The last few weeks I’ve been too busy working on my company’s vision on creating a more effective and efficient application lifecycle. It’s about focusing on the every activity is the lifecycle instead of only focus on one activity, like Testing. The coming weeks I will be posting around some of the ideas we have around this vision.
The PointZERO vision
These posts will consist of some key point around the vision of PointZERO, as will be published in the new book ‘The PointZERO® vision’, which we’ve subtitled ‘Stop wasting time and money’. PointZERO® is a vision aimed at increasing business success by parallel and step-by-step improvement across the application lifecycle, to shorten time to market, avoid and reduce cost, eliminate risk, and reach fit for purpose quality.
The basic principles underlying this vision have been around for decades, but still this vision is new. I believe that this vision is a positive step forward because the parallel and step-by-step changes behind the concept actually work.
Time for change
I believe that now is the right time for our industry to make these changes, which for too long have been put to one side as being too difficult to achieve. One reason is that there is now a real need for change, with global economies hit by multiple crises, and the rise of multiple interconnected delivery channels (online, social media, mobile apps) resulting in a complex landscape in which delivering added value is more challenging. Companies that rely on time to market, optimized operational costs, and a positive customer experience should take note.
Quality Assurance +
It can be seen as ‘quality assurance +’. As is stated on Wikipedia quality assurance (QA) is based on two principles. These are: ‘fit for purpose’, the product should be suitable for the intended purpose; and ‘right first time’, mistakes should be eliminated. QA includes management of the quality of raw materials, assemblies, products and components, services related to production, and management, production and inspection processes. But what’s missing is another principle around how ‘right first time’ can be achieved; ‘no faults forward’.
The no faults forward principle
Traditionally testers get blamed for delays in the project due to overrun of the forecasted test-time. To make clear what actually happens, it is better to rename the testing phase to ‘fixing phase’. This term triggers project managers and other stakeholders to question why things have to be fixed in this phase. Could this have been fixed earlier? Or could these faults have been prevented in the first place?
This can be achieved with working with the principle of ‘no faults forward’. Each activity in the application lifecycle should be organized in such a way that defects are prevented as much as possible and measures are taken to detect defects in the same activity where they could originate. Completely preventing defects may be too ambitious. As long as people are involved in the application lifecycle defects will occur, since people are fallible. Therefore we do need defect detection measures in place; unacceptable defects need to be fixed.
The ‘no faults forward’ principle may sound like utopia, and indeed this cannot be easily achieved. It requires a process of growing to a higher level of maturity and in this process many small steps have to be taken. Besides this a ‘zero defect’ situation is seldom required. Defects in low-risk areas may very well be acceptable since the cost of quality would be too high compared to the low damage of a defect that causes a failure during live operation.
In addition to ensure quality and to reduce the number of defects, requirements management has to be performed thoroughly in every activity. Changes have to be evaluated considering all effects they would have on the entire application lifecycle.