Before you can begin to improve software testing in your organisation, you need to refresh yourself as to why testing is so important. It’s very easy to take things for granted; take your car for example, you get in, start it up and drive. You never think it’s not going to start or breakdown. There was a time though when cars were poorly made, forever breaking down and a real source of disappointment. Now, cars are largely fault free thanks to advanced engineering and software design and of course very thorough testing. There are millions of lines of code in each modern vehicle, and each line of code has been tested many, many times under many conditions to ensure a fault free drive. Some cars, as I write this article are achieving Level 3 Car autonomy - drivers are still necessary in level 3 cars, but are able to completely shift "safety-critical functions" to the vehicle, under certain traffic or environmental conditions.
The testing of software, whether within cars, banks and retailers alike is such an important aspect of the software development process. Testing is used to ensure the quality of the products being developed. During the testing cycles, you systematically work through the code, from unit, system and integration through to user testing; during which you detect bugs, fix them and retest, ensuring you get rid of as many bugs as possible before the software is released.
Investing in testing and ensuring good quality control can help you develop better software. With more efficient and effective procedures, software quality will improve throughout the whole life-cycle for the projects and will enable that the best possible product is deployed.
It is a common misconception that testing improvement is only the responsibility of test team. In essence, it’s a team effort, from the writing of the requirements to implementing the product. Firstly, you need to understand the existing testing process and identify the necessary measures to improve it. As the world and technology changes, so should your processes and procedures to meet the new demands and challenges, reviewing them all on a periodical basis is a must as nothing remains current forever.
Although IT organisations want more for less, the guiding principles of testing remain fully intact: find bugs, reduce risk and build confidence that the product works as expected.
So, to enforce the above principles and to ensure that you improve testing throughout the software life-cycle you need to test at the right time. By testing early, i.e. at requirements stage you will be able to prevent defects being introduced by ambiguous requirements and resolve them before development begins rather than having to resolve them at the end of the process, when the cost of fixing is exponentially higher. Labelling each requirement will provide traceability through the SDLC and assists in ensuring all requirements have been tested.
Requirements validation of the solutions provides traceability between requirements, development, and testing processes to help facilitate requirements based testing.
In addition to the above, improving the team dynamics, by training, mentoring and coaching will all bring benefits; learn from previous projects, what went well, what could be improved etc. as products evolve, so should the shape of testing. Creating a team that learns and innovates will bring many benefits, which will lead to improvements in testing.
Lastly, keep reviewing what you do and challenge the norm. By following the steps mentioned for improvement, it will confirm that the expectations of the test team will be fulfilled.
Testing ensures that all the bugs are identified prior to the deployment and are fixed. There have been instances when minor flaws in software have resulted in both human and monetary loss. A massive amount of money is invested in IT and the products and services it provides. A defected application can have adverse impact on the reputation and credibility of a business, resulting in lost profits/business/customers, a potential regulatory fine and depending how bad, loss of company. So before delivering the software to the hands of the customer, a company needs to ensure its products are tested, but ensuring the whole team plays a part in the quality assurance process. This is the reason why software testing has become an integral part of the IT industry in today’s world.