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Testing shows presence of defects
Exhaustive testing is not possible
Testing is context dependent
Absence of errors fallacy
This tutorial introduces the seven basic Software Testing Principles that every Software tester and QA professional should know.
Let’s learn the testing principles with the following video example–
It is important that you achieve optimum test results while conducting software testing without deviating from the goal. But how you determine that you are following the right strategy for testing? For that, you need to stick to some basic testing principles. Here are the common seven testing principles that are widely practiced in the software industry.
To understand this, consider a scenario where you are moving a file from folder A to Folder B.
Think of all the possible ways you can test this.
Apart from the usual scenarios, you can also test the following conditions
Trying to move the file when it is Open
You do not have the security rights to paste the file in Folder B
Folder B is on a shared drive and storage capacity is full.
Folder B already has a file with the same name, in fact, the list is endless
Or suppose you have 15 input fields to test, each having 5 possible values, the number of combinations to be tested would be 5^15
Here are the 7 Principles: 1) Exhaustive testing is not possible
Yes! Exhaustive testing is not possible. Instead, we need the optimal amount of testing based on the risk assessment of the application.
And the million dollar question is, how do you determine this risk?
To answer this let’s do an exercise
In your opinion, Which operation is most likely to cause your Operating system to fail?
I am sure most of you would have guessed, Opening 10 different application all at the same time.
So if you were testing this Operating system, you would realize that defects are likely to be found in multi-tasking activity and need to be tested thoroughly which brings us to our next principle Defect Clustering2) Defect Clustering
Defect Clustering which states that a small number of modules contain most of the defects detected. This is the application of the Pareto Principle to software testing: approximately 80% of the problems are found in 20% of the modules.
By experience, you can identify such risky modules. But this approach has its own problems
If the same tests are repeated over and over again, eventually the same test cases will no longer find new bugs.3) Pesticide Paradox
Repetitive use of the same pesticide mix to eradicate insects during farming will over time lead to the insects developing resistance to the pesticide Thereby ineffective of pesticides on insects. The same applies to software testing. If the same set of repetitive tests are conducted, the method will be useless for discovering new defects.
To overcome this, the test cases need to be regularly reviewed & revised, adding new & different test cases to help find more defects.
Testers cannot simply depend on existing test techniques. He must look out continually to improve the existing methods to make testing more effective. But even after all this sweat & hard work in testing, you can never claim your product is bug-free. To drive home this point, let’s see this video of the public launch of Windows 984) Testing shows a presence of defects
Hence, testing principle states that – Testing talks about the presence of defects and don’t talk about the absence of defects. i.e. Software Testing reduces the probability of undiscovered defects remaining in the software but even if no defects are found, it is not a proof of correctness.
But what if, you work extra hard, taking all precautions & make your software product 99% bug-free. And the software does not meet the needs & requirements of the clients.5) Absence of Error – fallacy
It is possible that software which is 99% bug-free is still unusable. This can be the case if the system is tested thoroughly for the wrong requirement. Software testing is not mere finding defects, but also to check that software addresses the business needs. The absence of Error is a Fallacy i.e. Finding and fixing defects does not help if the system build is unusable and does not fulfill the user’s needs & requirements.
To solve this problem, the next principle of testing states that Early Testing6) Early Testing 7) Testing is context dependent
Testing is context dependent which basically means that the way you test an e-commerce site will be different from the way you test a commercial off the shelf application. All the developed software’s are not identical. You might use a different approach, methodologies, techniques, and types of testing depending upon the application type. For instance testing, any POS system at a retail store will be different than testing an ATM machine.Myth: “Principles are just for reference. I will not use them in practice .”
This is so very untrue. Test Principles will help you create an effective Test Strategy and draft error catching test cases.
But learning testing principles is just like learning to drive for the first time.
Initially, while you learn to drive, you pay attention to each and everything like gear shifts, speed, clutch handling, etc. But with experience, you just focus on driving the rest comes naturally. Such that you even hold conversations with other passengers in the car.
Same is true for testing principles. Experienced testers have internalized these principles to a level that they apply them even without thinking. Hence the myth that the principles are not used in practice is simply not true.
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