A strategic approach to software testing

By Iain MacFadyen, our Test Manager

Testing a system is something you should do once the software development work has been completed, right? Wrong. In actual fact, the earlier you get testing involved, the better. 

A shift-left approach to testing, AKA, testing software early in the development process, can preempt issues and add value to the outcome by looking at the functionality requirements from a different point of view. In fact, testers should be working side by side with developers and analysts to deliver the best possible strategic approach to every project. 

Our Test Manager, Iain MacFadyen, who’s been in this game for over 20 years, elaborates...

Testing isn’t just about finding bugs 

Testing brings quality. Experienced testers can also bring business knowledge which can lead to improvements in processes, or identifying where there may be issues further down the line. For example, testers may be able to see that a proposed process may not work and can also act as an intermediary between business and development and help with the solutioning process.

The advantages of bringing testing in earlier in the process

Testers think from a usability viewpoint, which sometimes development cannot see, by analysing documentation, querying processes, suggesting improvements, or identifying areas where problems may arise. Getting involved earlier in the development process can save on wasted development time. It also helps testers gain knowledge to create better methods, identify what data may be needed, what systems interact with each other, and allow for better planning and estimation.

Is testing integral to the software development strategy?

Testing is often seen as something that ‘must’ be done in order to tick a box, particularly by business leaders that are not close to the day-to-day delivery of IT. This is where it can become squeezed in at the end of a process with less than adequate planning, resulting in things going live or into production with perhaps some bugs that could have been avoided given more time. 

The dream team

Combining the efforts of the developer, analyst and tester from the start of a project gives it the best chance of success. Sometimes a developer may not see the whole picture (especially from a user viewpoint) and then user experience can be impacted. With a tester involved, the tester can see things from both viewpoints and act as a ‘negotiator’. 

There is also a mindset of a tester where we tend to think of things in a less positive manner, resulting in us looking for issues and pitfalls from a more impartial point of view.  

By having all three disciplines present throughout the delivery of a project, we can combine the positive business mindset, alongside the tester with the negative/impartial mindset and the developer who then has to solve the problem. It then allows all three parties to agree on the optimal solution and work towards that goal with clarity.

The Propel Tech approach to testing 

Our team of experienced testers creates structures within each project, allowing us to test more effectively and efficiently. Direct collaboration with developers also helps everyone’s understanding of a requirement

We take a strategic approach to software testing, and kick off each project by developing a bespoke guide to give clients insight as to areas they maybe haven’t considered. It’s also designed to reassure clients that testing will be carried out to a high level and not just an add-on

The testing strategy is an overall document. The lower-level Test Plans are tailored per project. It may be that a client conducts their own UAT, but has no System Test or Integration testing resource. So we would document this within the Test Plan for that particular project. We would also document the approach to the testing, so we may have to run batches, create dummy databases etc.

Our testing strategies are developed and worded in a way the wider business, not just the IT department, can relate to. No jargon allowed. 

Connect with Iain 



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