Software testing alone is no silver bullet, and this is well established among anyone who has worked in this industry for any length of time. Simply saying ‘we do software testing’ does not magically make your software better or even your testing processes correct and optimised.
Intelligent use of software techniques, tools and a bit of logical thinking go a long way towards ensuring that your software testing becomes more efficient as time goes by, not arcane and irrelevant. Here are a few tips to help you do that:
1: Use the right documentation.
When using a tool, try to exploit the tool’s ability to document to its full extent. If possible, don’t document anything out of the tool.
Anything which is documented outside of the tool will become useless as time goes by and people forget exactly what the documentation was, let alone where they stored it.
2: Store intelligently
We’ve all been there, trying to find an email about a requirement or bug report which the sender insists you received 4 months ago. In today’s world, emails or shared docs on servers have all the permanent nature of a sticky note on someone’s computer screen.
Store everything in one centralized place. Avoid spreading documents over file servers, intranets or anything else; it will just get more and more complex and spread out over time.
3: Improve bug report efficiency
One way to vastly improve the efficiency of bug reports is to think of pertinent information which would be of assistance.
There is often information that needs to be included, for example the browser version or account number. Make sure that the bug report template contains this information.
4: Structure tests well
Structure tests in test runs that can be run by a tester.
Use test cases when needed and only when needed. It is better to perform simple tests by using checklists, not test cases.
5: Write good test cases
Write test cases with 3-8 steps. Experience shows that this is the optimal range of steps to opt for. Longer test cases make it very hard to reproduce test cases, both for the developer and for the tester.
6: Use good metrics
Find metrics that are simple to run, efficient and that give you the data you’re looking for. Some statistics are of no help to anyone, but other are extremely good to know. Think of metrics which can help you accurately see the big picture, for example, defects per subsystem or defects per severity.
It is wise to use these metrics for weekly meetings to show progress or to use as fair warning if the numbers do not improve.
So, how do I start using these ideas?
Getting started with these ideas isn’t hard if you use a decent tool. If you use ReQtest it’s very, very easy. Simply create a project template in ReQtest in which you can easily set up your next project to work in a similar way, and with additional information where required.