As we mentioned in our first blog, a Software Testing Centre of Excellence can mean different things to different organizations. Because the Software Testing Centre of Excellence can mean so many different things, we have been defining the various types we have come across over the past few years. Last week we talked about a Testing Support Group in Software Testing Centre of Excellence – Part 3. This week we want to focus on:

A team that supports one or more test tools in the organization. This group may hold the administration rights to the tool; be responsible for the initial configuration; set up projects within the tool (if applicable) and generally provide support.

The endeavours of this group can range drastically. Some of them are simply a repository for the software testing tools within an organization. They are responsible for maintaining the licensing, keeping versions up-to-date and making copies available to project teams or departments as required. They may periodically survey the user community in the organization to see if the tools are being used and whether to keep them (which can lead to the interesting situation where the maintenance and licensing fees are paid by one department yet the benefit is shared by a lot more departments).

A different and more active role can be very effective. In this situation the following are true of the team:

  1. They identify the most effective tools for their organisation.
  2. They acquire, configure, and administer the tools.
  3. They install or provide the tools to the relevant projects.
  4. They provide resources to the projects and make sure that the test tool is used effectively for the project.
  5. They resolve any issues.

This group is more focused on delivery (which some people consider critical for a Centre of Excellence) although they may not have direct project responsibility. Discussion of that point will come in our next blog.