There are six stages of testing process development, that show the way the approaches to performing quality assurance in a certain company can change.
This article will help a reader to track the entire development of the testing process, see what stage has been already reached and also, understand how we can simplify and improve the process of software testing inside a company.
We have mentioned above that there are six main stages:
- A company doesn’t have a software tester yet and his/her duties are executed by the project manager or the developer;
- QA specialists appear but check the product only at the stage of preparing to software release;
- Testers check the developer execution of the original tasks and their compliance with the expected final result;
- Testers are responsible only for test design;
- A test management system is gradually implied in the projects;
- The testing process is automated.
Let’s analyze each stage separately.
Stage 1: A company doesn’t have a software tester
“If you do this yourself, then check it yourself too.” It’s perhaps the most intuitive method of software testing. It’s a general practice at small product companies.
When there is not enough money to engage professional testers or there is no understanding of how to perform qualitative software testing, then such actions are taken by the companies themselves.To perform testing yourself is a very irrational and challenging strategy.
Let’s analyze why this happens:
- A manager himself/herself uses only those use cases that have been implemented with his/her help and that have been fixed during the development process most frequently. As a result, life will constantly give its updates and end-users will probably meet critical bugs;
- If a manager performs software testing, then he/she does this work as the additional one, not having the required skills and enough time and strength to properly execute testing. This approach may help to find critical bugs but some details will be obviously missed;
- Subjective attitude to a project, inner desire to complete web product testing as fast as possible will lead to having the desire to close eyes to some trivial things.
In the worst case, no one executes testing and a client delivers a bug report him/herself. He/she has been given a ready release, the project in production, and developers have switched to other tasks.
A client finds a small bug on a website, then he/she receives reports about the server’s crashes, and finally, he/she becomes a tester on the project he/she has personally paid for.
Stage 2: QA specialists check the product only at the stage of preparing to software release
Testing the entire web product before its release is a common method of working according to the Waterfall model.
Software is divided into huge parts (sometimes one project is one big stage). At every stage, software release precedes its testing. A testing process is present here, and it’s great.
But there are also some issues here and they can be easily specified.
First, we’d like to say that if a product is tested at a final stage of its development, critical bugs that appear at the level of system architecture will be found very late.
Most parts of the software or even the entire product will need to be redone. Such a method doesn’t have any advantages.
Further, we should mention that a tester can perform only basic ad-hoc testing if he/she doesn’t have proper documentation.Such testing automatically excludes some alternative and working software testing scripts.
Frequently, there is some documentation on a project but software structure can be greatly changed during task execution, and the end product looks not in the way it has been expected by a client.
We can also mention that nearly 90 % of the overall time spent on the project is devoted to the development, as a crucial part of working with the software.
Not so much time is given to testing, and there is no time for bug fixing. As a result, huge refinements greatly impede the project delivery and lead to not meeting the deadlines.
One more issue may occur while performing separate testing: a tester can forget some project’s peculiarities and he/she will need to study the current updates, and this will lead to spending numerous working hours.
Stage 3: Testers check the developer execution of the original tasks
After that, companies see that finding bugs after they have grown systematically is the most efficient way. Therefore, they change the Waterfall model to the classic Agile method. At this moment, a tester is intensively integrated into the software development process.
All set tasks are gradually documented numerous times: apart from the development process and in the real environment.
At this stage, all tasks are checked for their meeting of the client’s requirements.
Agile methodology helps to work much more efficiently but not all testers and managers, in particular, are ready to look at the testing process from another perspective.
A manager always expects to complete the task as fast as possible and wants the highest level of testing services from a tester, but he/she still doesn’t understand the necessity of using test documentation and performing regression testing.
Software quality assurance is more intuitive here than structured.
The tests are executed in a different order at any iteration.
As a result, bugs can be missed at least at one of the stages of testing or missed completely. All alternative scripts and functionality editing can be missed by a tester.
Also, there is the issue with regression tests that are implemented absolutely unsystematically, if any. A tester actually tests what is required, according to his/her point of view, or such a part of the functionality that a manager paid his/her attention to.
Stage 4: Testers are responsible only for test design
At this stage, a well-known test design appears. QA engineers start analyzing the product’s requirements in a more conscientious way.
The entire functionality is divided into logical blocks that should be covered with checklists and working test cases.
In this case, projects are provided with proper technical documentation that can help to easily track the ways certain functionality has been tested.
Every test step is supplied with an accurate description of the way the system can finally behave. This is actually the test design itself.
We can also mention that professional and completely conscientious testing starts right here.
Now, it’s not a trivial set of tasks that should be tested. It’s a holistic, completely structured working process, aimed at analyzing the client’s requirements, mentioned in test documentation, that are directly related to the current tests.
Such a method completely changes the approach to testing data. Data needed for testing are not created with the help of brainstorming but are taken from the previously prepared suites.
The test design stage doesn’t have big disadvantages. It’s a very good stage of testing.
Stage 5: A test management system is used
Next, companies are forced to use specialized systems for qualitative storing of test cases and working with test runs.
Such a system gives the possibility to:
- Store data and test cases;
- Unite test steps into a group;
- Analyze current test coverage;
- Perform test runs;
- Maintain testing documentation;
- Constantly monitor the team’s workload, to easily correct the tasks and resources.
Every system is a new step of development. In this case, using the system allows improving the process of managing software testing, in particular.
A tester can easily manage the tests and this will help to receive more qualitative web products.
Stage 6: the testing process is automated
During long-term project development, some parts of the software may need to be automated.
Testers and developers create specialized automated tests for such tasks. Developers are always preparing unit tests and testers are responsible for UI testing.
Everything starts with covering positive scripts with automated tests: log-in, sign-in, news publishing, page search, etc.
We have analyzed above all main stages of test department development at any company, that should be taken by QA consultants into account.Conscientious and professional testing starts from test design and finally leads to complete test automation.
We’d like to say that the process of testing department development is not always linear. You can easily skip some stages or combine several approaches.
Such things as test management systems, automated tests or sometimes even engaging a test designer are not always used and not by everyone.
Still, if you stay at the ad-hoc testing stage and are limited only to final testing, you have small chances to execute complex tasks and develop in a professional way.