What do we need to Know about Context Driven Testing?

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As a process of validation and verification, software testing emphasizes on checking if the application woks as expected, and meets all predefined business and technical requirements. But software’s usability and user experience affects its popularity and profitability in the longer run. The needs, preferences, abilities and limitations of people using the same software differ. Hence, it becomes essential for businesses to test software application in many real user environments. Unlike conventional software testing approach, context driven testing methodology emphasises on the software being tested just like it is being used and expected to be used by end users in real world. It requires Software QA testing professionals to assess the software by keeping in mind all environments in which the software will be used in the real world. Also, context-driven testing style follows seven basic principles.

7 Basic Principles of Context-Driven Testing

  1. The values of individual practices vary based on their context.
  2. There are no best practices in context. There are only good practices in context.
  3. The vital part of the context of any project is people working together and as a team.
  4. Nobody can predict how the project will unfold over time accurately.
  5. Each product is designed to solve certain problems or issues. So the product will work only if all problems are solved.
  6. To be effective, software testing must be a challenging and intellectual process.
  7. To test a software application efficiently, the testers must do the right things at the right times, cooperate with each other throughout the project, and combine their judgment and skill to deliver reliable test results.

Important Aspects of Context Driven Testing Methodology

Each Computer Program is a Solution

Context driven testing methodology require testers to treat the application under test as a solution. The testing professional must keep in mind that the software is designed to solve certain problems. To become successful, it must resolve the specific problems or address the predefined situations. Hence, the managers must plan the entire testing process by treating the computer program as a solution, and defining all problems it is expected solve.

No Best Practice is Universal

One of the basic principles of context driven testing states, there are only good practices and no best practices in context. So the testing professionals cannot apply all software testing best practices to test different applications. There are always chances that a best practice may not complement the primary objectives of the software testing project. Likewise, constraints related to time and resources often make certain best practices ineffective. Hence, it becomes essential for testing professionals to decide the best practices and solutions according to the current case or situation.

Focus on User Experience and User Friendliness

Unlike conventional software testing styles, context-driven testing emphasizes on testing user experience and user-friendliness of the application. It further requires testers to design and execute test scripts at once by keeping in mind specific aspects of the application. Hence, it becomes easier for testing professionals to focus on user-friendliness of the application, ensure that the functionality of the software is optimized for end users, and the software meets varying needs, preference, abilities and limitations of individual users.

Efficient and Effective Communication

The testing methodology allows testers to ask questions to developers, testers, customers and other stakeholders in the project. Hence, the testers can ask all relevant questions to understand how the application will be used in the real world and identify all user environments. Hence, it is important for the managers to create an environment where various stakeholders in the project can communicate with each other efficiently. The constant interaction will help testers to know the context of the software fully and test it more effectively.

Create a Robust Test Plan

The context driven testing methodology is completely different from script-based testing approach. But it still requires managers to create a robust test plan, and share it with other stakeholders in the project. The test plan will make the testing efforts structured and organized. Also, the stakeholders can refer to the test plan to gather relevant information and monitor the progress of the project. The test plan will further make the testers understand the tests to be performed and what they are expected to deliver. Hence, advance test planning is essential to make the context driven testing project successful.

Incorporate Changes Continuously

The testing style requires managers to prepare an elaborate test plan in advance. But it does not stop managers from keeping the test plan dynamic and incorporate changes into it throughout the project. One of the basic principles of context-driven testing states, no one can predict how the software testing project will unfold in future. Hence, the test manager must make a flexible test plan to accommodate changes in priority, new features or functionalities added to the software, and changing schedules. The flexible test plan will help the manager to enhance test coverage while keeping the primary objectives or ultimate game of the testing project intact.

Don’t Impose Deadlines

Many managers have highlighted the benefits of allowing stakeholder to decide when the context driven testing is completed. Each tester should be allowed to decide the timeline for completing specific testing efforts based on predefined context. The flexibility will enable software QA testers to complete all required tests without any hassle or delay. Also, he will be careful to complete all tests without missing the deadline set by him in advance. Also, the tester will be able to test all aspects of the application, and provide more relevant test results to the stakeholders.

May not Suit All Environments

Despite offering a number of benefits, context driven testing methodology may not complement all needs of each software testing project. The approach helps testers to test software under dynamic and varying conditions. But it cannot be used for testing software under static conditions where conditions remain unchanged. Likewise, the flexibility offered by context-driven testing approach makes autocratic controls and hierarchy redundant. Hence, an organization may not opt for the testing style if it wants to implement a hierarchy of test managers, test designers and test executioners.

While adopting context driven testing, each organization needs to assess software application using specific techniques like exploratory testing and gray-box testing. Likewise, the organization must explore ways to test the software in the maximum real-time environments. Hence, it is important for businesses to make a complete strategy to take full advantage of the innovative software testing methodology.

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