Software Testing – Why When and How?

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Software Testing – Why When and How?

Let us first wish all our readers a happy and productive 2015 – hope you all got a list of items to take care of and actively pursuing ticking them off one by one. We assume you are interested in software testing and the latest trends thereof: you are at the right place!

 What is Testing in general and what is software testing? and why is it playing an ever increasing role in our lives? We will try to provide some answers in this post and hopefully give you enough information to go and investigate on your own.

Like millions of other consumers you may have done a lot of shopping during the holidays and if you are like my cousin who insists on actually seeing the furniture before buying it or like my mom who knows by instinct that shoe sizes are different from brand to brand and sometimes the store where you buy it from you are a savvy shopper as well as a “tester” – you verify the appearance, the functionality and sometimes durability and scalability – you would definitely like to try on the necklace with multiple dresses rather than one fixed suit – that is testing for scalability and compatibility and even though it is not actively called “testing”, these day-to-day actions capture the essence of testing, i.e. making sure what we get is what we wanted. Now, given that we have multitude of software running our lives and our products, be it the corner kiosk or the major bank – welcome to the world of “software testing!”

 When you hear the word “testing” what comes to your mind? Is it a person with a white lab coat with a magnifying glass? Is software testing too costly only the big businesses with deep pockets can afford that? Does a corner bakery selling cupcakes need to worry about “software testing”? Let us give you some examples from our combined experience of over 15 years in software testing and risk management: 

  • Let’s take the example of the bakery. You as the owner would like to reach potential buyers and impress them with the products – cupcakes. So, clear pictures representing the actual product would be of utmost importance. You would like to price them reasonably to attract the widest clientele.

Your niece who is in college has volunteered to make the webpage for you over the holiday break. Being the ever so trusting person that you are you give a thumbs up to your niece without even checking the website to see if the pictures of your awesome cupcakes come up well – this is a common mistake that we have seen in many occasions – we call it the “trust trap!”. 

 Is the webpage secure and can it handle multiple loggings? These options and transactions are quite complex and involve many behind the scenes applications which provide inputs and validations at each of the steps. Hence, the testing is proportionately involved and critical. For legal and compliance reasons, the requirements i.e. what gets delivered, have to spelled out in detail and test cases should be written to maximize the coverage. Any exceptions should be documented and approved by stakeholders. As a rule, a complex project has to have version control so the errors or inaccuracies could be pinned down. Also, key testing tasks are four-eyes, i.e. two people have to verify the steps and testing activities.

So, we have given you two examples where testing plays a significant role. What about the cost?, you might wonder… Amazingly, the savings and the reduction of risk due to proper testing outweigh any cost concerns. For small to mid-size establishments sizable improvements can be achieved at a very low cost and the costs for larger establishments are not high either. The key here is to think of testing as an integral part of the overall business plan. In our next blog we will discuss some proven low-cost testing techniques that we have successfully used over time. In the meantime go catch some bugs!

Author: Niluka Bamunuarachchige, CTAL, PMP, CSM, SSGB, ITIL, PCWA