June 16, 2015

Adapting to Changes in Today’s Software Development Environment: 3 Tips for QA Testers

Test Management
[caption id="attachment_17013" align="alignright" width="300"]3 tips for QA testers Credit: 123RF.com[/caption] Long gone are the days when a manual tester could sit down with the new build of a software application and find defect after defect. Even though most testers love, love, love finding bugs, the art of testing is changing. In the past, QA testers used to receive buggy software builds that had undergone little to no developer testing. In today’s software development environment, that inefficient and outdated practice no longer exists. Developers are doing much more unit testing and code reviews these days, and automated testing suites are getting larger and covering more functionality. By the time the software reaches QA’s hands, there are far fewer defects in the product that are quick and easy to find. So what’s a tester to do? Here are three tips for taking advantage of this paradigm shift in your approach to testing:

1. Look for edge case issues

Developers and automated tests often miss the edge cases, leaving them to you to find. Ask yourself:
  • What issues have customers reported recently that were not found during the testing phase?
  • What other areas of the application might be impacted by newly implemented features?
  • How can I use the special knowledge I have about the application to uncover hard to find issues?

2. Search ‘deep’ as well as ‘broad’

Sometimes, a QA tester have to dig deep into the application’s functional areas to find defects. Ask yourself:
  • What areas of the product may have been impacted by new or changed functionality?
  • How can I expand a test to include functionality that might provide more in-depth test coverage?
  • What end-to-end tests can I perform that simulate how real world customers are likely to use the product?

3. Test with greater variety

Testing needs to involve more than just validating the default settings and manually repeating the same tests over and over. Ask yourself:
  • How can I vary combinations of test variables to achieve greater test coverage?
  • What user scenarios or configurations exist that are not commonly tested by manual testers, in automated tests or unit tests?
By shifting your testing approach a little, you’ll continue to find more bugs, provide better feedback to developers, and push the quality of the product higher.