It is very common to see software testers asking the question, how to improve software testing. Although I agree it is the testers, who test the software, improving the testing process should be a joint effort of the tester and the developers alike.
When one talks about software testing, it is seen as a task, which has to be performed, as it is a part of the software development lifecycle. Since, it is seen only as a part of the lifecycle, it is not uncommon to see that the software testing practices used by most of the organizations are often outdated, as they continue to rely on the age-old practices of testing. It is important to revamp the testing practices as they are out of tune with the modern software development practices, like the agile model, etc. There is a tendency not to take up an army of testers on board for the cost that will have to be incurred. To improve skills in software testing, the improvement has to be done on two levels. Improvement has to be made to the skills of the tester and improvement also has to be made to the testing process.
Improving Software Testing Skills
I agree as much as is the process of testing important the skills of the tester also have to honed as well. It is important to pay attention to each one of the point mentioned below.
- It is often seen, that testers do not have in-depth knowledge of the application, they are testing. If one does not have the necessary knowledge, then there are chances, that a missing functionality will not be brought to the notice of the development team. At the same time, the desired behavior of the software may not be determined with absolute authority. This is when reading the Software Requirement Specification (SRS) document comes in handy.
- After the knowledge about the specifications, comes in domain knowledge. Finding the bugs in the software becomes easier, along with it you will be able to suggest better solution to the bug as well. Having good domain knowledge also helps in designing better test cases.
- As a tester, it is important that the tester does not align with the development team. A tester has to consider himself in the shoes of the end user. However, it is important that you do not neglect the technicalities either. Since, a tester will be testing the application over and over again, he will be well versed with the application, but he has always remember to check if the application is user-friendly and the end user will be maneuver through it rather easily.
- It is often seen, that the aim most of the software testers is to guarantee a bug free application. However, it is important to note that it is not possible to give an application which is 100% bug free. The chances that some of the low priority bugs may be relegated to the back for more pressing needs. It is important to prioritize the crucial functions over the not so crucial ones and test them in-depth. This will ensure that the crucial functionality have been tested thoroughly.
- It is important that one does not have any sort of assumptions, when one is testing an application. However, good the development team is, note that the developers are also human beings and they can also make mistakes. The approach that one must adopt while testing is that there are bound to be errors in the application. This will help you to unearth more bugs and make the application as error free as possible.
- Like the developers keep honing their skills and adept themselves with new technologies, the testers should also learn new technologies. It can be a new automation tool or a new technique, that has been recently introduced. Adapting oneself to new technologies will give you a better edge, when you are testing a document.
- It is not uncommon to see that some developers or development team look down upon the testing team. Due to this there are chances that some of the bugs, may not be given sufficient amount of attention, although a tester thinks it needs to be fixed. It should not be looked at as a personal setback. There can be various reasons as to why the particular bug was not fixed in the current release.
Improving Software Testing Process
We just read about the measures that have to be taken by a software tester for improving testing. There are more measures, which must be taken by the organization for improving the software testing process. The simple steps to improve software testing are given below.
- It is important that the testing team is ready for changes. Previously it was common to have plan for the work in place and then work according to the plan. However, with the techniques like agile development coming into the scene, it is difficult to have a plan in place. The chances of the requirements changing are also many more. Therefore, the testing team will have to learn to modify and make changes without being biased about it.
- Along with the changes, it is also important that one let’s go the old test cases, which have now become redundant with the changed scenario. It may not always be a great idea to make changes to the existing test cases, as the chances of making blunders increase manifold. At the same time, you may not test the application exactly the way you had planned to test it.
- It is seen, that testers are shunted in and out of projects even when the project is in progress. This is not recommended. It is best to assign a tester for the duration of the project. This ensures that the tester has sufficient domain knowledge as much as he has the knowledge about the requirement specifications. He will be in a better position to cover all areas of the software and leave minimal space for defect.
- Testers have to be a part of all the project meetings, discussions, etc., which will give them a chance to understand the project better. Having better understanding of the project will ensure that they write the test cases far better and track defects.
- The organizations have to make sure that the testers are well versed with the latest in the field of testing. May be sending them for various training might prove to be of help. After the training, they might come up with ways, which will help in making the software far more efficient.
I hope with this write-up, you the steps to take to improve software testing. Along with the points mentioned above, it is important that the tester is sufficiently well versed with the basics of how to go about software testing, so that there is no scope for mistakes or failure. Some of the points may seem to be very trivial, but it is not recommended that these finger points be neglected, as they will go a long way in helping the testing process.