Q: What if the application has functionality that wasn't
in the requirements?
A: It may take serious effort to determine if an application has significant
unexpected or hidden functionality, which it would indicate deeper problems in
the software development process. If the functionality isn't necessary to the
purpose of the application, it should be removed, as it may have unknown
impacts or dependencies that were not taken into account by the designer or the
If not removed, design information will be needed to determine added testing
needs or regression testing needs. Management should be made aware of any
significant added risks as a result of the unexpected functionality. If the
functionality only affects areas, such as minor improvements in the user
interface, it may not be a significant risk.
Q: How can software QA processes be implemented
without stifling productivity?
A: Implement QA processes slowly over time. Use consensus to reach
agreement on processes and adjust and experiment as an organization grows
and matures. Productivity will be improved instead of stifled. Problem prevention
will lessen the need for problem detection. Panics and burnout will decrease and
there will be improved focus and less wasted effort. At the same time, attempts
should be made to keep processes simple and efficient, minimize paperwork,
promote computer-based processes and automated tracking and reporting,
minimize time required in meetings and promote training as part of the QA
process. However, no one, especially talented technical types, like bureaucracy
and in the short run things may slow down a bit. A typical scenario would be that
more days of planning and development will be needed, but less time will be
required for late-night bug fixing and calming of irate customers.
Q: What if an organization is growing so fast that fixed
QA processes are impossible?
A: This is a common problem in the software industry, especially in new
technology areas. There is no easy solution in this situation, other than... · Hire good people (i.e. hire Rob Davis) · Ruthlessly prioritize quality issues and maintain focus on the customer; · Everyone in the organization should be clear on what quality means to the customer.
Q: How is testing affected by object-oriented designs?
A: A well-engineered object-oriented design can make it easier to trace from
code to internal design to functional design to requirements. While there will be
little affect on black box testing (where an understanding of the internal design of
the application is unnecessary), white-box testing can be oriented to the
application's objects. If the application was well designed this can simplify test
Q: Why do you recommended that we test during the
design phase? A: Because testing during the design phase can prevent defects later on. I
recommend we verify three things... 1. Verify the design is good, efficient, compact, testable and maintainable. 2. Verify the design meets the requirements and is complete (specifies all
relationships between modules, how to pass data, what happens in
exceptional circumstances, starting state of each module and how to
guarantee the state of each module). 3. Verify the design incorporates enough memory, I/O devices and quick
enough runtime for the final product.
Q: What is software quality assurance?
A: Software Quality Assurance (SWQA) when Rob Davis does it is oriented to
*prevention*. It involves the entire software development process. Prevention is
monitoring and improving the process, making sure any agreed-upon standards and procedures are followed and ensuring problems are found and dealt with. Software Testing, when performed by Rob Davis, is also oriented to *detection*. Testing involves the operation of a system or application under controlled conditions and evaluating the results. Organizations vary considerably in how they assign responsibility for QA and testing. Sometimes they are the comined responsibility of one group or individual. Also common are project teams, which include a mix of test engineers, testers and developers who work closely together, with overall QA processes montored by project managers. It depends on what best fits your organization's size and business structure. Rob Davis can provide QA and/or SWQA. This document details some aspects of how he can provide
software testing/QA service.
Q: What is quality assurance?
A: Quality Assurance ensures all parties concerned with the project adhere to the
process and procedures, standards and templates and test readiness reviews.
Rob Davis' QA service depends on the customers and projects. A lot will depend on team
leads or managers, feedback to developers and communications among customers,
managers, developers' test engineers and testers.
Q: Processes and procedures - why follow them?
A: Detailed and well-written processes and procedures ensure the correct steps are being executed to facilitate a successful completion of a task. They also ensure a
process is repeatable. Once Rob Davis has learned and reviewed customer's business
processes and procedures, he will follow them. He will also recommend improvements
and/or additions. Q: Standards and templates - what is supposed to be in a
document? A: All documents should be written to a certain standard and template. Standards and
templates maintain document uniformity. It also helps in learning where information is
located, making it easier for a user to find what they want. Lastly, with standards and
templates, information will not be accidentally omitted from a document. Once Rob Davis
has learned and reviewed your standards and templates, he will use them. He will also
recommend improvements and/or additions.
Q: What are the different levels of testing?
A: Rob Davis has expertise in testing at all testing levels listed in the these FAQs. At each test level, he documents the results. Each level of testing is either considered black or white box testing.
Q: What is black box testing?
A: Black box testing is functional testing, not based on any knowledge of internal
software design or code. Black box testing is based on requirements and functionality.
Q: What is white box testing?
A: White box testing is based on knowledge of the internal logic of an application's code.
