Successful software testing is the result of careful execution across an increasingly complex array of tests, techniques, platforms, and automation software. With so much always going on – how do you get ahead and assure success? Testing earlier and more frequently is a good place to start.
“Test early and often.”
With the rise of agile development and the increasing adoption of shift-left testing, software testing has entered the development process earlier and more frequently – keeping development costs down by testing key functionality in batches before fully deployed. This tactic has allowed development shops to improve the overall user experience, while delivering software that has marginally less bugs.
Set an effective strategy:
An effective and well planned test strategy is absolutely crucial to successfully getting software tested. Without a clear and present strategy, it becomes increasingly easy to get off track – ending up over budget and no close to delivering a bug-free implementation.
Your test strategy should consist of these critical components:
The scope provides a top-level overview of the test strategy and everything it applies to. It should contain basic project timelines, including protocols for review and approval.
Your approach defines specifics related to the actual testing itself - including the test process, the levels of rigor for individual tests, the complete test life cycle, and the distribution of responsibilities through your team. This is the section where most of the formal planning occurs.
Clear requirements detailing how you go about each test and how data from those tests is generated and stored. This section also details the methodologies and platforms used to create test platforms, as well as backup strategies in the event of technological failure.
Choose, list and detail all the tools necessary for your test strategy. Carefully examine best practices for the tests that you need to run and ensure that you’re using the proper tools and platforms. We’ve detailed some of them in a previous blog on the subject.
Determining the likelihood that something goes wrong via risk analysis is one of the most effective means of mitigating risks for most projects. Understand the possible risks for the software you are testing, analyze the impact of that risk, and make sure appropriate countermeasures are in place. High risk situations should either be more thoroughly tested or extensively planned for.
Embrace Automation (and create an automation strategy)
Test automation is one of the most critical components of any strategy – in the age of lean and agile, delivering well tested applications within budget almost always necessitates some level of test automation. Creating and refining your test automation strategy varies from case to case and requires knowledge of the full testing process and its criteria. You should consider implementing testing automation when your testing is repetitive, contains large data sets, tests across a wide variety of browsers and operating systems, and contains processes that have a high level of risk associated with them.
Testing automation is most effective when leveraging existing tools that have stood the test of time and remain up-to-date with current industry best practices.
Here are some of the best tools for testing automation:
Set (and stick to) your test schedule
Setting and maintaining a schedule for testing is crucial to the success of your project. Completing a comprehensive timeline for testing that has the appropriate amount of leeway for each task is at the crux of an effective testing strategy – and any project management efforts in general.
Make sure you have the resources
While creating your test schedule – you need to ensure you have the available resources to carry out those tests. It may sound self-explanatory, but resourcing is often of the hardest thing to nail down. An effective automation strategy can help keep your resource needs down, but you will still need to plan extensive manual testing if you’re going to ensure a functional, bug free delivery and implementation. Do you have developers available to immediately triage and fix bugs or is the timeline longer? Does this fit into the timeline? You should know the answers to these questions long before your first round of bug fixes.
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About the Author: Cameron Avrigean
Cameron Avrigean is a Marketing Coordinator at fivestar*. Cameron is an analytics fanatic with a penchant for copywriting and social media. He works with the marketing team to create engaging content, and is looking for the next big thing. Cameron holds a B.S. in Business Management from Point Park University.