6.3. Expect the Unexpected: A Change Management Database

No matter how well you plan, no matter how carefully you follow up, no matter how effectively you work with your testers, colleagues, and managers, you will have to respond to the unexpected. Change is unavoidable, and not all changes can be foreseen. Last-minute course corrections, external errors, and internal omissions occur on every development project.

Change is often a manifestation of the learning process. As the development team— including test—proceeds through design, implementation, and testing toward the released product, individuals, groups, and the entire team learn more about how the product should function and behave. Changes related to such acquired wisdom are opportunities to be welcomed, since these changes result in a better product.

Sometimes changes are the result of someone's mistake. A failure to plan or follow up in one group can cause problems in other groups. Because test is on the receiving end of many project deliverables—and also because it needs extensive infrastructure, hardware, and software resources and support—your team is probably more susceptible to the vagaries of the unexpected than other development teams. (In fact, Bill Perry and Randy Rice, in Surviving the Top Ten Challenges of Software Testing, identify responding to change as one of the top 10 challenges facing test organizations.) Thus, you might find yourself in need of a way to track and manage incoming changes that threaten ...

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