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Ten Essential Components for an Optimal Software Test Strategy

In this article, we present ten essential components to consider when formulating a successful software test strategy.

Developing an effective software testing approach plays a vital role in ensuring a consistent standard of software quality within your organization. Regrettably, numerous enterprises relegate software testing to a lower priority and, in some cases, lack a structured software test strategy.

That's why we have assembled a compilation of ten essential components that you ought to contemplate to attain an optimal software test strategy.

 

Maintain documentation at an appropriate level and question why?

It is often discussed that Agile emphasizes minimal documentation. However, when it comes to testing, there are several testing components to consider, such as test cases, defects, and test plans, which are integral to a comprehensive testing strategy. Hence, it is crucial to ensure that the level of documentation is suitable for a successful software testing strategy. The determination of the "right level" depends on factors like the organization and its testing maturity.

For instance, if there are multiple team members responsible for testing, and the business expects consistent execution of each other's tests, it becomes necessary to have test cases written uniformly for easy comprehension across the team. Otherwise, the organization may end up with one highly detailed test case, possibly excessively so, while another test case may be too high-level, making it difficult for another tester to follow.

Another essential aspect of a successful software testing strategy involves thorough examination and analysis of defects.

Conduct defect analysis to identify areas that require a team effort.

It is crucial to analyze the causes of defects and identify the specific areas in the software where they occur, along with understanding when and why they occur. By doing so, we can focus our efforts on improving the underlying issues rather than solely fixing the defects.

Another important aspect to consider is obtaining a clear understanding of your requirements and analyzing them to determine their testability.

Do requirements evaluation to ascertain feasibility, clarity, and comprehensiveness.

In cases where the requirements lack testability, developers might face difficulties in devising an appropriate development strategy for the respective feature. This can result in incomplete or ambiguous criteria for determining successful and unsuccessful outcomes. Hence, testers play a crucial role in thoroughly comprehending and refining the requirements to ensure their proper testing and development.

Foster close collaboration with developers to facilitate unit testing.

Unit testing is a widely discussed topic, and as testers, we may not possess the expertise to write code specifically for unit testing. However, we can engage in collaboration with developers to define the exact requirements of each function and its corresponding subfunctions within the features. This collaborative effort enables testers to gain a clear understanding of the expected behavior of the features, encompassing both positive scenarios and negative scenarios (determining what features or users should not be able to do). By working closely with developers, testers can effectively contribute to ensuring the desired functionality and integrity of the software.

Explore customer support analysis.

Customer support analysis is often underestimated in software testing strategies. It can provide valuable insights by examining customer support tickets, which reveal areas where users encounter difficulties. Therefore, we strongly advise leveraging this invaluable source of data. For instance, if users are experiencing confusion, it may be necessary to investigate specific areas that lack clarity or contain ambiguous elements.

Moving on to the next crucial element on our software testing strategy list: automation.

Formulate a tailored automation strategy based on logical prioritization.

Automation is a frequently discussed aspect in business circles, with organizations aiming to achieve certain percentages of automation. However, it is crucial to recognize that each company and software system is unique, necessitating an individualized approach. Some software systems readily lend themselves to test automation, while others may present challenges due to their architectural intricacies and the complexity of inter-function interactions.

To develop an effective automation strategy, it is essential to prioritize automation efforts based on what makes sense for the specific software system. This entails assessing factors such as system architecture, functional complexities, and the potential benefits of automation. By analyzing these aspects, testers can devise a strategy that optimizes the use of automation and ultimately enhances the efficiency and effectiveness of the testing process.

Perform performance testing in advance using realistic scenarios and API testing.

Prioritize early and realistic performance testing

Performance testing is a critical component of a comprehensive software testing strategy. It is crucial to conduct performance tests early in the development process, ensuring that they are realistic and representative of end-user activities. By identifying and focusing on the top three activities that end-users perform, such as generating an accounts receivable report in a financial application, testers can simulate real-world scenarios and evaluate the software's performance under normal usage conditions.

Emphasize API and database testing

In addition to performance testing, it is essential to include API and database testing in the overall test strategy. These types of testing can be conducted even before the software is fully developed. By considering realistic scenarios, like simulating a journal entry for accounts receivable in our finance example, testers can identify the specific areas of the database that are affected by these actions. This simulation can be accomplished through database calls, enabling thorough testing of the software's underlying performance and ensuring its robustness beyond the application layer.

Prioritize early usability testing using the hallway and 80/20 heuristics.

Usability testing is often perceived as complicated and costly, leading some to believe that it requires extensive resources like focus groups or professional usability companies. However, conducting effective usability tests can be simplified and streamlined, allowing for quick insights.

Hallway usability testing, as we call it, involves inviting someone from your office to participate in a usability test. Using a mobile device or iPad, assign them a specific task to complete within a given timeframe, typically around five minutes. Observe their interactions with the application and take note of any confusion or difficulties they encounter while attempting to complete the task.

This approach, known as the 80/20 heuristic, provides valuable insights for improving your application. By conducting these quick and informal usability tests, you can gain approximately 80% of the necessary information to enhance usability while investing only 20% of the effort, time, and cost associated with traditional usability testing methods. This cost-effective approach allows for early identification and resolution of usability issues, ultimately improving the overall user experience of your application.

Initiate security testing at an early stage.

As previously indicated during the evaluation of usability, the timeliness of commencing security testing significantly impacts its effectiveness. Given the aversion to public scrutiny, it becomes imperative to undertake security testing in its early stages to identify and rectify any vulnerabilities within the company's infrastructure before code deployment. There is no requirement to defer activities like vulnerability assessment until the final phases of development. The sooner a company undertakes these tests, the more advantageous it will be. For instance, the integration of a security user story into the agile process can serve as a means to initiate either a vulnerability assessment or the simulation of a malicious actor attempting unauthorized actions.

Establish a synchronized approach to guarantee platform compatibility.

Platform compatibility entails resolving numerous challenges, such as supporting multiple operating systems and accommodating various end-user devices. Furthermore, considering the diverse user base and their distinct profiles and operating systems across different markets, the complexity of the platform matrix expands exponentially. Hence, it becomes crucial to devise a well-defined software testing strategy that outlines the appropriate utilization of physical, simulated, and cloud-based devices. This coordinated approach ensures comprehensive coverage and efficient testing procedures for optimal platform compatibility.

Conclusion

In summary, it is imperative for the organization to proactively consider these aspects while formulating its software test strategy. By doing so, the organization can ensure that platform compatibility testing is conducted methodically and cost-effectively when the time comes. This foresight allows for streamlined and efficient testing processes, leading to successful platform compatibility outcomes.

With WeTest, organizations can easily access a wide range of testing services and tools to ensure their software is compatible with various platforms. Our platform offers a seamless and efficient testing process, allowing organizations to save time and resources while achieving successful platform compatibility outcomes. Trust WeTest to provide comprehensive and reliable testing solutions for your organization's software needs.

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