The choice is yours. You know your product. You know the problem it solves and why it will soon become vital to the working lives of untold numbers of users. What you might not know is how best to test that product so that your development intention becomes a product reality.
There are a number of different software testing methodologies available to you to reach that reality. Each is designed with a specific purpose in mind, and each has value in a comprehensive test plan.
With an understanding of each and some guidance in selecting the right ones for your unique product, you can maximize your chances of software success by producing an application that is responsive, intuitive and robust enough to thrive in the marketplace.
With knowledge, the choice is yours.
Automated and Manual Software Testing Methodologies
One of the first and most important choices you will have to make is between automation and manual testing. As a general rule, every type of testing can be executed using both approaches. Your task is to decide which is the most effective and efficient for your product.
Automation testing is about speed and accuracy. It adds value to your SDLC by rapidly churning through the vast number of repetitive test case executions that make up the bulk of your QA process. It spares your engineers from the time-consuming tasks of checking and re-checking every point of functionality following changes in code. And it executes its role with the accuracy of a machine calculation that never tires, gets distracted or becomes bored.
Manual testing, on the other hand, maximizes the insight and ingenuity of human testers into more qualitative tasks that better replicate the user experience than any machine could. It is a slower process that values intuitive assessment of how a product feels and navigates.
Each approach has its place within your QA process, and the best possible results are achieved when automation is supplemented with manual testing. As we move through each of the major software testing methodologies, consider whether automation or manual testing better suits your time, budget and quality considerations for each test case.
Explore Software Testing Methodologies
Software testing methodologies are further divided into functional and non-functional tests. The division broadly rests on the difference between what a product does and how it does it. So, the first refers to product performance and reliability while the second is a measure of its usability and user experience.
Both of these broad definitions include regression testing, which is engaged any time a change is made to the product code to make sure those changes did not have negative knock-on effects through the rest of the product.
Regression aside—you will need it no matter what other choices you make—your software testing methodology choices are best understood within this functional/non-functional dichotomy.
Functional Testing Methodologies
Functional testing tells you how effectively your application performs as a whole. It makes sure your final product delivers against the business goals it was designed to meet.
There are several forms of functional testing you will use during your QA phase, including:
Unit testing – The smallest components of your application are tested individually to ensure proper functioning. Doing this early in development using an integrated Agile approach identifies bugs quicker, reducing the cost of fixes. It also helps map the application, making it easier to reuse tests.
System testing – A near opposite to unit testing, system tests are a macro approach that test the overall performance of an application. It is a process of basically feeding information into one end of your product and judging what comes out the other.
Integration testing – As the name suggests, it tests the interfaces between application components and ensures the smooth flow of data and tasks across the breadth of a product.
Acceptance testing – The final stage of QA, acceptance testing is where each aspect of your product is given a “go” or “no-go” to proceed to market. This crucial phase is your last chance to ensure proper product functionality, and the results should be measured against your business goals to determine if you are ready to put it in the hands of users.
Non-Functional Testing Methodologies
Non-functional testing measures your product’s readiness to meet the demands of the user. It is concerned with interfaces, data transfer, security and product performance across platforms, browsers and operating systems.
It is commonly divided across the following functions:
Performance testing – How will your product perform under a range of real-world conditions, including data handling during peak times, web, desktop, and mobile integrations or the application of plug-ins? Performance testing addresses the core speed, responsiveness and stability of your product.
Usability testing – These tests make sure your software interface meets user expectations. We are aiming for simple, efficient navigation and performance that lets the user achieve their goal with minimal fuss.
Compatibility testing – Assesses product performance across various browsers, operating systems and hardware—an essential test for the modern, highly integrated market. Different platforms produce different results, so you need to be confident your product will perform however and wherever a user engages with it.
Security testing – This aspect goes hand-in-hand with performance testing to determine how well your application will stand up under real-world problems such as peak load times and external attacks. You need detailed industry knowledge to accurately test product performance under current threats and conditions.
That need for up-to-the-minute understanding of the market is one of the key reasons why you should consider outsourcing both your functional and non-functional testing to a QA expert. Dedicated professionals stake their reputations on providing you with the kind of intimate understanding you get only through focusing exclusively on product testing.
Choose the Right Software Testing Methodology
As we said above, the way you ultimately prepare your product for public consumption is up to you. The choice is yours. However, navigating all the available software testing methodologies and the accompanying frameworks and tools on your own can be overwhelming.
You are best advised to focus your attention on what you know: your product. By conveying a detailed understanding of your business goals, target audience and available resources to an agnostic QA partner, you can prepare a joint plan for the proper evaluation of your unique application.
QA is a deep, complex process that attempts to reproduce all the stresses and expectations your product will meet once it arrives with the end user. Make the most of the available software testing methodologies and get assistance in making an informed choice on how to protect your product.QASource engineers are experts in all the leading software testing methodologies and can help you design a test phase that adequately prepares your product for market. Contact us today for a free quote, or call +1.925.271.5555 to get started.