Understanding the Software Testing Process can be difficult even for the best of us. Discussed below is the basic template of the Software Testing Process that is adapted by testers based on their particular requirements.
What is Software Testing?
Software Testing refers to the process of evaluating software and its components to identify any errors, bugs or errors that might potentially disrupt the functionality of the software.
It is essential to undertake a Software Testing Process as it bridges the gap between the existing and the required system software through the detection of the defects prior to the launch of the Software so that they can be corrected in time.
What are the different types of Software Testing Process?
Depending on the project requirements, budget associations and expertise of the team, Software Testing Process can be conducted in two ways – through Manual Testing or through Automation Testing.
- Manual Testing – Manual Testing is the Software Testing Process that allows the tester to locate bugs or defects in the Software Program being tested. The role of the tester is to use the software like the end user would, and then identify problems and mitigate them to ensure optimum functionality of the Software. The tester is solely responsible for executing all test cases manually without turning to any automation tools. The execution is undertaken by the tester preparing a test plan document detailing the systematic approach to the Software Testing.
- Automation Testing – Automation Testing is a technique that uses an application to undertake the implementation of the Software Testing Cycle in its entirety. It uses scripted sequences executed by Testing Tools. It is a process that validates software functionality prior to the release of the Software into Production. It is a way of simplifying manual efforts into a set of scripts that can be accessed and worked upon by the system. Automation Testing considerably reduces the time involved in the whole process of Software Testing while simultaneously enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of the process.
Depending on the Software Testing Process that is followed, there are two major types of Software Testing. These are discussed below.
- Structured Software Testing–This is the kind of Software Testing wherein the tests and test cases are derived from a thorough knowledge of the structural code of the Software and its Internal Implementation. Since it directly deals with the knowledge of the code, it is mostly undertaken by a trained team of developers.
- Unstructured Software Testing–this is the kind of Software Testing that is performed without prior planning or documentation. It is considered to be the least formal testing method and is only intended to run once unless of course an error is detected. In that case, it is run repeatedly until the error is mitigated. Also known as Ad Hoc Testing, it is performed by Improvisation, as the sole aim is to detect a bug by taking up whatever means needed.
The following of the sequential steps that comprise the Structured Software Testing Life Cycle, ensure that standards are met with respect to the quality of the Software in question.
What are the different phases in the Structured Software Testing Life Cycle?
- Requirement Analysis–The first step in the Software Testing Life Cycle is to identify which are the features of the Software that can be tested and how. Any requirement of the Software that is revealed to be un-testable is identified at this stage, and subsequent mitigation strategies are planned. The Requirements that are arrived at here can either be Functional (related to the basic functions the software is supposed to do) in nature or Non-Functional (related to system performance or security availability).
- RTM – Requirement Traceability Matrix.
- Automation Feasibility Report
- Test Planning – Now that the testing team has a list of requirements that are to be tested, the next step for them is to devise activities and resources, which are crucial to the practicality of the testing process. This is where the metrics are also identified, which will facilitate the supervision of the testing process. A senior Quality Assurance Manager will be involved at this stage to determine the cost estimates for the project. It is only after running the plan by the QA manager that the Test Plan will be finalized.
- Test Plan or Strategy Document
- Effort Estimation Document
- Test Analysis – This stage answers to the ‘What are we testing question?’. The test conditions are understood and accessed not just through the requirements that have been identified at the first stage, but also another related test basis like the product’s risks. Other factors that are taken into account while arriving at suitable test conditions are –
- Different levels and depth of testing
- Complexity levels of the product
- Risks associated with the product and the project
- The involvement of the Software Development Life Cycle
- Skillset, knowledge, expertise, and experience of the team
- Availability of the different stakeholders.
- Test Design – If the Software Testing Process were answers to a series of questions (which it is), this stage would answer the question – ‘How to go about testing the Software?’ The answer, however, depends on a lot of tasks that need to be completed at this point in the process. These are –
- Working on with the predefined test conditions. This requires breaking down of the test conditions into multiple sub-conditions so that all areas can get their due coverage.
- Identifying and collecting all data related to the test, and using it to set up a test environment conducive to the software.
- Developing metrics to track the requirements and test coverage.
- Test Implementation–Now that all the basic structuring work has been done, the next step is to plan how the test structure that has been devised will be implemented. This means that all test cases are to be arranged according to their priority and a preliminary review is in order to ensure that all test cases are accurate in themselves and in relation to other test cases. If needed the test cases and test scripts will undergo an additional reworking to work with the larger picture.
- Environment ready with test data set up
- Smoke Test results
- Test Execution–When all is said and done, this is where the real action begins. All the planning and management culminates into this – the Execution of the Software Test. This involves thorough testing of the Software, yes, but also a recording of the test results at every point of the execution process. So, not only will you be keeping a record of the defects or errors as and when they arise, but you will also be simultaneously tracking your progress with the traceability metrics that have been identified in the earlier stages.
- Test Conclusion – This is where the Exit criteria begin by ensuring that all results of the Software Testing Process are duly reported to the concerned stakeholders. There are different ways of making regular reports, weekly or daily. A consensus is to be arrived at between the stakeholders and the testers, to ensure that parties are up-to-date with which stage is the Software Testing Process at. Depending on the Project Managers and their awareness of the Software Testing Process, the reports can be intensely technical or written in easily understandable non-technical language for a layman.
- Competed RTM with the execution status
- Test cases updated with results
- Defect Reports
- Test Cycle Closure–This last stage is more of seeing off of the Software Testing Process. It is where you tick off the checklist and make sure all actions that were started during the process have reached their completion. This involves making concluding remarks on all actions of the testing process with respect to their execution and/or mitigation. Also, a revisiting of the entire Software Testing Process as it concludes, will help the team in understanding and reviewing their activities so that lessons can be learned from the testing process and similar mistakes (if any) be avoided in the next Software Testing Cycle the team undertakes.
- Test Closure Report
- Test Metrics
This is a complete guide to the Software Testing Process. While the particulars of the process might vary depending on the specific type of Software Testing Technique that is being used by the team, the process, in general, undergoes all these steps.
Though, the end goal remains the same, i.e., to ensure that the Software has been perfected before it is passed on to the Production Team.
There is no point to having a Software that is fueled with bugs that make it impossible for the end users to use it productively. Therefore, irrespective of how it is undertaken, Software Testing is an important process in the Development of the Software.