As we mentioned in our last blog, a Software Testing Centre of Excellence can mean different things to different organizations. Over the past year, NVP Software Solutions has talked to a lot of Testing Centres of Excellence only to have found that one year later these Centres are now irrelevant. Because the Software Testing Centre of Excellence can mean so many different things, we wanted to define the various types we have come across. The first one we want to focus on is:

A research group that looks for best practices inside and outside the organization.

This seems like the most impractical possibility although it can be a lot of fun for the involved personnel. Basically the group would look at any or all of the following with a view to incorporating them into the organisation.

  1. Appropriate Software Testing tools – obviously this can break into many categories of tools. However, having a group with no ties to any particular project can overcome one of the major problems associated with the acquisition of Software Testing tools – namely that many are selected for a particular project and have limited applicability to any other project. Having an independent group doing the selection overcomes that bias.
  2. Appropriate phases and depth of testing – an independent group can research best practices for testing the type and criticality of the software in the particular organisation and determine what the best people in the industry are doing. This can then be used as a standard to which the projects can aspire.
  3. Best processes – this one is clearly extensive. Somewhat along the lines of the point directly above but possibly spanning more than one phase and laying out the depth, this can create a self-perpetuating Quality Assurance Improvement process. Having an independent group helps provide more general processes that are applicable throughout the organisation.

This group is clearly not focused on delivery (which some people consider critical for a Centre of Excellence). Discussion of that point will come in a future blog.