Tests are based on coverage of code statements, branches, paths and conditions.
Q: What is unit testing? A: Unit testing is the first level of dynamic testing and is first the responsibility of
developers and then that of the test engineers. Unit testing is performed after the
expected test results are met or differences are explainable/acceptable.
Q: What is parallel/audit testing?
A: Parallel/audit testing is testing where the user reconciles the output of the new system to the output of the current system to verify the new system performs the operations
Q: What is functional testing?
A: Functional testing is black-box type of testing geared to functional requirements of an
application. Test engineers should perform functional testing.
Q: What is usability testing?
A: Usability testing is testing for 'user-friendliness'. Clearly this is subjective and depends
on the targeted end-user or customer. User interviews, surveys, video recording of user
sessions and other techniques can be used. Test engineers are needed, because
programmers and developers are usually not appropriate as usability testers. Q: What is incremental integration testing? A: Incremental integration testing is continuous testing of an application as new
functionality is recommended. This may require that various aspects of an application's
functionality are independent enough to work separately, before all parts of the program
are completed, or that test drivers are developed as needed. This type of testing may be
performed by programmers, software engineers, or test engineers.
Q: What is integration testing?
A: Upon completion of unit testing, integration testing begins. Integration testing is black
box testing. The purpose of integration testing is to ensure distinct components of the
application still work in accordance to customer requirements. Test cases are developed
with the express purpose of exercising the interfaces between the components. This
activity is carried out by the test team. Integration testing is considered complete, when
actual results and expected results are either in line or differences are
explainable/acceptable based on client input.
Q: What is system testing?
A: System testing is black box testing, performed by the Test Team, and at the start of
the system testing the complete system is configured in a controlled environment. The
purpose of system testing is to validate an application's accuracy and completeness in
performing the functions as designed. System testing simulates real life scenarios that
occur in a "simulated real life" test environment and test all functions of the system that
are required in real life. System testing is deemed complete when actual results and
expected results are either in line or differences are explainable or acceptable, based on
Upon completion of integration testing, system testing is started. Before system testing,
all unit and integration test results are reviewed by SWQA to ensure all problems have
been resolved. For a higher level of testing it is important to understand unresolved
problems that originate at unit and integration test levels.
Q: What is end-to-end testing?
A: End-to-end testing is similar to system testing, the *macro* end of the test
scale; it is the testing a complete application in a situation that mimics real life
use, such as interacting with a database, using network communication, or
interacting with other hardware, application, or system.
Q: What is regression testing?
A: The objective of regression testing is to ensure the software remains intact. A
baseline set of data and scripts is maintained and executed to verify that
changes introduced during the release have not "undone" any previous code.
Expected results from the baseline are compared to results of the software under
test. All discrepancies are highlighted and accounted for, before testing proceeds
to the next level.
Q: What is sanity testing?
A: Sanity testing is a cursory testing; it is performed whenever a cursory testing
is sufficient to prove the application is functioning according to specifications.
This level of testing is a subset of regression testing. It normally includes a set of
core tests of basic GUI functionality to demonstrate connectivity to the database,
application servers, printers, etc.
Q: What is performance testing?
A: Performance testing verifies loads, volumes and response times, as defined
by requirements. Although performance testing is a part of system testing, it can
be regarded as a distinct level of testing.
Q: What is load testing?
A: Load testing is testing an application under heavy loads, such as the testing of
a web site under a range of loads to determine at what point the system
response time will degrade or fail.
Q: What is installation testing?
A: Installation testing is the testing of a full, partial, or upgrade install/uninstall
process. The installation test is conducted with the objective of demonstrating
production readiness. This test includes the inventory of configuration items,
performed by the application's System Administration, the evaluation of data
readiness, and dynamic tests focused on basic system functionality. Following
installation testing, a sanity test is performed when necessary. Q: What is security/penetration testing? A: Security/penetration testing is testing how well the system is protected against
unauthorized internal or external access, or willful damage. This type of testing
usually requires sophisticated testing techniques. Q: What is recovery/error testing? A: Recovery/error testing is testing how well a system recovers from crashes,
hardware failures, or other catastrophic problems.
Q: What is compatibility testing?
A: Compatibility testing is testing how well software performs in a particular
hardware, software, operating system, or network environment.
Q: What is comparison testing? A: Comparison testing is testing that compares software weaknesses and
strengths to those of competitors' products.
Q: What is acceptance testing? A: Acceptance testing is black box testing that gives the client/customer/project
manager the opportunity to verify the system functionality and usability prior to
the system being released to production. The acceptance test is the
responsibility of the client/customer or project manager, however, it is conducted
with the full support of the project team. The test team also works with the
client/customer/project manager to develop the acceptance criteria.
