Software testing plays a crucial role in the software development life cycle. It focuses on the functionality of the software and ensures if there are any bugs in it. Testing at each stage of the software development cycle can crucially improve the quality, reliability and performance of the product.
Software testing becomes proper when it is properly planned and well organised with documentation. It’s quite important to create test documents like test plans, test cases, status reports, bugs reports, etc. It saves clients time and expenses by reusing old successful methods and eluding the ones that didn’t meet KPIs. Even it helps the testing team to estimate the testing effort required, test coverage and tracking.
30%-50% of software development effort is occupied by its testing. So it’s better to include documentation in your test cycle and can identify the improvement that can be implemented in upcoming projects.
Although having several advantages in the development cycle, it’s still ignored by several companies. Rather than paying more attention to time and cost-saving processes, they focus only on the software development process.
You must have read several articles and blogs regarding software testing trends or practices but for sure a few about documentation required in testing.
In this blog, we will discuss the importance of documentation during the testing of software and its advantages.
Before knowing about the importance of documentation in software testing, First, let’s know what is test Documentation?.
What is Test Documentation:
Test documentation involves a set of data and artefacts that are created before the software testing process and are being followed throughout the process. It allows the testing team to estimate the test coverage and required testing.
Apart it enables them to track the resources and progress of execution. It even helps team members to address test documentation in finding the complete information regarding any testing activities that happened earlier or will come off in future.
Let’s know its importance in software testing.
Importance of Test Documentation in Software Testing:
- A project without a proper plan or objective is difficult to complete, similarly, testing without documentation gives an unclear view of the project.
- Test documentation enables us to know what is critical and what activities we need to run in how much time. Let’s take an example from a company’s point of view. Suppose a QA team is working on a complex project. And as they don’t give any priority to documentation, they don’t have it. If before the completion of the project, any of the QA members left the job. In such cases, it becomes tough for a newly joined QA engineer to understand the functionality of the product without documents or training.
- Talking about QA engineers, it’s the documentation that plays a vital role. Lack of documentation affects their work, especially in complex projects where requirements changes are more frequent. Sometimes a proper understanding of the functionality results in more errors.
- It enables you to get fit with the deadlines, as it clearly defines the end of the QA phase. Sometimes the software testers do not have enough clarity about the final phase of testing, as a result, they are unaware of whether to test until they don’t find any critical bugs in production or to run the test for complete functionality once. As a result, it affects the project delivery deadlines.
What is the Goal of Software Testing Documentation?
- The documentation gives long-term goals to an organisation. It gathers information on test designs, metrics, executions, results and from testing teams, which brings a clear vision to a project and additional benefits.
- It removes the uncertainties of any activities involved in testing. As the complete functionality of the planned test is recorded in documentation, it becomes easy for the software testing team including the client to keep a track of the product.
- Testing documentation saves organisations time as well as cost. It keeps a record of the data involved in the testing process, as the automation tools, and frameworks used in the testing process and describe the product functionality in detail. This helps the team in using this information for future test cases and even helps a newly joined member to understand the product.
- It becomes easier to analyse the efficiency of testing with documentation. The testing team optimises the process, after analysing the results of the testing. If the KPIs are not met by the team, then bugs get caught and made to test again after getting fixed.
Types of Test Documentations Used by Testing team.
1: Test Plan:
Test plan documents can also be said as a guide to those testing processes that would be conducted throughout the development process. It gives information about the testing practices and approaches that will be followed during the project. It includes test features like the scope of testing, tasks performed by team members, work schedules, strategy, risk and the test/pass criteria from the beginning to the end.
2: Test Case:
A test case is a document that includes a variety of data, like the steps and actions that the team needs to perform for a particular condition and its expected results. It includes several parameters that software testers use to perform the test, like test scenario, test ID, test data, prerequisites, description, test parameters, and test results, among others.
A checklist is a document that includes a short description of software functionality that a tester needs to check. Else it can be said as a list of features to test and the status of the results they found after the test is performed. In some organisations, they use checklists instead of test cases as they are simple and faster to prepare. It helps QA engineers to plan for the deadlines in the future and compare them with real-time operation periods.
4: Use Case:
A use case is a simple document that gives an overall overview of the different ways in which the user can interact with the software. Use cases are usually based on an assumption about a user, their action and interaction that enables a software tester to check users’ intended paths. It becomes quite necessary for testers to focus on business requirements and objectives while creating a use case.
5: Software Requirements:
Requirements or specification is a document that includes a complete description of the properties, features and qualities of software under development. It can be said to be information that captures a complete description of the expected performance of software, using which the team can avoid problems.
6: Bug Report:
A bug report is one of the important phases of test documentation. It’s a document that provides complete information about a bug and the reasons for which it comes. The motive behind this report is to document the bugs and avoid them appearing again in future. This will save organisations time and get fixed quickly when it occurs again.
7: Test Scenario:
It is also said to test possibility or test conditions where real-world scenarios are used to test software applications instead of test cases. The reason behind the test is to reduce the complexities arising in an application. It helps in a simple way to test and fix end-to-end complicated problems.
Advantages of Test Documentation:
- The purpose of creating test documentation is to remove or minimise the uncertainties that arise during the testing.Usually, a dispute arises between testing team members regarding the responsibility and schedule of the work. These all get banished with test documentation, as it provides the details about the task allotment and other relevant information. Its systematic approach gives the tester a clear overview of the whole project.
- As the data are properly recorded and tracked easily, this saves the organisation time, effort and cost. It even helps the organisation in spending much effort on newly onboarded members for their training and proper understanding.
- It improves transparency and brings coordination within the team including clients. It enables the client to check the quality of the code and estimated requirements met by the team on deadline and workload.
- Test documentation helps to complete the project within the deadline and offer quality products to the client. It further increases the business opportunity with the same client.
- It works as a point of reference for the future projects of an organisation. If in future, a functionality doesn’t meet the criteria, then testers can check over the previously recorded cases and can fix it quickly.
Although it has several advantages, it has a few drawbacks for which few companies don’t include it in their testing process.
Disadvantages of Test Documentation:
- Sometimes it becomes unclear, as most of the time people don’t write it properly. As a result, it becomes difficult for the team members to understand in future if they need any help from those records.
- Test documentation costs more to a company and even consumes more time. As a result, project delivery exceeds the deadline.
- Keeping the track of requests of the client and updating it on documents becomes difficult.
- As it gives transparency between the client and the team, there are chances where clients may get unhappy with the product. That can force clients to stop the project.
There are several companies that rely on verbal communication. Most of their discussions with clients are made through chats or words, which is not at all possible to track all of those. It, later on, creates a misunderstanding between them both. To avoid this circumstance, it becomes quite important to keep documentation.
It is not only important from a client’s point of view but saves time and cost for the company. For long-term projects, it’s quite sure that the members working a testing team would not be working till the end. There it becomes easy for newly onboarded members to understand and go through the testing process. It isn’t required for the organisation to spend time on their training.
Software testing documentation is a habit that brings a systematic approach to the process. As a software development company, Gloify also deals with Software testing along with development. At gloify, we primarily focus on documentation. We keep track of all those testing activities performed by our software tester, which gives a clear understanding between us and our client. If you are looking for any development or testing service kindly reach out.