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Challenges to Software Testing
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Challenges to Software Testing

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SOFTWARE TESTING CHALLENGES :
Famous book 'Surviving the Top Ten Challenges of Software Testing - A People-Oriented Approach', written by William Perry and Randall Rice, wonderfully describes following Ten challenges faced by the software testers


CHALLENGE – 1: TRAINING IN TESTING: IS TESTING A NATURAL-BORN INSTINCT?

Core Issues are
:
($) Lack of education in testing

($)

The large majority of testers have never had formal training in software testing.

($) Many testers and their management are unaware of training sources for testing.

Solutions for Training:
($) Obtain formal training in testing techniques

($) Certification : CSTE (Certified Software Test Engineer)

($) Attending conferences

($) Reading books and articles

CHALLENGE – 2: RELATIONSHIP BUILDING WITH DEVELOPERS: WHOSE SIDE ARE TESTERS ON?

Core Issues are
:
($) Lack of teamwork

($) "Us versus them" mentality, seen most often in organizations with independent test teams. Here Them refers to the Developers.

Solutions to the Teamwork Challenge:
($) The goal is to get to "Us and them"

($) Each person on the team can have a role in testing like

- Developers: unit and structural testing

- Testers: independent testing

- Users: business-oriented testing

- Management: to support testing activities

CHALLENGE – 3: USING TOOLS: TESTING WITHOUT TOOLS:

Core Issues are
:
($) Lack of understanding of the usefulness of test tools

($) Without upper management support, it is difficult to acquire test tools.

($) A process is needed for the tools.

($) People should be trained in the use of test tools.

($) People must accept and apply the tools.

Solutions for Acquiring and Using Test Tools:
($) Identify a "Champion" for obtaining the test tools.

($) Base the case for test tools in costs vs. benefits.

($) Have a basic testing process in place.

($) Train people in tool usage.

($) Measure the benefits.

CHALLENGE – 4: GETTING MANAGERS TO UNDERSTAND TESTING:

Core Issues are:
($) Management is not fully aware of what is required for effective testing.

($) Management is often focused on the product, not the process. This leads to lack of management support and involvement for testing.

Solutions to Educating Management in Testing Issues:
($) Cultural change is needed.

($) Focus your message to management on:

- Reducing the cost of rework

- Meeting the project schedule

($) The benefits of testing must relate to these two things to be persuasive.

CHALLENGE – 5: COMMUNICATING WITH USERS ABOUT TESTING: WOULD THE REAL CUSTOMER STAND UP?

Core Issue No. 1 - A lack of understanding of who the customer really is. We must understand the difference between: Customers & Users

Core Issue No. 2 -
Lack of customer involvement in testing.

Solutions to Identifying and Involving the Customer in Testing:
($) Involve the customer and users throughout the project by performing reviews and inspections.

($) Include users on the system test team.

($) Perform user acceptance testing.

($) Understand the difference between the customer and users.

CHALLENGE – 6: MAKING THE NECESSARY TIME FOR TESTING: TOO MUCH WORK – TOO LITTLE TIME :

Core Issues are:
($) Arbitrary schedules and estimates do not allow enough time for testing.

($) Realism: There is never enough time to test every possible combinations of test conditions.

Solutions to the Time Crunch:
($) Base schedules and estimates on measurable testing activities.
- Scripts to be executed

- Cases to be tested

- Requirements to be tested
($) Have contingency plans for schedule slippage.

($) Integrate automated testing tools to the project.

CHALLENGE – 7: TESTING "OVER THE WALL" SOFTWARE: OVERCOMING THROWING STUFF OVER THE WALL:

Core Issues are:
($) Developers depending on testers to find bugs.

($) Seen most often when independent test teams are used in an organization

Solutions to Overcoming Throwing Stuff Over the Wall:
($) Developers must take ownership and responsibility for the quality of their work.

($) Quality control is most effective when performed at the point of creation.

($) Train developers to become excellent testers.

($) Get management support for developer responsibility for quality.

CHALLENGE – 8: TRYING TO HIT A MOVING TARGET:

Core Issues are
:
($) Software and systems that undergo rapid and/or constant change.

($) Software development techniques such as Rapid Application Development can produce a new version of the software very quickly.

($) You can’t perform a four-week test every day manually.

Solutions for Hitting a Moving Target:
($) The testing process must accommodate change.

($) Focus on testable requirements.

($) Use automated testing tools.

($) Manage the rate and degree of change.

CHALLENGE – 9:FIGHTING A LOSE-LOSE SITUATION:

Core Issues are
:
($) Testers are often the "Bad Guys" when they find defects, yet if the software goes live with problems, testers are blamed for the defects.

($) Since independent testers have no control over the software development process, they cannot guarantee software quality.

Solutions for Fighting a Lose-Lose Situation:
($) The perception of testing must change.
- Testers are paid to find defects

- Each defect found is one more the customer or user will not find

($) Testers are not to blame for bottlenecks. It is management’s responsibility to have an efficient process.

CHALLENGE – 10: HAVING TO SAY "NO"

Core Issues are
:
($) Testers are often the bearer of bad news.

($) Problem: Management doesn’t like to hear bad news.

Solutions for Having to Say "No":
($) Most responsibility is on management to:

- Have a quality software development process in place.

- Have contingency plan in place in case of problems.

- Understand that testing is only an evaluation activity.

- Accept the honest facts.

($) Keep the test results objective

SUMMARY - APPLYING THE LESSONS LEARNT:

($) Most testing problems seem to be human in nature.

($) "Quality is everyone’s job, but it’s management’s responsibility." Dr. Deming.

($) There are three key parts of the testing picture: Process, People and Tools.

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