We don’t need no stinking test plan…

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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.

Author: bridge360blog

Software Changes Everything.... Bridge360 improves and develops custom application software. We specialize in solving complex problems at every phase of the software development lifecycle, removing roadblocks to help our clients’ software and applications reach their full potential in any market. The Bridge360 customer base includes software companies and world technology leaders, leading system integrators, federal and state government agencies, and small to enterprise businesses across the globe. Clients spanning industries from legal to healthcare, automotive to energy, and high tech to high fashion count on us to clear a path for success. Bridge360 was founded in 2001 (as Austin Test) and is headquartered in Austin, Texas with offices in Beijing, China.

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