How to Build a Solid Testing Strategy

Software that functions efficiently and effectively is a critical component of a business’s success. When a new program is in the process of being developed, it must undergo extensive testing to solve any issues that could potentially prevent the system from running safely and smoothly.

This article will explain the significance of software testing for a business’s success and how to ensure that the strategy is well-developed, with a solid worksheet outlining the approach.

What is the Purpose of Software Testing?

Software testing is a thorough examination of a software product’s behavior. Its intention is to validate that a given program is performing its intended function. It identifies bugs to fix, thereby improving performance and eliminating unnecessary performance costs that might have stemmed from those bugs. 

Quality control is at the heart of software testing. One simple bug can disrupt the entire board via an organization’s interconnected systems. Defects can directly impact end-user experiences. It is important that any and all defects are found before they evolve into serious failures that affect both user experience and overall profit.

What Is a Testing Strategy?

A testing strategy is an outline of how software will be tested. It differs from a test plan because while a strategy is meant to describe the approach to the process, the test plan is the actual step-by-step plan for assessing the operational system’s capabilities.

Measuring compliance and user acceptance testing are two of the ultimate objectives in undertaking this endeavor. The strategy will outline how the test should complete its goals and meet the organization’s standards. 

How Do You Build a Good Testing Strategy?

Creating a solid approach to evaluating new software will ensure that a business has thoroughly vetted, functioning systems in place. Read on to learn some examples of what a company can do to ensure that they have a sound testing strategy.

Strategy Testing Worksheet

A Test Strategy Worksheet is a document that outlines the exact approach to software testing that the business plans to take. A well-constructed test strategy worksheet plays a massive role in the success of the assessment process.

The Worksheet should answer the critical questions about the approach and intended results of the test, such as what the final goal is, how the team will go about achieving that goal, and the user demographics. 

The worksheet’s most important role is its ability to serve as a guide for the whole team during the operation, ensuring that every member is on the same page in every step of the process. This is how the business can reach its goal efficiently. 

The following items are examples of what can be included in the test strategy document:

  • The name of the project or application
  • The author of the project
  • The types of computing environments
  • The type of software
  • The user demographics
  • Assumptions about the process and result
  • The intended purpose of the test
  • The phases 
  • The scope of the test, which defines the necessary activities to be performed within a given timeline
  • The factors that are crucial to the success of the testing include accuracy, data security, performance, and usability
  • The different types of testing, such as manual, automated, unit, integration, functional, end-to-end, acceptance, performance, and smoke
  • The tester profiles
  • The necessary tools for each step in process and development
  • Business and operational concerns
  • Risks to business functionality
  • Technical risks
  • Threats to the program or project

Because the strategy document serves as a guideline for the whole team during the testing process, the worksheet needs to be completed in sufficient detail. It must also include information on how the test data will be produced, collected, and managed. Be sure to note and consider any specific dependencies based on the environment or the application itself.

Resource Planning

Resource planning is essential to test strategy. The company should prepare all of the necessary resources beforehand and evaluate the potential expansion of the project. If the project does have the potential to expand, then budgeting and resource planning should reflect this so that testing may run smoothly in any situation. 

Resource planning includes the team members who will partake in the software testing. The outlined strategy should ensure that the evaluation process accounts for enough workers, and that these workers are properly trained to carry out the necessary tasks involved in the project. All team members need to be well-versed in the resources available to them.

Resources can also include the required tools. Amongst the necessary tools for software testing are manual tools like spreadsheets and other documentation, as well as automated test management and defect tracking tools.

Test Timing

Timing is everything when it comes to ensuring the functionality of your software. 

Firstly, ensuring that the testing gets done within a reasonable period is crucial. It will give the technical team plenty of time to identify bugs, work through them, and rerun certain aspects of the tests to ensure that everything is running smoothly. It is also crucial for the operating system to create a strategy that allows the software to be tested often while it is running, so it can stay in solid shape as it serves users.

A push for the program’s release will require carefully planned scheduling to ensure that the process is completed with enough time to fix all defects. If there is an uptick in volume, the strategy will need to include multiple stations to carry out testing. Sometimes, there can be overwhelming pressure to test quickly due to product launch dates. It is essential for this reason not to overlook early strategizing.

Prioritize User Experience

The end-user software experience must find its place at the forefront of the test strategy. The program’s function for its ultimate users should be a priority consideration for the business. This will result in the best possible quality for an organization’s clientele, which matters most when implementing new software.

Risk Analysis

When creating a testing strategy for a program, different risks need to be addressed in the strategizing process. These risks could affect the efficiency of the actual test and the system’s long-term development. Potential hazards that should not be overlooked when strategizing include:

  • Operational Risks: Improper training, a lack of resources, and failure of the whole team to communicate and collaborate properly can result in poor performance.
  • Program Risks: These risks often affect the program directly, such as a lack of funding for the project, little to no market development, or a change in the laws affecting the software, rights, or related aspects.
  • Budget Risks: Budgeting has not been adequately estimated or allocated, or the programming has expanded beyond the initial budget. 

Taking note of the risks beforehand will ensure that the entire team is prepared for any possible situation to arise. 

Entry & Exit Criteria

Every good testing strategy should have clear and defined terms for the program’s entry/exit criteria. Planners will often establish their criteria in the form of a checklist, which should list everything that should be done before a program enters the testing process and before it is complete. Meeting entry criteria will guarantee that the business receives the best possible results from the test. 

In terms of exit criteria, user acceptance should be the primary consideration. A well-vetted list of exit criteria will ensure that the software meets all of the business’ predetermined standards to move into the installation phase. 

Moving Forward

Overall, a software testing strategy should include automation, scheduling, and planning out the necessary resources. After a solid approach has been constructed and approved, the business will be able to move into the development phase of evaluating the program. This will include the actual test plan and the scripts and data involved in the testing process.

The actual execution of the test will then take place. From this execution, the team of developers will learn about the defects in the coding and produce test reports and metrics. Management of these defects will come next. This phase will identify the bugs, track them, and fix them. 

This will move the operation to its software programming delivery phase, which will verify that all of the business requirements have been met, that users will have an efficient and quality experience and that the fully operational system is ready to begin the installation testing phase. 

The foundations of any long-term plan, especially for a business, are of the utmost importance. In this case, installing the software that a company intends to implement is a thorough and rigorous analysis of its capabilities. It all starts with a great strategy.

A Final Word

Organizations need to make sure they have built a solid testing strategy. When constructing software testing plans, resource planning, timing, user experience, and risk analysis should all be considered. 

A straightforward testing strategy worksheet should be the guide that keeps the entire team on track. Teamwork and collaboration are as essential in implementing a new user-friendly program as they are in any other aspect of running a business. By utilizing these tips, your test strategy will ensure effective software and minimize the risk of errors upon release.

Daniel is a community manager for NI (formerly National Instruments), where they create the tools needed for companies to Engineer Ambitiously™. His current interests are at the intersection of software engineering and DevOps. Outside of work, he is a marathon runner and is working on his first novel.