Software testing is a vital part of the development life cycle. It’s what safeguards the long-term success of your solution. But do you really know what it takes to set up and fine-tune a software testing process?
Let’s philosophize for a moment: mistakes are an integral part of our lives and…a software development process. No matter how skilled and experienced the developer, the sharp eye of a quality assurance engineer will spot even the tiniest bug in an application and report it as speedily as possible.
Of course, we are not here to diminish the importance and professionalism of software developers. Instead, in this article we will fill you in on the essentials of a testing procedure, outline the types of software testing, and share some intriguing insights from our QA experts.
The essence of software testing
The importance and usefulness of software testing cannot be overstated, and it is expected that the entire software testing market will hit $60 billion by 2027.
Software testing per se is a process that helps verify that a software product runs as it is supposed to and hits specific quality benchmarks.
During the procedure, QA engineers are responsible for searching for and identifying critical bugs and issues that may hinder the smooth functioning of an application and spoil the overall user experience.
Why do you need software testing?
A well-executed software testing process can bring a bunch of great benefits, the most prominent being reduced costs, better security and quality of a final product, improved customer experience, and greater ROI.
In 2021, data breach costs were estimated at $4.24 billion, which is the highest average total cost registered for the last 17 years. However, the earlier you spot a bug in a software application, the less expensive it becomes to fix it. That is why it is essential to implement a QA process and detect malfunctions at an early stage.
Better security and quality of a product
By carrying out safety and performance tests, you ensure that your software product fully complies with modern security standards and protocols. Plus, once your application has gone through the required functional and non-functional testing, you can then enhance your application’s speed and responsiveness, thus contributing to a better overall quality.
Improved customer experience and greater ROI
Put yourself in your user’s shoes and imagine how you’d feel if you had to deal with an app that has multiple bugs, endlessly urging you to turn to the support service.
Quality assurance testing can help you retain customers by slashing the number of bugs to the barest minimum. Having fewer, or even zero, imperfections in your product will boost user confidence and loyalty.
Besides, if your current users are satisfied with your application, they will provide encouraging feedback. This will drive more users to your product and increase your ROI.
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Overview of the key types of software testing
Software testing types abound, so it is quite easy to get confused when itemizing them all. However, it’s possible to broadly categorize them into groups: manual vs automated testing, white box vs black box vs gray box testing, and functional vs non-functional testing.
Manual vs automation testing
Manual testing is performed manually by a QA engineer. This approach grants testers more flexibility in their operational processes, yet at the same time it requires them to have impeccable skills, knowledge, and experience to be able to spot any bug.
Automation testing, for its part, relies on special automation tools. This approach allows testers to schedule the software testing anytime, anywhere, and spares them from having to spend too much time on test scripts and repeated testing.
White box vs black box vs gray box testing
Manual testing can also be further divided into the white box, gray box and black box software testing approaches.
White box testing allows a QA engineer to access source code, architecture, design documents, internal data structures, physical logic flow, and code comments. This approach allows for an insightful testing of the inner workings of a solution and helps reveal security findings.
Gray box testing is normally performed with credentialed access to the application logic flow charts or network infrastructure maps. This enables a QA tester to perform attacks from a user’s perspective so as to discover the potential impact of a bad actor’s ploy.
Black box testing is an exercise that closely resembles a cyberattack. A tester is not given any access to the application and is tasked with conducting reconnaissance to gain the sensitive data needed to proceed further. The key aim here is to find out whether an external attacker with no prior access might be able to infiltrate the application and its data.
Functional vs non-functional testing
Black box testing can also be subdivided into functional and non-functional software testing approaches.
Functional testing verifies that each functionality and feature of a software product works properly and in accordance with the parameters outlined by the client. Some examples of this software testing category would be unit testing, integration testing, system testing, and user acceptance testing.
Non-functional testing, on the other hand, is responsible for examining non-functional aspects of a software application — that’s to say, its performance, compatibility, usability, and so on. Put simply, it is used to test the behavior of a product and not the functionality.
Approaches to setting up a software testing process in your organization
Now that you know the basics of software testing, it’s time to move forward and look at how you can establish software testing in your organization — in other words, create an in-house testing team, turn to a QA consulting company, or hire a dedicated team.
Create an in-house testing team
There are multiple benefits to building your own software testing team. First of all, QA engineers will be working closely with developers, which undeniably streamlines communication and allows for more effective reporting.
You and/or your tech team lead will also exercise better control over the entire testing process and make sure that everything runs smoothly. In addition, by creating an in-house department of QA engineers, you can substantially minimize the risk of your organization’s confidential information being breached.
Even so, the overall process of recruiting QA specialists may turn out too time consuming, especially if you need a software testing team lead with rich experience. Moreover, if your software testing team has to work on numerous tasks at once, they might find themselves overloaded and as a result unwilling to practice new testing scenarios and approaches.
Refer to a QA consulting company
You can also consider augmenting your in-house testing team by hiring seasoned software testing consultants to bolster your current process. They will thoroughly analyze your existing testing workflows and look at your testing approaches with fresh eyes. Plus, QA consultants can establish a full-cycle QA process on their end, execute a QA audit, and find areas for improvement.
The greatest advantage of having software testing consultants is that you will have the right to decide whether to accept their advice and proposals. You preserve absolute independence in your way of working.
