In today’s tech landscape, staying ahead of your competition and delivering quality consistently are the two differentiators that make an app-first company succeed.
So it’s no surprise that teams are always on the lookout for the best possible testing approaches that will improve their QA strategy and influence the quality of their product. We all want to keep our strategies fresh and see the quality of our software get better and better as a result.
Software testing methodologies are the processes used to ensure you deliver a well-tested product at speed and keep up with lightning-quick SDLCs.
But how do you choose which software testing methodology is right for you? What does each one entail, and what are the benefits? Read on to find out.
This software development model is sequential. The next step only begins after the previous step is completed. The process might look a little something like the diagram below:
This method has been around since 1970 when it was introduced by Winston Royce. It works by having no overlap in stages and following a straightforward, carefully planned journey. Let’s break it down.
- This is all about gathering the requirements for the product or update. What are the key functions? How should it behave?
- Decide how the code will be written. Focus on the design of the product
- Build the product. Write the code.
- Test, Test Test.
- Release the product into the wild. Then be ready for any bug fixes, updates or changes.
What are the benefits?
In reality, this method doesn’t allow a lot of wiggle room.
For that reason, it is extremely useful for small projects where requirements are clearly defined, For anything bigger, like a full product launch, the waterfall methodology can actually be very restrictive. If you want to release a simple update, with a clear set of instructions behind it, however, waterfall can help.
What’s more, testing is only the fourth step out of five, pushed right down the priority list. This method does not prioritise QA, and, especially when 80% of bugs are introduced at the design stage of the typical SDLC, leaving quality as an afterthought could be a costly mistake. As software testing methodologies go, it might not be your preferred option if you need to launch a high-quality product.
Agile testing couldn’t be further from the strict process of waterfall.
Agile testing operates under the philosophy that testing is a crucial part of development, and just as important as the coding stage.
In agile, testing is integrated directly into the development process so that bugs are discovered as early and as often as possible. As a result, testers can identify problems at every point in the development process, moving the product quickly towards release.
What are the benefits?
The agile methodology makes your SDLC fluid, and your team more able to adapt. The involvement of QA from the word ‘go’ means that your product will be well-tested, and better quality as a result.
But don’t just trust us. We spoke to the experts too.
Eugene Naydenov, CTO at Competera uses agile to deliver quality at speed. They said:
“Continuous testing is an integral part of the agile development process. We ship high-quality small increments and gather early customer feedback, which helps us prioritize our next steps. Thus, we minimize risks by failing fast and cheaply and avoid investing too much in the initiatives that do not benefit our customers.”
Victor Lavrentyev, CTO at Orangesoft also sings the praises of the agile approach.
“The main benefits of the agile approach are:
- The ability to quickly respond to possible changes
- Testing documentation is simplified, but always up to date (for example, QA-Checklists)
- Continuous testing and, as a result, higher quality
- Convenience for the work of developers and managers who are constantly in touch with a client or a product owner
- Perfect for startups and fast-growing projects.”
In iterative development, a large project is broken down into smaller, manageable chunks. Each ‘chunk’ is subjected to a number of iterations of the waterfall model. It’s almost as if you run a number of different SDLCs within a wider project, and each iteration contains a waterfall methodology. It looks a little bit like this:
As soon as one iteration is completed, the entirety of the software is subjected to testing (verification). Then, feedback from the tests is incorporated into the next cycle. As the iterations progress, the time spent testing can be reduced as a result of experience gained from previous iterations.
This means that you have more flexibility to test earlier on in the process and test each iteration thoroughly, rather than conducting a huge amount of testing right at the end of your SDLC.
What are the benefits?
A considerable benefit of using this method is that testing feedback is available at the end of each iteration. This means that you are testing more regularly than in a method like waterfall, and allowing the results to inform your further decision making.
Although iterative development does not quite abide by the rules of continuous testing, it does bear similarities to the agile methodology. You test earlier on in the SDLC and incorporate feedback from your tests into the development process. This means you are placing more emphasis on the value of QA and allowing it to influence part of your decision making.
Choosing the right software testing methodology for you
There are so many methodologies to choose from when it comes to software development. When it comes to the testing part of the process, you need to consider your requirements, project size, scope and budget.
For smaller projects, where the scope is clear, methods like waterfall can be extremely beneficial. That’s because your team are following a straightforward process, with a degree of understanding about where the process will lead.
But typically, for bigger projects, agile methodologies can have some strong benefits.
Introducing testing early into your SDLC means you will catch bugs earlier on, and enables you to incorporate testing feedback into the design and build stages. This will help you achieve a better quality product overall, as you shift your focus towards making QA a priority.
Each project is unique. So consider your options, assess your scope, and use our guide to decide whether software testing methodology is right for you.
Speak to one of our growth experts today to discover how to supercharge your QA strategy, and ensure you are delivering the best possible quality product.