4 Tips to Prevent Getting Testy about Testing

Testing. A word that can give anyone pause, whether it is a bad memory from school, or a nightmare from work.  The word conjures up bad feelings, and most people want to run in terror from the mere mention of the word. But the truth is – testing is a necessary evil.  We all know it has to be done, and hope that it will magically just happen. It can also get pretty intense when it doesn’t go well.  So what can you do to make this process easier? We have a few suggestions that will put you on the right path.

1)  The early bird gets the test cases: It’s never too early to start developing test cases. After all, we prepped for exams in school, so it’s no surprise that we need to do it at work too.  Whether you are testing technological functionality or business processing, start capturing items that need to be tested while going through requirements. Start a list of the key items, including elements that may need to be added for regression purposes.  A similar approach can be done with defects. There is nothing better than capturing what was tested and what needs to be tested while writing up the details for the defects.  So anything you can do to help the process along, will certainly aid in your effort.

2) Build on current successes: Keep what works, and continue to add and modify to help populate your regression test bed.  When it’s time to test, testers might run into the “blank page syndrome”. They don’t know where to start, and precious time is slipping away while they determine a starting point.  Maintaining an inventory of test cases, as well as specifics on what data or dates/cycles are needed to enhance your regression repository. In addition, as you release new code into the system, the cases used to test the new functionality can be reused for regression testing on an on-going basis.

3) Keep an eye on the clock: Keep statistics on the time needed for your regression cases, as well as an observed ‘average’ for testing new functionality.  One of the most frustrating aspects of testing is not having enough time to do it! More often than not, testing gets squeezed because of the need to meet a specific release date.  Knowing how much time is needed will help drive your milestone dates.  Testing is essential for a successful release, so it cannot, and should not, be compromised to ‘hit a date’.

4) But don’t let the clock rule you: Capture the overall time spent, but don’t overanalyze how the time is used. Although it is good to have stats on testing, that doesn’t necessarily mean that a resource has to capture their work in pain-staking detail.  Many projects ask their resources to track their time, which tends to get into too deep a level of detail.  The problem with this approach is when testers are working, they are doing several activities simultaneously. Trying to recall and record time at a deep level can just lead to a best-guess estimate for your tester.  The best approach is to go for high level tasks such as ‘write test case ’, ‘test execution ’and ‘defect analysis’.  With these tasks, the testing resources should be able to easily record their time, generating more accurate results.

Although these tips might not be a cure-all, they can surely improve your testing process.  General awareness can be gained, with the next step being putting in some effort and desire to get these ideas into use. And the best part? You may have much of what is needed already.  Spending some time now to improve your testing will certainly pay dividends in the long run.  Prepping now means acing your testing later!

Ready to test? Determine if your process is ready first.”

You may be ready to implement some of these tips, but your testing process may be lagging behind. Read our blog post, Improving Your Processes and Keep Your Fortune to help determine your next steps.