Best practices for successful testing projects

Shyam Ramanathan,

Global Delivery Director 

Published: September 13, 2018

In today's interconnected world, security breaches, however big or small not just impact customer loyalty but may lead to customer churn and ultimately impacting revenue. Whether there are breaches in security testing or reports of data being compromised, the spotlight is immediately on the flaws in the security mechanisms. DevOps and Agile development are also pushing the boundaries of testing. A robust test strategy can help companies identify where these vulnerabilities are and take the corrective measures to prevent and rectify the gaps.

A comprehensive security testing framework will help validate across all layers of an application, assess the vulnerabilities of the software applications and determine whether its data and resources are protected from potential intruders is paramount.

These nine best practices are a surefire way to successful software testing:

  1. Develop robust security testing: Security concerns have slowed down the pace of cloud-based testing. This is because public clouds share resources across organizations, and virtualization creates several vulnerabilities, especially in public cloud. Establish adequate controls, and secure the test environment. Security testing is a niche skill, hire experts to complete static analysis and fix configuration issues before deployment.
  2. Truly shift left: Shift left means that the testing team is at the top of the game from the onset. Build a collaborative team of developers and testers. This will increase the possibility of catching bugs early, which will reduce defects, improve quality while decrease cost of quality.
  3. Environment allocation: Nothing can stall a testing project like non-availability or incompatibility of the testing environment. Ensure the availability of the right environment along with appropriate release notes of each deployment. This will help to communicate the changes effectively and establish expectations. Unit test results and the report on defects are also critical to a testing team's success.
  4. Exploratory testing: Use creative methods to find defects from an end-user perspective. Conduct session-based testing with a team of two testers focused on specific areas with high defects. This allows testers to use scenarios that may not be possible with scripted test cases.
  5. Understand the need: Customize your testing solution for each project need. Build a team that has a mix of both functional and automation testers with performance testing skills on LoadRunner and Jmeter. Additional skills such as UFT, HP ALM and other open source tools like Selenium are always handy. Make the most out of your test assets combination to reap larger benefits.
  6. Create a target operating model: Create a thorough project plan that includes the defined processes, methods, tools, communication, and RACI matrix. It ensures that every team member is aware of the project goals and responsibilities. The target operating model will serve as the entry criteria for any new team member and drive the team towards a common objective.
  7. Onsite-offshore mix: Modify your staffing structure based on the user's location. If a project requires continuous interaction with business, increase your onsite team. Strengthen your offshore team if the interaction is limited. This approach will save cost and help deliver on timelines. A highly efficient testing team can complete projects well within timelines.
  8. Clear acceptance criteria: With the advent of Agile and proliferation of DevOps, have clear acceptance criteria defined at the beginning of the project. This gives a clear north star for the team to aim at and build a robust testing effort.
  9. Defect management: Have a clear defect management workflow defined for the project. Ensure the different severity levels as well as the tool used for defect management are laid out upfront. Prepare a user guide for defect management and share it with everyone in the team.

The above best practices can be of value not just for your team of developers and testers to make their testing project a success but also for organizations that are striving to improve the productivity of their testing unit. Apart from the above best practice, investing in continuous training of the team to keep up with the latest technology advancements, accurately predicting project cost and scheduling estimation will help keep testing on track with changes in project deliverable. As digital transformation continues to rule the roost, software testing must be on a war footing and implementing these nine best practices can make the difference between success and failure.

Shyam Ramanathan

Global Delivery Director 

Shyam Ramanathan has been working in the IT world for over 21 years, where he has developed a breadth of knowledge and experience in program management, requirements analysis, requirements review, Use case modelling, project planning, test design, test execution, and establishing global delivery teams across geographies and building Center of Excellence. 

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