Software testing is an ever-shifting process and keeps on changing to accommodate the dynamic requirements. Testing maturity is the extent to which the process is optimized to accept the changes. The test maturity indicates how well the testing process is managed, measured, monitored, and the yielded results.

Why does testing maturity matter?

A mature quality assurance process completely covers the needs of stakeholders and ensures stable product delivery. In case of any product quality issues, hectic measures may not work well, and it will require additional time to ensure agile delivery. This is exactly where test maturity can save time and effort. A mature testing process provides action and behavior patterns for managing the possible quality assurance challenges. This set of actions helps in resolving the issues efficiently while reducing the negative effects and time. It looks like test maturity is a must-have but how to build it? Fortunately, there are various test maturity models. 

What is the Test Maturity Model?

Test Maturity Model (TMM) helps in improving the software testing practices while raising the IT standards. The higher the level, the better the process of software development. The primary purpose of the test maturity model is to provide targets to enhance the software testing process and find maturity. TMM works on structured levels and is based on the Capability Maturity Model (CMM). Recently, TMM was replaced by Test Maturity Model Integration (TMMI) which is a five-level model to measure the testing process maturity. 

Levels of the test maturity model

The different levels of TMM define the varied stages of test maturity according to their goals and capabilities.  Every level of test maturity model contains:

  • Responsibilities and tasks required to achieve goals

  • Limitations and scope of the level

Goals to achieve the specific benchmark of maturity.

Level 1 (Initial)

At this stage, the activities are very unplanned and inconsistent.  There is very little significance of planning, standards, and guidelines at this stage. There is no consistent process of conducting any task. The most important thing at this level is meeting the timelines, irrespective of the quality of the deliverables. Due to the lack of pre-defined processes, the same task is conducted differently by different people.

Level 2 (Repeatable) 

In this phase, the processes, standards, and methodologies are defined to solve the quality assurance processes. The processes and standards are finalized and documented so that they can be re-used for similar tasks in the future. The same steps can be used repeatedly for doing similar work.

Level 3 (Defined)

At this stage of the test maturity model, teams are motivated to follow the set processes and standards. The processes are conveyed to the team and the required skills are identified at this stage. The necessary training is also provided to the team in this phase. The primary focus is on process standardization, documentation, and integration.

Level 4 (Managed) 

The processes are measured quantitatively at this level. The analysis is conducted by dividing the processes into sub-processes, and quantitative techniques are applied to measure the performance. Based on the analysis, the processes are adjusted without degrading the quality of the deliverables. In a nutshell, the processes are measured and controlled in this phase.

Level 5 (Optimizing) 

This level of the test maturity model is concerned with continuous improvement. Innovative ways are identified to improve the pre-defined standards and processes. For this purpose, the processes are monitored and re-engineered continuously with the help of new technologies and tools. Another way to optimize the processes is by benchmarking other organizations and adding innovations to ensure continuous process improvement.

Benefits of the Test Maturity Model

The greatest benefits of TMM are the enhancement of software quality, increased test productivity, and reduced product risks. It highlights how TMM can help in making organizations leaner and efficient. Some core benefits include:

  • Prevention of defects – The test maturity model emphasizes preventing the defects rather than detecting the bugs at a later stage. It helps in making the testing process a part of every phase of the software development lifecycle. It also ensures to identify maximum defects and make the final product error-free.

  • Organized – Every TMM level is well-defined and serves a specific purpose, which automatically makes this model very well-organized.

  • Clear requirements – It helps in verifying the test cases and plans against requirements to achieve more accurate testing.

  • Quality assurance – TMM enables testing integration in all phases of the software life cycle. The analysis of test processes ensures a good quality product. 

Let’s explore how businesses are leveraging the benefits of TMMi. In 2020, the TMMi foundation surveyed over 150 organizations to understand the benefits of TMMi. The most interesting fact here is that even at the lowest level, 40% of surveyed respondents have leveraged the benefits of TMMi that have accelerated software delivery.

Here is the anecdotal evidence about the benefits of TMMi provided to a variety of service providers over the years.

  • A bank has saved 8% of its IT budget while improving output by 12%.

  • An insurance service provider has saved £440,000 on a project of £2,000,000.

