Choosing Testing Techniques

I recently landed upon this article, which is essentially an introduction into software testing. It gives a great overview of why different types of testing techniques are important, what different types aim to achieve, and the ins-and-outs of each.

The last section though is perhaps the most interesting, as I think it covers a topic that we haven’t discussed quite as much in our testing class (although my professor would probably beg to differ) — different reasons for choosing each type, and what may influence your choice.

In this article, the author mostly reflects on outside influences as opposed to outlining which technique to use to solve technical challenges best. I suspect this is because each technique has its pros and cons in each technical situation. Some influencing factors are:

  • The Type of System/Software App
  • Regulatory Standards
  • Customer Requirements
  • Type/Level of Risk
  • Test Objective
  • Tester’s Skill & Knowledge
  • Time and Budget
  • Development Life Cycle
  • Previous Testing Experience

By now, I’ve learned that different companies/teams will follow different testing paradigms (usually they’ll implement several of them, to be more accurate). There doesn’t seem to be an industry standard, and I’ve heard that even things like code reviews aren’t necessarily used everywhere. What I find interesting about the points listed above is that it gives some insight into the reasoning and motivation behind why teams may choose different techniques to implement for their particular scenarios.

For example, some software systems may work better with static vs dynamic testing as their primary methodology, and some (although probably most) would prefer a decent blend of each. Obviously the time and budget for the development cycle of the app will influence how rigorous the testing process is, which will influence what specific techniques teams implement as well.

Another interesting point I felt the article made was that the customer may actually have a preference for how they want their product to be tested. I think this was an interesting point because, while a customer probably wouldn’t say “I want you to use more white-box testing”, their requirements may actually require the team to modify the tests that they had intended to use in indirect ways.

I felt as though this article was an interesting overview of different ideas in software testing, from the different types of testing, to the advantages and disadvantages of each, to the reason behind choosing which one may be best. This website, Test Automation Resources, seems to have a lot of interesting and easy-to-read testing articles. I’ll likely be reading more from it in the future!

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