The value, challenges and best practices of automotive testing
Apr 12, 2022 by Rabih Arabi
The value of testing is often underestimated, not understood, or mostly an afterthought, but it can be the difference between success and failure.
We’re all focused on innovations and developing the best and most sophisticated features for our end users. But we must ask ourselves — what would these innovations and great features be like if they didn’t work as expected? Not usable, not fast enough, not available, not safe — what impact would neglecting quality present? One well-known consequence is OEM mass recall — this can significantly impact people’s lives and the company reputation, plus there’s the financial damage, and the internal impact of diminished team spirit, project escalation, team dissatisfaction, productivity reduction and talent loss. In short, testing is necessary to get the desired results of innovation.
So testing is necessary, but how should we do it? There are seven principles considered the foundation of testing — principles that the organization must understand and live by — principles that each tester must learn, understand and apply from a very early stage in their career.
Testing shows the presence of defects, not their absence
Exhaustive testing is impossible
Early testing saves time and money
Absence-of-errors is a fallacy
Testing is context dependent
Consider asking a few simple questions based on a current or previous project/program:
Simple questions, but not necessarily with simple answers. In fact, these questions don’t have any answers in most organizations, at least not answers which are clearly articulated and uniformly understood by project or program participants and stakeholders.
This absence of clear purpose, destination, objectives and success criteria is a significant problem. Therefore, the test manager must define test objectives for the project or program. These objectives must be aligned with stakeholders, documented in the test plan and considered in the testing definition of ‘done’.
Late involvement of testing expertise that leads to unplanned costs and potential loss of reputation
Early testing saves time and money, so test experts should be involved in the very early stages of a project. These experts can help in the planning of projects, especially when it comes to defining the testability, test effort estimation and identifying the required resources and skills.
Lack of test planning leads to problems, issues and escalations
Exhaustive testing is not possible, therefore test planning is a very important step to start with.
Underestimation of testing roles and responsibilities
Define clear testing roles and responsibilities within the organization — this will prevent testers from becoming overworked or overloaded. It also contributes to defining a career path for the tester community, giving testers an outlook of career steps and development plans.
Miscommunication due to a different understanding of testing terms and definitions
Terminologies and definitions in the testing domain are an important part of understanding customer needs and expectations (and being on the same page as management and colleagues). The best way to tackle this challenge is to define a test mission for the company and create a glossary — a good starting point is the ISTQB and ISO 29119 for software testing.
Deliver what was sold/promised to the customer
Talking from the test perspective, you should never sell the customer the idea of delivering a defect-free software/product as this is simply not possible. Defining metrics helps in figuring out if you’re heading in the right direction, whether the objectives of testing have been met and to what extent. Using these metrics will continuously help in improving testing efficiency and effectiveness.
Enhance testing technical expertise
As technology evolves, it’s important to keep our technical skills up to date so you’re always ready to embrace change. Supporting the team and giving them a chance to develop their technical ability is a key aspect of nurturing employees.
Being better and different from competitors is very important for the business and its growth. Having a key differentiator when it comes to employee value proposition is also crucial to keep, grow and scale the business.
The Luxoft system test and validation team have testing experts across technology domains such as IVI testing, sensor-system testing, driver monitoring systems, data services and connected vehicle system testing. Contact us to learn more about how we can advise and support you.