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11 Steps to Improve Software Testing through Planning, Work Environment, Automated Testing, and Reporting
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Quality is never an accident. You can’t ignore testing if you want high-quality, top-notch, successful software product development. An adequately tested software product is free of bugs, errors, redundancies, and inconsistencies. 

Any defects are spotted and rectified during the testing stage of the software development process. That ensures the final product meets your requirements and the high standards of an ever-changing and highly competitive industry. Having said that, software quality assurance is not a single step but a continuous process. Here’s a look at 11 steps a reliable QA services company can follow to improve software quality assurance.

Where do testing and QA fit in an agile software development cycle?

Software testing services make use of an agile software development cycle. An agile software product development cycle is a set of phases that a product goes through:

  1. Ideation: Determining the goal and purpose of the new software.
  2. Development: Developing the product.
  3. Testing: Ensuring the product is fully functional, free of bugs, and the code is clean before release.
  4. Deployment: Deploying the completed product to an on-premises server or the cloud.
  5. Operations: This includes software maintenance and support services to ensure the product remains usable and free of bugs.

11 critical steps to improve software testing

  • Plan the testing and QA processes

Create a clearly defined test plan that includes the software testing strategies you will use, the scope of testing, the budget, and clearly-established deadlines. Decide on the following:

  1. Methods and tools for testing
  2. Types of testing required to be carried out
  3. Level of testing that must be carried out
  4. Tools that will be used for tracking bugs
  5. Allocation of resources and responsibilities to individual testers

All test processes must be documented during this stage.

  • Employ test-oriented software development management

Also called Test Driven Development (TDD), this is a software development practice of creating unit test cases before creating actual code. A test-first approach ensures no bottlenecks during the software development process. There is constant feedback, the addition of new features, and immediate bug fixes. Tests are created in advance, so teams don’t waste time recreating extensive test scripts.

  • Use a shift-left approach to start testing early and often

Shift Left is the practice of testing earlier in the software development process and shifting tasks to the “left” of the life cycle sooner rather than later. It is done by reviewing requirements, testing often, and automating tests whenever possible to prevent a problem before it occurs.

  • Conduct formal technical reviews

A formal technical review (FTR) is a class of reviews, including walkthroughs, inspections, and group technical assessments, that help the agile team arrive at a technically superior product version. An FTR can help reveal any functional and logical errors during the early stages of product development. It’s a great way to communicate progress, monitor risks, coordinate tasks, and transfer knowledge between team members.

  • Ensure a suitable work environment for the Software Quality Assurance (QA) team

A suitable work environment is critical to ensure high-level QA. Here are some ways to create a suitable work environment:

  1. Provide business training to your QA team to expand their knowledge and enhance problem-solving.
  2. Encourage communication between team members – testers, developers, and QA managers.
  3. Respect your QA team and help build and nurture trusting relationships between developers and the QA team.

Here are the top strategies for outsourcing your software development and testing process to an external/extended team. 

  • Implement user acceptance testing

User acceptance testing, or UAT, is the process of getting your end users to test your product before it goes live. Your end users use your software in ways your QA team cannot predict. So, they might even find bugs and defects that your QA and testing teams might miss. UAT testing helps check the following:

  1. Improve the quality of a product (alpha and beta testing)
  2. Ensure the software product meets all contract requirements (contract acceptance testing)
  3. Ensure the software complies with the necessary legal regulations (regulation acceptance testing)
  4. Check if the app is ready for usage (operational acceptance/product readiness testing)
  5. Examine the software’s functionality without access to the internal code (black box testing).
  • Optimize the use of automated tests

Use automated testing and automation tools to run tests and ensure your software product is truly of a high standard. Automated tests can save you time and, unlike manual tests, are free of human error. Some tests that QA testing companies automate include:

  1. Load testing
  2. Performance testing
  3. Regression and smoke testing
  4. Cross-browser/cross-device testing
  • Implement exploratory and ad hoc testing

Exploratory and ad hoc testing is fantastic for combating the limitations of automated tests. Exploratory tests call for experienced testers who can unearth bugs using their intuition, imagination, and experience. They are the best way to test a software’s usability as they consider various real-life scenarios.

Ad hoc testing involves random tests executed with random data. Random tests aim to break the system and find bugs and defects that are often missed with formal tests.

  • Employ code quality measurements

Code quality metrics define the quality of your code – whether it is of high quality or low quality. Some metrics used to track the quality of code are clarity, testability, robustness, portability, maintainability, safety, complexity, and security. Employing code quality is critical because these metrics can help you determine if a single piece of code can affect the overall quality of your code.

  • Report bugs effectively

An effective bug report identifies the problem so it can be fixed quickly and more efficiently. Bug reports must be written correctly, and the problem must be communicated well to avoid misunderstanding. A well-written bug report is clear enough for developers to understand the problem and should also contain a solution if possible. Include screenshots of any failures to highlight the defect(s). Finally, add a bug summary to help developers determine the type of bug and find a solution more quickly.

  • Get the most out of your test management tool

All test management tools are different, and the one you choose must help your team structure and manage the entire testing process. Ensure that the tool you choose helps you with the following:

  1. Planning testing activities
  2. Designing test cases
  3. Capturing requirements
  4. Storing testing information
  5. Creating reports
  6. Tracking KPIs
  7. Sharing data with team members.

Today’s tools include Kualitee, Testpad, TestRail, SpiraTest, and Zephyr.

 Final thoughts

“Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction, and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives.” – William A. Foster (attrib.). High-quality software is maintainable, correct, reusable, reliable, portable, and efficient. That’s what you can aim to achieve when you choose a software testing company that incorporates these 11 steps to improve the testing of your new software.

VLink’s QA software testing services include third-party QA and testing expertise and software testing outsourcing to ensure your software is ready to be released into the market. The company has provided QA and software testing services for over 17+ years. The company’s software quality assurance (QA) services include compatibility testing, performance testing, functional testing, security testing, usability testing, and localization testing.

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    About The Author
    Tracy Gardner
    Tracy joined VLink in Aug 2020 from Easterseals Capital Region & Eastern Connecticut, where she served as Director of Major Gifts and Business Development. Prior to Easterseals, she launched an award-winning community magazine in Avon, CT. She also served as a content mentor, coach, and director for N2 Publishing. A former journalist, Tracy worked as a News Anchor/Reporter for many years in various U.S. markets.

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