The Best Ways To Improve Software Testing: From Planning To Reporting
In the fast-paced world of software development, software testers are focused on two main goals: to improve the quality and increase the speed of the process.
When software isn’t properly tested, it can lead to huge implications. Problems with software later down the line can lead to issues such as poor user experience and security breaches, which can lead to a loss of customers, financial trouble and harm the brand’s reputation.
This is why software testing is a crucial part of software development, as it ensures the quality, functionality, and reliability of the software product. However, software testing can also be challenging, time-consuming, and costly if not done properly. So, how can you improve software testing to not only improve quality but not impact the speed of testing? Here are some of the best ways to improve software testing from the planning stages right through the process to reporting.
Top Ways To Improve Software Testing
- Focus on the goals
The first thing to do before any software testing activities take place is to fully understand the goals of software testing. This means having a clear understanding of what needs to be tested, why it needs to be tested, and how it will be tested.
With this, it’s possible to make a plan which prioritises testing the most risky or important features while potentially eliminating unnecessary testing exercises to focus on the goals and meet the expectations of the software.
- Agile or waterfall?
The next step after outlining the plan and goals of software testing is to select the ideal testing methodology to follow. Agile is growing in popularity for software testers as it can be flexible and adaptive, which can be ideal for fast-paced testing environments. Alternatively, some software testing goals may prefer a more structured and sequential methodology, such as a waterfall methodology.
As well as selecting the right methodology, this is the step for choosing the right tools to use. Some tools may offer more features or support than others, such as test management, test automation, bug tracking, or performance testing tools.
- Upgrade your test plan
A test plan is a document that describes the overall strategy and approach for software testing, including the scope, objectives, methodology, tools, resources, schedule, risks, and deliverables. In time-critical environments, it can be tempting to move through the test plan quickly or not create a plan at all, but the best way to improve software testing is by creating a detailed plan. Creating a detailed test plan will help to ensure the completeness and consistency of software testing, as well as facilitate the execution and reporting of the tests.
Within this plan, make sure to think about the test case too. This is a set of steps and expected results that verify a specific functionality or requirement of the software product.
- Creating conducive environments
A work environment that supports software testing can have a positive impact on the productivity, efficiency, and quality of the testing process. Some factors that can contribute to a conducive work environment include adequate equipment and infrastructure, comfortable and ergonomic workspace, clear and open communication channels, collaborative and supportive team culture, regular feedback and recognition, and continuous learning and improvement opportunities.
There may be more formalised areas to improve, such as clearly defined roles in the testing team, to more fun-focused tasks, such as team-building exercises that boost communication.
- Automate testing
Test automation can help to speed up testing and improve the quality of testing. However, currently, test automation has a relatively low adoption rate in organisations. Test automation uses software tools or scripts to perform repetitive or complex tests that would otherwise require manual intervention or human judgment.
Test automation can offer many benefits for software testing, such as faster execution and feedback, higher accuracy and reliability, lower cost and effort, more comprehensive coverage and scalability, and easier maintenance and reuse. Test automation can be expensive to implement and does come with its own limitations, but combining both automated and manual testing can create better testing processes to improve both the speed and quality.
- Following best practice
In a busy testing environment, it can always be tempting to cut corners and shave time off here and there. However, following best practices can often save time in the long run and can help to prevent errors from occurring, which require rework in the testing practice.
Test automation can be more effective and efficient if some best practices are followed during its implementation and execution. Some of these best practices include;
- Use a consistent naming convention and coding standard for test scripts
- Organise test scripts into modular and reusable components
- Use data-driven or keyword-driven approaches to separate test data from test logic
- Adopting descriptive assertions and error-handling mechanisms to verify test results and handle exceptions
- Use frameworks or libraries to simplify common or complex tasks
- Have version control systems to manage test scripts and track changes
- Implement continuous integration tools to run test scripts automatically after code changes
· Generate reporting tools to create meaningful and actionable reports.
- Be creative
Whilst planning and setting out a clear test plan is important to ensure the goals are met for the testing process, it can also be a good idea to get creative and explore ad-hoc testing during the process too. The idea is to be random and creative to look for potentially unusual scenarios or uncover defects that may not be found in conventional testing methods.
Exploratory testing can be a fantastic process to adopt that can improve your software testing strategy and can help develop the intuition, imagination and experience of software testers.
- Embracing shift-left testing
The shift-left approach involves testing early and often in the software development lifecycle. This proactive stance can detect defects earlier, reducing the overall cost and time spent on fixing issues. Per a report by Capgemini, organisations employing shift-left testing have seen a 22% reduction in time to market.
- Conducting regular code reviews
Peer code reviews are vital in catching defects before the testing phase. Structured code reviews can detect up to 80% of code defects. Encouraging a collaborative environment for code review can significantly enhance software quality.
- Leveraging cloud-based testing platforms
Cloud-based testing offers scalability, flexibility, and access to a wide range of testing environments. It can significantly reduce infrastructure costs and setup time. Research forecasts the cloud testing market size to grow from $6.5 billion in 2020 to $11.6 billion by 2025, indicating a rising adoption rate.
- Generate comprehensive reports
Test reports are documents that summarise the results and outcomes of software testing, such as test objectives, test scope, test methodology, test tools, test execution, test results, test analysis, test evaluation, test conclusions, test recommendations, or test lessons learned. Test reports can communicate and demonstrate the quality and status of the software product to the testing team or other stakeholders, as well as provide valuable information and insights for future improvement or decision-making.
- Staying up to date with the latest testing trends
The testing landscape is continuously evolving. Staying abreast of the latest tools and trends is vital for testers. At TSG Training, we offer regular blog posts, webinars and refresh our training courses regularly to ensure our knowledge stays ahead of the curve when it comes to software testing.
Improving your software testing
The software testing landscape demands a dynamic and multifaceted approach to assure quality and dependability. By incorporating these 12 strategies, developers and testers can elevate their testing methodologies, culminating in more robust and successful software products. Embracing continuous improvement and innovation in testing practices is not just a pathway to software excellence but a strategic imperative in the competitive software development industry.