However, hiring QA consultants in addition to your existing team requires a lot of financial resources as you will have to maintain two teams at the same time.
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Hire or outsource a dedicated QA team
Hiring a dedicated QA team is rightly viewed as the golden mean between the two aforementioned options. Once you outsource QA experts, they will get down to work straight away, and you will not need to spend your time on recruiting, onboarding and training new staff. You can also choose the size of a QA team depending on your project requirements and complexity, and either expand or reduce the number of testers during the process.
A dedicated QA team will concentrate exclusively on your project, allowing you to focus on your chief business processes. They will normally adopt the most advanced testing techniques and use the latest software testing tools to keep apace with other QA outsourcing companies.
The minor here is that you will have to conduct a very thorough initial briefing and highlight the logic and minutiae of your product. Failure to do this may lead to a dedicated QA team struggling to deliver the very best quality outcome.
Steps in a software testing life cycle: PixelPlex’s approach
Each QA and software testing team employs its own unique approach to conducting a thorough software testing process — and here at PixelPlex we too have worked out and fine-tuned our own testing strategy.
Step 1: Analyze requirements and evaluate risks
Our QA engineers start with a comprehensive analysis of a product’s functional and non-functional requirements. They look into the specifics of a solution’s domain and conduct interviews with stakeholders (if needed).
Step 2: Estimate the scope of work and allocate tasks in accordance with the team’s skillset
Given that a QA process is about ensuring a top quality solution (thanks Captain Obvious), we distribute testing responsibilities according to the skills and availability of our QA engineers. They estimate how much time the testing process will take, take heed of deadlines, and plan their time accordingly.
Step 3: Design test cases
Once all requirements have been analyzed and the team composition decided, our QA engineers get down to producing test cases, where they describe test inputs, execution terms, and expected results from each individual case. Via test cases, QA specialists can be sure that a software solution is bug-free and runs as it should.
Step 4: Execute test cases
Following the successful development of test cases, our quality assurance engineers get down to their execution. While performing this procedure, our testers closely watch for bugs and add information about them and the conditions under which they are discovered.
Step 5: Track defects and test fixed bugs
When bugs have been reported, our development team immediately fixes them. Afterwards, QA engineers retest the product functionality and carry out regression testing. This is done to ensure that the fixed bugs have not caused new defects in the product.
Step 6: Provide a test closure report
Once the test execution has been successfully completed and the bugs fixed, our QA engineers provide a comprehensive report, called test closure. The documents represent all the performed testing activities and final test results.
Examples of our best software testing practice
Being a full-cycle development company, PixelPlex places special emphasis on software quality assurance. Together with our developers and designers, our QA testing team do their best to launch bug-free products and solutions that help our clients thrive.
Below we will look into some of the software testing projects where our testing team played their part to perfection.
FootballNet: blockchain-based engagement and loyalty platform
Our developers helped the client to craft a blockchain-powered football and soccer loyalty platform. It enables teams, fans and also club owners to effectively interact via gamified challenges and special merchandise offerings.
Our quality assurance engineers were required to ensure the smooth running of the FootballNet solution and help its users enjoy the rich functionality of the app. The list of tasks performed by our QA team includes:
- Checking the UX/UI personalization
- Testing the gamification strategies
- Analyzing payments, stakes, and rewards tokenization
- Assessing admin dashboard capabilities
- Simulating attendance scenarios
- Examining potential fan behavior
- Conducting testing of API-based third-party service integrations
Green: end-to-end eCommerce solution
Our software talents were called on to design a fully-fledged multi-platform ecosystem for a European retail company within eight weeks. To shorten time to market and release a solution ASAP, our dedicated software testing and engineering team pulled out all the stops. Here is what their work consisted of:
- Inspection of online order picking and shopping
- UX/UI customization research
- Uber-like delivery testing
- IoT-enabled supply chain management checks
- User flow targeting assessment
- Payment processing testing
- Smart stock-keeping workflow analysis (15K+ SKUs)
Flact: permissioned blockchain document management platform
The client approached our development and QA engineering team to help them design a Hyperledger-based platform for multi-signature document flow governance. The solution, underpinned by a decentralized node infrastructure, empowers executives and shareholders to vote and distribute their resolutions across a unified web application.
Our software tester engineers’ contribution to the project consisted of the following:
- Dedicated accounts functionality testing
- Evaluation of logging capabilities
- Checking access to co-signatories viewing
- Inspecting resolution history transparency
- Verification of external providers voting abilities
- Assessment of UX/UI design intuitiveness
- Short links plugin testing
- Self-management investigation
- Password and email-enabled authentication checks
When just rolled off the production line, every software product comes with some imperfections and scope for improvement. But QA engineers can help make it just right, eliminating any bugs and defects that hamper its performance.
Software testing is regarded as part and parcel of a project development life cycle. It brings myriad benefits, not only in terms of reduced costs but also better product security and quality, enhanced customer experience, and greater ROI. That’s why on no account must you overlook this important process. If you do, all the effort put into development will go down the drain.
Are you on the lookout for a professional software testing partner? You need look no further. Our QA engineers at PixelPlex will provide QA audit and consulting services and help you introduce a result-driven QA testing path that perfectly matches your aspirations and clicks with all the business workflows you have in place.