Q: What is alpha testing? A: Alpha testing is testing of an application when development is nearing
completion. Minor design changes can still be made as a result of alpha testing.
Alpha testing is typically performed by end-users or others, not programmers,
software engineers, or test engineers.
Q: What is beta testing? A: Beta testing is testing an application when development and testing are
essentially completed and final bugs and problems need to be found before the
final release. Beta testing is typically performed by end-users or others, not
programmers, software engineers, or test engineers.
Q: What testing roles are standard on most testing
projects? A: Depending on the organization, the following roles are more or less standard
on most testing projects: Testers, Test Engineers, Test/QA Team Lead, Test/QA
Manager, System Administrator, Database Administrator, Technical Analyst, Test
Build Manager and Test Configuration Manager. Depending on the project, one
person may wear more than one hat. For instance, Test Engineers may also
wear the hat of Technical Analyst, Test Build Manager and Test Configuration
Q: What is a Test/QA Team Lead?
A: The Test/QA Team Lead coordinates the testing activity, communicates
testing status to management and manages the test team.
Q: What is a Test Engineer?
A: A Test Engineer is an engineer who specializes in testing. Test engineers
create test cases, procedures, scripts and generate data. They execute test
procedures and scripts, analyze standards of measurements, evaluate results of
system/integration/regression testing. They also... · Speed up the work of your development staff; · Reduce your risk of legal liability; · Give you the evidence that your software is correct and operates
properly; · Improve problem tracking and reporting; · Maximize the value of your software; · Maximize the value of the devices that use it; · Assure the successful launch of your product by discovering bugs and
design flaws, before users get discouraged, before shareholders loose
their cool and before employees get bogged down; · Help the work of your development staff, so the development team can
devote its time to build up your product; · Promote continual improvement; · Provide documentation required by FDA, FAA, other regulatory agencies
and your customers; · Save money by discovering defects 'early' in the design process, before
failures occur in production, or in the field; · Save the reputation of your company by discovering bugs and design
flaws; before bugs and design flaws damage the reputation of your
Q: What is a Test Build Manager?
A: Test Build Managers deliver current software versions to the test environment,
install the application's software and apply software patches, to both the
application and the operating system, set-up, maintain and back up test
environment hardware. Depending on the project, one person may wear more
than one hat. For instance, a Test Engineer may also wear the hat of a Test Build
Q: What is a System Administrator?
A: Test Build Managers, System Administrators, Database Administrators deliver
current software versions to the test environment, install the application's
software and apply software patches, to both the application and the operating
system, set-up, maintain and back up test environment hardware. Depending on
the project, one person may wear more than one hat. For instance, a Test
Engineer may also wear the hat of a System Administrator.
Q: What is a Database Administrator?
A: Database Administrators, Test Build Managers, and System Administrators
deliver current software versions to the test environment, install the application's
software and apply software patches, to both the application and the operating
system, set-up, maintain and back up test environment hardware. Depending on
the project, one person may wear more than one hat. For instance, a Test
Engineer may also wear the hat of a Database Administrator.
Q: What is a Technical Analyst?
A: Technical Analysts perform test assessments and validate system/functional
test requirements. Depending on the project, one person may wear more than
one hat. For instance, Test Engineers may also wear the hat of a Technical
Q: What is a Test Configuration Manager?
A: Test Configuration Managers maintain test environments, scripts, software
and test data. Depending on the project, one person may wear more than one
hat. For instance, Test Engineers may also wear the hat of a Test Configuration
Q: What is a test schedule?
A: The test schedule is a schedule that identifies all tasks required for a
successful testing effort, a schedule of all test activities and resource
Q: What is software testing methodology?
A: One software testing methodology is a three step process of... 1. Creating a test strategy; 2. Creating a test plan/design; and 3. Executing tests. This methodology can be used and molded to your organization's needs. Rob
Davis believes that using this methodology is important in the development and
ongoing maintenance of his customers' applications.
Q: What is the general testing process? A: The general testing process is the creation of a test strategy (which
sometimes includes the creation of test cases), creation of a test plan/design
(which usually includes test cases and test procedures) and the execution of
Q: How do you create a test strategy? A: The test strategy is a formal description of how a software product will be
tested. A test strategy is developed for all levels of testing, as required. The test
team analyzes the requirements, writes the test strategy and reviews the plan
with the project team. The test plan may include test cases, conditions, the test
environment, a list of related tasks, pass/fail criteria and risk assessment.
