Software Testing – Why is it Important and Why is it Done?

Before any kind of software is let loose on the general public it has to go through a series of tests. Putting a product on the market without any kind of testing would be foolhardy and a complete waste of money. It is important to test any software application thoroughly in order to make sure it performs well and meets customer requirements. A variety of tests can be performed and they will have been designed to find as many errors or bugs as possible. Testing uncovers all the problems so that the end product supplied for customers will work properly and there will be no customer complaints.

The main objectives of software testing

  • To find any defects or bugs that may have been created when the software was being developed
  • To increase confidence in the quality of the software
  • To prevent defects in the final product
  • To ensure the end product meets customer requirements as well as the company specifications
  • To provide customers with a quality product and increase their confidence in the company

When it comes to testing software it's important to achieve the best possible results. But how do you know that the tests you are performing are the best ones? To help with following the right strategy for testing there are certain principles that need to be followed.

Software testing and the 7 testing principles

There are seven testing principles which are common in the software industry.

  1. Optimal testing – it's not possible to test everything so it's important to determine the optimal amount. The decision is made using a risk assessment. This assessment will uncover the area that is most likely to fail and this is where testing should take place.
  2. Pareto Principle – this principle states that approximately 80% of problems will be found in 20% of tests. However, there is a flaw in this principle in that repeating the same tests over and over again will mean no new bugs will be found.
  3. Review and Revise – repeating the same tests will mean that the methods will eventually become useless for uncovering new defects. To prevent this from happens only requires the tests to be reviewed and revised on a regular basis. Adding new tests will help to find more defects.
  4. Defects that are present – testing reduces the probability of the being a defect in the final product but does not guarantee that a defect won't be there. And even if you manage to make a product that's 99% bug free, the testing won't have shown whether the software meets the needs of clients.
  5. Meeting customer needs – testing a product for the wrong requirements is foolhardy. Even if it is bug free it may still fail to meet customer requirements.
  6. Test early – it's imperative that testing starts as soon as possible in the development of a product.
  7. Test in context – test a product in accordance with how it will be used Software is not identical and will be developed to meet a certain need rather than a general one. Different techniques, methodologies, approach and type of testing can be used depending on the applications planned use.

Follow these seven testing principles and it will help to create an effective strategy. Once you've used these a number of times you'll find yourself applying them without even thinking about it.