IEEE standards are most accepted in the software testing industry. However, it is not mandatory that all software testing processes have to follow the standard. Software testing has many different phases but we cover the test planning, test specification and test reporting phase in this article.
Test plan is the most important phase in the software testing process. It sets the process rolling and describes the scope of the testing assignment, the approach methodology, the resource requirement for testing and the project plan or time schedule. The test plan outlines the test items, system features testing or checking out the functionality of the system, the testing tasks, responsibility matrix and the risks associated with the process. The testing task is achieved by testing different types of test data. The steps that are followed in system testing are program testing, string testing, system testing, system documentation and user acceptance testing. I will discuss about each of these in my next article "Software System Testing".
Test specification document helps in refining the test approach that has been planned for executing the test plan. It identifies the test cases, procedures and the pass/fail criteria for the assignment. The test case specification document outlines the actual values required as input parameters in the testing process and the expected outputs of the testing results. It also identifies the various constraints related to the test case. It is important to note that test cases are re-usable components and one test case can be used in various test designs. The test procedure outlines all the processes that are required to test the system and implement the test cases.
During the testing phase all the activities that occur are documented. There are various reasons why clear documentation is required during testing. It helps the development team to understand the bugs and fix them quickly. Incase there is a change in the testing team it will help the new team members to quickly understand the process and help in a quick transition. The overall summary report of the testing process helps the entire project team to understand the initial flaws in design and development and ensure that the same errors are not repeated again. There are four types of testing documents. The transmittal report which specifies the testing events being transmitted from the development team to the testing team, the test log which is a very important document and used to document the events that happened during execution, test incident report which has a list of testing events that requires further investigation and the test summary report which summarizes the overall testing activities.
Many software testing companies follow the IEEE standard of software testing when executing their testing projects. Software application development companies may have their own testing templates which they use for their testing requirements. Outsourcing the testing requirements to a third party vendor helps in improving the quality of the software to the great extent. Also an unbiased view helps to find out the many different loopholes that are existent in the software system.
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