The Key Challenges of Software Testing
The pressure to bring high-quality products into the market means the product must undergo several rounds of testing to ensure issues are identified and rectified in time. But the process of developing test cases and carrying out manual or automated testing is not as easy as it appears; testers often come across many challenges along the testing lifecycle that makes the entire process rather taxing.
Here are 5 key challenges developers face when it comes to software testing:
1. Undefined Quality Standards: Software products tend to comply with quality requirements when the standards are clearly defined. Unfortunately, perfectly defined quality standards is not always the case which makes testing a real challenge. Undefined or poorly defined quality standards means there is no clarity on testing requirements, specifications, guidelines, or characteristics. In the absence of the right standards, it becomes extremely difficult for testers to a) satisfy customer needs, b) meet quality requirements, and c) comply with regulations.
Before embarking on the testing journey, it is thus critical for teams to define these quality standards upfront as they help in developing expectations around the quality of the product under development. They not only make the testing process more efficient; they also help reduce redundancy, minimize errors, reduce time to market, as well as lower costs. Make sure the standards you define are realistic, reliable, and measurable. Rope in the required people to define standards and ensure they are clearly communicated to the team.
2. Test Environment Duplication: When testing a software product, most teams limit efforts to a handful of test cases. This, however, is not a true representation of the challenges the product might face in a real-world environment. Not using a realistic test environment means testers will only find issues that are reflected under very specific circumstances – thus reducing the chance of discovering real-world or hard to find bugs.
Using a real-life environment is important to test the product across all possible parameters. It ensures the product is tested across all possible configuration combinations and that any issue that could potentially impact end user experience is identified and rectified in time. A test environment that is as production-like as possible also reduces the likelihood of introducing a new feature that is not compatible with the production environment.
3. Lack of Communication: Testers often tend to work in complete isolation, and very rarely indulge in communicating with other team members. Such communication often leads to testers spending more in back-and-forth emails, attending meetings, taking phone calls, and providing status updates. It also impacts shared understanding across the entire team and leads to poor insight into risks and issues that can act as impediments to the project.
4. Unstable Environment: Another major challenge with respect to software testing is the presence of unstable test environments. Unstable environments tend to potentially disrupt the overall release process. Since they are poorly managed, they result in conflicts and schedule delays; in the long run, they can impact quality, availability and efficiency of test environments while affecting time-to-market deadlines and costs.
5. Insufficient Requirements Gathering: Testers also often find themselves challenged by user requirements which tends to wreck the testing process. Inadequate or insufficient requirements analysis has several consequences on the quality of the software under development: it can lead to inadequate functionality or even new requirements being discovered late in the development lifecycle. Too many missed requirements exert immense pressure on project schedules and compel testers to skip test cases to save time.