The software testing strategy is an essential process that comprises part of the software development lifecycle. Companies that fail to implement quality control standards and adequately define the range of tests for an application can destroy brand credibility, sabotage the overall project and create a cost blowout.
The test plan forms part of the project documentation. The goals, objectives and functional requirements of a software application are scoped and bounded by the project plan. The test documentation is designed to create test cases to qualify the application for functional fit, system stability, platform stability, usability and performance.
The initial functional test requirements are executed during the later stages of the first software build. The developer or development team puts the software through a series of tests to ensure that it meets the initial stakeholder requirements and to prepare the way for further test team, beta testing and end user testing. Specialized software is sometimes employed during the testing process. Regression software allows the development team to make modifications and record the changes along the way. This permits ‘rollback’ in the event that a change compromises existing code functionality.
The test phase allows a fresh set of eyes to subject the application to a range of ‘real world’ testing outside the formalities followed by the development team. This can include testing the software on different machines with different operating systems, functional testing and testing for ease of use. Feedback from this allows the development team to improve the applications performance and ease of use. In some cases an initial release of the software is provided to an intended audience to secure a wider range of feedback. This is commonly called beta testing. Large software companies frequently engage in this process to make use of the total skills and experiences that result from using a larger collective user base. Usability software is sometimes used during this process to collaborate and centralize the feedback from the testing phase.
Different software testing strategies are tailored to the business and cultural requirements of the software development company. An understanding of the software development lifecycle and the testing process is essential to any commercial software company. Implementing best practice standards is part of the ongoing commitment of industry professionals to the continual improvement paradigm.