
To verify that the task has been completed appropriately and that the resulting work products are
Now that you have completed the work, it is beneficial to verify that the work was of sufficient value, and that you
did not simply consume vast quantities of paper. You should evaluate whether your work is of appropriate quality, and
that it is complete enough to be useful to those team members who will make subsequent use of it as input to their
work. Where possible, use the checklists provided in RUP to verify that quality and completeness are "good enough".
Have the people performing the downstream tasks that rely on your work as input take part in reviewing your interim
work. Do this while you still have time available to take action to address their concerns. You should also evaluate
your work against the key input work products to make sure you have represented them accurately and sufficiently. It
may be useful to have the author of the input work product review your work on this basis.
Try to remember that that RUP is an iterative delivery process and that in many cases work products evolve over time.
As such, it is not usually necessary-and is often counterproductive-to fully-form a work product that will only be
partially used or will not be used at all in immediately subsequent work. This is because there is a high probability
that the situation surrounding the work product will change-and the assumptions made when the work product was created
proven incorrect-before the work product is used, resulting in wasted effort and costly rework. Also avoid the trap of
spending too many cycles on presentation to the detriment of content value. In project environments where presentation
has importance and economic value as a project deliverable, you might want to consider using an administrative resource
to perform presentation tasks.