Maybe you have a brilliant idea for a software project and have begun to conceptualize a business plan? Maybe you have an existing business and need a back office application to improve the operations and efficiency of your existing business? Your next step is to brainstorm all of the necessary features that will need to be included for a successful project. Now you are ready to find a software development team to build the application. If you have gotten this far, chances are you are ready to begin. To make this project a success, it needs to function as expected. Testing is often an overlooked aspect of this success because we simply expect everything to work as intended. Being educated on the strategies below will help you shop for a software development team that is right for your project.
Demand that Testers be involved from the beginning
Testing resources will provide more value if they understand your business and idea.
A big part of testing is understanding the goals of the end user. The end user will typically have a defined set of workflows that will influence the features of the application. A thorough understanding of these feature workflows will help the tester get into the character of the end user when testing. Understanding features and their intended goal also provides insight into what will be tested. A professional tester will consider all test cases with respect to features and their use by the end users.
Include Testers in the project proposal and project budget
Budgeting quality assurance into your project will ensure the system works as expected on time and at cost.
Failure to budget quality assurance testing will exponentially add cost, scope, and time at the end of the project. Each feature should be tested for pass/fail use cases and reworked as needed. Testers will provide valueable documentation that can act as a user guide at the end of the project.
Make sure testing resources have clear acceptance criteria for each user story and feature
Acceptance criteria should be defined for each feature. This will ensure your vision for each feature is clearly met.
Think of acceptance criteria as the answer key for test. If the tester has the answers, they can easily reverse engineer all test cases and assure passing feature code. Lack of acceptance criteria will add subjectivity to each feature and can cause a faulty feature.
Include Testers in the documentation of each user story
Allow testers to provide input on the verbiage of user stories for clarity.
This will add the unique layer of information only a Tester can provide. Testers typically have the most knowledge of the current state of the application. They will provide up to the minute insight that will influence how certain stories are documented. They will help with assessing the priority of current development tasks.
Establish that Testers should consult and coordinate deployments with Project Managers and Product Owners
This will ensure working software is promoted from a staging server to production server,
Development will be an ongoing process and typically occurs on a local development environment. Developers will deploy their work to a staging server where quality assurance will occur. The next most critical step is deploying from staging to production. Testers should consult all key decision makers with their candid thoughts. If the staging server is stable, the Tester will green light the live deployment. Project Managers and Product Owners rely heavily on this type of feedback to make key business choices.
Ensure Testers are documenting all testing scenarios within each user story
This documentation will ensure complete testing is occurring.
In agile software development, work should be occurring in two week sprints. At the end of the two week sprint, a demonstration of development should be scheduled. During this demonstration each user story should have workflow scenarios recorded, annotated screenshots available for viewing, and testing steps documented. If a bug occurs later in development, a historical record of testing will help eradicate the problem.
Ask Testers what types of tools are used to automate testing
Selenium, Unit Testing, and LastPass will provide a stable testing foundation for your software project.
If Testers are required to test multiple user types, LastPass will help store all relevant username/password credentials. This tool will automatically input username and password details upon login. Selenium is useful when testing multiple step workflows and processes. Instead of manually inputting data, automated tests will run and ensure the passing or failure of user stories. Unit tests will provide stability when adding large features to an already existing stable platform. After development of the new feature, running unit tests will ensure regression issues have not occurred.
Make sure that the testing team is bold and opinionated
The testing team will be responsible for critical decisions and should be empowered to make key choices for the success of your project.
As we have learned, deployment strategies, passing and failing of features, stable software, project cost, project timelines, and functional software, all depend on a capable testing team. Picking the correct software development team will require professional testing.
Discussing these strategies with a potential software development team will make you sound like an educated buyer. Hopefully the knowledge above helps you with your next project!