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Department of Defense, Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), Joint Interoperability Test Command taps into the Expertise of the Systems Testing Excellence Program (STEP)

For release:  November 24, 2010

The Systems Testing Excellence Program (STEP) is a major interdisciplinary research and training initiative under the umbrella of the FedEx Institute of Technology with academic program support from the Fogelman College of Business and Economics.  The Department of Management Information Systems (MIS) is leading STEP and was recently tasked with delivering the DISA-STEP Innovation Roundtable on Software Testing Best Practices.  Twelve (12) DISA staff members joined Department of MIS faculty and industry representatives to share ideas on agile testing.  The DISA staff included the Testing and Evaluation Executive (1-star general), a Commander, many Chiefs, Engineers, and Action Officers from Washington DC and Arizona, all bringing years of software testing experience and inquisitive mindsets.

The following focus areas were included on the agenda: 1) Best practices for the implementation of agile testing in large scale software development environments, and 2) Best practices for knowledge management in software testing.  DISA is interested in deploying high quality software programs in rapid succession to support military operations.  Agile testing is a software testing practice that emphasizes testing from the perspective of customers who will utilize the system. Agile testing focuses on testing iteratively with the emphasis shifted from testers as quality police to the entire project team working toward a quality approach.  The idea is to move quickly meaning testers have to adapt to rapid software deployment coding cycles and continually changing testing patterns. 

The participants in the Innovation Roundtable included: MIS faculty Jasbir Dhaliwal, Mark Gillenson, Tom Meservy, Tom Stafford and Ted Lee; and, guest speakers Pamela Gold (ALSAC/St. Jude), Jeff Brittain (Merck), Jim Withey (Smith & Nephew), and Steve Fonso and Ramesh Simhambhatla (FedEx), all of whom are STEP-certified in software testing and discussed best practices in agile testing established at their respective organizations. These in-classroon sessions were supplemented with field visits to the FedEx World Technology Center and First Horizon National Corporation Quality Assurance Programs.  For more information on STEP and software testing certification, please contact Dr. Jasbir Dhaliwal, Director of STEP, or Dr. Robin Poston, Associate Director of STEP.

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