Hopefully, you have a software product that appeals to your end users. That’s because it solves everyday problems in real-world situations for people that rely on its simplicity and effectiveness. If your team can create such a strong product that performs well in the marketplace, your team is equipped to solve anything.
So, why is solving the problems within your testing process so daunting?
Changing old habits for new ways is never easy, especially if your team has grown accustomed to the current routine of your testing cycle. Fortunately, modern software testing methodologies focus on enhancing current practices so that your team can transition more easily towards efficient behavior that leads to faster market delivery.
In short, modern software testing methodologies are strategies and types of testing applied to the product during the testing process so that your software meets business and industry expectations. These methodologies can be broken down into two categories:
Functional testing concentrates on the effectiveness of your product’s performance. Confirming that your software complies with the business goals it was designed to meet means performing these kinds of tests:
- Unit testing
- System testing
- Integration testing
- Performance testing
Non-functional testing measures the readiness of your software across every expected (and unexpected) scenario. Confirming that your product meets the demands of your end user means performing these kinds of tests:
- Performance testing
- Usability testing
- Compatibility testing
- Security testing
How can these modern software testing methodologies be applied to your testing process? We recommend adopting these eight approaches to drive success both as a team and in the marketplace.
Plan Your Testing & QA Process
Every great process starts with a plan. Adhering to modern software testing methodologies means approaching your QA process with a strategy that’s defined and documented. An effective process involves the creation of plans centered around quality and testing, including:
A quality management plan that determines the acceptable level of product quality and details how the project plans to achieve this level of quality, all tracked through documentation. A successful quality management plan provides details on:
- Quality objectives during the project
- Quality standards
- Project deliverables requiring review for meeting needed quality levels
- Quality assurance and control activities
- Team roles and responsibilities
- Project tools to ensure quality
- Process for reporting quality assurance control issues
A test strategy that, upon receiving the project’s business requirements, outlines the project’s software testing approaches to be used for achieving testing objectives. The project manager usually drives this high-level documentation that provides details on:
- Test objectives
- Industry standards
- Budget limitations
- Test execution schedule
- Communication and status reporting
- Configuration management
- Testing metrics and measurements
- Defect reporting and tracking
- Risk identification
A test plan that expresses the testing essentials, such as who is testing, what is to be tested, when testing occurs and how to perform the tests. For maximum testing efficiency, list the test cases in order of when to be tested. A successful test plan defines everyone’s role in the process as well as explains the testing scope and activities so that all have access to this information during the testing process.
Test cases that clearly document all conditions and actions to be executed within the software to confirm expected functionality of the product. Because this documentation is key for all testers, strong test cases should include:
- Test case ID
- Date of creation
- Test case author
- Test case description
- Test data
- Test steps
- Expected result
- Actual result
- Test case tester(s)
- Execution date
Leverage Test-Driven Development
Go extreme when implementing modern software testing methodologies into your testing practices. Why? Because the goal of extreme programming (EX) is to produce high-quality software through a process that can adapt to changing requirements. Your team can reach that level of efficiency by leveraging the extreme programming practice of test-driven development.
Simply put, test-driven development is a software development process where tests are written before any code implementation. This test-first approach supports the repetition of a short, quick development cycles.
Here’s how test-driven development works. First, the developer writes an automated test case, knowing that insufficient production code is not in place for this test case to pass. Next, the developer runs the test case that, expectedly fails. After that, the developer writes functionality-focused code in order for this test case to pass. Then, the developer runs the test case again and updates the code should the test case not fully pass.
Conduct Formal Technical Reviews
Software engineers perform a formal technical review (FTR) to uncover functional and logical errors within the early stages of the development process. This quality assurance activity is conducted as a group meeting where attendants across the development team ensure that the software meets all predefined requirements and standards.
This is one of the best modern software testing methodologies to implement when your software is an established product. During a formal technical review, the gathered team of engineers hold specific roles within the review process, be it a speaker, reviewer or producer. By the end of the meeting, the formal technical review should answer these three questions:
- What was reviewed?
- Who reviewed it?
- What discoveries and decisions were reached?
Formal technical reviews feature the following types of reviews within its process:
A formal review or round-robin review is a meeting where each participant has an equal opportunity to study and present an evaluation of the software product under review. Once the software product is introduced to the gathered group of reviewers, each participant must voice if they accept the product as well as suggest modifications and development time-frames.
A walk-through is a meeting where reviewers in attendance assess the software’s source code, documented requirements and product design. The author of the code attends in order to answer questions regarding code structure or any detected bugs within the code.
An inspection is a review session of the requirements to determine additional properties of the software product. In contrast to formal reviews and walk-throughs that focus on detecting defects, the goals of an inspection are to expand initial standards of the product and to validate that previously-detected bugs are no longer present.
By conducting formal technical reviews, your team can prevent errors and reduce the risk of implementation and logical errors before deployment. This process provides a valuable experience for the production team who can observe all features of the software as well as junior engineers who can learn from observing different approaches to software analysis, design and implementation.
