What is testing?

I quite rightly had a request from someone who is not in the technology world about what exactly testing is. So time to go back to basics.

To come up with one strict definition of testing is a bit difficult but put simply, testing is ensuring the quality of a product or application before it is released to customers. It is very unlikely that you will have a piece of software that is completely bug free. But it is the testers responsibility to ensure that the bugs that critical and of high importance (i.e. consumer facing/ make the experience of the customer worse) are dealt with and are fixed as soon as possible. It is also the tester’s job to find bugs. Whether this is through manual testing or automated tests it doesn’t matter. Find the flaws in the code and fix them (or get the developers to fix them!).

How do we test?

We test as the new code is developed or the old code is being re-factored/changed. We write automated tests that can run as part of our integration tools. That way we don’t have to go back and keep re-testing the same things over and over again. Regression testing (this is the kind of testing where you check that previous functionality has not been broken) should all ideally be automated. So when a new piece of functionality has been developed, you will have automated tests for it, do some manual testing (to check the standard flows) and then run the regression tests. Then you are done and can sign off for a release 🙂

One another thing I do is change control. Because we release so frequently, I find it necessary to track the changes that are being made from one week to another. What I keep track of:

  1. The version number
  2. Details of changes
  3. Has the build passed?
  4. Is this the release version?
  5. When is it scheduled for release to production?
  6. Was the release successful or rolled back?