What is software quality testing?

Software testing is a process that verifies and validates whether a software application or program is functioning as expected and meets the business and technical requirements. It even detects the defects, flaws, and errors in the application code. There are three main reasons to conduct software testing:

  • Verification: This process identifies if the software meets its technical specifications. For instance, if an SQL query for retrieving data from a single account from the account summary table is executed, it should return the appropriate fields only.
  • Validation: This process ensures that the software fulfils the business requirements. For instance, If the branch name, information of a branch customer, and summary information of the manager needs to be retrieved, it should be displayed in a new window with proper formatting.
  • Defect: A defect is a deviation between the expected and the actual results. With software testing, defects are detected, and their source is determined.

Need for software quality testing

Software testing is an essential process since it helps in determining the bugs or flaws in the software. Here are a few reasons for conducting software quality testing.

  • Software testing helps to identify bugs and maintain the quality of the software by preventing problems.
  • It helps to detect problems in the software during the initial stages. Eventually, this saves time and money.
  • It helps to test the user experience to identify how their customers will respond to the software.
  • It cuts down or completely avoids the development downtime.
  • It identifies enhancements or revisions that can be added in future developments.
  • It ensures that the user receives a good quality product.

Components tested in software testing

In software testing, initially, the core functionality and critical parts are tested. The application’s primary features and common usage situations are checked to ensure that they meet the requirements.

Testing also determines the functional behavior of the application. Sometimes the application might not do all the tasks for which it was created. Hence, software testing helps in identifying whether the application performs as required. Other factors that are involved in testing include business requirements, functional design requirements, programmer code, hardware configuration, technical design requirements, regulatory requirements, language differences, system administration standards and restrictions, and cultural issues.

Software Quality Assurance team

Software testing is done by the Software Quality Assurance (SQA) team. This team needs to be led by a manager or leader, and testing tasks need to be distributed amongst the team members. The responsibility of the leader or manager is:

  • To plan tests and assign test engineers
  • Ensure that the tools and resources required for testing are available
  • Align the testing with development progress
  • Maintain the reporting order to measure the improvement

The responsibility of the test engineers is:

  • To develop test cases
  • To execute test and reporting defects
  • To maintain continuous regression testing, automated test scripts, and add tests for new products.

Principles of testing

Software testers perform the testing based on these seven principles:

Principle 1

This principle states that testing can confirm the defects in software, but it cannot prove it. Testing can only reduce the probability of residual defects. However, if no defects are detected, it does not mean that the software is 100% good. Exhaustive testing is needed for testing all the combinations of input values and preconditions.

Principle 2

This principle states that it is not practically possible to test all the combinations of inputs and preconditions. Risks and priorities are needed to focus on testing efforts.

Principle 3

According to the third principle, errors determined later in the development cycle are costlier to resolve. So, the testing process should be initiated as early as possible during the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC). Also, the defects that are not detected in the early stages have a complex impact during the later development phases.

Principle 4

This principle focuses on the Pareto principle (80-20 rule). According to this rule, 80% of the defects in software are caused due to 20% of causes. When the causes are determined, the test manager can focus on testing sensitive areas and search for the rest of the errors in other parts.

Principle 5

This software testing principle indicates that various techniques and tests should be conducted to expose the defects in different modules of the product.

Principle 6

This principle defines that the requirements, functions, and purposes of different software applications are different. Therefore, the same tests should not be used on all the products.

Principle 7

The final principle states to ensure proper software testing procedures are to be done in every situation; testers need to assume that the software has some faults.

Phases of software quality testing

In software quality testing, the following steps are executed sequentially but they may be iterative sometimes. That means some steps may be repeated if required.

Phases of software testing
  1. Test planning and control: During this stage, the test is planned to ensure that the goals and objectives of users, stakeholders, and projects are fulfilled. The test strategy and test controls to measure the progress are also defined at this point.
  2. Test analysis and design: This stage entails a review of the test basis and identifying the test conditions. The test basis review comprises a review of the product requirements, architecture, design, testing techniques, and specifications. It further examines the specifications. The design of black-box testing is also prepared before developing the code.
  3. Test implementation and execution: At this point, the testing process is carried out as planned. After executing each test case, the results are logged.
  4. Evaluating exit criteria and reporting: After completion of execution, the evaluation phase occurs. This stage measures the test execution results as per the test objectives and prepares a test summary report to the stakeholders. The information includes details of the testing activities and the results.
  5. Test closure: The final step in software quality testing is test closure. In this stage, the team checks if the deliverables are accepted and signed off, the environment is closed, lessons are analyzed, and the information is used to improve the test maturity.

Context and Applications

Software testing is an essential topic in the following areas:

  • Bachelors in Computer Applications
  • Bachelors of Science in Information Technology
  • Masters in Computer Applications
  • Masters of Science in Information Technology

Practice Problems

1. What is the purpose of exhaustive testing?

  1. To test all the combinations of input values and preconditions.
  2. When the software is non-functional and has several defects.
  3. When the testing process needs to be completed quickly.
  4. To check equivalence or partitioning of software

Answer: Option a

Explanation- Exhaustive testing involves thorough testing of the software application. It takes a lot of time and money. Hence, it is used when all the combinations of input values and preconditions need to be tested.

2. Why is software testing done?

  1. To ensure the software meets the technical requirements
  2. To check if any defects are present in the software
  3. To determine bugs and flaws in the software
  4. All of the above

Answer: Option d

Explanation- The motive of software quality testing is to ensure that the software meets the technical and business requirements and no defects or bugs are present in the software.

3. Who is responsible for determining software’s quality?

  1. Project conformance manager
  2. DevOps Testability engineer
  3. SQA team
  4. UX designer

Answer: Option c

Explanation- The SQA team tests the software and determines its quality.

4. Which of the following is not a stage in software quality testing?

  1. Testing closure
  2. Deployment phase
  3. Test planning
  4. Test implementation

Answer: Option b

Explanation: The deployment phase is a stage in the software development life cycle. The rest three stages are part of software testing.

5. Which of the following components are tested during software quality testing?

  1. Functional behavior
  2. Design requirements
  3. Technical design requirements
  4. All of the above

Answer: Option d

Explanation- All aspects of a software are tested during software quality testing. The SQA team checks if the software meets its functionality, design requirements, technical design requirements, business requirements, and hardware configurations.

Common Mistakes

The terminology software debugging and software testing are often mixed up, but they are different.

  • Types of Software Testing
  • Software quality control (SQC)
  • Software risk and software risk management
  • Manual software testing
  • Automated software testing

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