Inputs for this process: · A description of the required hardware and software components,
including test tools. This information comes from the test environment,
including test tool data. · A description of roles and responsibilities of the resources required for
the test and schedule constraints. This information comes from man-
hours and schedules. · Testing methodology. This is based on known standards. · Functional and technical requirements of the application. This
information comes from requirements, change request, technical and
functional design documents. · Requirements that the system can not provide, e.g. system limitations. Outputs for this process: · An approved and signed off test strategy document, test plan, including
test cases. · Testing issues requiring resolution. Usually this requires additional
negotiation at the project management level.
How do you create a test plan/design?
A: Test scenarios and/or cases are prepared by reviewing functional
requirements of the release and preparing logical groups of functions that can be
further broken into test procedures. Test procedures define test conditions, data
to be used for testing and expected results, including database updates, file
outputs, report results. Generally speaking... · Test cases and scenarios are designed to represent both typical and
unusual situations that may occur in the application. · Test engineers define unit test requirements and unit test cases. Test
engineers also execute unit test cases. · It is the test team who, with assistance of developers and clients,
develops test cases and scenarios for integration and system testing. · Test scenarios are executed through the use of test procedures or
scripts. · Test procedures or scripts define a series of steps necessary to perform
one or more test scenarios. · Test procedures or scripts include the specific data that will be used for
testing the process or transaction. · Test procedures or scripts may cover multiple test scenarios. · Test scripts are mapped back to the requirements and traceability
matrices are used to ensure each test is within scope. · Test data is captured and base lined, prior to testing. This data serves as
the foundation for unit and system testing and used to exercise system
functionality in a controlled environment. · Some output data is also base-lined for future comparison. Base-lined
data is used to support future application maintenance via regression
testing. · A pre-test meeting is held to assess the readiness of the application and
the environment and data to be tested. A test readiness document is
created to indicate the status of the entrance criteria of the release. Inputs for this process: · Approved Test Strategy Document. · Test tools, or automated test tools, if applicable. · Previously developed scripts, if applicable. · Test documentation problems uncovered as a result of testing. · A good understanding of software complexity and module path coverage,
derived from general and detailed design documents, e.g. software
design document, source code and software complexity data. Outputs for this process: · Approved documents of test scenarios, test cases, test conditions and
test data. · Reports of software design issues, given to software developers for
Q: How do you execute tests? A: Execution of tests is completed by following the test documents in a
methodical manner. As each test procedure is performed, an entry is recorded in
a test execution log to note the execution of the procedure and whether or not
the test procedure uncovered any defects. Checkpoint meetings are held
throughout the execution phase. Checkpoint meetings are held daily, if required,
to address and discuss testing issues, status and activities. · The output from the execution of test procedures is known as test
results. Test results are evaluated by test engineers to determine
whether the expected results have been obtained. All
discrepancies/anomalies are logged and discussed with the software
team lead, hardware test lead, programmers, software engineers and
documented for further investigation and resolution. Every company has
a different process for logging and reporting bugs/defects uncovered
during testing. · A pass/fail criteria is used to determine the severity of a problem, and
results are recorded in a test summary report. The severity of a problem,
found during system testing, is defined in accordance to the customer's
risk assessment and recorded in their selected tracking tool. · Proposed fixes are delivered to the testing environment, based on the
severity of the problem. Fixes are regression tested and flawless fixes
are migrated to a new baseline. Following completion of the test,
members of the test team prepare a summary report. The summary
report is reviewed by the Project Manager, Software QA (SWQA)
Manager and/or Test Team Lead. · After a particular level of testing has been certified, it is the responsibility
of the Configuration Manager to coordinate the migration of the release
software components to the next test level, as documented in the
Configuration Management Plan. The software is only migrated to the
production environment after the Project Manager's formal acceptance. · The test team reviews test document problems identified during testing,
and update documents where appropriate. Inputs for this process: · Approved test documents, e.g. Test Plan, Test Cases, Test Procedures. · Test tools, including automated test tools, if applicable. · Developed scripts. · Changes to the design, i.e. Change Request Documents. · Test data. · Availability of the test team and project team. · General and Detailed Design Documents, i.e. Requirements Document,
Software Design Document. · A software that has been migrated to the test environment, i.e. unit
tested code, via the Configuration/Build Manager. · Test Readiness Document. · Document Updates. Outputs for this process: Log and summary of the test results. Usually this is part of the Test Report. This needs to be approved and signed-off with revised testing
deliverables. · Changes to the code, also known as test fixes. · Test document problems uncovered as a result of testing. Examples are
Requirements document and Design Document problems. · Reports on software design issues, given to software developers for
correction. Examples are bug reports on code issues. · Formal record of test incidents, usually part of problem tracking. · Base-lined package, also known as tested source and object code, ready
for migration to the next level.