Back to the Future: The Essential Basics of Software Testing

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If you’ve been in the industry for a long time, you’ll probably remember when test teams sat in their own secluded area, idly waiting for code handoff, and were discouraged from “bothering” developers. There may have been a lot of running around to qualify builds, do smoke tests, verify bug fixes, and comb through the build notes for feature changes.

Today, this might seem strange to some people. It’s worth noting that things have changed quite a bit.  The industry has revolutionized. We don’t even call testers “Quality Assurance” anymore. The whole development team is now responsible for quality, not just the testers. Rightly so— testers don’t guarantee quality. Their job is to run tests, not promise quality.

Testers are now very involved in the development process. People who test are in the middle of software development, no longer on the outside. It’s common to think about POs, BAs, and Marketers as necessary components of product design. But what’s important to realize is that testers help design the software product as well. They can contribute specifications for how a feature will work and what will be blocked, or throw error messages. This is the great part of modernization.

On the other hand, with all these changes, there are effective skills and practices that have gone astray. There are many techniques and strategies that use to receive more attention in the old days, but are severely lacking today. For instance, test plans have been phased into the background. Most test teams have simply stopped writing them. This results in missed bugs and a buildup of technical debt.

After taking both the pros and cons into consideration, companies can benefit from taking more control of their testing teams by being more aware of test practices, bug reports, smoke testing, sanity testing, people management, and testing automation. If you’d like to find out more about these essentials of testing practice, then read our latest issue of LogiGear Magazine.

Michael Hackett

Author: Michael Hackett, Senior Vice President

Michael is also a co-founder of LogiGear Corporation, and has over two decades of experience in software engineering in banking, securities, healthcare and consumer electronics.

Michael is a Certified Scrum Master and has co-authored two books on software testing. Testing Applications on the Web: Test Planning for Mobile and Internet-Based Systems (Wiley, 2nd ed. 2003), available in English, Chinese and Japanese, and Global Software Test Automation (HappyAbout Publishing, 2006). He is a founding member of the Board of Advisors at the University of California Berkeley Extension and has taught for the Certificate in Software Quality Engineering and Management at the University of California Santa Cruz Extension. As a member of IEEE, his training courses have brought Silicon Valley testing expertise to over 16 countries.

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