scope of software testing represented by people making a plan

How to Predetermine the Scope of Software Testing

Congratulations on your new software product. You’ve worked hard to build the perfect program or application and are eager to share it with your audience. But before you do, it’s essential to have your software tested to ensure security, functionality, and optimum user experience. By this, we don’t mean putzing around the application looking for mismatched colors or missing buttons; we mean a legit, structured software test complete with a detailed test scope to help guide you through the software testing journey.

There are many reasons to predetermine the scope of software testing – to budget time and finances, to maintain focus on specific testing needs, and to outline clear expectations for software testers, for example. Furthermore, test plans list all goals of software testing. To be clear, test plans are documents detailing the process and expectations of a software testing cycle.

There are two different types of test plans, each of which leaning on the other for support. First and foremost is the master test plan. The master test plan is a document outlining the entire scope of testing to complete. A phase test plan, on the other hand, references only single phases of the master plan. While phase test plans serve as guidelines for specific testing processes, a master test plan pulls them all together into one comprehensive test document. Phase test plans are further broken down by test type: unit test plans, system test plans, acceptance test plans, and security test plans are only a few examples of test plan types.

Tips to Determine the Scope of Software Testing

The purpose of a predetermined testing scope is to outline the goal of the tests to complete clearly. The following tips will help define goals and expectations for everyone involved in your software testing project.

Tip #1: Clearly Outline the Purpose of the Software

The first step to creating a reliable test scope is to outline in detail the goal of the software application itself. This will help you determine which tests to run to achieve your goal. Focus on the features most frequently used, intensive, critical to the business process, required by law, or specifically requested by stakeholders.

Next, decide which unnecessary features will benefit from testing. Perhaps you’d like to test website accessibility or confirm the accuracy of the local dialect. List these potential test phases in order of importance to help you prioritize your testing efforts later.

Finally, clearly explain how your team will use the information gained from software testing. Remember that it is the goal of testers to find weaknesses in a system, not to correct it. Though quality software testing teams should make it easy to find and replicate bugs, it is up to you and your development team to use bug reports for the benefit of your company.

Tip #2: Define a Testing Timeline

In theory, software testing is ongoing. A test scope, however, should not be. Before any work begins, a testing schedule is developed and includes both entry and exit plans. Develop your testing schedule by considering the following questions:

  • How soon do you want to roll out your next product?
  • How much time will your team need to make software adjustments and modifications?
  • What tasks must you complete before testing can begin? Do you need to submit documentation or physical hardware? If so, how long will this step take to complete?
  • Does your software require an expanded team to complete testing by a deadline?

Together with your testing team, these questions should help determine the approximate timeframe of software testing. In addition to these tasks, the schedule should allocate time to assess the objective, plan test cases, set up the lab, execute tests, and analyze the data. Phase deadlines and task requirements are also included in a software testing schedule.

Tip # 3: Nail Down a Budget

Software testing is affordable for everyone, depending, of course, on timeline and testing needs. Though some software testing companies have minimum fee requirements (which often means paying for unneeded testing), others use a “boutique” approach. This approach allows you to choose specific testing services based on your testing needs and your budget.

After determining your budget, go through your test plan to confirm all of your testing goals will fit within the set financial frame. If not, go back and prioritize the most vital components of software testing and remove the lowest hanging fruit from the overall test plan. Should the budget open up later, you can always modify your test plan to accommodate.

Tip #4: Know When to Stand and When to Swim

Some bugs are big, and some are small, some are minor inconveniences while some can throw the whole system off. It’s important to distinguish the “must fix” bugs from the “nice to fix” bugs and pivot accordingly. For example, imagine your testing team discovers a flaw they cannot test past that is blocking user interaction with a software application. If this happens, someone must fix that bug before testing can continue. Conversely, if the team discovers a mismatched coloring in a banner ad in the corner of a website page, you can weigh the cost of fixing the problem against the revenue it might bring in and use that to determine the best course of action.

Meeting with your testing team throughout the testing process can help you know when to pivot and when to proceed with different testing methods. Your test team can provide insight into any necessary test scope modifications and should be able to pivot as needed to meet your software testing goals within your budget.

Final Thoughts on the Scope of Software Testing

Understanding your testing scope is a big part of software testing quality assurance, especially when there are multiple features to test. By understanding how to determine the scope of software testing, you can easily stay on time and budget, and get your software launched to an eager public free of errors and concerns.

Are you ready to get started on your next software testing project? Contact us for a free consultation.