Software Engineer’s Blog

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Some observations on software testing and test automation practices

Following are my comments on “What do you think about the future of Software Testing?” in International Association of Software Architects group in Linkedin

Software testing was undervalued but no longer. Yes, there are people who undervalue software testing .

There is a tendency to overlook important of testing in immature software development environments. This typically happens in organizations or projects in a reactive (or worse, firefighting) mode. Immediacy of business imperatives in such cases being to churn out code (as if quality is of someone else’s concern….. An interesting thought in this line http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/rational/library/2800.html ).

Testing is an integral part of any development activity, and hence an integral part of software development as well.

Test driven development is a great way forward, it brings focus on testing quite upfront and makes it almost inescapable

I agree with the bottom line from Stephen with a minor refinement: Adherence to craftsmanship and good coding practices, plus the use of a good automation tool. I would also like to add agile values and principles to the list.

Refinement being “good automation” rather than “good automation tool”. What we need is automation, and tool is incidental. Purpose could also be served by in-house automation effort. In-house automation could also result in a tool. I am making refinement as purchase of tool generally comes with expectation of a “silver bullet”

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February 4, 2009 Posted by | Agile, Agile testing, Software Quality, Software Testing, Test automation, Testing | Leave a comment

Testing Alone Doesn’t Guarantee Quality

Following are my comments on “The Application Quality Dilemma: Why Testing Alone Doesn’t Guarantee Quality?” in Software Testing & Quality Assurance group in Linkedin

A good quality software cannot be produced by processes and tools; it can only be done by people. Hence, software development is essentially a teamwork.

Process, standards, methodologies, best practices and tools are only enablers.
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It is naive to assume that testing alone can guarantee quality software. After all, examinations alone does not make a great student come out of school/college!

Testing is essential but one of the many such essential activities that goes into making a quality product; not just software.

I agree with above statements:
Testing is a function that the business cannot do without

It is important by the companies to acknowledge that testing is a critical part of the SDLC… that should be done with clearly defined responsibility, authority, resouces and ownership

Test tools alone does not guarantee anything other than a cost to the company… I agree that vendors have contributed to the testing tools but I believe unrealistic expectations are also part of the problem…

This is something I had been working with over more than 7 years now and, hence, close to my heart:

* Expectations, misunderstandings and disappointments related to test automation is common in many first time automation efforts. Actual upfront effort involved is hardly realized upfront by novices

* Tool is only a means for an end; end being test automation which in turn is for better productivity (sometimes misinterpreted as elimination of human effort), repeatability, predictability and control

* One of the first tasks in my test automation assignments has been setting the expectations right

* What is being automated is testing, and not test development

* Just as a development environment helps a programmer in development of program (but does not develop program replacing programmer), testing tool can help a tester develop test (does not develop test replacing tester)

* I have not seen any test automation (or any automation project, for that matter) successful without setting the expectations upfront

Tailpiece: A typical (read “failed”) test automation project reminds me of a machine to help men eat in the Charlie Chaplin movie “modern times”… We seem to have invented a software equivalent in test automation

 

February 4, 2009 Posted by | software engineering, Software Quality, Software Testing, Testing, Uncategorized | Leave a comment