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Seven Fundamentals of Testing

Testing is always an important part of every discussion related to IT projects. There is a lot of content available online about what it is and how it is done. But in this blog, we are going to talk about the fundamentals of testing which have been gathered from about half a decade of experience. These fundamentals offer directions that are common for all types of testing.


The fundamentals:

  1. The outcome of testing is the recognition of defects. It can prove that issues are there, but it can not show us that there are no issues. The software cannot be proved to be correct through testing even if there are no issues found. Testing does reduce the chances of undetected issues left in the software.
  2. Testing all the combinations of inputs and requirements is not attainable except in minor cases. Instead of trying to test all the combinations, testing should be focused on priorities, risk analysis, and techniques.
  3. Testing performed in the early stages of the software development life cycle saves time and money. Static and dynamic testing should be initiated as early as possible to find defects beforehand. Starting testing early benefits by decreasing costly changes.
  4. During testing before release, usually, a small number of modules comprise most of the bugs detected, responsible for most operational failures. The defect clusters predicted and the ones actually observed in the test or operation provide valuable input for risk analysis used to focus the testing efforts.
  5. New issues cannot be found by repeating the same tests over and over again. The present tests and test data can be changed and new tests can be written in order to find new defects. It is also called the pesticide paradox as the same tests get less effective just like the same pesticide stops killing the insects after a while. The pesticide paradox proves beneficial in cases like automated regression testing where it provides comparatively fewer regression defects.
  6. Testing is performed in different ways in different contexts. For example, a social media app is tested differently than an e-commerce shopping website and a sequential lifecycle project is tested in a way different from an agile project.
  7. “Absence of errors” is a misapprehension. There is a misconception that testers can execute all the possible tests and find all the issues, but fundamentals 1 and 2 show us that it is impossible. It is a mistake to believe that only finding and fixing a huge number of issues can ensure the success of a system.

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