Bill Watson

Bill Watson

Bill Watson

Test Manager, BBC

Outsourced software

An often overlooked area of software testing is the acceptance testing of outsourced software. The BBC primarily outsources its large IT systems and as such has a multi-million pound IT infrastructure spend; when these software and systems are delivered to the BBC we need to ensure it meets the needs of the business users who requested it.

This has traditionally been done by the business users (SMEs) having a test expert help them to create test suites mapped to their business requirements or even by the test expert writing the tests for the SMEs. The SMEs then run the tests on the software when it is delivered.

This approach has a number of drawbacks; high time overheads for valuable SMEs who are more concerned with their day jobs, formulaic test cases based solely on requirements, happy path only testing, testing that morphs into education sessions. In order to streamline this process we have been experimenting with using Session Based Testing with SMEs. In this presentation we propose to outline a case for doing so, covering why it is useful for both the test expert and the SME, how it can reduce confusion and still provided demonstrable metrics.

This presentation will provide a valuable insight into the challenges presented by UAT and some methods that can help to enhance this test phase. It will be of interest to test professionals conducting UAT, those delivering large software projects to third parties and to those interested in the broader spectrum of test activity.

Bill Watson started in IT with a Dragon 32 computer in the early 1980s. Having a computer with a less than popular OS meant adapting his first programmes from a ZX Spectrum magazine and lengthy debugging sessions ensued. After diversions into a number of non-tech fields, he returned to the fold and now has over twenty years’ experience in the IT industry. In this time he has worked in both contract and permanent roles, ranging in scale from multinationals like Sony Ericsson, to being the first tester in the door at small companies. His career ranges from establishing a QA Department for a Kenyan company using sub $50 handsets to revolutionise commodity collection and distribution in East Africa, to testing the first full colour touch screen mobile phone outside of Japan. Bill is currently a Test Manager in the BBC, responsible for accepting outsourced IT into the corporation.