7 Useful Ways to Improve Your Software Testing Practices
Software testing is one of the most important things you can do before release. Not only does it help you identify and fix bugs early, but also improves the user experience and makes your software compatible with more devices. More importantly, early, frequent testing helps streamline the development cycle, as it allows developers to focus all their attention on parts of the software that are guaranteed to work. Thus, saving time, money, and stress for the client receiving the product.
Of course, software development is a complex beast, and testing is no exception. So, it makes sense to adopt the best practices for software testing so that the final product works as intended and provides the best possible user experience. Here are eight useful tips to help you achieve those outcomes.
Create a software testing and QA plan
Careful planning is vital to a successful testing process. Every aspect of the testing process should be planned to avoid bottlenecks and guesswork. Doing so involves creating documentation that is clear, concise, and easy to read – regardless of one’s technical proficiency.
While there are no hard-and-fast rules for creating testing documentation, for quality assurance and best practices purposes, ask yourself these questions:
- What goals, objectives, and outcomes do you want each testing process to achieve?
- What testing standards and criteria needs must be met?
- What are the roles and responsibilities of each individual tester?
- What aspect of the software will each tester examine (i.e., performance, security, UI)?
- How will you document and record the results of each test?
- What steps will your team take to address any shortcomings of the software?
- What will the testing environment be like for both in-person and cloud-based testing?
By answering these questions and more, you will have a better chance of adopting the best practices for software testing, as well as making sure each test produces meaningful outcomes.
Test early, test often
Have testing be the primary focus of your team from the very start. Perform frequent, small batches of testing spread out across the entire development cycle. Avoid leaving lasting until the last minute. Doing so will increase the risk of having to fix bugs, errors, and crashes that could have been avoided early on.
Do not have your programmers write the tests
When programmers write tests for their own software, it limits what the testing process will uncover. Your programmers will most likely test for parameters and conditions that they are intimately familiar with. They may forget to test parts of the software they deem irrelevant or minor. The result? It is a testing process that is biased and unobjective.
Obviously, this goes against the quality assurance goals that best practice testing should strive for.
When written by a specialist testing team, though, the results are much better. Independent testers know how to be creative when it comes to testing writing. This means they are more likely to discover bugs and errors that the programmers may have overlooked.
Perform regression testing
Regression testing is the process of testing code to ensure that it works after any changes, updates, and improvements. When writing software, there is a risk that a code fix for one error could produce an entirely different error. Regression testing ensures the software is functional and reliable at each stage of the development process, particularly after the inclusion of new designs and features.
Include a mix of in-person and cloud-based testing
Both in-person and cloud testing have their pros and cons. In-person testing lets you communicate directly with end-users from all walks of life. It gives you the chance to watch them interact with your software in real-time. They can provide immediate feedback, enabling you to gauge their gut-feeling reactions.
Cloud-based testing, on the other hand, requires less time and resources to carry out as there is no need to arrange in-person meetings. Automated cloud testing can also perform testing on a much more frequent basis, even daily, to account for even the smallest code changes.
Ideally, you should incorporate both approaches into your testing process. Consider outsourcing your software testing to a trusted software development company. They can make sure your software is compatible with a wide range of devices under various use-case scenarios and detect potential bugs, errors, and crashes so that you can correct those issues sooner – while the software is at a smaller, manageable state.
Plan for post-launch testing
You might think that getting your testing process right the first time will save you from post-launch testing. While it will help make that step much easier, you cannot avoid it altogether. Therefore, for best practices and quality assurance, create a plan that considers the testing process after the initial launch of your software.
This is where outsourcing your software testing can help. Automated post-launch testing can help save you money and ensure your product is consistently reliable, secure, and functional throughout the whole lifecycle. They can also incorporate manual testing into the post-launch testing phase, listening strongly to user feedback, and testing for parts of the software that the automated testing software might miss.
Document and record all test results
When you get the results for each test, you want to be sure the designers, programmers, and developers know how to interpret the results and respond accordingly. The easier the testing reports are to read, the more likely this will be the case. To do this, whether it be for manual or automated testing, take note of all test progress and the results they produce.
Your outsourced testing providers will be able to provide clean, legible documentation for you. The reports will also be in digital format, so you can securely store them and make duplicate copies to share.
But, in the case of your own in-house testing environment, make sure the reports clearly outline: the symptoms of each bug, the effect it has on the software, and all possible solutions to correct the error.
Adopting best practices for software testing is vital to a successful product launch. Get it wrong, and you risk launching a product that is buggy, hard to use, incompatible with too many devices and delivers an unpleasant user experience.
Get it right, though, and your users will have a much easier time using and recommending your product to more people. A successful product launch will also help boost your industry profile and reputation. People are more likely to have a favorable impression of a company that can consistently launch quality products right the first time, every time.
For these reasons, investing time and resources into a proper testing process makes perfect sense, so don’t leave it until the last minute. Take the necessary steps early to plan your testing process and make the development cycle easier for your team. They will thank you for it – and so will your clients and customers.