by Nadine Parmelee and Brenda Hall
When you’re testing software, the software you are testing and the tools you use change, but the process of how you test remains constant. Sometimes you may apply different styles and different types of tests to different projects, but for the most part, testing is testing – you put your test data in and check your expected result, you manipulate a menu or control and check your expected result.
How different companies and even how different project teams approach testing, though, is very different. I have personally seen everything from a very rigid and formal process with no room for change to “anything goes” with testing as more of an afterthought. What most project teams need is to find balance somewhere in the middle of the two extremes.
Having a test process is important to testing
- To make sure test results are reproducible
- To know how much testing is complete
- To know how much more testing is needed
- To understand what will and will not be tested
- To have an idea of the quality of a product
The amount of process can vary for each project. You don’t want your valuable resources wasting time with “process for process’ sake” type work, but you also want to be able to tell exactly where in the process the testing team is. A good process is one that is maintainable and works for your specific project group and that can be adapted as needed for different situations.
In some situations, the entire process may be just a few procedures and in other cases more procedures may be needed. The best way to try and incorporate new processes into your project team’s work flow is to document what you currently do, then add in some procedures you would like to incorporate and see if they work for your situation.
Examples of Process documents for QA:
- Process Description
- Test Plan/Test Strategy
- Defect Life Cycle
Your processes and procedures don’t need to remain static; if something no longer works, change it or remove it. Keep your processes up to date and make them work for you.