Testing is a unique role within the SDLC that is difficult to estimate and perform well. The testing process starts as early as possible during the project initiation all the way to the 'go-live' point and includes live support. It is important that an experienced Test Manager is assigned throughout the life of the project to ensure that all testing activities are appropriately resourced and executed. One of the most important roles in the testing is to know where you are up to and how much testing effort is outstanding.
Very few organisations have metrics on the testing effort and fewer organisations are willing to slip the delivery date of a product because testing is incomplete. Projects are always running late with very few that are able to even come close to release on the planned dates and as the development schedule slips, one of the first tasks to be reduced is the testing.
An experienced Test Manager that has supporting metrics, test tools will be able to assess and advise where any reduction can be made that places minimal risk to the business should the testing effort be reduced. By utilising test management tools which are a central repository for test cases, test execution results and defect management the work can be assigned to various testers and tracked for coverage. This means that at any point in time the Test Manager is in a position to know exactly where they are up to in the process and what effort is still remaining. This enables the project management team to assess any risks associated with outstanding defects and the general ability to deploy.
Testing needs to be performed in a structured manner to ensure that everything that needs to be done gets done as well as being repeatable. Test management tools can be tailored to fit into the organisations development and testing methodologies and allow for customisation in the areas of naming conventions, test planning, defect management, priorities and trace ability between user requirements, test conditions, test cases, test execution and defects.