3 Tips for Ensuring Your Tests are Accurate

One of the worst moments on a project is when you are about to wrap up a sprint or release cycle and you realize that the testers had a different perception of the feature they were testing than the developers did. It’s a chill many of us have experienced but hopefully not more than once. In the end, it all comes down to communication and planning. Or lack thereof. With many of today’s popular rapid development methodologies, testing is a shared activity with not as much focus on planning and documenting as in traditional methodologies.

However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t plan and document your tests as much as time allows. A well-planned test that has been reviewed by the various project stakeholders (Product Owner and Developer, at a minimum) can save time and resources during a sprint. It can also serve as a blueprint for test automation so functional and regression tests can be designed and incorporated into your testing framework as efficiently as possible.

Prioritize

Prioritizing your tests keeps your testing activities focused on the most important or risky features. When setting your test priorities, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • How often is this feature used by the majority of users
  • How essential is this functionality to the product
  • How risky are the code changes involved with this functionality

After you have agreed with the Product Owner which are the most crucial areas to test before deploying the code, make sure you have clearly communicated those decisions with the rest of the project team. This will ensure that expectations are set in the beginning and will allow the team to weigh in on the decision.

Review

When teams talk about reviewing project artifacts, they often envision user stories (or functional requirements, depending on your methodology), UX designs, user documentation and technical specifications. One artifact that is often overlooked from a review standpoint is the test plan, especially in Agile projects and/or DevOps organizations where testing tends to be a group activity. Sending your test cases through a review cycle can have unexpected benefits, including:

  • Raising visibility of complex user interactions that may not have been thought through
  • Designing detailed steps that can be scripted for automation
  • Communicating the tester’s understanding of the feature and getting consensus from the team that this is expected behavior

Record

Recording the results of your tests, both exploratory and automated, is essential especially when you have automated builds throughout the day. Keep track of your test results by build and environment so you can be sure that you are accurately reflecting the current status of code quality. This is especially useful when your initial tests have failed and you want to verify a bug fix in a later build.

If you are using a test management tool, accomplishing all of these recommendations can be fairly easy. Here’s an example of setting up a customized review cycle in QA Complete:

 

See also:

 

 


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