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Friday, 25 April 2014

How to test software

If you aspire to become a software tester or you want to become better at your current position, quality assurance in your everyday work is essential. There are many things to consider, such as documentation, methodologies and business rules. In addition, you will also need to factor in time needed on behalf of your subject matter experts. Your subject matter experts may have a limited amount of time available to you and may also not be available to answer your questions when you need them answered. That said, you need to know how to navigate a software application and make sure the developers have coded the application correctly and accurately to meet your personal deadlines.

1. Find the URL or software environment link if testing a web-based application. If testing non-web software, then ensure you have all executable files on your computer and that you have the appropriate login details no matter the software utilities type.

2. Find out if there are multiple environments, such as a sandbox, since it is possible some features may be configured in one environment over another before added to production for the general public to use.

3. Research whether there are available test scripts you can follow so you know exactly how a feature is to function. If there are no text scripts available, you may find that there are related documents to assist you in determining how the system was designed to work. Some examples of related documents include functional specifications, business rule files, use case documents, general workflows and test plans.

4. Find out if the company for which you are testing subscribes to any testing practices such as Microsoft or scrum. The testing standards may be different for web-based applications versus non-web software packages.

5. Focus on functional issues and consistency factors. Examples of functional issues may include fields defaulting an the ability to navigate a screen with and without the use of a mouse. Whereas, consistency factors may include font, table, styles and color usage.

6. Ensure that whether or not specification documents exist that you have conversations with the creators of the software such as scientists or developers before writing bugs. Also, be sure to determine if the item found is actually a bug (something that is incorrect), a feature (something that may seem wrong, but is actually as designed), a configuration issue (something that should be turned on in the background for you before you begin testing) or a known issue (something that has already been documented as a bug prior to your testing).

7. Create a general flow document (to capture task or screen order) or spreadsheet that helps others that test the functionality after you (perhaps in a later release of the software). This may help you now and others later. For example, if you are testing new features of a system, others may come behind you in a later version of code and test the exact same thing. The second time the functionality is tested is called regression testing.

8. Test as if you are a user (know your target audience). Be sure to understand why and for whom the software was designed. Knowing this information will allow you to know if each field or drop-down is in the right order and even if they are on the right screen. Perhaps test from multiple roles--may require multiple logins.

9. Ensure information on the second screen defaults appropriately from the first or previous screen, if information is built from one screen to the next. Sometimes information defaults from a screen that was not the most recently navigated screen.

10. Document all issues in issue documentation software, sometimes known as a bug tracking software. This will alert developers as to what needs to be fixed. It will also allow you to track when, if and how issues are resolved.

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