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How NIIT Technologies is Transforming Testing Activities for Agile Projects

 

NIIT Technologies is undergoing significant change with its software and software product testing services, reflecting the impact of agile projects for building digital applications. We recently spoke with the head of their CoE for Agile and DevOps to find out more.

NIIT Tech Embedding Testing Work in Agile Development Activities

The iterative nature of agile requires testing to be embedded in the development lifecycle. NIIT Technologies is accordingly driving more software testing activities towards its agile developer teams with them performing more testing activities, not just unit testing (that has traditionally been performed by developers), but also functional, regression, and performance testing. This is a significant change.

To enable developers to perform testing activities normally performed by career testers, NIIT Tech is relying on two levers:

  • Training. NIIT Tech has expanded the scope and duration of its induction training: recently-recruited developers now go through training on test design, test script creation, regression, and functional testing automation in addition to traditional software development. This testing training represents approximately one to two weeks of additional training, taking the total up to eight or nine weeks
  • Functional and performance testing automation. NIIT Technologies continues to build and enhance its testing accelerators, an example being QA Autonomics. Clients of NelsonHall's Software Testing research program can find out more about this in our May 2016 profile of NIIT Tech.

One aspect of NIIT Technologies’ automation strategy is adding newer partners to its software ecosystem (in addition to the traditional HPE, Compuware, and IBM), both for newer functionality needs (e.g. application performance monitoring with AppDynamic and Dynatrace) and for competitive pricing models (e.g. Neotys, or open source software).

Also, from an organizational standpoint, NIIT Technologies is driving a change in development activities, e.g. behavior-driven development (BDD), and is using open source software such as Cucumber, SpecFlow, and JBehave.

NIIT Technologies’ recently developed TestOps service relies on ‘signals’ at the development, testing, and production phases, coming from data from production logs, service desk/ITSM tools, test defect management tools, and requirement analysis tools and coverage analysis. TestOps development uses SonarQube (static code and technical debt analysis) and other tools such as application performance management.

To drive this automation and organizational transformation, NIIT Technologies has set up an agile transformation methodology and launched its Excelerate platform (we will be commenting on those two initiatives in a later blog).

Testing CoEs Moving to Specialized Testing Services

These developments are part of a wider drive by NIIT Technologies to change the profile of its testing activities, repositioning the traditional testing services provided from its CoEs to offering more specialized testing services such as service virtualization, test data management, test environment provisioning, static code analysis, and reporting for test coverage.

What is the scale of this change? Significant, already! NIIT Technologies asserts that a massive 90% of its software development activity is now centered on agile development activities. NelsonHall estimates that NIIT Tech has ~3.5k software developers, which means that ~3.1k could be working on agile projects.

With agile developers taking onboard many testing activities, the need for specialized career testers is decreasing. Based on discussions with vendors such as NIIT Tech, NelsonHall estimates that for every 100 agile developers there will be a requirement for just 15-20 specialized career testers. Reskilling of existing career testers is therefore on the agenda. So far, we are seeing developers becoming testers. The question is whether testers will be able to become more specialized, or become developers.

Obviously, the transition from software testing to specialized testing services is not going to happen overnight, and many clients will retain the traditional testing factory model, if only for waterfall projects. Nevertheless, the transformation of NIIT Technologies’ testing services business demonstrates the extent to which adoption of agile is disruptive.

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