How to Stop Testing
Since more and more spheres of our life are subject to computerization nowadays, the importance of software testing can not be underestimated. Indeed, a bug in electronic election system may lead to irreparable consequences. Thus, it’s pretty natural that society wants to get a guarantee that such software systems are 100% bug-free. But the problem is that even if the code was tested properly, we can’t say that there are no errors at all. Which brings us to the next question: if we can not guarantee that there are no more bugs left in the code, according to which criteria we can say that the testing process can be finished?
Software Testing From a Tester’s Point of View
First of all, it’s important to remember that a tester’s work is not a simple check of whether a system works but an attempt to find out if it functions according to the declared requirements. Thus, the task for each QA team member is to find all possible bugs before the user faces them. Finding the ways of how you can crush the system, defining the circumstances under which it crushes and having the ability to reproduce them is the main goal. But after you find a particular bug and a team of developers fixes it, the state of the system changes. Which as you can guess, may be a source of new bugs and glitches. That’s why without a proper approach you can find yourself stuck in an infinite loop.
The second important fact may sound a little bit shocking. Almost any software product despite the level of developers professionalism may contain an incredibly large number of bugs, and it’s barely possible to find all of them. That’s right. Despite the level of efforts applied by the QA team, no matter how big or small the project is, it will contain bugs at the final stage of development life cycle. And since we can not affirm that a particular found error is the very last error in our project, how can we tell where the stop line should be held?
When Enough is Enough
As it has been said, trying to find each and every bug is impractical. Following cutting-edge methodologies, an experienced QA team can find a bunch of them and assure you that it’s possible to find more if there will be more time. But at the same time, a product should be released at some point. Thus, there’s no any other choice than agree with the need of releasing a product that contains errors. The question is how many of them you’re able to find and how critical they will be. And that’s where we face the necessity to determine the optimal completion criterion that will take into account impossibility to find all bugs, limited human and time resources. Some approaches imply that you can determine in advance the number of particular types of bugs that you will have to find to be confident that the quality of the product is high enough so it can be shipped. But how you can forecast what particular number can be considered as acceptable? Throwing a pair of dice obviously won’t be a good choice. In this case, you should rely on your experience and understanding of how software should behave and what possible issues should be considered in the first place. In other cases, a project manager can define the estimated number of bugs of certain priority with which you can release the product. Let’s take a look at how completion criteria are formed in practice.
For any type of testing, a QA team should compile a specific checklist. Checklist contains a certain number of checkings that covers the functionality of the application. If all checks were passed successfully, the testing process could be considered complete. In some cases, for particular types of tests or applications that are being tested, an additional set of checks can be performed. All these checks must be passed successfully as well. Following these simple rules, a QA team can guarantee the required level of test coverage which is formed according to the application type. In the case of functional and GUI testing, special attention is paid to the validation of actual functionality of controls and interface checking. So, the members of the QA team are guided by the following list:
- Checklist that covers the functionality of the application
- Checking if the inputs of the app must comply with the web applications standards
- Checking the availability of controls
- Checking if the app completely matches design mock-ups
- Validation of actual functionality of controls after giving input to certain fields in the application
After these checks were passed, the testing process can be finished.
Even if a software development company is not short of funds and can afford hiring hordes of testers, 100% bugless software product will remain a dream of a project manager rather than an actual thing. The ugly truth is that any application potentially contains so many bugs, so it won’t be a complete lie if we say that their number is infinite. In such situation, the only option is to predict the number of particular types of errors which you’re going to detect. One of the possible solutions to the problem is a properly defined checklist. It consists of particular features of the application that should be tested. Detecting and fixing the bugs related to the most significant parts of the application functionality allows achieving a desirable level of confidence that the product is ready to be released.
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