10 Best Practices to Enhance Software Testing Efficiency
Software testing comes in many forms. From functional testing to regression testing to usability testing, there are literally dozens of iterations of software testing techniques out there. But no matter which form of testing you specialize in, there are several best practices that can help improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your efforts. Without further ado, here is the list of top-10 best practices, in no particular order.
Institute Defined Entry and Exit Criteria
The concept here is that every step in the testing process should have specific entry and exit criteria. The criteria dictate when each step in the process begins and ends. The main benefit of this approach is that it tends to reduce testing gaps, because it drastically reduces the ambiguity that is often inherent in the process and also allows management to have more visibility into the process.
Test on a Variety of Platforms
Thanks to the Internet and other rapidly-advancing technologies, it is critical to make sure the product being tested works on all the relevant applications or platforms. Thus, criteria designed to evaluate performance in multiple environments must be formally integrated into the testing process.
Use Employees to Help Test Software
If you are testing a product that will likely be used by company employees, why not solicit their assistance? Also known as an internal beta, this reduces costs by virtue of the fact that actual user data can be obtained without doing an external beta. Note that this best practice is more applicable to larger companies.
Employ Automated Testing Tools
Obviously, the greater the number of automated tools used in the software testing process, the greater the efficiency of the process. By reducing the amount of manual testing work, a far greater number of test cases can be handled for any given testing project. It also helps ensure that testing gaps are minimized.
Develop User Scenarios
Our ability to effectively test far-reaching technological products is becoming more and more difficult due to the rapid advancement we are now seeing in the technology sector. To help, consider creating user scenarios that address the various functions of the product or application being tested. This helps to ensure that testing efforts focus on ways in which consumers are expected to use the product.
Create Better Business Requirements
Although business requirements are often thought of in terms of product development, they can also be useful in terms of developing the test plan. Understanding the requirements helps testers understand the big picture, and craft test plans that specifically focus on the ability of the product to meet the customers' needs.
Automate the Creation of Test Cases
Creating test cases is almost always done in a manual fashion, and because of this can consume up to 1/3 of any given testing project's man hours! Therefore, the extent to which this can be automated will save both time and money. There are several tools available depending on your industry; do some research and see what might be available for you.
Automate the Creation of Testing Environments
Creating test environments takes time and hence is another opportunity for automation. Luckily there are tools available that can automate test environment creation, run test cases, capture the outcome, and then reconfigure the environment in an automated fashion.
Create a Partnership with Developers
Although it is obvious that putting software testers and developers on the same team throughout the entire development process leads to a more efficient testing effort, this practice is not widely done in today's world where companies are trying to do more with less. However, although this approach will consume more testing resources in the early part of the process, the subsequent enabling of greater testing efficiencies should more than offset this.
Use Statistical Testing
Statistical testing can be used to enhance the effectiveness of the testing effort. Whereas software testing in practice is usually focused on finding bugs, statistical testing is focused on evaluating reliability. Thus, each method has a unique objective and the combination of the two helps to reduce gaps in the overall testing process.
Author: Al Kappauf