  • A department in the UK government has realized 40% savings with the implementation of TMMi Level 3.

  • The defect detection rate of a software service provider has been improved from 78% to 96%.

  • A retail business has started saving over 12% on every project.

Background of TMMi

The Testing Maturity Model (TMM) was developed initially at the Illinois Institute of Technology in 1996. The TMMi framework has been developed by the TMMi foundation as a reference framework for the testing process improvement. The concept of maturity levels has been used by TMMi with the further inclusion of process areas, practices, and goals. 

Types of test maturity models

These maturity models can be classified into two types: globally recognized models and custom models. The choice of test model depends on the objectives of the company. For example, an automotive company may choose a custom maturity model. And a testing vendor may choose a globally recognized model as it can be applied to a wide range of projects.

  • Custom models: These models are developed for the specific organization, business goals, customers, etc. It allows a high flexibility level for projects but may increase the projects costs and time-to-market.

  • Globally recognized models: These models cater to a wide range of companies. The most common model is TMMi (Test Maturity Model Integration). It clearly defines the criteria to comply with every level of test maturity.

How to assess the current test effectiveness of your organization?

Measuring and monitoring the test activities is a crucial step as it provides the necessary insights into the test progress, quality, and productivity of the system under test. The primary aim of test metrics is to improve the testing process and performance. This includes:

  • How many bugs are identified, reopened, deferred, and closed?

  • How much time is taken for testing?

  • What is the budget requirement for conducting the tests?

  • How many bugs could not be identified by the team?

  • Were the test efforts reliable and adequate?

  • Is testing done on time?

The answers to these questions need reliable measurement techniques. Metric based approach is one of the best techniques to improve the testing process and estimate the testing process efficiency. 

Let’s explore some commonly used test metrics:

  • Total number of bugs found at different development stages – It provides an overview of the quality of the product at different levels.

  • Total number of bugs identified/missed/resolved/rejected – It helps in understanding the awareness and project understanding level of the testing team.

  • Total number of automation test cases written and used – This metric is not used commonly but helps in understanding the project automation requirement.

  • Test coverage – It helps in determining the test coverage of the application. It ensures that all the critical features are tested properly, and a bug-free application is delivered,

  • User feedback – The testing efficiency should be measured based on the feedback of users. If critical bugs are reported by the user, it will hamper the product and brand reputation. 

Test maturity model in an agile environment

Today, there is a lot of software being developed and tested in agile environments to accelerate product delivery and manage dynamic business priorities. Most organizations are adopting agile methods and testing processes to attain a level of maturity and acceptance. These organizations are implementing the best practices using agile models like SAFe, SCRUM, etc. However, a practical approach to improve the level of maturity is to follow the Test Maturity Model (TMM) that provides a staged approach.

Here are the 5 steps to improve agile test maturity:

  1. Discover and document – This step defines the testing process based on goals and objectives, timelines, risks, constraints, and key focus areas of the organization. 

  2. Analyze and benchmark – The best way to improve agile maturity is to determine the current state in terms of people, process, test automation, environment, automation, and test data practices. It is recommended to develop an end-to-end test assessment framework using Test Maturity Model (TMM), prioritize key focus areas, and benchmark them against the industry.

  3. Develop a roadmap – Based on the results of the analysis phase, the transformation agenda can be decided. It will act as a roadmap to achieve testing efficiency goals. 

  4. Transformation approach – In this phase, a target operating model can be designed for transformation. The key focus areas to select this model are functional and non-functional test coverage, test tools, test efficiency, transformation levers like skilled resources, infrastructure, and subject matter experts.

  5. Continuous process improvement – This step requires formal audits, self-assessments, and third-party audits to improve existing processes, and mark a positive impact on business outcomes.

Achieve your software testing goals with QAonCloud

Developing software seems to be a difficult task but maintaining software efficiency is a more tedious, expensive, and time-consuming task. However, a standard testing process like TMM (Testing Maturity Model) can help in achieving best-in-class software efficiency. This process is designed to address the testing issues and improve the maturity of testing practices. 

If you are also looking to implement an agile testing strategy, contact our QA experts. Our standard test automation framework and dedicated software testing experts can help you build your tests efficiently and quickly. Get in touch with us today.