The greater complexity of software applications and their increasing competitiveness have created the need for more efficient and exhaustive testing. The most important criteria for any product success is to launch the right product at the right time. High quality applications are expected to be developed and delivered within limited schedules and limited resources. This requirement of delivering more with less has brought forward innumerable challenges for managing the quality of the software application through functional testing.
Functional Testing captures user requirements and ensures that the software satisfies those requirements. The importance of functional testing increases with the increase in the software complexity.
Challenges of Functional Testing
The entire functional testing life cycle is constrained with innumerable challenges and technical limitations. This leads to the formulation of strategies and best practices to overcome these issues. Functional testing starts with gathering the test requirements and goes through design and development tests, execution of the tests into further analyzing the product defects.
Here we look deeper into the challenges associated with each phase in software functional testing.
Gathering test requirements:
- Definition of clear and complete test requirements
- Manage changes into the requirements.
Planning the Test:
- Functional gaps in test plans
- Difficulty faced by the development team while reviewing large test plans.
- Utilization of the available resources
- Optimum test coverage
- Cover various test configurations
- Deliver within deadline
Execution of tests:
- Struggle due to mismatch between test plans and required functionality
- Time taken for setting up test environment and the extensive set of supporting configurations.
- Time taken for resolving recurring issues.
- Blocking issues in the functional areas.
- Re-planning the initial plan.
Managing the defects:
- Incomplete and ambiguous reporting on the defects.
- Report inconsistency for the same defect by the different team members.
- Improper severity or priority assignments to reports.
- Operator errors resulting into marking a defect as not a defect.
- Improper procedure applied for defect verification.
- Inadequate tracking of the defects.
- Improper tracking of a defect affecting the overall functionality of the software product.
Reporting of the Test Results:
- Comprehensive reports required for test results which should be easily understandable by the each person associated with the project.
- Required to provide a complete status report feature wise.
- Should provide a clear defect wise data.
- The report should ease the decision making for the product Go/No Go.
Collection of Test Metrics, Analysis and Improvement:
- Need for the mechanism to evaluate the quality and effectiveness of the testing process and further identify the areas of improvement.
- Need for measuring the program and the product.
It is not practically possible to test a product fully. The test coverage for a product depends on the testing capability of the deployed team. Due to the software complexities, the test requirements have also become huge. These require extensive hardware and software configurations to be set up. Providing this configuration coverage is also an equal challenge. Additionally, it needs to be considered that the time and resources at hand will always be limited. Considering all the facts an effective test management needs to be designed.
The quality of a software product is determined by the quality of the development process implemented. Similarly, the effectiveness of testing is also dependent on the quality of the testing processes used. This high paced evolution and understaffed projects have led to the emergence of automation tools. They play a key role but they come at a cost, however for this article this is an entirely different issue.
Author Works for Gallop Solutions Which is a 10 year old, US based Colocated Independent Software Testing Services & Specialist QA Staffing Services Company with offices in Dallas and Philadelphia. Our services are backed by Proprietary Testing IP (ETAS) for enhanced productivity and in-house R&D teams.
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