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Software testing best practices

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Software testing follows a common process. Tasks or steps include defining the test environment, developing test cases, writing scripts, analyzing test results and submitting defect reports.

Testing can be time-consuming. Manual testing or ad-hoc testing may be enough for small systems. However, for larger ones, the tools are frequently used to automate tasks. Automated testing helps teams implement different scenarios, test differentiators (such as moving components into a cloud environment), and quickly get feedback on what works and what doesn’t.

A good testing approach encompasses the application programming interface (API), user interface and system levels. As well, the more tests that are automated, and run early, the better. Some teams build in-house test automation tools. However, vendor solutions offer features that can streamline key test management tasks such as:

  • Continuous testing: Project teams test each build as it becomes available. This type of software testing relies on test automation that is integrated with the deployment process. It enables software to be validated in realistic test environments earlier in the process – improving design and reducing risks.
  • Configuration management: Organizations centrally maintain test assets and track what software builds to test. Teams gain access to assets such as code, requirements, design documents, models, test scripts and test results. Good systems include user authentication and audit trails to help teams meet compliance requirements with minimal administrative effort.
  • Service virtualization: Testing environments may not be available, especially early in code development. Service virtualization simulates the services and systems that are missing or not yet completed, enabling teams to reduce dependencies and test sooner. They can reuse, deploy and change a configuration to test different scenarios without having to modify the original environment.
  • Defect or bug tracking: Monitoring defects is important to both testing and development teams for measuring and improving quality. Automated tools allow teams to track defects, measure their scope and impact, and uncover related issues.
  • Metrics and reporting: Reporting and analytics enable team members to share status, goals and test results. Advanced tools integrate project metrics and present results in a dashboard. Teams quickly see the overall health of a project and can monitor relationships between test, development and other project elements.


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