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5 Key Challenges of Software Testing

The pressure to bring high-quality products into the market means the product must undergo several rounds of testing to ensure issues are identified and rectified in time. But the process of developing test cases and carrying out manual or automated testing is not as easy as it appears; testers often come across many challenges along the testing lifecycle that makes the entire process rather taxing.

Here are 5 key challenges developers face when it comes to software testing:

1. Undefined Quality Standards

Software products tend to comply with quality requirements when the standards are clearly defined. Unfortunately, perfectly defined quality standards is not always the case which makes testing a real challenge. Undefined or poorly defined quality standards means there is no clarity on testing requirements, specifications, guidelines, or characteristics. In the absence of the right standards, it becomes extremely difficult for testers to a) satisfy customer needs, b) meet quality requirements, and c) comply with regulations.

Before embarking on the testing journey, it is thus critical for teams to define these quality standards upfront as they help in developing expectations around the quality of the product under development. They not only make the testing process more efficient; they also help reduce redundancy, minimize errors, reduce time to market, as well as lower costs. Make sure the standards you define are realistic, reliable, and measurable. Rope in the required people to define standards and ensure they are clearly communicated to the team.

2. Test Environment Duplication

When testing a software product, most teams limit efforts to a handful of test cases. This, however, is not a true representation of the challenges the product might face in a real-world environment. Not using a realistic test environment means testers will only find issues that are reflected under very specific circumstances – thus reducing the chance of discovering real-world or hard to find bugs.

Using a real-life environment is important to test the product across all possible parameters. It ensures the product is tested across all possible configuration combinations and that any issue that could potentially impact end user experience is identified and rectified in time. A test environment that is as production-like as possible also reduces the likelihood of introducing a new feature that is not compatible with the production environment.

3. Lack of Communication

Testers often tend to work in complete isolation, and very rarely indulge in communicating with other team members. Such communication often leads to testers spending more in back-and-forth emails, attending meetings, taking phone calls, and providing status updates. It also impacts shared understanding across the entire team and leads to poor insight into risks and issues that can act as impediments to the project.

Open and constant communication is the foundation of great software testing. Make sure to invest in modern collaboration tools that help teams stay in touch with one another and stay updated with project updates. Ensuring great communication across the team and associated stakeholders means testers have access to all the information they need to start testing quickly and efficiently. It also helps in communicating potential bugs in issues and implement all the improvements needed to build a winning product.

4. Unstable Environment

Another major challenge with respect to software testing is the presence of unstable test environments. Unstable environments tend to potentially disrupt the overall release process. Since they are poorly managed, they result in conflicts and schedule delays; in the long run, they can impact quality, availability and efficiency of test environments while affecting time-to-market deadlines and costs.

To overcome issues with unstable environments, you need to get into the practice of formalizing test environment requirements early in the testing lifecycle. Using a formal template can help capture requirements in time, allocate suitable resources with matching skill sets, and build new environments by procuring the required infrastructure.

5. Insufficient Requirements Gathering

Testers also often find themselves challenged by user requirements which tends to wreck the testing process. Inadequate or insufficient requirements analysis has several consequences on the quality of the software under development: it can lead to inadequate functionality or even new requirements being discovered late in the development lifecycle. Too many missed requirements exert immense pressure on project schedules and compel testers to skip test cases to save time.

Since requirements gathering can play a big role in ensuring business and customer expectations are met, it is important to invest time for gathering requirements. Proper gathering ensures teams know what features the product is supposed to offer, the level of functionality expected as well as in unearthing the right defects and issues.

In the software development lifecycle, testing plays an equally important role as development – if not more. But given how complex today’s products have become, testers often find themselves struggling with a melee of testing challenges: right from undefined quality standards to test environment duplication, lack of communication, unstable environment, and insufficient requirements gathering. To make testing a streamlined and challenge-free process, it is vital for teams to engage with partners who can put practices in place that help in overcoming challenges and meeting required quality and cost requirements with ease.


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