Naomi Bishop, CEO of Surfky/Bidwise, defines the requirements analysis phase as, “Analyze and research the criteria during this phase of the STLC. Participate in brainstorming sessions with other departments to determine if the criteria are testable. This stage aids in determining the extent of the research. If a function cannot be checked, let the team know during this process so that a mitigation plan can be formulated.” The QA team’s interaction with various key stakeholders is crucial at this stage.
Responsible QA team members collaborate with stakeholders. Any unclear aspects can be remedied here. We recommend the potential to automate testing capabilities. Automation testing tools such as Autify can be introduced. For example, we use our own test automation software to automatically test our product at this phase.
Test Planning in STLC
After the quality assurance team completes the requirements analysis stage they can move to the test planning phase. In this stage, a test plan document is created which acts as a strategic blueprint for testing. It details time and cost estimations, resources required, responsibilities delegation, and determining testing environments.
Naomi Bishop explains, “Test preparation is the first phase of the research process in most cases. We define the tasks and services that will aid in meeting the research goals during this process. We also aim to define the measures, as well as the way of collecting and monitoring those metrics, throughout the planning process.”
Test Case Development
Test cases are created during this phase. These tests check that every portion of the software works as intended for the end-user.
A test case includes test steps, testing data (such as login details,) an expected result upon successful execution, as well as unexpected results if there are failures. QA teams should strive for test case efficiencies as well. Traditionally, it has been known for QA teams to document test cases in spreadsheets, but this can be rather cumbersome especially at scale.
To reach 100% coverage, test scripts should be a mixture of manual and automated scenarios. The latter should dominate where possible. QA teams with the majority of manual testing experience bottlenecks, inefficient costs due to more time spent manually testing, and the potential for more bugs slipping into production due to the human error element.
Traditionally, test scripts are written in programming languages by skilled developers. This raises the barrier for entry, meaning, not everyone on the QA team can execute the tasks. Our software, Autify, makes testing easy for anyone on the team using our GUI rather than coding. Instead of writing test scripts in a programming language, our codeless platform writes the coded steps for users. Therefore, a tester would only need to focus on interaction with the browser. Engineers can focus on coding new features. Autify’s machine learning algorithms also handle maintenance too.
Test environments are set up and deployed at this phase. This includes determining test data, hardware, and software implementation. Testing tools such as Autify, Selenium, or other top software testing tools are used to aid in automation testing. It is vital that the testing environment closely emulates the software after deployment. For example, if a membership web application runs on the client’s server, then the testing environment should closely match. It’s common to perform smoke testing at this phase.
In the test execution phase, testers carry out the strategy outlined in the test plan, by executing test cases. The expected results are compared to actual results and reported back to the development team. Implementing sufficient bug tracking, defect reports, and test execution reports are key. When using an automation testing tool such as Autify, the AI automatically gathers reporting showing passed and failed test scenarios. It can also save mountains of time (which are cost savings in software development) by detecting changes that may occur in the user interface.
Test Cycle Closure
The test cycle closure phase should conclude test execution. In essence, it’s a collection of test reporting results that should be presented, discussed, and analyzed among team members.
Naomi Bishop shares test cycle closure experiences from her team, ”[First,] verify that the evaluation has been done. If all test cases are executed or purposely mitigated. Verify that no defects of severity 1 have been opened.” She continues, ”[Second,] conduct a lesson-learned conference and prepare a lesson-learned study. (Include what went well, where changes should be made, and what should be improved.)”
Why Is Testing Early Important?
In brief, testing early and often can save money in software development. This methodology is known as Shift Left. Meaning, testing shifts earlier in the software development life cycle rather than towards the end.