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Software Testing: Top 5 Best Practices

Written By

Rodolfo Ortega

Most modern applications are built to deliver products and services to millions of users across the globe. While such a user base is great for business, it also calls for the Development and deployment of robust applications that deliver seamless experiences to all users.

Modern development procedures integrate software testing methodologies aimed at detecting bugs and evaluating code quality. However, the software testing process is complex. There are so many pieces that must fit together - teams, tools, documentation, to name a few. 

To help software testers and QA professionals ensure they’re on the right track, we’ve created an extensive checklist with the key software testing best practices you need to know.

Table of Contents 

What is Software Testing?

Software testing refers to the process of verifying and validating application quality to ensure it satisfies user requirements. Within the software development industry, the process can also be referred to as Quality Assurance (QA) Testing. 

A software product consists of various modules, each adding to its functionality. All these modules are susceptible to bugs, crashes, and security vulnerabilities and must be thoroughly tested before deployment. 

Types of Software Testing

  • Unit Testing: Involves dividing the codebase into smaller modules (units) and testing each unit separately. 
  • Integration Testing: Focuses on testing the interoperability of the various application components.
  • Regression Testing: Aimed at testing the code base after an update to ensure the changes have not affected the other modules' functionality.
  • Smoke Testing:  Also known as build verification testing, it’s applicable in the identification of basic functionality before moving on to more complex software testing practices.
  • Alpha Testing: Performed internally within an organization on an almost-finished product. Alpha testing aims to replicate the user behavior to capture any errors that they may encounter.
  • Beta Testing: Beta testing is performed by the end-users (usually a limited group). It is the final layer of testing before the product is ready to be released to the general public.
  • End-to-End (E2E) Testing: This approach tests the application’s functionality from start to finish. It ensures that every component and workflow is working as expected.

For an in-depth analysis of Unit, Integration, as well as End-to-End Testing, check out our detailed code testing guide

Importance of Software Testing

Software QA Testing is responsible for maintaining the application's quality, directly impacting user experience and satisfaction. A well-tested, error-free application improves customer retention and adds to business growth. 

Additionally, bug-fixing operations have monetary and time costs attached to them. In some situations, Developers have to spend long hours figuring out the problem and in extreme scenarios, they may have to pull down the application for an indefinite time, which results in business losses.

Another important factor to acknowledge is that software testing helps improve and validate the security of your application, which helps build client trust and fulfill compliance requirements such as SOC 2 which are required by regulatory bodies such as the Auditing Standards Board of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA)

For this reason, a well-thought-out QA testing strategy can help avoid all such inconveniences and help develop a robust application in the long run.

Get a detailed look at the benefits of Software Testing in this comprehensive Software Testing Guide. 

How to Pick the Best Software Testing Strategy

Ideally, a well-structured QA Testing process should include as many strategies as possible, but their integration is subject to several factors. For this reason, Software Testers must select the optimal strategies that suit their use case and thoroughly test the application for complete functionality. A few factors to consider in picking the best software testing strategy include;

  • Time and Budget Allocation: Figure out how much time can be spared for Quality Assurance and how complex the software testing strategy should be. A more complex and rigorous testing strategy depends on how much budget is allocated to the testing phase.
  • Modules involved in the application: The application functionality will determine the necessary tests. For example, modules involving user input and those processing data will require separate testing strategies.
  • Regulatory Guidelines: Regulatory authorities often define the tests an application must satisfy before being pushed live.

Software Testing Best Practices

Utilize Test-Driven Development

Test-Driven Development (TDD) is a code-writing strategy that prioritizes writing tests before implementing functional code. With this approach, an initial test is written keeping in mind the working and function of the code. After that, the actual code is written to pass the test. 

Once this is achieved, the code is refactored to comply with coding standards. Consequently, the final code follows coding standards and passes required tests.

Overall, TDD ensures that each piece of code is tested before being finalized and integrates early testing for early error detection in the Software Development Lifecycle

(SDLC).

Implement Early Testing

In most SDLCs, the testing stage is often implemented after the development is complete. This results in a cumbersome feedback cycle that involves a lot of debugging and re-development, which wastes time and is challenging for the Developer.

A better practice is encouraging early testing by conducting QA testing in parallel with Development. This enables early detection of errors, prevents bugs from pilling up, and refines the Development process, resulting in minimal load during the testing phase.

Integrate Continuous Automated Testing

CI/CD pipelines must be integrated with automated software testing procedures. These procedures are automatically triggered whenever code changes are pushed to the testing environment and ensure that the new updates do not disrupt the application's working. The automated tests are pre-defined against specific criteria, and they are a compulsory part of the deployment pipeline, ensuring that the code is never passed un-tested.

However, it is also important to note that automated tests must be continuously updated with the codebase. Updated code requires newer tests that Developers must implement before moving forward. 

Document Testing Standards and Methods

Create a roadmap of the required testing strategies and standardize the testing principles beforehand. The documentation is created after thoroughly analyzing the application requirements and includes all strategies required for error-free development and smooth operations.

A well-documented testing plan improves team collaboration and process efficiency as Developers are well aware of the ground rules to follow. It also defines key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and acceptance criteria to benchmark the code quality.

Limit Over-Reliance on Automated Tests

Automated tests carry several benefits, but relying solely on them can be troubling in the long run. These pre-written tests are designed in a preemptive effort to detect bugs and cannot capture tricky scenarios. 

Automated tests are better suited for testing the general working of entire modules and may miss out on certain specific workflows.

Moreover, if the tests are not constantly updated with new additions to the code, they are prone to raising false alarms, which would waste a lot of time and resources in debugging. 

It is vital to prioritize the scripting of manual tests equally. These tests are carefully curated for critical workflows and can test the most random and random scenarios.

Conclusion

Software testing is crucial to the Software Development Lifecycle as it ensures application quality and customer satisfaction. There are various kinds of software testing methodologies like Unit Testing, Integration testing, and Smoke Testing. Each opf these tests the application functionality at different levels and is vital for a robust codebase.

However, implementing test strategies is limited by the availability of resources and time, and developers have to carefully pick the most optimal ones. Moreover, implementing software testing methodologies can be challenging, but QA Testers can follow certain software testing best practices that improve the processes and yield maximum output. 

These practices include documenting the testing strategies, defining quality assurance metrics, and utilizing CI/CD integrated automated testing.

Head over to our Software Testing and QA service page to learn more how Bluelight Consulting helps businesses elevate the quality of your digital products.


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