Critical success factors for TMMi implementation

There are a number of attributes that are regarded as critical success factors for the implementation of TMMi.

If these factors are not met this will create an immediate and considerable risk for the improvement program. The key factors are all related to the initiating and diagnosing phases of the IDEAL model.

Test policy

The test policy is an important document. It should include:

  • The philosophy of testing in the organisation
  • Definition of the goals of improvement
  • The rationale for improvement – in other words, why is the organisation attempting to improve?
  • What direction the organisation is moving from a testing perspective, and why?

The test policy (which should be based on and informed by the quality policy and any other relevant organisational policies) should be available and understood by all stakeholders.

Management commitment

Part of the Initiating phase of the IDEAL cycle is obtaining commitment. Factors to consider when attempting to obtain commitment from senior management include:

  • What commitments have already been made for management support?
  • What additional commitments are required – and from whom?
  • Is quality perceived as important in the organisation? How does the need for quality compare with other organisational business drivers, such as strict adherence to budgets, or meeting deadlines?
  • How does the organisation deal with a milestone where quality is poor?

Failure to gain management support means improvements are more likely to fail.

The Need to Improve

Before staff are willing to contribute to changes, they must recognise the need for improvement. Management need to be consistent and regular with the messages about needing to improve – and why (for example, a reduction in the number of defects is imperative or the time taken for testing must be made shorter.

The improvement goals have to match the requirement to change as defined in the published test policy so stakeholders receive a consistent message.

Improvement is a project

Change programs can often be complex, so it is vital that a formal project structure is created to manage the activities.

The project structure is established during the Initiating phase. The following should be in place:

  • Project Leader
  • Steering group
  • Allocated responsibilities
  • Plan and schedule
  • Reporting structure.

By defining a proper project structure the improvement effort is visible to all stakeholders who will then appreciate that the improvement is something that is being taken seriously.

Availability of Resources

The resourcing structure needs to be established early in the improvement project, i.e. during the Initiating phase.

Management must understand the choices available regarding the allocation of resource and must appreciate the impact of those choices

To allow staff only a limited number of hours a week on improvement activities does not usually work. If there is ‘business as usual’ pressure, the improvement activity time can be the first thing that gets cut.

It is a better solution to take staff off their BAU activities for an agreed number of days per week to allow them to concentrate solely on their improvement responsibilities. This can produce a better focus and progress.

Maturity of the (development) organisation

In the Diagnosing phase (Characterise current and desired states), review the surrounding processes that testing relies on and not just the test-centric processes. Unless there is some reasonable level of maturity to begin with, any improvement will be hard to introduce.

There are recognised activities to examine in the development process that testing depends on, for example:

  • Project planning process
  • Requirements definition and management
  • Test-basis quality determination
  • Configuration management