Five Basic Principles of Software Testing

Technology and the software that runs it changes quickly, and you want to keep on top of the latest devices and software packages on the market. That is why software testing is vital to providing a sound service and quality product.

There are five basic principles when it comes to software testing: test strategy, test plan, test cases, test data, and the test environment. Each of those principles are discussed in detail here. When conducting software testing, these five principles will be a guide to enhancing your software package. When shopping for a new software package for your home or business, knowing the testing strategy and the data collected will help you make an informed purchase.

Principle 1: Test Strategy

In this stage, you will be looking at potential bugs that could impact your software performance. Here you will determine the types of tests you want to run and how much testing you want to do to weed out the bugs. Your test strategy will look at how to get started, an overall timeline and what end results you are hoping to achieve in an overarching or total picture sense. Your strategy will determine your entire approach to software testing. Your test strategy will determine your test plan, test cases, test data and test environment. This is where you will decide how you want to test your software.

Principle 2: Test Plan

In this phase, you will actually develop your testing schedule. Here you will set the exact types of tests you will run, and the dates and times those tests will occur. You will also determine how these tests will carry out your overall strategy. This is your game plan. The test strategy looks at how to “win the prize,” and your test plans is the execution of how to “play the game.”

Principle 3: Test Cases

Approach your software testing the same way you would approach a scientific experiment because that is exactly what it is. Your test cases are predetermined programs or software elements that you want to test, and the desired outcomes you hope to achieve with your test cases. You want your test cases to show if your software will meet your performance requirements. A software test case should provide you with enough information to determine if the software is a good fit for your needs. The test cases will also show where improvements in the software need to be made, or if the software (even with improvements) is not a good fit for your business.

Principle 4: Test Data

The data you get from your test cases will be vital to determining if the software is viable for your needs. You want to make sure your data is complete and concise and outlines both the strengths and weakness of the software program. Some of the things you want to consider with your test data is logging the information you put in at the beginning, how that information is processed by the system, and the output. Test data should be gathered throughout the entire test case phase to give a complete picture of overall functionality.

Principle 5: Testing Environment

Another very important consideration is the testing environment. The environment where you test the software can enhance or detract from your data collection. For example, if you are testing software in a computer lab where the software is being developed, the programmer or programmers can see issues in real time and correct them as they go. If the testing is being done by individuals outside the development team, they may or may not pick up on minor glitches that could cause major problems down the road. Also, if the test cases are outside the development team, you want to make sure they are working in an environment where they provide detailed feedback. 

If you are looking at developing a software package, these are important steps to make sure you are thoroughly testing your work for optimal performance. If you are in the market for new software, ask for the above details on testing to make sure you are getting a product that was vetted and will work for your business. Software testing will help determine upgrades and will find blind spots in the software package that could be costly to businesses that utilize the programs.