Software Testing is critical for improving Software Quality. This tutorial lists Process Models and 10 Steps to improve Testing Process for delivering better Software Quality:
A software product is developed to meet certain requirements given by customer but many times, it ends up as a defective product due to several reasons like incorrect requirements, communication gap, understanding gap, timeline issues, incomplete technical knowledge, or less skilled people in the system.
This exposes the software products to bugs, defects, or errors. Software testing is highly important to avoid or prevent these kinds of issues and maintain the quality of software products.
This article will give you an idea about various models and some simple software testing process improvement steps which can be followed to enhance software quality.
We know that Software Testing is the process of evaluating whether the software meets the specific requirements. In this process, we follow many techniques and models to deliver a quality product. But even then, there are few areas which can be improved for better software quality.
- The process should go in continuous improvement. These techniques are selected and implemented.
- The Deming wheel (PDCA cycle) is the most commonly used technique.
- Improved Test Process Quality reduces maintenance costs.
What You Will Learn:
- Types of Model
- Steps To Improve Software Quality
- Software Testing Process Improvement
- #1) Requirement Specification Document Availability
- #2) Testing Team Involvement In Requirement Discussions
- #3) Clear-cut Scope
- #4) Test Planning And Execution
- #5) Test Cases Review
- #6) Ensure Enough Time To Perform Testing
- #7) Regression Test Planning
- #8) Test Automation
- #9) Test Data Management & Reporting
- #10) Retrospection After Every Sprint
Types of Model
There are 2 models as listed below-
- Process Reference Model: Perform maturity measurement as part of the assessment, evaluate organization capability.
- Content Reference Model: Improves business-driven evaluation of organization opportunities. For Example, benchmarking techniques.
There are 4 Process Models:
#1) TMMI: Testing Maturity Models
There are five levels in the Testing Maturity Models as listed below-
- Level 1: Initial
- No formal or documented Structured testing. Testing and Development are done in Adhoc form after coding.
- Testing and Debugging phase are considered as the same.
- Level 2: Managed
- Testing is performed separately from Debugging.
- Testing policies and goals are set.
- Implement basic testing techniques.
- Level 3: Defined
- The Testing Process is integrated into the Development process and documented into formal standards, procedures, and materials.
- Level 4: Measured
- The Testing process is effectively measured and managed at the organizational level.
- Level 5: Organized
- Data from the testing process can be used to prevent defects and optimize the process.
#2) CTP: Critical Testing Process
- It has 12 Testing Process.
- It is context driven, where challenges are identified and attributes of the good process are recognized.
- It is adaptable
- It includes the use of metrics for Benchmarking.
#3) TPI Next
- Defines 16 process areas and each covers a specific aspect of the Testing Process.
- It has 4 Maturity levels: Initial, Controlled, Efficient, and Optimizing.
- Checkpoints are defined to access each level.
- Findings are summarized and visualized by means of Maturity Metrics.
- It can be tailored.
- Systematic test and evaluation process.
- Context Reference Model.
- It does not require improvement to occur in a specific order.
- Uses Requirement Based Testing.
- Testing is a lifecycle activity that begins during the Requirement phase and continues until Retirement.
- Defects are detected earlier and analyzed.
- Testers and Developers work together.
- Tests are used as a Requirement and Usage model. Testware design leads to Software Design.
Steps To Improve Software Quality
Step #1) Initiate Improvement Process:
- Objectives, Goals, Scope, and Coverage are agreed by stakeholders.
- Success criteria should be defined.
- The Method should be established to measure improvement.
Step #2) Diagnosing the current situation:
- A free assessment approach is undertaken and a test assessment report is created.
- It contains an appraisal of current testing practices and a list of process improvement.
Step #3) Acting to implement improvement:
- Training & mentoring is done.
Step #4) Learning from improvement plan:
- Identify which benefit in addition to expected benefit was received.
Let us focus on the first step mentioned above i.e how to improve Software Quality by improving the process.
Software Testing Process Improvement
Software testing is not just testing a product to check if the requirements are met or not but it is a process of quality control as well as assurance.
- Quality control: A method of defect detection and correction.
- Quality assurance: A method of defect prevention when the product is under control.
The benefits of Software Testing are summarized below:
- Software testing checks if we are building the right product through testing the actual product.
- It checks if the development process is accomplished by quality standards or not.
- It makes sure that the product meets all the specified requirements by the customer.
- Software testing focuses upon completeness, correctness, and consistency of the final product.
- It checks if we are building the product right through process checking.
- It is responsible to confirm that a software product is defect-free.
Now, we will discuss the different steps and techniques to improve the Software Testing process to achieve a good quality software product.
#1) Requirement Specification Document Availability
The very first goal for requirement management is to build a mutual perception between the client and the software development team to focus on all the requirements for the defined software project. The primary outcome of requirement management is the Requirement Specification document.
Requirement Specification document explains all the technical/non-technical requirements of the business need that is required to develop the software product.
