Software Testing Methods
November 22, 2019

8 Key Software Testing Methods

Test Management
Software Quality

How you test software is just as important as what you test. And when it comes to software testing methods, there are many different approaches that you can take.

Knowing which approach to take can be confusing. Black box or white box? Scripted or exploratory? Manual or automated? Agile or Waterfall?

There is no best method. And in many cases, you’ll want to use a combination of software testing methods.

What is software testing? Learn the basics here >>


Compare Software Testing Methods

Here we compare 8 of the most important methods for you to consider for software testing. And we share how to use them together.

Black Box Testing vs. White Box Testing

Black box testing is done without knowing the contents of the software. You treat the software as though it’s a black box — and you can’t see what’s inside. The tester might know what the software should do, but not how it’s done.

White box testing is done with knowledge of how the software works. It’s also known as clear box, glass box, transparent box, and structural testing. You know how the software should work — and you test to verify that it does work.

There are pros and cons to both of these testing methods. That’s why it’s best to combine them for successful software delivery. Enter gray box testing.

More on black box testing >>

Scripted Testing vs. Exploratory Testing

Scripted testing follows the steps outlined by a tester. This testing method is well documented, including a test case and clear test steps. Tests are often scripted if they’re used to fulfill a requirement. This includes your functional and non-functional tests.

Exploratory testing lets the tester check the software based on their instinct. This testing method is great for finding hidden risks or errors that ordinary scripted testing might miss.

Scripted tests are important to ensure that the software is ready. Exploratory tests, on the other hand, are important to understanding how real-life users might use the software.

That’s why using a combination of scripted and exploratory tests is important.

More on exploratory testing >>

Manual Testing vs. Automated Testing

Manual testing is done by testers. A tester might have a test script or test steps to go through. Or the tester might do exploratory testing manually.

Automated testing is done by scripts or tools. A tester may set up the tool or script, but the test runs through its steps automatically.

Both test automation and manual testing are important. Manual tests find things automated testing misses. Learn when to use automated tests >>

Automated tests add efficiency to the testing process. This frees up time to test more things, too. Find out which tests to automate >>

And automated testing is especially important for web apps. Get five tips for adapting automated tests for web apps >>

Not sure when you should use manual tests and when to use automated ones? Find out. More on manual vs. automated testing >>

More on automated testing vs. manual testing vs. continuous testing >>


Best Practices for Automated Testing


Waterfall Testing vs. Agile Testing

Waterfall testing happens after the development phase is complete. Testing is a phase on its own. Once a test plan is set in Waterfall testing, it typically doesn’t change.

Agile testing happens continuously as developers build the software. And Agile tests are typically done in sprints. Agile test plans can evolve as the software itself evolves.More on Agile testing >>

Waterfall testing makes the most sense for projects with defined requirements that are unlikely to change. Agile testing makes sense if requirements are fluid — and testing needs to be, too.

More and more teams are adopting Agile processes for testing. And that’s bringing about new trends. Shift-left testing is on the rise, encouraging testers to test earlier in the development process. And development itself is becoming test-driven.




Manage Tests Effectively

Managing tests effectively is important. And it requires knowledge and skill.

One way you can build up your skills is by getting certified in testing. More on testing certifications >>

Another way is to use a smart test management tool.

Helix ALM makes it easy to manage every test, no matter which software testing methods you use. Learn how the test case management — Helix TCM — model makes it easy to track every test.

That means black box and white box. Scripted and exploratory. Manual and automated. Waterfall and Agile. All in one tool.

Examples of Testing in Helix ALM

Software Testing Guide