In numerous businesses, especially smaller or medium-sized ones, it is common to see testers grappling with how to bootstrap, unfold, and wrap up their testing duties efficiently when there is a need to initiate a working process.
It’s typical for the test or project manager to pressure the testing team to quickly wrap things up. Under such stress, some start off systematically but are unable to finalize testing, while others attempt to speed up by taking shortcuts, oftentimes at the cost of quality. Hence, regular problems arise in this procedure.
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This piece aims to offer some actionable solutions to navigate such circumstances.
Swift Testing Yet Quality Testing
While everyone is eager for an efficient method, it is known that there are no shortcuts to achieving satisfactory results.
Nevertheless, I do not contradict this statement. I advise that there exists a ‘shortcut’ for executing testing while maintaining high quality. Here’s the outline.
Suppose the task assigned to you is to test a web application or a website. Considering that you’ve managed to ace the tester interview, you are well-versed in theoretical knowledge. Leave this information aside or put it on hold for a while. Get set to delight in testing.
Forget about excessive paperwork. Instead, get ready with your
- Get ready for developer interactions
For instance, imagine you are testing a form that features a ‘Phone Number’ field.
Spend a couple of minutes analyzing this field and posing the following questions to yourself:
- What is this field for?
- Whose telephone number is it?
- Who does this number belong to and why would people call it?
You can draft test input data based on the answers to these questions.
For instance, if the first question’s response is that a law firm needs to establish online visibility, then you should understand and recognise that the field is probably required to handle service inquiries from potential clients of the law firm.
If the phone number belongs to a potential client in the US, then you should be aware of the legitimate phone number formats in the US. Refer to reliable websites that show examples of valid US numbers. Bear in mind that quite a few developers, especially in Asia, are under the impression that a phone number should be a flawless numeric type, which isn’t always true.
In the US, a valid phone number could look like 1-800-OFFICE DEPOT, and yes, they incorporate alphabets in the phone field. Hence, depending on the target client’s geographic location, you should be ready with different input data to examine the phone number field.
Make sure to note down the test data in your Workpad.
Now, think about how one field relates to another.
Upon completing the form, if you choose India as the country and ’91’ auto-populates in the phone field, it’s a neat usability feature. Be sure to commend the developer for this considerate enhancement and strive to build a nice relationship with them.
However, bear in mind that you serve as a quality gatekeeper in your entity, and no one can bypass your testing, not even the top executive. Therefore, you need to act as a friend undercover.
In terms of practical application, if the law firm is hands-on with their business, they should record an alternate number for inquiries. If this information isn’t being captured, question the project manager why this is so. The PM will probably reply that the firm didn’t specify this.
To be careful, you could propose that we ask the firm about this? Gradually, you will not only derive pleasure from testing but also become deeply engaged and possibly gain an edge over other team members, making it difficult for anyone to hoodwink you.
What do you have in your notebook at this point? In theoretical terms, everything required to come up with your ‘Test Cases’. Whether you refer to it as a Test Case or something else is irrelevant; just carry out the test. Discuss the results with the developers, get the issues rectified, retest in the upgraded version, and you should be ready to move on.
Summing up, you employed the following productive practices:
- No Test Plan document; you trusted your intuition.
- No Testing approach document; you based your deductions on multiple points of view.
- No extensive Test Case spreadsheet; you made use of your Workpad.
- No lengthy test report document; you discussed the outcome with the developer.
And you accomplished all these by being eager about testing and understanding the viewpoint of the software component you were testing.
Are you even more excited now? Then chat with the developers about how the data is stored and retrieved. Think from the device’s perspective and confirm that the UI correctly and seamlessly displays the phone number. For instance, ‘0’s should not be mistaken for the letter ‘O’, ‘Y’s shouldn’t resemble ‘V’s, ‘8’s mustn’t look like ‘3’s, ‘g’s should not be cut off, etc.
This line of thought should extend to the whole testing process.
It’s now time to revert to your theoretical knowledge. Conduct some tests with varied input values to see how well the limits are secured, also known as ‘Boundary-Value Testing’. Prepare right-side extreme values by keeping in mind the maximum phone number length for all possible types of legitimate phones in the target regions.
Test the left-side extreme by leaving the field empty or inputting a space, and see how the system responds. If the field is a requirement, it should not accept blanks or spaces; if optional, it should allow you to move forward without any hindrance.
Now, prepare some inputs for negative testing to check if the developer was an intern (which is possible in the current resource management scenario). Also, verify if the developer remembers to institute proper cursor control, which means that once a field is filled out, the cursor should automatically shift to the next field, best known as ‘Usability Testing’.
Lastly, you need to address potential security threats. These fields are exposed, making it easy for people to try and exploit any vulnerabilities by inserting scripts that could either wreak havoc with your software or retrieve sensitive information from your application. Test whether the application is adequately safe from such attempts. Try entering junk characters, commas, single or double inverted commas, copy and paste HTML scripts, or the word ‘NULL’ (a common system term) and wait for the system’s reaction. All inputs should result in invalid entries. This is termed as ‘Security Testing’ at an entry level, and it lends value to your test outcomes.
Hence, the prerequisites for world-class testing are a robust enthusiasm, deep involvement with the software and developers, and thinking from different perspectives. Spot the most logical issues in as many scenarios as you can think of and take pleasure in identifying bugs. Don’t fret excessively about procedures and paperwork before undertaking ‘Efficient’ Testing, but concentrate on ‘Quality Testing’.
About the author: This guest post is by Dipankar Goswami. He has a post-graduate degree in Mathematics and has held roles as a Project Manager in software development companies. He has hands-on experience in testing, managing testing teams and overseeing projects in the field. This article has given a peek into his pragmatic approach.
We welcome your views and questions in the comments below.