Ensure the Right Tools & Environment for QA Engineers
Implementing modern software testing methodologies that work means confirming the environment for your QA engineers works. Once everyone is designated a QA role within the testing process, create an environment that promotes strong testing practices and healthy workplace procedures:
- Include QA team from the beginning: A dedicated testing team must be in the know of all phases of the software design process to confirm that they can solve any possible problems that may arise during the cycle before these problems grow in cost and product damage.
- Trust your QA testers: Build a respectful, honest relationship between your QA team and developers where communication is a two-way street and all goals are shared goals.
- Train your QA team on your business domain: Expand the knowledge of your QA team by providing all team members industry-related training so that all testers can fully understand the end user and business expectations.
- Communicate, communicate, communicate: Paths of communication must be easy to access across the QA team and the team leader must effectively share feedback and updates with the rest of the team. This is especially important if you are working with a QA testing partner. Make sure they have a solid reputation for communication skills and reporting.
- Safe space for testing: Your testers should have access to private meeting spaces for testing collaboration that happens outside of formal meetings as well as the opportunity to discuss issues or ideas privately with QA leaders.
Adopt Diligent UAT / End-User Testing
Successful teams who practice modern software testing methodologies always keep their user personas in mind. A user persona is a developed fictional character that reflects the behavior patterns and goals of your software’s end user or target audience. QA teams rely on user personas to help them uncover any possible bug or defect within the system by thinking how their user persona would approach the product.
User personas help teams during the last phase of the software testing process to find perfect end-user testing candidates. User acceptance testing (UAT), or end-user testing, allows actual software users the opportunity to test the software to verify whether or not the product is ready for market. End-user testers are encouraged to execute essential tasks and required requests for both emergency and everyday scenarios so that bugs still hiding within the system can be revealed and isolated.
Your UAT process can only be as effective as your selected end-user testers. Approach this process with these key practices in mind:
- Choose eager end-users: An engaged subject matter expert willing to take the time to explore your software is more likely to provide thorough insight into your product’s features, designs and functionality from their perspective.
- Encourage and coach testers through testing: Provide testing requirements that are easy to understand as well as explain any crucial information without using any development terminology.
- Minimize learning curve on testing tools: Choose testing tools that are designed with end-user testers in mind so that it’s intuitive for your subject matter experts to test and report their findings.
- Their time matters: Structure this testing process so that it’s as convenient as it can possibly be for your end-user testers.
Take Advantage of Automated Testing
The mission across all modern software testing methodologies is the removal of any possible error, be it in the code, during the testing process or throughout the development cycle. So, why would a team dedicated to error-free practices rely solely on manual testing?
There is always a need for manual testing. Exploratory testing and reviewing complex features are always best left to your QA team. Yet, even your most skilled QA testers are bound to make mistakes, especially when manually testing hundreds of intricate test cases that involve complex calculations—all due within days of receiving the request. And it’s close to impossible to accurately record manual testing sessions, causing more difficulty for your developers to locate the discovered defect.
Complementing manual testing practices with automated testing gives your QA team every chance to succeed. Automated testing allows your team to:
- Reveal more defects, bugs and issues within the software
- Record the entire testing process for every automated test case, allowing for reuse in future development cycles
- Execute hundreds of test cases repeatedly without distraction or fatigue
Implement & Track Code Quality Measurements
All modern software testing methodologies focus on solid documentation, measurable results, strong review process and easy tracking. So, it’s easy to see why successful teams focus on tracking code quality measurements to assist in providing the best software product to market.
There’s no set way to measure code quality. Your team must assess which metrics and how simple they are to track while providing effective results to enhance your workflow. There are five main aspects of software quality that your team can measure:
- Reliability: How long can the system run without failure? Track ways to reduce application downtime by measuring the number of bugs uncovered in production and by reliability testing, specifically load testing and regression testing.
- Performance efficiency: How responsive is the system when executing any action? Measure how well your software performs through application performance monitoring as well as executing stress testing and soak testing.
- Security: How well does the system protect information against software hacking? Track weaknesses within the product by measuring time to resolution (how much time does it take to fix a vulnerability?) and deployment of security updates (what percentage of users have installed a patch or security update?).
- Maintainability: How easy is it to modify the software? Check the number of lines of code first within a feature, then within the entire application. Reviewing the software complexity metrics reveals if your system is too complex for flexibility.
- Rate of delivery: How quickly can your team deliver your software to market? Reveal how often frequent your users receive updates or new applications by measuring the number of software releases.
Report Bugs Clearly and Efficiently
Software testing can run more effectively when testers can clearly identify the issue so that engineers can navigate through the software in order to solve it—in other words, a good bug report can prevent process slowness, disconnects and serious misunderstandings.
A strong bug report captures the following information clearly and concisely:
- Problem statement
- Background information
- Reproduction steps
- Screenshots and/or video recordings
- Acceptance criteria
High-quality software products are a result of a strong process that adopts modern software testing methodologies. Consider aligning your company with a QA services provider like QASource to assist your team in adopting modern software testing methodologies without delaying your development cycle. QASource engineers are experts in every leading software testing methodology and are available to help your team prepare your software product for market faster and more efficiently. Learn more and get a free quote today.