Combining general and specific practices for the best software testing strategy

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With any initiative, there is likely a set of rules that has been established as general guidelines for everyone to follow. However, each business is different, even when compared to competitors in its industry. Because no organization is exactly the same, general practices only carry you so far before you need to dig into the specifics that make your company unique. This is especially the case for software development, as applications can serve a wide variety of requirements. QA teams must listen to user demands and use both general and company specific approaches to create the best agile software testing practices for their projects.

Start off general

The best place to start is with general testing best practices. After all, if everyone else is doing it, that could be a good indication that those tests are truly capable for all types of organizations. Atlassian noted that some general testing approaches include unit, integration and functional tests. While these tests will vary across projects, the three categories will remain a constant necessity.

Teams may also use positive testing – which tests the app as it was designed – and negative testing – which attempts to break the software as a user might. Both of these general practices will be critical components to boosting project quality and ensuring that the app functions optimally. Regression tests are another general staple that will help teams verify that nothing breaks as patches and updates are added to existing deliverables.

Dig into the specifics

After you incorporate general tests, now it's time to pursue specific tests. For example, if your organization is in a heavily regulated industry like health care, you need to ensure that your software maintains compliance with sector standards. Anything dealing with sensitive personal information will require heavier security capabilities, which QA must create tests around. Not every app deals with these types of restrictions, so it's important to consider what types of information the program will be able to access and if any protections must be in place for this data.

Although tracking statistics and progress is a general testing best practice, the software testing metrics you actually end up using will be based on your company-specific needs. Softtek contributors Jose Vargas and Julio Cordoba noted that metrics will help analyze the quality of the project and provide insights for teams to improve their overall testing efforts. These capabilities will be essential to boosting quality and keeping teams focused on what users want.

"Developing and creating metrics to track the software quality in its current state, as well as to compare the improvement with previous versions, will help increase the value and maturity of the testing process (e.g. the number of components with errors in the software/the total number of components in the software; or the number of errors detected in the testing phase/total number of errors detected)," Vargas and Cordoba wrote.

The easiest way to establish best software testing practices for your company is to start off with general guidelines, then pursue areas that your business specifically needs to focus on. Doing this will help combine the two practices for better test management and product quality improvements.

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