When you’ve invested so much time and money into the creation of a software application, you want to make sure it’s done right. Thankfully, so do your team of developers. During the software development lifecycle, Quality Assurance ensures that the software developed thus far complies with defined standards. Throughout development, software testing is done numerous times and approached from a number of different angles.
You may believe that the importance of software testing is in the bugs identified and addressed – and of course, that is important – but there will always be bugs in a piece of software. The real goal is to test the software for anything users could possibly throw at it later in order to make sure we don’t have any surprises after product launch. We continuously evaluate how a user will interact with it and where they’ll do it, whether that’s the web or a mobile app or both.
To give you a little insight and peace of mind throughout development, today we’re going to explain the software testing process and how it will work on behalf of your and your product.
Software Testing: The Basics
Software testing can either happen manually or through automated processes. Manual testing is led by a team or individual tester who operates the application to make sure it’s working as expected. Automated testing involves a variety of tools that are capable of a range of tasks from isolated code checks to a fully simulated manual process.
There are several different kinds of testing procedures:
Unit testing: As the most basic and essential kind of testing, it evaluates each component of the software. To test each unit of code, we execute an environment with a simulated input. The output of the function is then compared to the expected output for that function. If the actual output and expected output match, it’s a success!
Integration testing: Unit tests can quickly evolve into integration tests. This software test covers more than one unit.
End-to-end testing (system testing): These tests are meant to simulate real human behavior to test all levels of a software stack.
Exploratory testing: Testers are given loosely defined tasks that they complete using the software. Unlike other tests, this test is unscripted allowing developers to see firsthand how users will interact with the software.
There are many other kinds of testing, as well, such as regression testing or acceptance testing, but these will likely be the ones you hear about as development progresses.
The Importance of Software Testing
At its core, software testing is about risk management. Tests require careful thought and proactive reasoning to be done correctly – they can only be as good as the developer who writes them, after all. When done correctly, we can reduce risk by uncovering problems during a time in which the software can be easily tinkered with and before usability is affected. Stakeholders and developers alike want to create the best user experience for the application, and testing accomplishes this in addition to providing many other benefits to the process.
By providing a definable, consistent standard to the development team, testing reduces the development time and makes their project estimates more accurate. Testing also lowers maintenance costs, which should come as no surprise to you. If something is done correctly the first time, you won’t have to spend money to keep fixing it. Future development will become easier, too, especially because the team won’t need to constantly backtrack to patch up old problems. Most importantly, the overall stability of your application can be guaranteed. If your development team fails to make testing a continual priority, it will only result in more problems down the road.
When to Test
Now that you understand the importance of software testing, it’s also important to understand its limitations. Testing simply for the sake of testing can increase costs without adding much value if the testing process is poorly managed. Tests may ultimately lower development costs, but they also come with costs of their own: the cost of maintenance, computing time, administration, etc. Always keep in mind that the testing habits of your dev team can’t increase quality, they only ensure the quality of what’s already built.
So, should we be testing all the time? Sure, but let’s not overdo it. Unit tests, in particular, can be a great source of immediate feedback for developers instead of waiting for a system test to discover a broken component. However, if the probability of the test passing is 100%, then we won’t gain any valuable information from running it. Developers should focus their energy on tests with uncertain outcomes instead of the tests they know will pass. Failed tests are where you get information during the testing process that allows you to improve the software.
Tests should also be undertaken with business requirements in mind. The software application in question is intended to bring value to your business in some way, either as a product or for proprietary reasons, and testing methods should be geared toward ensuring that the requirements you need are not compromised. If you can’t determine the business value of a test, then does it have any value to the project?
Ensure Quality With Your Investment
As the client, you want full visibility into the progress the dev team is making on your project, and that includes the necessary QA procedures and tests. By the time your product is ready for launch, there should be no question that it will work as designed, and users will have a great user experience. If you’re having any doubts, then QA didn’t do its job of maintaining high standards for the application.
Vice Software makes it our mission to erase all doubt. By the time your MVP (your minimal viable product) is ready for users to get their hands on, you’ll know what to expect. We’ve gone through months of sprints designing the features you need to create a solid product, and we’re ready for user feedback to start generating new feature requests. We cannot overstate the importance of software testing for our team. The only way our system of lean development can work on a continual basis is if we can be certain the codebase consistently meets our specifications.
If what is most important to you is getting a product you can put your money and your brand behind, Vice Software is here to deliver you exactly what you’ve asked for. To get started, just leave us a bit of information about your idea, and we’ll have a quote ready for you in less time than it takes to finish an episode of The Office.