How to Test More, Save Time, and Achieve Better Testing Results:
Software testing is an essential activity in the software development and maintenance life cycles. It is a practice often used to decide and improve software quality.
Development is more systematic nowadays and organizations seek measures of testing completeness and effectiveness to show test completion criteria. Of them all, coverage is considered especially valuable.
Simply put, coverage is “What are we testing and How much are we testing?”
Test coverage helps monitor the quality of testing, and assists testers to create tests that cover areas that are missing or not validated.
Most teams base their coverage calculations on functional requirements alone. It is also fair because first and foremost an application should do what it is supposed to do. If not, its speed or security or ease of use – none of it matters.
However, if dedicated and independent non-functional testing teams are working on performance, security, usability testing, etc., then they will have to track their requirements all the way to execution through test coverage analytics.
What You Will Learn:
Test Coverage and Code Coverage
Test coverage is often confused with Code Coverage. Even though the underlying principles are the same, they are two different things.
Code Coverage really talks about unit testing practices that have to target all areas of the code at least once and is done by developers.
Test Coverage, on the other hand, is testing every requirement at least once and is obviously a QA team activity.
What really qualifies to be a covered requirement depends on the interpretation of each team.
For example: Some teams call a requirement covered if there is at least one test case against it. Sometimes, it is covered if at least one team member is assigned to it. Or, if all the test cases associated with it are executed.
- If there are 10 requirements and 100 tests created – when these 100 tests target all of the 10 requirements and don’t leave out any – we call this adequate test coverage at the design level.
- When only 80 of the created tests are executed and target only 6 of the requirements. We say that 4 requirements are not covered even though 80% of testing is done. This is coverage statistics at an execution level.
- When only 90 tests relating to 8 requirements have assigned testers and the rest of them are not, we say the test assignment coverage is 80% (8 out of 10 requirements).
It is also important as to when to calculate coverage.
If you do this too early in the process, you will see a lot of gaps because things are still incomplete. So it is generally advised to wait until the Last Build i.e. Final Regression Build. This will give a correct coverage of the Tests performed for the given Requirements.
How to adopt a proper Test Coverage method?
Awareness is everything:
First things first, the QA team must know how much work is involved and where the design tasks are at. This way, they are going to be aware if more tests are to be added. To do this, you could use an RTM as is the typical practice.
=> Check this article out to know more about it and how to use it: How to Create Requirements Traceability Matrix – Exact Process with Sample Template
Secondly, check resource assignment and test execution process to see if everything is tested in the more effective manner.
A table such as below can be helpful:
|Test Type||Total Cases||Executed Cases||Status||Comments|
|Functional||100||80||50 pass , 30 fail|
|Compatibility||100||50||45 pass, 5 fail|
|Usability||100||100||98 pass, 2 fail|
|Final Regression||100||100||99 pass, 1 fail|
How to make sure everything is tested and in the best way possible?
- Every tester should be aware of the requirements and the testing methods
- Prioritize your Requirements and focus your energy where it is most needed
- Be informed about how a certain release is different from the previous one so you can identify critical requirements more accurately and focus on maximum positive coverage
- Adapt Test Automation
- Use Test Management tools to always stay in the know
- Smart work assignment- Channel your best resources towards critical tasks and let new testers explore more for a fresh perspective
- Maintaining a checklist for all tasks and miscellaneous activities
- Interact more with your Dev/Scrum/BA teams to get insights into the application behaviour
- Keep track of all your build cycles and fixes
- Identify most impacting problems in the initial builds itself (when possible) so the later ones can work for better stability and reach those areas blocked by prior problems
Few critical areas and methods for effective testing are:
#1) Resource jumbling: Exchange tasks between your team members. This helps improve engagement and prevent knowledge concentration.
#3) Ownership: Make testers accountable and give them a free rein (with monitoring and support of course) for the module/task that they are working on. This helps build responsibility and lets them try creative ways instead of following the beaten down road.
#4) Deadlines: Knowing the release deadlines prior to the commencement of testing phase helps with effective planning
#5) Communication: Stay in touch with the dev and other teams in between release cycles to know what’s going on.
#6) Maintain an RTM: Acts as a good derivative to the Stakeholders or Clients, based on which the release schedule can be confirmed
Advantages of Test Coverage awareness for a Tester :
- It primarily helps with testing task prioritizing
- It helps achieve 100% requirement coverage or in other words, it prevents requirement leakage
- Impacts Analysis becomes easier
- Useful in determining the EXIT criteria
- Enables a test lead to prepare a clear test closure report
It is not always true that when you test more, the results are better. In fact, when you test more with no apparent strategy, you probably will end up investing a lot of time.
With a more structured approach, an aim at 100% requirement coverage and effective testing methods, you will not compromise on quality.
We hope the techniques outlined in this article will give you some pointers.
About the author: This is a guest article by Sundeep. He is having 7+ years of QA experience and currently working as a lead in Product based company.
Thank you for reading and if you have any comments, questions, thoughts and suggestions, please share them below.