For a successful bug-free software release to the production or client, the process starts from the ‘development phase’ and continues up to the ‘testing phase’. These processes must not be overlooked as it could lead to the release of a ‘buggy’ software to the clients which is a sign of poor test management. Testing teams invest a lot of time and great efforts for every release and if the released software does not meet the defined quality requirements or expected criteria, it will affect the company’s reputation with the clients as well as the morale of the project & the testing team gets lowered down. In this situation, one being a part of the testing team should think of overcoming this scenario thereby improving his or her testing capabilities.
For the delivery of world-class software, some points must be kept in mind. The foremost point is to create a unique checklist for the software release keeping in mind the software platform, domain, testing framework (manual/automated) and the project management methodology so as to accept the released build before actually starting the test execution which saves both time and effort. The second most important point is to manage and control the test release content and project managers are responsible for the content selection. This process leads to planned test execution cycles.
Ways to Improve the ‘Test Release’ Process:
1) Analyze the release report: Look for the newly added functionalities, modifications of the existing functionality, bug fixes from the previous build, which will decide when to start executing the smoke testing or sanity testing.
2) Analyze the updated testing documents: Look for the new functionality and the bug fixes, if not updated already. Normally, these documents get updated by the testing team during the software development life cycle based on the regular weekly project review meetings.
3) Organize a quick project review meeting after the release: It should be done to discuss the known bugs, pros and cons of the released build and critical functionality etc., to avoid any kind of miscommunication. It also helps to review the important client requirements. Oral communication between the development and testing teams must be strictly avoided as it highly impacts the quality of the software release.
4) Ensure the proper configuration of the bug tracking tool: The tool must be properly configured for the allocated testing team, development team, software build and the modules/functionality of the software as it will log the bugs efficiently. If not, the project manager or test manager must be informed on a high priority basis.
5) Return the build to the development team: If the build fails in smoke or sanity testing then it must be returned to the development team without any compromises. Strictly, the testing must not be continued if the system fails in smoke testing. This saves time and also improves the quality of the software in the subsequent releases.
6) Avoid the allocation of testers in multiple projects: It greatly affects the quality of test execution in real-time. In practice, sometimes even the experienced testers overlook the features and functionality as well as skip some of the test cases assuming that some test cases never fails when they are overloaded with work or engaged in multiple projects with deadlines.
7) Easy software installation: With this, the testing team can re-install the software when required instead of waiting for the development manager or an installation manager to do the same job, which will unnecessarily kill the available testing time. Like, even though the windows based installation is easy, but in the case of multiple web servers and wide area networks in a multi-tier testing environment, testers may take hours to install the software.
8) Availability of licensed automated tools: Execution of the test cases in an automated framework is easy as compared to manual testing if the automated tools are properly configured and licensed for multiple users. In case the testing plan involves performance and load testing, testers need to cover executing the test cases on multiple environments like multiple servers, browsers and users etc.
9) Availability of ghosted machines: The set-up of ghosted machines must be ensured before starting the test execution. These are the machines with different testing environments. Sometimes, a web application software needs to be tested in multiple environments like Windows 7 & Access DB or Windows 8 & Oracle or Mainframe & DB2 etc., with all the Browsers like Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari etc.
10) Avoid the implementation of new features: This is a bad practice in many software organizations as per the business requirements to satisfy the external customers or to meet the demands of the management or sometimes the sales/marketing teams. In an ‘Agile’ environment, the change requests from the customers are always encouraged. It should be properly implemented after planning before releasing the software to the testing team.