There is no denying the fact that software testing is a vital phase in the software development process. A thoroughly tested software provides an assurance that the application works as intended in a reliable and efficient manner. In this article, we will go through the best practices that can be followed by individuals as well as organizations in their software testing projects for overcoming the different testing challenges.
Choose the right test strategy
Every software project is unique in its own way as there can be numerous factors apart from the project requirement itself that makes a software project unique. These factors can be – budget and time constraints, the resources available, their experience and expertise, etc. So, based on all these factors, a right test strategy needs to be developed that considers each aspect of the software project like – how many and when should be the resources allocated to the project, should automation be introduced in the project or not, etc.
Start Testing As Early as possible
Traditionally software testing was performed as a separate activity after the coding or implementation phase. But with the growing complexity of software applications and with the evolution of testing, it is advised that testing should be done as soon as possible. Sooner, we start the testing activities including requirement validation, test plan, test case creation, etc the more will be the probability of better quality software.
Write effective test cases
The success of the testing phase depends majorly on the test case developed. The testing team should aim at creating clear and concise test cases that should have good test coverage and at the same time avoid redundancy using the efficient test design techniques, so that test execution can be reduced without compromising the testing coverage.
Have the right combination of test automation and manual testing
Many times automation is introduced in the software project without actually considering its need and evaluating its ROI. Based on the type of software project, testing should be automated but only for the part where it adds value to the testing process.
Have the right test environment
Having the right test environment is very vital for the success of the testing process. The test environment should closely simulate the production environment and access to the backend and build deployment should ideally be with the test team only.
Prioritization of testing activities
Based on the criticality and the time/budget constraints, the testing activities should be prioritized. The decisions like when to stop testing, how much testing of a module is enough, etc should be taken only with correct prioritization of the different test activities.
Have specialists for performance and security testing
Testers with the right knowledge and approach to testing can easily perform the different types of manual testing – UI testing, usability testing, accessibility testing, negative testing, etc.
Even someone with decent programming language knowledge can learn automation by going through the Selenium tutorial or other automated tool’s tutorials. But there are some software testing types like – performance and security testing that are very critical for the success of any project. For projects related to online transactions, sensitive data, healthcare, etc, these testing types have even more critical.
So, these should ideally be performed by specialists who have the right domain knowledge and expertise of the different concepts and tools for carrying out these types of software testing.
Nowadays, frequent smaller releases are preferred over major releases that used to happen once a month, quarterly or even half-yearly. Sometimes code is pushed multiple times a day also.
In order to support this process, Continuous Integration and Continous Deployment/Delivery approach is used. This approach not only helps with frequent releases but it also helps in better utilization of the testing efforts.
Perform sanity on production
No matter how similar we have the test environment with the production environment and how confident we are with the quality of testing and the deployed build still sanity on production is always required. It can be either automated or performed manually.
Retrospection and Documentation of learnings
It always helps to document the learnings and learn from past mistakes. In this ever-changing software industry, it is better to keep on evolving the processes and practices. The same goes for testing, the testing phase needs to be constantly improved by learning from past mistakes and the same is possible when the learnings are well-documented.
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