It was quiet in the room and every gaze was directed towards me. A baffled silence blanketed the room after a recent call with a disgruntled client who was left underwhelmed, asserting that the product had not undergone any testing.
As my supervisor defended the performance of the product’s features, he was abruptly interrupted by the disgruntled client who asked, “What’s the use of having a functional product if users are unable to install it?” This threw us off balance.
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After conducting a two-hour investigation, we concluded the call. Nevertheless, no one budged. The same question lingered in everyone’s mind – How did we not spot this before?
I had a response.
The error was that we had overlooked testing the user instructions and setup manual. We were focussed solely on the product’s workflow and its features as we raced against time to meet the deadline. I took a half-hour to discuss with the management about the misstep and the consequential situation we were in.
This incident has been instrumental in my learning journey in testing.
Whether we are a Tester, a Senior Tester, or a QA Manager, we often assume that the years of experience in Software Testing have equipped us well. We believe we are fully aware of what, how, and when to test, how to gauge coverage, and the ways to set the scope of testing.
However, we often overlook the core principle of QA – our role is not to assure quality, but to propose techniques to enhance it.
In the following section, I will highlight some testing activities that have been inadvertently dismissed for years.
Top 5 Overlooked Testing Activities
#1) Documentation Testing
Picture this: you’re attempting to operate a new refrigerator using the user manual, but can’t get it to work. The normal reaction would be to contact customer service. They gather the details and inform you of a critical detail missing in the manual.
Our clients would react similarly if we fail to test manuals for usability and installation, a task often side-lined. A question worth pondering is – how many of us factor in the testing of these guides irrespective of explicit requests?
While we often find fault with clients for their disgruntlement, additional requests, and failure to comprehend workflows, should we not consider the situation from their perspective? A faulty instruction manual paired with a superior product will unquestionably affect future sales prospects.
Recommended read: Strategies to Achieve Your Software Testing Documentation Objectives
#2) Paired Testing
Solving a complex jigsaw puzzle with a companion enhances enjoyment and productivity. Similarly, two minds working on the same test often generate fresher perspectives and insights. No matter your level of testing experience or seniority, pair testing often yields more effective results. Teaming up with an experienced colleague can unearth different possible scenarios and help you master numerous testing tactics.
#3) Analyzing Bug Remediations
Retesting and regression testing should not be the end of our responsibilities. When investigating a bug fix, look beyond the primary issue. Do we make an effort to understand the implemented code fix? Do we analyse the adjustments made? This added knowledge would elevate our testing capabilities.
Consider understanding how the developer rectified the issue (not all issues), and if it impacts other product areas. Initiate a conversation by asking questions, and see if there’s an alternate way to approach the solution.
#4) Correlating Product Testing with Real-Life Situations
Suppose you engage in a competition where you must separate grains of wheat from a mixture of rice and wheat within a given timeframe. To accomplish this, you’ll likely use a sieve instead of handpicking the grains, right? This same principle applies to software testing. Understand the basic concept, apply the right tools, stay updated, conduct research when possible, and expand your understanding. Always aim to link your software testing duties with real-world situations. Simplifying the complexities will make the tasks less daunting.
#5) Mastering Prioritization
While testing, we often operate under strict timelines and intense pressure from the development team. Amid this chaos, maintaining testing scope, and presenting favorable test reports can jeopardize our professionalism and reputation. Deadlines are a constant, but it is crucial to learn to discern, learn, and apply prioritization.
Even when asked to validate functionality, factors like GUI and performance should not be ignored. Client’s aspiration is a product with impeccable functionality, and they might even consider extending the deadline in certain situations!
This article aims to alert testers about these frequently missed testing activities. Remembering these factors can significantly streamline your testing process going forward.
About the author: The article is a contribution by Bhumika Mehta. She is experienced in managing projects and has been in software testing for over 7 years. Value innovation and fresh ideas but dislikes repetitive work and environments.
As always, we look forward to your questions and discussions. Stay tuned for more…