Most of the time in the software development life cycle, these crucial documents are missing, inadequate, or not available at the beginning of the sprint planning, thus there is a huge discrepancy between what is asked and what is delivered.
Hence, to eradicate these loopholes, the first step is to get these essential documents from the business users as this helps the tester to understand the complete requirement right from the beginning.
Classification Of Requirements:
The early availability of these documents from a customer is a very good practice to improve the Software Testing process, as the whole project is dependent on requirements only.
Some of the key Requirement documents include:
- SRS (Software Requirement specification): This explains the purpose, scope, functional and non-functional requirements including both the software and hardware requirements of the project.
- HLD (High-Level design): This document is to translate the specifications into a logical or graphical representation of the software to implement.
- RTM (Requirement Traceability Matrix): It includes the requirement matrix mapping of the user requirement and the test validation document or test case document.
#2) Testing Team Involvement In Requirement Discussions
One of the fundamental keys to building a successful project is clear and effective communication between all designs, development, and testing team members.
The testing team should be included in all key meetings and design meetings, including application designs and requirement defining sessions, due to which the testing team can improve the following task in a more refined way.
- Preparing the test strategy document.
- Preparing a test plan document and effort estimation of testing.
- Testing team planning for testing activities.
- Test case writing.
- Test scripts writing for automation testing.
- Preparation of bug reports.
- Bug management through bug reporting tools (Jira, Bugzilla, QC, etc.)
There should be a mutual understanding and co-operation between all the team members, so that they can follow the same IT standards and techniques to work upon and expect collaborative visualization, by respecting each team member’s work to produce a quality product.
#3) Clear-cut Scope
For most of the software, the IT industry is following the agile model, thus comprehensive or simple defined scope is hardly provided by the customer and they keep changing the requirements in between the development cycle.
This leads to a gap in the understanding between the development and testing team and the result does not always come as projected.
To improve the Software testing process Clear-cut scope should always be there and the testing team should be aware of the entire requirements and should have a complete understanding before starting software testing. This indeed will always help to produce better results.
Understanding the complete Scope/purpose of the project will also help to judge the level/type or intensity of the testing required.
#4) Test Planning And Execution
In this phase, we designate the complete testing process, including defining requirements, techniques, company standards, documentation, functionality descriptions, and the risks that can be introduced during testing.
Test planning itself is a complete project, that is designed to achieve the quality product by dividing into the following important tasks.
#1) Test Strategy: High-level description/document of the test procedure needs to be created to perform the testing needs within those procedures. The testing team follows the approach laid by these documents. The test strategy document is prepared by the test manager and is a static document, that does not change frequently.
Enlisted below are the components of a Test Strategy document:
- Testing Scope
- Testing approach
- Tools and techniques for testing.
- Environment details
- Software, IT standards
- Testing completion schedule
#2) Test Plan: After preparing a test strategy document, the Test Lead must prepare the master and detailed test plan, that is derived from the SRS document.
The Test Plan describes the following.
- What to test?
- How to test?
- When to test?
- Who will test?
If the Requirements are rapidly changing, then it is highly recommended to have a well-defined and detailed test plan. The failures in testing are mainly because of not performing the plan revision of the test plan.
Test Plan Features include:
- Test plan id
- Test Items
- Features to be tested
- Featured not to be tested
- Test Approach
- Entry Criteria
- Suspension Criteria
- Exit Criteria
- Test Environment
- Test Deliverables
- Staff and Training needs
- Risk and Mitigation
#3) Test Case Design: Test Case Design is an activity where all the Requirements discussions are converted into formal documents like a Test case, test script, test scenario.
In other words, test cases are a set of steps through which the tester identifies whether a software product meets all the requirements or not by comparing the actual result with the expected result.
Test Case Format:
|Sr. No.||Test Summary||Step No.||Step||Expected Result||Actual Result|
What is the need for Test Case Writing?
Writing test cases is practically necessary to help the testers understand the requirements in a detailed manner and ensures that they are approaching in the right way.
Benefits of Test Cases
- Test cases make sure to complete test coverage.
- It helps in removing any gap in requirements.
- It assists in improving the testing process.
- It helps in improving the quality of the product.
- Increasing confidence that we are proceeding in the right manner.
- It helps to verify the expectation.
- It allows the tester to think comprehensively and helps to cover all the positive and negative scenarios.
#5) Test Cases Review
Test case review plays an important role in the software development life cycle in any organization as the ultimate goal of the customer is to get a product “which is defect free” and should meet all the specified requirements.
The main purpose of reviewing test cases: to estimate completeness, increase test coverage and correctness of the analyzed requirements, and most importantly “No gap between requirement understandings” thereby improving the product quality.
Enlisted below are the advantages of having Test case reviews:
- Prevention of defect.
- Early warning about design and requirements.
- All the scenarios are captured or not.
- The entire scenario is relevant or not.
- Test case coverage is as per the requirements of the product.
- It helps in saving testing time.
#6) Ensure Enough Time To Perform Testing
For any tester, the time crunch is one of the common challenges, that they usually face during their testing activities, and this affects the product quality drastically. Typically, in a sprint, the first step is that the requirements are freezes and then the product is developed, and later it comes to the QA team before UAT and deployment.
