There is no perfect way to run software testing; every test project has its own goals and solutions. Teams need to have the right tools and skill sets to achieve a powerful team dynamic. Software development and QA issues will inevitably come along due to technical difficulties with tools because of their features, functionality, and integrations. A test project can fail at any moment, and a lack of communication can add more stress to the situation. There are several common software testing issues that enterprises face over and over, but with the proper guidance, they can be avoided. First, it’s essential to be aware of what a successful test project looks like. 

A Successful Test Project Includes

First, a successful team will decide on success measurements. This may include the number of defects to identify, or the coverage percentage of tests, or the increase in customer satisfaction. All of these factors are important to pay attention to, but every team will define success differently. For a successful testing project, you can start by: 

  • Outlining realistic, achievable goals that are agreed upon by all team members.
  • Communicating project goals to every participant, including decision-makers, testers, business analysts, and developers. 
  • Everyone in agreement that goals were achieved. There should be no doubts after the testing has been done. 

Of course, all projects should be dealt with in this way; however, test projects have been known to not follow these guidelines. Not communicating and making test projects a last-minute priority is the root of the main problems. Below are the most common problems in enterprise QA testing and tips on how to avoid them.

You Don’t Know Why You’re Testing

If you are testing to increase quality, you should be able to define what software quality means to your organization. Everyone involved with the project should understand why you need to run automated UI or Application Programming Interface (API) functional tests to help move the project forward. 

Steps to avoid this problem:

  • Define goals in a concise project proposal.
  • Use simple metrics to describe the expected benefits of the project.
  • Get buy-in from decision-makers.
  • Continuously track the metrics.
  • Follow up and share results.

This will lead to increased user satisfaction and satisfied users will most likely buy more, complain less, and cost less. But how do you measure a satisfied user? First, establish a baseline test. You can start by polling your user base with a short 3 to 5 question survey. Next, use net promoter score questions like, “how satisfied are you with the quality of the application?” Then send the survey a month later after the product updates to measure the success. 

There Has Been no Agreement on What Problems Need Fixing

Every test will be performed differently. Before you think you can go into a testing project and test everything, you have to realize you most likely do not have the time, usability, business logic, UI standards, and all browsers associated with the proper test performance. That is why it is essential to set expectations initially; then, your team can be more efficient and successful. 

So start by creating a one-page summary that outlines what you should test and what you can not test. It is a good idea to list the main categories that your test will fall into, like performance or logic, and then share with all decision-makers. Do not stress about writing specific test details, but make sure to provide a detailed summary, so everyone can agree before starting.

Here are some tips on what to negotiate and what to agree upon for QA testing:

  • Make sure not to agree to test everything.
  • Write out exactly what will be tested.
  • Document everything that will not be tested.
  • Get sign-off from decision-makers.

You’re Building Test Tools Instead of Testing

When you have the time, testing tools are great to utilize, but if they are not part of the original plan, then your efforts are being distracted from completing the project. The main problem is when you take more time creating tools to run the tests, instead of actually testing, you’re not getting anywhere. If you find your team doing this then it’s crucial to get things back on track.

  • Stop the tool work or reschedule it.
  • Give their own summary, goals, and metrics. Estimate resources separately.
  • Require a minimum number of new issues.

Your team is testing the wrong stuff

There is an indefinite amount of areas that should be tested. The common issue is that priorities shift based on what’s most important at the current time. Now you find yourself continuously adjusting what you’re testing. Be sure to have direction in exploratory testing; it takes time. Scripted testing and automated testing can be redundant if not monitored properly. 

Maybe there are scenarios that run smoothly and pass, but they may not be of use anymore. Ask yourself, “Is this test useful?” “Is this the right test at this point in time for where our product is currently?”

In these scenarios, it’s best to:

  • Set priorities.
  • Track what’s been tested and what’s in the build.
  • Review issue reports vs. your priorities.

Your team doesn’t know how to test

It is smart to have trained testers who know how to use every tool and understand the application they are testing. First, be sure to train your team on the basics, which include:

  • How to use each platform.
  • How to perform tasks.
  • How to verify the business process.
  • How to use the testing tools.

Save money by implementing online training. Ensure to set up a time for the team to learn from the experienced testers. To perform basic software tasks the right way, add to your team some subject matter experts (SMEs) so that they can be successful. 

Here’s how you can avoid the team not knowing how to test:

  • Offer testing training.
  • Offer training on test tool creating.
  • Have clear and explicit requirements documents.
  • Create a team of knowledgeable SMEs and testers.
  • Get developers involved with the testers.

Understand the end-user and their goals. Without user insights, the tester may not know how vital the issue really is. The more you know from the end-user, the better your tests will be.

The Development Team Doesn’t Understand Your Problem Reports

Developers should understand your issue report; if not, they can’t fix it. To avoid this, give them all the details. First, you must define the problem, then include descriptions. Follow this guide to have developers understand your issue, reproduce the bugs, then fix it:

  • Include system configuration (which browser, etc.).
  • Include the scripted test.
  • Show the developer the issue (take screenshots or record video).
  • Use virtual machines (VM) to recreate configurations that reproduce the problem.

Consider using embed testers in development. A tester should experience the development side of the business for a certain amount of time every year. This action will allow embed testers to understand what a developer has to go through and what to do when they receive a problem they can’t reproduce. By providing this teaching experience, testers should be able to give developers the details they need to solve problems. 

Also, consider enacting pairs testing. Both the tester and developer can gain useful information about each position so they can perform their duties better. Exchanging information together lets both parties code fixes before they even arise. The tester can create more advanced tests in the future, and developers can understand what actions need to be taken to address the issues by asking the right questions. This process is excellent for having developers and testers on the same page. 

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