Chapter 7. Stocking and Managing a Test Lab

In many organizations, the test manager is responsible for stocking and managing the test lab. If you are taking over an existing operation, this might not present much of a challenge; once you've seen a test lab in action, it's fairly obvious how to run one. However, for a first-time test manager in a new organization, getting a test lab up and running can be something of a mystery.

Simply put, a test laboratory is a place where testing is conducted. I use the word laboratory deliberately to emphasize that testers must perform controlled experiments, dealing with measurements and known quantities. They must be equipped with solid tools and a skeptical outlook in their attempt to establish facts. The test lab is an engineering laboratory, of course, not a scientific research laboratory, so the testers are seeking practical knowledge. Nevertheless, like a research laboratory, the test lab should be a place where structured, methodical, calm approaches prevail, not the center of a maelstrom where chaos reigns. (Don't underestimate the psychological effect of having people put on lab coats before entering the test lab!)

A test lab is also a physical location—or locations. When you have more than one test lab, it's useful to assign a name to each lab: a designation indicating its location ("B1"), a meaningful description ("the heat lab"), or just a whimsical name ("Gretchen"). When you conduct distributed testing (more on this in Chapter ...

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