9 Tips for Project Managers about Software Testing
Bangalore: Project managers usually assign a Quality Assurance (QA) team consisting of skilled professionals to take care of the software testing. In order to get the desired results, they need to keep a few things in mind. Here are a few guidelines by Dave Nielsen that can help in achieving the quality targets of your organization.
1. Incorporate into the Project Plan
It is important to realize that Quality Assurance can take some time, and in order to ensure the quality of delivered software, adequate time should be allotted for testing and it should be a part of the main Project plan that gets approved by stakeholders. Incorporating QA testing into the project plan will not only provide enough time for testing, but also help in portraying that your team realizes its quality needs and has the capability to achieve the same.
2. Set quality targets for the system
It is important to understand what is expected by the stakeholders out of the particular project. Ask the stakeholders to explain their requirements in detail so that you can further explain it to your team. The quality targets that you will set should be quantifiable, and it goes without saying that the team should have access to tools that can measure these objectives.
3. Every aspect of quality in mind
The main targets will be pertaining to core functionality. First and foremost you need to test if the system does what it is supposed to do. Next you need to know about the system’s performance levels like the time it takes to do its task and whether it can handle the maximum required load, or does it slow down. For example if a system is made for serving a user community of about thousand users, will it be able to work smoothly when all thousand users log in at the same time? Or can it take the load of at least 500 users logging in at the same time? Will a huge number of users slow down the system?
4. Always chalk out a plan
First make a list of all types of tests and activities that need to be performed like making a note of the test plans, setting them up, writing the test scripts, creating the test environment, developing the test data, filling databases with test data, etc. Also take into account any activities essential for implementing automated test tools, license purchases, etc. This Quality plan that you prepare should be treated like any other project plan and must be presented at the gate review meeting for approval.
5. Get rid of faults as soon as possible
As the software moves from development to testing to QA testing to Beta testing, to production, the cost to fix its flaw increases at every step. Try to spot the flaws at an early stage of this development cycle so that you can meet your quality targets at the lowest price. You can also ask your team to check the reviews of design document and code to find mistakes beforehand. You could also opt for Unit testing.
6. Take care of upgrades and new releases
Whenever a new feature or functionality is added to the existing software for its up gradation, you do not have to just check the new features for defects, but also do a regression analysis to make sure that none of the original features or functionality was broken by the new features. Hence always store the test results and information of your project and provide it to the next project team. There are automated regression testing tools available by vendors like Hewlett Packard.
7. Tests should contain all necessary instructions
Try developing a user friendly test, so that anyone who can use the developed system can easily take the test case and run it on his own.
8. Everyone should know how to use the issue tracking tool
The members of the QA test team will have to generate a report when a test case fails. Using this report the development team will fix the problem. Identifying the problems is always given more importance than reporting fixed issues. Hence the metrics sometimes are distorted due to the reported number of fixed but unclosed ticket builds.
9. Add testing progress in the general progress/status report
Last but not the least; do not forget to include your QA progress reports for the Gate Review to show how you will fulfill the quality needs of the project.
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