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STAG SOFTWARE – In Pursuit of Cleanliness

Vimali Swamy
Sunday, October 3, 2010
Vimali Swamy
There has been significant progress in the field of software testing in recent years. However, one finds it hard to provide a logical means to get closer to perfection. A typical approach to testing based on the activity-based model consists of strategizing, planning, designing, automating, executing, and managing. Over the years, the industry has moved from completing these activities in one go in to an agile version consisting of these activities done in short increments and the field of software testing has been littered with jargons, process models, and tools. Yet the notion of ‘guarantee’ seems elusive.

Is it possible to guarantee quality?

‘Guarantee’, implies that the deployed software will not cause business loss and that the means of validation can be proven to be correct. It is generally understood that testing is a process of uncovering defects done via a good mix of techniques, tools, and people skills. To make guarantees, it is imperative that the approach to evaluation be sharply goal-focused. Goal-focused evaluation means that one should have clarity as to what potential defects we have to go after. Once the potential defects are discerned by employing a scientific approach, it is possible to arrive at an effective validation strategy, a complete set of test cases, better measures of cleanliness (quality), and appropriate tooling. It is to achieve this quality of guaranteed clean software that STAG Software is striving on. Founded in 2000, STAG Software is a boutique test engineering company headquartered in Bangalore. Having pioneered a scientific approach to testing – Hypothesis based testing (HBT), it is attempting to swim against the current by defying the traditional approach to testing. Today, a decade since its humble beginnings, HBT is being slowly accepted as a more result-oriented option by the industry.

HBT – Hypothesis Based Testing

Hypothesis Based Testing (HBT) is a test methodology based on solid scientific principles, It is like a Sherlock Holmes-ian approach to testing ? hypothesize potential defects and then scientifically construct the strategy, test cases, measures, and tooling. HBT is a personal test methodology consisting of six stages of cleanliness. It is powered by STEM™ (STAG Test Engineering Method), a scientific test engineering method consisting of eight personal thinking disciplines aided by thirty two core concepts that aid scientific enquiry. Evaluation of a software or system in HBT consists of setting up cleanliness criteria, then identifying potential defect types, staging them in an optimal order to create a cost-effective staged evaluation model, formulating the various types of test and corresponding techniques, a formal design process to ensure that the test cases are sufficient, and then automating them as needed.

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