Typical Software Implementation Process
In today’s tech-driven business world, software is all around us. We experience the tremendous benefits in a variety of ways, especially its impact on improving operating efficiency. However, despite software’s inherent importance, we tend to forget about testing. We assume once implemented, our software will work flawlessly. And when it doesn’t, we are often shocked and frustrated. By taking a proactive approach to software testing, making it one of the early, mandatory steps in the implementation process, will be key in the software’s impact and effectiveness.
Typically implementing new software starts with research and exploration, a comparison of features and functionalities, and then a selection. After evaluating requirements and outcomes, development or implementation occurs, then software is tested before the go-live. That’s the typical path. However, by planning ahead and testing software simultaneously along with implementation, you will be steps ahead of the game.
Benefits of Early Software Testing
Imagine you are a software developer; you’d want to test your code piece by piece rather than testing a huge chunk. It is the same for any software, regardless of whether you are building one yourself or purchasing a finished product. The risk is a lot higher if you wait until the very end to test out the software because there are numerous commands and functions in each segment of your software. It can be extremely challenging to find out where something goes “wrong” if the software implementation is done in large chunks. On the other hand, by taking a smaller and earlier approach, you have the advantage of having more time to fix major errors.
Compatibility is another thing to keep in mind with software testing. Every time a new release comes out, new features or requirements are added. Even if you are simply upgrading your current software, checking compatibility all the way through is a great practice. Especially if the software is designed by a different vendor, remember to verify that your installation is compatible, and then continuously test compatibility as each step of implementation is completed. As a result, you are able to keep track on whether your new software works smoothly on an on-going basis.
The environments in which your user and developers use a software can vary. Therefore, testing in a multitude of environments is a practical idea to ensure that your software runs smoothly as expected no matter where it’s being used and regardless of who is using it. Traditionally, there were three environments: developing, testing, and client (production). Now companies are starting to add another stage in this flow between testing and production for even more sophisticated practice, which is called Quality Assurance (or Quality Control). In this new phase, end users can get involved in testing with multiple inputs from developers together for acceptance testing. One critical feature of this phase is to test multiple fields cross-functionally, as much as the entire system, which also closely simulates the production environment. This helps to decrease the risk of corrupted data. For example, multiple developers can edit in their local environments and test each single field in the testing environment. The chance is when sources flow from various places, variables and functions may be named and defined quite differently. Thus, if this integration is not conducted smoothly, it’s not hard to imagine how many errors would occur.
Preparing for Software Testing
Before testing, determining a list of test cases for specific situations you’d like to verify is recommended. Usually, a test case is consisted of four parts. In the first step, specify which physical environment you will conduct the testing in. This step helps to pitch your “happy path” under that particular settings.
Next, the actual test is written, which serves as a command to the software for actions. For instance, “create a new sales entry without entering an item quantity” attempts to create an incomplete entry. In this example, item quantity is likely to be a primary key that needs to be entered. Then, an expected outcome should be specified. Here we’d like an error or warning message to be displayed, so that it tells our user to complete all required fields.
And finally, the last part of a test is to define defects when the test case fails to perform properly. In the above case, the defect is that no error message appears, or the entry is entered successfully.
To conclude, testing your software early and constantly provides a plethora of benefits. It may sound complicated or discouraging at first as many steps need to be performed over and over again. The good news is, if you start planning in advance and maintain a good “testing” habit, your testing process should flow in a smooth way gradually. At AcherPoint, our developers use many techniques to keep track on changes made to the system delivering high quality products and services to our clients.
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