The Internet of Things promises new opportunities for just about every corner of the tech sector. However, it also presents challenges for quality assurance teams tasked with keeping the underlying software performing as needed. Given the many different devices and systems software testers will need to analyze in a post-IoT world, covering everything may seem like an impossible goal. Under these circumstances, it's best to break up QA responsibilities into different types of testing and approach them with IoT in mind. Functional testing is one of the most critical methods for any software project and will continue to be extremely important as the IoT expands, necessitating strong test management solutions.
Why functional testing for IoT can be challenging
At its core, functional testing ensures that a given app offers baseline performance and can run without incident. Compared with IoT-based software, that sounds like a relatively easy task to complete. However, as Info-Tech Research Group noted, that's not the case at all. Running functional testing with traditional software has inherent difficulties as it's all but impossible to cover every single component during the QA process. The goal, then, is to target the most important features and run functional tests on them.
"For many projects, it is unreasonable to test every functional aspect of the software," Info-Tech Research Group stated. "Instead, define functional testing goals that are appropriate for the project. Prioritize critical and widely used functions and include other functions as time and resources permit."
IoT compounds these issues by raising the question of QA governance. Since testing in an IoT environment will involve many different devices and software platforms, determining where one team's responsibility ends and another begins can be very challenging. In a blog post for DevOps.com, Fixate IO analyst Chris Riley explained that when a problem occurs within these connected systems, determining who's to blame and who should be tasked with correcting the issue presents all sorts of concerns. Riley used the example of an IoT-enabled vehicle, noting that there will be numerous devices and components at work, many of which will have been created by different manufacturers. In these types of situations, how can QA teams prevent critical functionality issues without overstepping their bounds and running into questions of testing responsibility?
Plan ahead with a strong test management strategy
As we've seen during the transition from waterfall practices to agile methodologies, laying out a robust test management strategy is critical to keeping everything on track and all project stakeholders in the loop regarding who is responsible for what. As the IoT grows in prominence, this will continue to hold true for QA teams. Having a test management plan in place will help clearly define which teams are responsible for each component and feature, eliminating any confusion in this area. Organizations can go a step further and implement QA management software to keep everyone on the same page and up-to-date on the progress of a particular project. By using a test management solution to track QA processes and generate reports, stakeholders can clearly identify what each team has accomplished and what remains to be done.