Testing Made Simple: 5 Steps to Apply the Scientific Method to Process and Application Development
It’s easy to get swept up in the thrills of new product development and forget that oh-so-essential step: testing.
Testing Equals Confidence
Until you test, your idea is simply that – an idea. Use tests to validate not just the abilities and limits of your product, but the experiences and benefits that your customers can expect.
Failing to Test is Risky
Quality is EVERYBODY’S responsibility. Failing to test can result in a product that:
- … does not meet customer needs, driving market share to your competitors
- … does not honor business rules, creating havoc when trying to integrate with existing business processes
- … does not perform a duty at a rate that is satisfying to customers, causing poor customer reviews of your product
- … breaks after each new release, leaving customers with an impression that your product is of lesser quality than competitors
The ABCs of Testing (a.k.a. The Scientific Method)
Project teams both large and small have room for testing, and we can keep it simple, yet effective. Here’s a quick way to apply the scientific method in process and application development to ensure your product is both testable and tested:
- REQUIREMENTS: Declare your problem statement
Propose the process or application by creating a list of ideas that will make it successful.
- TEST STRATEGY: Form a hypothesis
Determine how to test the proposed process or application, how to measure if it is complete or not, and document these hypotheses.
- TEST PLAN: Design the experiment
Determine how to create the proposed process or application in a way that can be measured, and write down the specific measures success and failure.
- RESULTS: Collect and analyze data
Build and test the process or application, measuring and documenting performance according to the test plan.
- QUALITY REVIEW: Draw Conclusions
Determine if the process or application met the list of requirements created in the first step.
Test, Retest, Repeat
Plan, schedule, budget, but most importantly perform testing to ensure the best experience for people that use your product or service.
Ready to test and looking for tools to help document your test plan? Here are three ideas:
- Excel Workbook – 1 worksheet per test, easy to email and file share
- Wiki – Organize By Feature, 1 page per test – we like Confluence: https://www.atlassian.com/software/confluence
- Cloud Test Planning – we like Visual Studio Team Services: https://msdn.microsoft.com/library/vs/alm/test/manual-exploratory-testing/getting-started/create-a-test-plan