Software testing is an essential step in the software development life cycle (SDLC), ensuring that the product/solution meets the required specifications and functions as intended. However, there are still many common misunderstandings about software testing that can lead to problems and delays in the development process. In this blog post, we will explore five of the most common misunderstandings about software testing and why they are incorrect.
Misunderstanding 1: Testing is only about finding bugs
While finding and fixing bugs is an important part of software testing, it is not the only goal. Testing also involves ensuring that the software meets all functional and non-functional requirements. Functional requirements include use cases, automatization and data flows (integrations), whereas examples of non-functional requirements are performance, scalability, availability, usability, and security. A comprehensive testing strategy should include a range of tests to cover all aspects of the software to ensure that the software is suitable and of sufficient quality for the intended purpose.
Misunderstanding 2: Testing can be fully automated
While automation can make testing more efficient and effective, it is not possible to automate all tests. Typically test automatization brings most value in technical testing (unit testing, API testing), functional baseline regression testing (recording simulating user actions) and portability/compatibility testing (different platforms, versions or device screen size). Automated tests can only test what they are programmed to test, so manual testing is still necessary to improve testing coverage. More complex tests require human intervention and expertise, such as business testing, usability testing or exploratory testing.
Misunderstanding 3: Only testing team is responsible for tests
While the testing team plays a crucial role in software testing, it is not solely their responsibility. Everyone involved in the software development process should be responsible for ensuring that the software is thoroughly tested and meets all requirements. Developers should write testable code, carry out unit testing and integration technical tests as part of DevOps pipeline. Product owner and/or product manager should be involved in the testing of features as early as possible in the development process to provide instant feedback. Also a representative group end users and stakeholders should participate in hands-on testing in the user acceptance testing phase.
Misunderstanding 4: Testing is a one-time event
Testing should be an ongoing process throughout the development cycle, not just a one-time event at the end. Early and frequent testing can identify issues before they become costly and time-consuming to fix. Especially high quality unit testing carried out by developers immediately after the code is written can bring significant benefits by catching the bugs earlier and maximizing adherence to agile shift-left principle. Unit test suite integrated as part of automated DevOps pipeline can also significantly help with regression testing which should be performed after code changes to ensure that the software still functions as intended.
Misunderstanding 5: Testing guarantees bug-free software
While thorough testing can significantly reduce the number of bugs in software, it cannot guarantee bug-free software. Based on computer science literature 1000 lines of code may contain up to 100 bugs immediately after the code is written and still tens of bugs when the code reaches production environment in spite of all the testing! This estimate does not describe whether all these bugs are relevant at all from practical point of view and what is the impact/cost of the remaining bugs. Test planning and design is hard and testing can only identify issues that are being tested. Bugs can also arise if the software is used in different ways than intended. Testing should be seen as an important quality-improving and risk-reducing activity improving understanding of the product/solution rather than a pursuit of perfection.
In conclusion, software testing is an essential part of the software development life cycle, but there are many common misunderstandings about it. Testing is not just about finding bugs, cannot be fully automated, is not the sole responsibility of the testing team, should be ongoing, and cannot guarantee bug-free software. By understanding these misunderstandings, software development teams can devise an effective testing strategy, create effective test plans and find most applicable testing tools.