Test Management Office “TMO”

“A high quality product that meets customer needs is the ultimate common goal that all testing teams thrive to achieve. Testing activities and processes should be well planned, prepared, executed and effectively tracked and monitored to ensure meeting that goal, and test management plays a significant role in organizing and controlling the process and artifacts required for those testing efforts. Having an effective test management is a critical part of developing high quality software products.”

 

The need to manage increasingly complex software products has resulted in the need for smart test management practices across every project. When the projects are large, complex and constrained, it can be almost impossible to track, control and manage testing activities. As a result of the need to standardize test management policies, processes and methods, the concept of TMO (Test Management Office) was introduced to become the source of direction, documentation and metrics related to the practices involved in handling and executing testing activities and processes. Establishing a TMO helps test managers focus on their key testing activities and eases the process to ensure successful delivery of the project.

TMOs vary in terms of size, structure and responsibilities, but most of them are expected to provide the following roles and responsibilities:

  • Develop and manage the overall test strategy. The test strategy should describe the testing approach of the software development cycle and it should manage the interdependencies of all test plans for all phases of testing.
  • Work with testing teams and the required stockholders to align test plans and test schedules. All factors should be taken into consideration to deliver detailed documents highlighting the objectives and needed processes for testing the end to end software product.
  • Ensure all test levels, sub levels, test techniques and test tools are identified.
  • Identify and manage risks. Risks related to schedules, deliverables, resources, cost and any other project constraint should be identified. Moreover, recommended risk mitigation strategies should be planned and documented.
  • Ensure the readiness of test artifacts. This includes test environments, test resources, required test data and the solutions to be ready for testing cycles.
  • Establish defect management process for all phases of testing. Defect management is a highly critical test management activity that needs to be effectively planned and implemented.
  • Monitor and control testing status. This includes defining the needed reports for all test levels and test cycles.
  • Always improve the quality of testing process.

TMOs should be always aligned with PMOs (Project Management Offices) to ensure the overall quality of the project. Activities of TMOs and PMOs are inter-correlated and both parties impact the effectiveness of each other’s processes and activities. TMOs activities, roles and responsibilities relate to and could be mapped to the different project phases. During the initiation phase, developing the overall test strategy will take place to be aligned with other strategies defined in this phase. In the planning phase, the TMO defines test plans and schedules in addition to risk planning. The design phase will include managing the design of test scenarios, test cases and test scripts after reviewing the test basis and requirements. In the implementation phase, TMO is responsible to manage the execution of tests designed earlier on the ready test artifacts. During the monitoring and controlling phase, the management of execution results, defects reporting and creating all the required status reports should be completed. Lastly, in the closure phase, the TMO manages the evaluation of actual activities against planned ones. Moreover, the required documentation should be finalized in addition to evaluating and documenting lessons learned for future projects.

Additional point that is worth mentioning is that TMO’s processes and activities might face some resistance when first introduced to the organization and different stakeholders. To avoid such resistance and to create a TMO that is a good cultural fit, it’s recommended to start out with well-defined pilot projects that could be well controlled. Designing the TMO’s processes and activities should take into consideration the organization culture. To do this you must take a look at the standards of the industry and its best practices, then you can modify and tailor them for the organization to ensure that your TMO is effective.

In conclusion, the TMO approach is introduced as a solution to overcome the challenges that face projects especially large, complex ones. These challenges could be related to project’s constraints in terms of scope, time, or cost or any other internal or external challenge. If designed effectively, the TMO can ensure getting the best quality of the product in a time and cost effective way, maintain an effective and efficient productivity of resources and most importantly, increasing customer satisfaction.

 

By: Batoul Burghleh

 

 

Bibliography

Ali, A. (2012, 12 9). Role of TMO (Test Management Office). Retrieved 2016, from https://prezi.com/a_c8ym_yrmup/role-of-tmo-test-management-office/

Horne, G. (2007). Building the Test Management Office. Retrieved 2016, from stickyminds: https://www.stickyminds.com/presentation/building-test-management-office

IBM. (2006, 11 7). Test management best practices. Retrieved 2016, from IBM: http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/rational/library/06/1107_davis/

 

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