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Effective mobile payment test strategies... achieve short release cycles and increase competitiveness 

The first question I often discuss with organisations embarking on mobile payments projects is: “What do you do to ensure a consistent positive user experience across the breadth of your customer base?”. I ask this question, because not only will it decide whether your mobile payments project becomes a success or not, but also because in its answer lie all the pieces that are necessary to set up and run a best-of-breed mobile payments test effort.

A typical retort from the more skeptical is “We’re doing it as before – what’s so different about m-payment anyway?” so let’s discuss the main differences.

From a quality management and testing perspective, the single biggest impact derives from the mobile ecosystem itself. Not only does mobile add another channel to more established payment channels such as on-line or cards, the channel itself is extremely fragmented. The many combinations of mobile devices, operating systems and infrastructure create a logistical nightmare and no organisation will have the capacity or need to test all possible permutations.

Additionally, mobile payments users expect high quality with regard to all aspects of their user experience. The emphasis has shifted away from a focus on functionality; aspects of quality such as security, performance efficiency, reliability or usability are now much more important than ever before.

In other words, the playing field just got a lot bigger: we have many more possible configurations of device, platform, etc. that our m-payment app may run on and we need to consider additional facets of quality. At the same time we need to navigate unchanged testing budgets and short release cycles to remain competitive.

This sounds a lot like squaring the circle, does it not?

While there is no single silver bullet to magically test everything at a lower cost and in a shorter time, there are methods that can help increase efficiency while retaining effectiveness by intelligently managing test breadth and depth. These methods build upon the well-established foundation of systematic test management and extend its strategies in crucial areas. Risk remains the main driver for this type of test strategy but now it is used throughout the full test effort to prioritize and categorize apps, platforms and configurations, quality aspects (such as functionality or security), individual functions and so on.

Another key component to increase efficiency is to identify issues sooner rather than later, also known as shifting test tasks left in the development lifecycle. Even in agile settings, where the pain of defects discovered late is certainly lower than with waterfall-style development, every man-hour not wasted will increase overall efficiency.

Application of these strategies has helped many organisations understand the effort necessary to reach a desired level of quality, maximize the value for each pound spent on testing and manage efforts and timelines of testing.



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