Friday, August 29, 2008

Test management and bug tracking tools

As part of my responsibilities as SQA Engineer to upgrade our QA overall processes, I have to evaluate free tools for handling Test Management and Bug tracking. Currently, my company has been using Eventum for handling support issues as well as Project Releases for many years.
We found that Eventum have limited features and capabilities which affects our efficiency and effectiveness in handling issues arise from Code Review and Software Testing. Furthermore, I can't find any free tools that can easily integrate with Eventum for Test Project Managements. This lead us to source for new free tools that cater for both Test Project and Bug Tracking Managements.
My new team member has suggested Mantis as he did used Mantis as the Bug Tracking tool in his previous company. My Manager also did used Mantis in her previous company. We evaluate Mantis as well as BugNet and few more bug tracking tools. Finally, we have decided to use Mantis as it is quite similar with Eventum but with additional features, capabilities and catered for multi-level projects. At the same time, we also look for Test Project Management tool that can easily be integrated with Mantis. TestLink is the best choice so far.
With TestLink, we can create the Test Cases for the Test Project dynamically and collectively. The testing is only be executed after created a Test Plan for the Test Project. Meaning that, each Test Project can have many Test Plan, which we previously called it as Releases in the Eventum. Once the Test Plan is created, the Test Cases is pooled from the Test Specification and assigned to the Tester. The assigned Tester will execute the Test Cases and manually select the option for the test outcome, which is either Failed, Blocked or Passed. For Failed or Blocked outcomes, we need to click on the bug's icon to enter the Mantis's Issue ID. We have customized this part where when the Tester click on the icon, they will automatically pointed to Mantis and able to report the issue, without need to login at different page. The same goes to Mantis where we have added link at each issue for the specific Test Case. Meaning that the QA/Tester focal point is the TestLink, while the Developer is Mantis.
As I've use both TestLink and Mantis now for few projects, I am very happy to say that both tools has complemented each other very well and most importantly has improve our efficiency and effectiveness tremendously.

My views of Quality - Food Industry

I'm graduated from The University of New South Wales, Australia in Bachelor of Science and majored in Food Science and Technology. I was really enjoyed my university years and looked forward to become a professional in Food related sectors. My most favorite subject was called Quality Evaluation and Control. Here I've learned the basic concepts of what the real meaning of Quality, such as Quality Assurance, Quality Control, Quality Management, ISO9001:2000 etc and how to apply the concepts for different type of risks. At that point, I've already set my mind to pursue my career in Food Quality Management.
Little did I wonder that in Food Industry, Quality is the most critical issues to handle. The risk is so high that require us to be innovative, creative and knowledgeable but at the same time to be firm in decision-making. Quality is about end-to-end process which started with the raw materials and only ends at the consumption point, without ignoring any single point of contacts that might be critical for the process. Therefore, HACCP become the most applicable and sought after certification in Food Industry. HACCP is stand for Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points, that analyzing the end-to-end process to determine the critical points of the process that will affects the overall quality. Once the critical points determined, it was analyzed for the risk levels and necessary measures to be taken. Therefore, the risk is properly handled, managed and controlled throughout the process, from preparing raw materials to the point of consumption.
Take for example, an ice cream manufacturing company. First of all, they have to make sure that the raw materials they ordered is as per specifications and not expired. Raw materials is checked against the required specification. Once the raw materials meet the specifications, they have to make sure that the equipments is cleaned and in good working conditions. The production environment must be clean, safe and free from contaminations. Then, the production process must be followed and monitored closely, from mixing, packing to hardening and so on. Transporting ice cream from factory to the customers is also need to be considered. Then, the storage of the ice cream at the customer sites must also taken into consideration up to the point of consumption. The quality is maintained and controlled throughout the food chains at the determined critical points. Missing or ignore one of the critical points might affetcs the quality of the ice cream directly and indirectly.
Now, I am working as Software QA Engineer. Though in Software Quality we don't apply HACCP principles, the concept is still applicable where Quality is starting from the beginning of the project until delivered. We use different in Software Quality as the risk management is different.

My Life before become QA Software Engineer

My previous company simply assigned me as QA and Operational Executive. I was responsible for the overall quality of the management of the Company as well as Production and Software development since I am the only QA there. I have developed an ISO9001:2000 Quality Management for the Company. Apart from that, I have developed SOP for the Production department, handled the Customer complaints, managed the Production Network & databases, as well as managed Software Testing and deployments. The hectic work schedule without having someone to assisst my work has taught me to be multi-tasker, efficient and be more pro-active. I've quickly learned the art and skill of good software tester. All-in-all, I have gained an invaluable experience throughout my 2.5 years there. Now I know what I want to become and vision myself as Professional Software QA.