Activity: Test and Evaluate
This activity achieves appropriate breadth and depth of the test effort to enable a sufficient evaluation of the items being targeted by the tests, where sufficient evaluation is governed by the current test motivators and evaluation mission.
Extends: Test and Evaluate
DescriptionWork Breakdown StructureTeam AllocationWork Product Usage

Typically performed once per test cycle, this work involves performing the core tactical work of the test and evaluation effort: namely the implementation, execution and evaluation of specific tests and the corresponding reporting of incidents that are encountered.

For each test cycle, this work is focused mainly on:

  • Providing ongoing evaluation and assessment of the Target Test Items
  • Recording the appropriate information necessary to diagnose and resolve any identified Issues
  • Achieving suitable breadth and depth in the test and evaluation work
  • Providing feedback on the most likely areas of potential quality risk
Event Driven
Multiple Occurrences

The work is primarily centered around the Tester and Test Analyst roles. The most important skills required for this work include investigative and analytical skills, tenacity, thoroughness, good technical knowledge and good verbal and written communication skills (documentation of incidents, change requests and so on).

As a heuristic for relative resource allocation by phase, typical percentages of test resource use for this activity are: Inception - 05%, Elaboration - 25%, Construction - 40% and Transition - 35%.

Where the requirement for test automation is particularly important, it may be useful to assign the creation and maintenance of automation assets to a separate sub-team, allowing them to specialize on automation concerns. This allows the other team members to focus on the improvement of non-automation test assets.

Usage Guidance

Starting typically in Elaboration, this work is generally performed multiple times during an iteration, once per test cycle based on the availability of a series of Builds that warrant independent testing.

As noted, this work is typically performed multiple times during an iteration; the actual number of times often equating to once per Build. Note however that it's typical not to test every Build. Note also that the Build schedule will often result in this work increasing in frequency during the course of the iteration. The need for additional cycles is governed by assessing when appropriate breadth and depth of testing is achieved within a test cycle, which is the focus of the Activity: Achieve Acceptable Mission.

For iterations prior to and including those early in the Construction phase, additional effort is usually required to address tactical problems encountered for the first time during test implementation and execution. These issues often detract from the number of actual tests successfully implemented and executed and limit either the breadth or depth of the testing.

The sophistication and availability of test automation tools and the necessary prerequisite skills to use them effectively will have an impact on the resourcing of this work. It may be appropriate to strategically deploy specialized contract resource for some part of this work to improve the likelihood of success. It may also be more economical to lease the automation tools and contract appropriately skilled people to use the tools, especially to help mitigate the risks in getting started. You need to balance the benefits of this approach with the necessity to develop in-house skills to maintain automation assets into the future.

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