A Software Testing Centre of Excellence seems to mean different things to different people and organizations. Over the past year, NVP Software Solutions has talked to a lot of Testing Centres of Excellence to have found that one year later these Centres have complete disappeared or have   shrunk so far down that they 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. These different types of Testing Centres don’t even appear to have defined names, so here are the descriptions we’ve come up with:

  1. A research group that looks for best practices inside and outside the organization in order to become widely accepted within the organization and important to be used.
  2. A group that supplies support to testing endeavours. This type of group does not do testing; they supply expertise or a repository of information that supports other groups in their testing efforts. Sometimes they also have templates and guidelines that support the required documentation.
  3. 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.
  4. A group that supplies resources to projects as required. This group has a pool of testers who are seconded to projects on an as needed basis and then return to the Testing Centre of Excellence when the project winds down.
  5. A team that actually delivers testing. This is like a centralized testing department through which all projects have to go in order to be certified ready for production.

The gradations here are fairly obvious, we are moving from a purely theoretical group to a highly practical group. Many of them still do not last for an extended period of time and some are managed by people with no background (and sometimes no interest) in testing.

Next Week: Further discussions of TCoEs.