In UAT, dates are fixed but due to many known/unknown issues, the development cycles extend and that leads to time crunch for QA activity, which eventually effects testing qualities.
Thus, it is very important to get enough time to perform testing activities through the below points to ensure a defect-free product:
- Analyze every user story closely.
- Provide test effort estimation for each task.
- Explore testing technologies for fast work.
- Plan testing resources.
- Record the mistakes.
- Avoid repetitive tasks.
#7) Regression Test Planning
Generally, after performing the required changes in software coding, to resolve the defects, the development team releases modified build to the testing team to validate defects. Sometimes, even a small change in coding can have a serious effect on the other areas of the software, that have not been touched.
To improve software product quality, the testers should always plan Regression testing to give assurance to the management team, developers, testers and clients that the new feature is not impacting any of the existing functionality and also to confirm that the new issues are not exposed in those functionalities that are not changed.
Importance of Regression Testing
- It is useful to detect issues /in the initial phase.
- It assures that the software products can be deployed.
- It confirms that because of new changes, some previous issues are not re-opened.
- Build client confidence to have bug free software products.
Different ways to perform Regression Testing:
Regression testing is required whenever there is new functionality; a defect in existing product needs to be correct, modification in existing functionality, and deletion of existing features. These code changes can introduce a new defect in the system and the system starts to work incorrectly.
Enlisted below are the different ways in which Regression Testing could be conducted.
- Re-testing of complete test suit.
- Selection of regression test cases.
- Prioritization of test cases.
#8) Test Automation
In today’s world, software testing is a crucial part of the software development life cycle process. To reduce the manual hard work on testing, many companies choose for test automation for smart work.
However, automation capabilities move beyond to reduce time to increase speed and complete test coverage and most importantly QA costs optimization eventually.
Thus test automation is preferred over manual testing to Finding an alternative with the most cost-effective or highest achievable performance to get the maximum result or outcome with minimum cost or expense.
Moreover, test automation gives many reasons to improve the testing process by different stages.
- Achieving goals with the minimum cost in the long run.
- Reduced time of execution.
- Abilities to increase test coverage.
- Increased efficiency and productivity.
- Reduced manual effort
- Reduced Repetitive work
- Useful in regression testing
- Increase scripting qualities
- More reliability
#9) Test Data Management & Reporting
Test management is a process of managing testing activities, such as organizing testing resources, estimation, planning, strategizing of test efforts, test progress monitoring, test reporting, and control.
Test management is a way to deliver a quality software product as well as an effective way to improve the software testing process. Test Management is not only effective for automation but also effective in manual testing.
- Test Organization: Creation and recognition of the test team and task assignment.
- Test Planning: Records of discussion and agreements between testers and the rest of the project team.
- Test strategy: Identify testing scope, testing process, testing techniques & approach, estimating the testing efforts and cost.
- Test execution: Test case documentation, script creation, and execution.
- Test Monitoring and control: Evaluate the status of task completion.
- Test Reporting: Effectively communicating testing team findings and status to other stakeholders. There are many ways of reporting status such as by creating a Test summary report, by direct test status in email or by creating a dashboard and sending the dashboard link.
#10) Retrospection After Every Sprint
A retrospective meeting is a formal get-together held by a software development team at the end of a sprint to check and discuss achievement and failure and to come up with new plans for future improvements for upcoming sprints.
Conducting Retrospectives after every sprint gives a chance to the teams for continuous improvement of their performance and to improve not only the software testing process but also all the other activities involved.
Focus areas in Retrospection:
- What went well?
- What did not go well?
- What did we learn?
- How to improve?
- What went well?: The best way to discuss improvement is to first appraise the good things that have happened so that the discussion starts with the positivity and to celebrate the reason behind the success and the team also keeps the energy high and discusses further in a happy environment.
- What did not go well? : The objective of this question should not be to blame individuals but to identify the reasons behind the failures or mistakes. Each member should participate to answer this question so that we should be known of an existing problem and the solutions to resolve them for further sprints. The key to a successful project is to accept the mistake and work upon it.
- What did we learn?: Not to repeat mistakes and focus on new processes and tools or techniques, we can introduce or use to get better results.
- How to improve? : By accepting all the mistakes that have been done in the previous sprint and to enhance the skills set in all departments and to document all the feedback positively to work much more and better in the further sprints.
Behind every successful product delivery, there ought to be some strategies to follow different software testing processes. Implement these simple software testing process improvement steps, mentioned in this article, to deliver the best quality product.
In this tutorial, we covered the various process improvement steps and techniques that can be followed in any SDLC (Software development Life Cycle) model throughout the sprint cycle, to deliver the best quality product within an optimum time frame.
It is evident that Software testing is an integral part of SDLC and its objective is to value the system as a whole and satisfy customer requirements. Hence as a team, we should implement the above ways to improve the software testing process that will eventually lead to better performance and quality of the software product.