Moving to a more digitally embedded society, the influence of software is far bigger these days. It contributes to upscale life standards, enhances the business prospects and evolves a smart world. In addition to the industrial /commercial impact, today software plays critical roles across all the walkways of common people.  However, all it requires is the smooth and fail-proof functioning of the software. 

As the disastrous effects of software failures shattering the business and social populations, let’s see why software testing and quality assurance is important for any business.

Mind-boggling reports on Software failures

 The irrecoverable damages that software failure can cause are evident from the startling reports across the world. In 2017 a report released by Tricentis reveals that global enterprises have testified a loss of 1.7 trillion in assets and affects 3.7 million people across the globe.  In 2018 across the US, poor software quality incurs a scaring loss of $2.84 trillion collectively. 

In addition, the scaring stories of the enterprises which are struck by software glitches that wrenched them almost were flashed the news across the world. The IT snags that upset the different business sectors, including British Airways, Facebook, O2 network, etc., were unveiled the daunting after-effects of software failure. 

However, let’s check what the importance of software testing and its purpose in software development

What is Software Testing?

It is the process of critical analysis to identify and evaluate whether the developed application meets the Business Requirement Specifications. It is a continuous process, namely Software Testing Lifecycle (STLC) works along with the software development life cycle. Over each phase, it verifies the functionalities and validates the app performance with the requirement. 

Besides, to deliver bug-free software, software testing helps to improvise the functionalities and usability of applications. There are different types, methods, and techniques to test software, and it involves multiple levels to verify and validate it. 

Importance of Software Testing   

To put it simply, the importance of software testing can be traced from the user’s response. It assures the quality of the product and satisfies the customers as well as users. Also, it promises better business optimization (less maintenance cost), reliability, and superior user experience. Substantially, the iterative efforts spending to mold a powerful yet error-free software are far and wide. 

Despite the designers and developers, software testing plays a decisive role in the process. As the development process follows the software development life cycle, the testing process lines up right behind the queue to compile the units to verify and validates. 

Altogether, it is a continuous process of verification and validation to deliver an excellent product. Each phase of the test determines the performance and efficiency of the system/application.  As a result, it helps to ensure whether the software application aligns with all the technical and business parameters. 

The importance of software testing is evident in the final quality assurance report. By successfully passing through the diversified levels of testing, the final products could perform beyond the expected outcomes. At each level, the testers can not only figure out the errors but also prevent such snags in the future. Besides, exploring each mistake makes for the birth of an improvised version of the software.  

Quality Assurance in Software Development and its Benefits

The subtle differences between software testing and quality assurance are too significant to overlook. When software testing emphasis on the technical aspects of the systems, Quality assurance deals with the software specifications.  It is a comprehensive and systematic method to ensure the quality of products delivered. Further, quality assurance practice evaluates the development and the test cycles, including the techniques, tools, and processes. 

A standardized quality assurance process verifies the standard of software components with adequate quality reviews. Also, the process involves in-process data collection and documentation procedures. It is a process-oriented quality governance course rather than product-centric supervision. It focuses more on preventive measures than restorative practices. 

The quality assurance process extends its surveillance all across the development cycle. Hence, it incessantly follows a user-centric approach to ensure the quality from the coding atelier to smart testing cabins. Also, it helps to prevent bugs in the process of development and look after the whole software maintenance process.

Types, Methods, and Levels

Types

Software applications can be verified and validated via two types of tests, namely Manual and Automation testing. As it implies manual testing is the process of testing the software manually. It doesn’t rely on any automated tools; instead, the tester compiles the software and performs the test from a user perspective. The tester will detect the errors and bugs manually through different levels of testing. Further, in manual testing testers follow a plan, case and scenario-based execution to complete a software test. 

In Automation testing, the tester writes scripts and rely on external software to perform software test. Also, to double-check the quality of the products, the manually tested products are used to undergo automation testing. This type of test assures greater accuracy, cost-efficiency and saves time as well.

Methods

There are three methods to test software that is to say – White Box, Black Box, and Grey Box

White Box is also called structural testing, as it is based on the application source code structure (internal). It is unit-level tests to ensure that the internal performance of the software is aligned with the specifications. In this way, the internal boundaries and data domains can be verified in detail. 

Black Box testing is used to measure the functionality of the application. It is not bothered about the source code or any internal code structure. It is an interface-level trial-and-error software test also renowned on the name input-output/data-driven test. 

Grey Box testing is a proportionate combination of White Box and Black Box test methods. The tester requires both the knowledge and accessibilities of the other two methods to perform the Grey Box test, i.e., the tester has access to database and design documents.  As a hybrid method, it provides better test cases in the software test process from the perspective of users. 

Techniques

Unit Test validates the unit level components. The tester inspects each source code and matches it with the expected outcome.

Integration Test is purported to test the connectivity between the unit modules. This level helps to figure out the bugs that hinder smooth interaction between the integrated unit components. It has multiple approaches to carry out the test, such as the Top-down approach, the Bottom-Up approach, and the Sandwich approach. 

System Test is renowned as end-to-end testing, as it verifies the entire software. It provides a comprehensive report on the performance and compliance of the system with the business specified requirement. Also, at this level, the whole system is validated with unit-level performance. 

Acceptance Test is the pre-delivery test performs right before the user/ by the user with the testers. At this point, from the user perspective, the application will undergo all sorts of performance and usability tests and delivered to the customer. 

Important Software Testing Models

Waterfall Model: It is a well-structured software development model that is quite applicable in the software testing process. As a sequential model, waterfall follows a distinct approach to perform the testing. The software will be divided into multiple phases and works on each stage as the sequence begins from Requirements-Design-Implementation-Verification-Maintenance. In this process, no process can overlap or overtakes a process.  It is a simple engineering model to perform software testing with ease and efficiency.

Iterative Development: In this model, each component/ module will subject to repeated test processes. It works on three consecutive cycles –formulate, test, evaluate. Right after the iteration of each part a new/enhanced model will develop and surrender to testing. Hence, with the immediate test feedback, the required changes can be added in the design/functionality/usability with the new model.

Agile Methodology: It is a more sophisticated software development model with an incremental testing approach. As the requirement varies with time no other models could offer a flexible development/test cycle. The agile model mitigates these issues by being more resilient to incorporate changing conditions. Irrespective of a static –process and tool-based approach agile methodology provide more importance to customer and developers. 

In agile methodology, every component is tested immediately and reduces the risk factor in the process. As it welcomes frequent customer interaction, it demands more time and incurs more pressure upon the testers and developers. 

Extreme Programming: It has a close relation to Agile methodology and promotes short test/development cycles. Dividing the project into numerous pieces, in the extreme programming model, each piece would be subject to the user test at its release. Thus, incorporating the immediate response from customers it works mostly for the project that requires frequent changes. 

It possesses a test-driven approach, and it is more suitable for clients who don’t have a definite idea about the product. 

Conclusion:

The importance of software testing and quality assurance is of high value in a software development cycle. Both of the processes refines the whole process and ensure superior quality to the product. Also, it reduces maintenance costs and provides better usability and enhanced functionality. When software testing signs and push the individual components, quality assurance attests to the product- Fit for the purpose.