The main focus of the software industry has always been the delivery of an optimum quality software product with distinct and innovative features. Developers, however, cannot guarantee these aspects without testing software components under different planned and unanticipated conditions.
To ensure that a software product aligns with the technical and business objectives it is important to test it. Software testing helps developers discover any bugs or issues before delivering a product and makes the application more reliable. Testing is also carried out to assess both large and small components of the software.
Why do you need a software testing strategy?
Software testing strategy is essentially a document that specifies a test plan, the testing methodology and test cases. This strategy provides complete details about the software testing process and the intent and specifications of the test.
The testing strategy also dictates how software testing will be done and allows the development team to review the test plan beforehand. Following a test strategy allows you to determine the roles and responsibilities of the team members and the resources needed for the test.
Many developers may assume that software testing can be carried out right away, without a plan. However, having a comprehensive software testing strategy is essential for cutting costs and saving time.
What are the inputs you require before you create a software testing strategy?
To create an effective software testing strategy, you need to look into the below factors:
- What type of development project are you working on? Your testing strategy should be based on the specific requirements of the software product you are developing.
- What are your risks? No strategy is fool proof, however, one can make a note of the risks beforehand. Before testing, you need to identify the type of risks and the level of risks your project might be facing. For instance, your product might have continuously changing requirements or your team might not have access to sufficient resources to develop a product.
- Will your strategy meet the objectives? A software product must satisfy the vision of the development team, the client, and other stakeholders. You need to ensure that your testing strategy finds as many flaws and issues in your application as possible upfront saving you time and resources.
Software Testing Methodologies-
There is immense pressure on development teams to design, develop, and deploy high-quality software products faster to stay ahead of the competition. Testing methodologies are approaches that help you determine whether the software product performs as it is supposed to. Here are four main software testing methodologies:
- Agile Methodology: The Agile methodology does not only apply to software testing; it is also applied for marketing and software development in its entirety. This testing methodology follows the philosophy that software testing as important as coding in the software development life cycle. In Agile, tests are carried out along with each phase of product development so that the application’s issues are discovered earlier and not after the app/software has been developed. This methodology makes the Software Development Life Cycle flexible and in the end, your product will be of the best quality.
Many reputed development companies have adopted the Agile model as it makes software development faster, cost-effective, highly adaptable to the client’s requirements, easy to manage, and perfect for long-term projects. However, it is important to note that agile may not be the best approach for complex projects and does have some maintainability risks.
- Waterfall Methodology: The Waterfall methodology follows a specific linear-sequence, as listed below:
- Requirements- List of the key functions of an application.
- Design- Defining how the code needs to be written to design the product.
- Implementation-Actually building the product and producing the code/
- Verification- Testing the product and evaluating the customer reviews to ensure that the product meets the requirements mapped out at the project’s beginning.
- Maintenance- Discovering bugs and inadequate features in the product. During this phase, the product issues are fixed to improve customer satisfaction.
The Waterfall methodology, unlike the Agile methodology, is perfect for small projects wherein the requirements are highly specific and it creates a scope for departmentalization. It is the oldest methodology developed in 1970 by Winston Royce. However, this model is highly risky and makes it difficult to modify the product during the testing phase.
- V-Model/Verification and Validation Methodology: The Verification and Validation Methodology or the V-Model ensures that software development and testing happen in a parallel manner. Coding is at the base of this model. While the verification and validation phases are executed at the same pace. When the development team completes module design, they conduct unit tests. Similarly, architecture design and integration testing, system design and system testing, requirement design, and acceptance testing are carried out.
Every single phase in the software development life cycle is directly related to the various testing phases in the V-Model. The major benefit of going with the V-model is that it is simple, cost-effective when compared with the Agile and Waterfall Methodologies and prevents overlapping as all the phases are implemented in a linear-sequence. However, the Verification and Validation Methodology does not adapt well to changing requirements and offers no clear solutions to fix bugs and other issues.
- Iterative Methodology: The Iterative methodology is all about breaking down a large project into manageable chunks. Each ‘chunk’ is taken through the iterations of the Waterfall methodology. It is as if you are operating multiple software development lifecycles together under the same project. As soon as an integrator is developed completely, the entire software produced is tested and the insights gained from these tests are applied to the next cycle. As the iteration keep getting tested over and over again, the time spend on software testing is reduced significantly as the development team gains some experience from the previous iterations.
This methodology helps the team get the needed feedback after each iteration. As a result, the software testing become more regular than in the Agile or waterfall methodology. It allows your team to base their decisions on real-time insights.
Types of Software Testing Strategies-
- Behavioural Testing Strategy- This strategy primarily focuses on testing the mechanism of a software system instead of its functionalities. This strategy tests all elements of the user journey, workflows, performance and configurations. The main objective of behavioural testing is to gain an understanding of the software product from the view point of the end-user. This testing strategy needs to cover different user scenarios and analyse user profiles. Instead of emphasizing on individual units behavioural testing examines integrated systems.
While some of the behavioral tests can be automated, behavioural testing is mostly manual. To implement this strategy, you need to plan and design your software tests carefully and check the results meticulously to find the underlying issues and flaws. The best part about behavioural testing is that the tester does not need to have an in-depth understanding of the technicalities. They need to focus more on the business angle and think about how the end-user will use their application/software.
- Static Testing Strategy- The static strategy tests the systems without actually running extensive software tests. Static tests examine portions or individual elements of a system to detect the issues early on. For instance, the programmers can manually check their code right after they write it to find the mistakes. The main objective of the static testing strategy is to systematically evaluate the code, software required and the product design.
The major benefit of following the static testing strategy is that it saves time and testing costs as the systems are not tested using additional tools. A basic code check can help developers find flaws in the systems, before they develop into bugs. However, static tests need to be implemented at the right time, once the code has been written and integrated into the system it cannot be tested. Individual coders need to ensure that they check their code as soon as they create it.
- Structural Testing Strategy- While Static tests are useful and easy to implement, they are not always accurate. In the end your software product needs to run smoothly on devices and this aspect can only be tested through the structural testing strategy. Structural tests, also known as “white box” tests, are mostly carried out by software testers who are software experts and know about the systems and devices on which the software needs to function.
There are three different structural testing techniques: path coverage, statement coverage. This strategy requires a test developer to think carefully before execution and helps developers find hidden errors in the code. This strategy is expensive when compared to behavioural and static strategies and is also time consuming. The tester, unlike in a behavioural testing scenario, needs to have the technical know-how to execute the tests in a proper manner.
To select the appropriate strategy for your project you need to determine how much you are willing to invest in terms of resources, money and time. We hope this comprehensive guide will help you pick the right testing strategy!