October 27, 2015

The Importance of Testing, Part 3: Tools and Tips for Fast and Effective Testing

This is the third installment in a 3-part series on the importance of testing.

In this final installment of our 3-part series, we'll explore some tips that will help you throughout your testing process, as well as a few tools that will make your testing easier and more efficient.

Many processes have a set of industry tested, tried and true practices that can be applied to make implementation of those processes easier for the next individual. To ensure your testing process is actually making a difference in the quality of our website, application, or software, here are a few tips from quality assurance experts from Fortune 500 companies:

  • The Process
    It's important that your organization defines a process that is robust and certified by experts and should serve as a living, evolving guideline to performing testing. The process should be enforced and followed through, improving to establish ironclad quality assurance.
  • The People
    There should be a substantial investment in managerial support as well as acquisition of quality people skilled in performing quality testing. Having your managers understand the importance of testing as well as qualified testers will ensure the quality of your testing process. It’s also equally important for developers to be invested in the testing process by committing to test their code before it reaches the testing phase.
  • The Plan
    As we mentioned in previous installments, the best way to ensure the quality of your testing process is to define deliverables such as requirements, a testing plan, and testing cases. These will guarantee that testers can effectively follow-up throughout the project as well.
  • The Problems
    To ensure continued improvement in the quality of your website, application, or software, maintaining metrics from each test cycle execution and between versions is crucial. This will allow you to more easily identify defects and bugs as well as increase the values of the testing process.

A few other things to consider include:

  • Making sure your test environment is in the appropriate state to create and execute your tests.
  • Test data must be available and relevant to enable corresponding tests in the appropriate environment.
  • There should be a well-organized change management process to track all changes to the environments, test data, the software itself, and the overall testing process.

There are many tools you can use to develop a quality testing process. There are applications that can fulfill all your project management lifecycle needs from requirements gathering to testing. There are others that simply execute your test cases and allow you to track defects. It’s important to first assess the needs of what you’re testing as well as the needs of your project team when selecting the right tool for you. Here are just a couple applications used by our team:

  • QASymphony qTest Test Management Suite
    This tool provides a platform to create, test, and track changes to your website, application, or software. You can develop and record requirements, report bugs, and defects, and perform automated testing. This tool also provides comprehensive and meaningful reports for insight into the efficiency of your testing process and your test results.
  • Webpagetest.org
    This free online tool allows you to test the performance of your website as well as provide metrics for improving optimization. Metrics include load speeds, image compression, and screenshots for visual comparisons.

Understanding that continuous improvement of your product is crucial to its success and the happiness of customers is something that many project teams tend to neglect. Furthermore, many teams don’t know where to start to make this improvement happen.

I hope reading this series inspired you to start your testing process or incorporate better testing practices into your existing process. I also hope you gained a better understanding of the importance of testing to the success of your team.

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