Have you ever wondered how to efficiently and quickly launch your testing process for a new project or in novel circumstances? Would you like to spend less time on test creation and more time on test execution and other worthwhile tasks like exploratory testing? When it is unnecessary, why reinvent the wheel?
Reusability in testing software can help you save time and energy on tedious tasks like creating and running tests. By building on previous work and being a little shrewd up front, you can easily achieve test and application stability. All disciplines are constantly looking for ways to increase productivity and reduce rework in today’s fast-paced world where there is a constant need to build software effectively.
Even though it sounds complicated, reusability can be introduced at different levels. Reusability should and could be included in all facets of software testing, and it makes perfect sense to do so. A potential list of these areas is provided below in the checklist, which is also a reusable artifact.
While designing test cases, churn out generic test cases for some of the core areas of your work, like the ones outlined below, to reuse them at subsequent stages – bucketize test cases based on:
- Test attributes – UI, Functionality, Performance, Security, Globalization, Accessibility and Usability among others.
- Domain-specific compliances – BFSI, Health Care, Education, Mobile.
- Technology – eCommerce, mobile, RIA.
Test Automation Frameworks and Code
Build frameworks that are modular and can be easily reused. Test automation, although very valuable, is often a very expensive effort where the ROI becomes questionable. This is primarily because of changing product functionality which may invalidate the test scenario at hand.
While this challenge is often beyond the scope of the test team to control, the situation gets doubly complicated, when poor test automation code is generated. Contact experienced software testers by this link to be sure that all your tests are successful and your projects are profitable.
By poor test automation strategy and code, I mean the choice of cases that don’t add a lot of value when automated, huge chunks of repetitive code that is written, code that gets very cumbersome to read through, review and maintain.
An answer to all this is to modularize test automation code and create frameworks to handle repetitive functionality. For e.g. code to sign in/sign out could be easily separated and handled in a separate module to be reused as and when required.
This area offers a lot of scope to build re-usability and is also one where a lot of time is often expended during the testing cycle. Spend the extra time up front to decide what kind of reusable data can be created. Some examples include user accounts, user profile information and payment instruments among others.
To ease the tester’s job in setting up test infrastructure, there are a lot of external options available lately such as leveraging machines on the cloud, Virtual Private Cloud (VPC), Infrastructure as a service (IaaS).
Besides these, if your test bed setup is such that you need to maintain it in-house, explore options to build re-usability such as creating images, downloaded copies of the software for easy access and use among others.
Core Test Team
Investing in reusable/go to people in specialized areas is often the best investment a company can make. Identify a pool of experts for specific domains, test attributes and continue to provide them the required training and resources to empower them to succeed.
Their success is your success, in terms of differentiators that you build for your company. This does not mean that access to resources is restricted to a select few in the company.
You have just created a talent pool which is mutually enriching viz. a ) benefiting your company in terms of business and b) motivating your experts intellectually and your other engineers to strive to join such a special group.
Re-usability in this space is often not prioritized in various companies owing to time, budget and attrition constraints. However, given the strong benefits that exist in this space, this is an area that deserves maximum push to inject re-usability into.
Create knowledge base articles, best practices, checklists, important workarounds along the way, as your team learns something new. Such articles should be precise, crisp and useful for subsequent reference, and not merely an overhead to the team.
A sample set of such templates, which can be created for periodic use include: Status reports, Bug reports, Result dashboards, Project plans, Test plans, Test cases, Review guidelines, Release / Sign off mailers.
For events such as bug bashes, beta testing, collecting user feedback, a standard set of templates will boost re-usability.
Demos and presentations can often be very time consuming to create, however, they are very important in the course of product development. Templatize the flow and script as much as possible, which will help you do your test demos on time and without fail.
Besides the above, always be on the lookout for repetitive/monotonous tasks that can be easily automated to alleviate the test team’s overhead. Such tasks are often excellent candidates to infuse re-usability into, when automated.
Reuse in Test Case Generation
You can describe the test cases in UML which have been standardized by the Object Management Group (OMG). One can leverage OMG to create standardized test cases that can be reused efficiently. Aside, you can easily design the next generation of test cases using UML. It would help in easy testing of features by leveraging UML design.
Reuse in Execution
Test procedure specification document is filled up while executing the test cases. It also mentions all the specific requirements for setting up the test environment, procedure and format to report accurate results of testing and measurement. One can always reuse the data of this document for applications from identical domains.
Reuse in Error Detection and Removal
A test summary report is used to document the summary of the entire test case. The data includes the total number of test cases executed, nature & number of errors, and collection of data to gauge outcomes and SLAs. Testers can reuse this test summary report within the domain or at the project level.
Reuse in Review of Testing Process
Test deliverables are always evaluated through a formal review process to identify the quality of testing and whether the entire process has adhered to the test plan or not. Testers can rescue the formal process of reviewing the testing process. Not following the formal review process might cause discrepancies and quality issues in the testing of the software.
Key Benefits in Enabling Re-Usability
- Shorter time-to-market
- Enhanced cost-efficiency
- Seamless quality
- More dependable and reliable testing
- Meet compliance with the previous work
- Lower maintenance cost
When you plan effectively and invest upfront to build the right levels of reusability in the above areas, you have automatically created more room for your testers, to spend their cycles on more creative and challenging areas of the test, directing the human brain to more important tasks.
This combination of automated test tasks + out-of-box test scenarios, go a long way in building a product of great quality, within budgeted costs and time. However one word of caution to be applied is to ensure, the team does not become a stickler for following processes in the name of re-usability especially for templates to be used and reviews to be conducted.
A good balance in re-using data, process, information and customizing reusability in software testing then talking to our experts about the current needs is important, to reap the true value from this effort.