Even before there is an “system development life cycle” – testing in the form of thought experiments and evaluation can take place and add valuable information to the context.
My test management tasks are often about the next thing coming up. Bids for outsourcing agreements and application development often comes with a large document of test activities to be answered and elaborated. In this role I am the the subject matter expert (in test), and while have to write the tender reply for my domain. Sometime down the line the bid materials becomes an actual project, but by then I’m onto the next thing.
Sometimes I draw an analogy to the Secret Service advance team arriving two weeks before the president, setting up protection and identifying gaps – while then moving on to the next location before the president even gets there.
Another example of advance work for test people, is where the organisation uses frequent releases of systems. While the majority of the test effort is put into the release currently being tested, some effort must go into looking into the frame of the coming release. In the coming release the test manager can look for headlines to test, review initial high level design and find flaws and conflicts in the release content.
Sometimes I draw the analogy to the blue and gold teams of US nuclear submarines. While one full crew is out sailing/delivering, the shore team prepares, trains for the next big push.
Testing early can also be in the form of running simulations on various business case scenarios. Business simulations is all about experimenting and evaluating. For novel solutions prototyping, wire-framing and user experience activities helps develop minimum solutions to be tested for viability by the customer.
In the article “Continuous Testing in Dev Ops…” we see testing happening during Plan and Branch. In the article “A Context-Driven Approach to Delivering Business Value” testing can help establish viable market, match to vision and in identifying business risks.
testing related to revenue generation may focus on functionality or regulatory compliance; testing related to revenue protection may focus on maintainability or legal defense; testing related to supporting revenue may focus on business process improvement or cost reduction.
Testing is a lot of things – also outside the SDLC.