The Top 5 Don’ts of Software Testing

Engineer working at her computer

This article is based on true events and can’t be classified as fiction! 😊

In 2024, no one can afford bad software!

In these times, all products, websites, or applications should be strengthened with standard updates to stay ahead of changes in innovation and user expectations. Software testing is a process that ensures that an app or software program is almost bug-free. Here, I have to say a word or two about the goal of testing. While it's critical to ensure that users can use an application, it's also crucial to ensure that an application won't malfunction in the event that incorrect data is entered or if any unanticipated actions are taken. You must plan ahead for scenarios such as where users might, for example, type incorrectly, attempt to save an incomplete form or use the incorrect API. You must determine whether it would be simple for someone to jeopardize data or access a resource they shouldn't. A good testing suite should make an effort to damage your app and reveal its limitations.

Software testing requires the participation of the entire development team, including programmers, designers, and product managers, in addition to the Quality Assurance department. Here is a short rundown of 5 things that are important for all testers to consider not to do while testing.

Don’t Leave the Testing to the End!

When you have the first thing you can test, start testing! The better we (the testers) comprehend the product, the better it will be tested. Therefore, this includes involving testers even in design and early development! When developers throw around ideas on how to build a website or app, QAs must be present. Additionally, having QAs there can help developers get a clear picture of the kinds of defects that are most likely to appear and how to prevent them. Devs and testers should talk about how the full functionality may be tested, including how to prioritize regression, load, performance, and stress testing, as well as what can be left to unit tests and what should be automated through feature tests.

Don’t Criticize Developers

Most developers have a significant number of unit and integration tests. Product teams should manage their products with quality in mind, and they frequently do so. However, when users use faulty software, QA teams frequently bear the majority of the responsibility.

Good communication skills are a necessary trait for every tester. Software testers should take caution in how they speak to their coworkers. Criticizing developers and their work can lead to tension within a team and ultimately cause the project to be delayed. Testers sometimes can lose sight of the fact that they work on the same team as developers and place too much emphasis on pointing out faults in the code rather than on quality and the project's goals. A good tester should exercise diplomacy and be mindful not to insult someone by criticizing their job. To better understand how to improve communications between developers and testers, you can read our blog article on the topic.

Don’t Automate Everything and Don’t Forget about Manual Testing

Automation should improve your QA process and speed up testing, not add to its complexity. Look into automating the tests that can be automated. If this is a simple and typical situation you'd like to cover, try integrating it into the suite of unit tests. Consider the cost of creating the test and its ability to be maintained in the future if the test case is too complex. As a general guideline, you should automate routine tests that can be scripted by a QA professional only once but need to be executed on a regular basis. Automation almost always aids in preventing regression. Just think about what you’re investing in with automation and what it will deliver. Automation should add value to your product in some way. Additionally, make sure the tests you script for automation are reliable.

Don't mind when someone on your team or in your organization tells you to automate everything. This person most certainly has no experience with test automation and has little knowledge of software development. Everything simply cannot be automated. Speak with them and explain the drawbacks if you come across anyone holding this viewpoint. Instead of their proposal, you should examine the architecture of your product and code to determine its most important components, then devote some effort to developing an automated plan for those components. A more detailed look into this “Don’t” is covered in our other article on the topic.

The automation strategy should incorporate manual testing. Even automated tests demand that you first do the evaluation manually to become accustomed to the functions and scenarios. In the event that automated testing is not practical, this evaluation may also influence our decision to choose manual testing. You can refer to our article about the reasons why manual testing is still necessary.

Don’t Forget about Proper Documentation

It’s always good to have QA processes-related documents, such as Test Plan & Strategy, be available at a centralized location, such as on Teams or any other repository. Additionally, all findings from a bug bash can be gathered in one location, such as the team's spreadsheet, so that the business analyst or product owner knows where to search and how to prioritize. Your team will benefit from any knowledge you have about the software being tested. Make a note of any specific instructions you acquire about configuring the software, installing it on the test platform, changing the OS, etc., and share them with your team. Whatever you learn will make testing easier for everyone else. You might also receive some helpful information from them, in which case their efforts will also benefit you.

Don’t Assume Things, and Don’t Report a Duplicate Defect

Try not to assume that simply because you couldn't detect a bug, the software won't have one. That may cause you to miss several bugs. Asking all the questions is a straightforward method to put the brakes to that, and do note to ask the individual in question if you ever feel a sense that you are unable to understand something.

On the other hand, if something feels off to you and what you're seeing and feeling seems like it might be a bug, trust your gut and report it to the software engineers. After all, what's the worst that might happen? The developers might claim that it was not a bug but rather something you did incorrectly (misconfiguration of some parameters, misunderstanding of the actual feature, etc.). Even so, it is still a far better option than ignoring it since you believe it might not be a bug and subsequently having your manager or client discover it.

However, before submitting a defect, do a little bit of research to ensure that unnecessary time is kept to a minimum. Before someone realizes that an issue is known and/or detected, a lot of time may be lost in making a redundant report. Additionally, be careful not to report a problem for "expected behavior." Verify the most appropriate course of action with the requirements team or product owner if the use cases or requirements have not been made sufficiently clear. In an Agile environment, question the developer first; if that isn’t possible, check the defect management repository, your fellow testers, or the test lead.

To conclude, there are quite a few “Don’ts” that testers need to consider; however, with proper caution and some thinking ahead, you can avoid the pitfalls. If you’re looking for something that doesn’t have many “Dos and Don’ts,” you can check out our article on Exploratory testing.

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