20
Feb

Writing Effective Business Emails

In this post of Writing Effective Business Emails, we will be covering following:

Addressing:

  • Limit to who really needs to know.
  • Make it clear in text who has action and who is info addressee.
  • Use BCC to protect Email addresses unless everyone knows each other.
  • Watch Reply All.
  • Use address book & validate often.
    • Avoid typing addresses free hand; many addresses are similar; watch auto fill.
    • Send same message to multiple recipients by editing message as new or cutting and pasting.
  • Make sure forward does not embarrass sender.
    • Get permission if in doubt.
    • Never “disrespect” sender in forward or reply.
  • Fill in addresses last to avoid sending an incomplete Email by mistake.

Subject Line:

  • Headline (think newspaper).
  • Grab Attention.
  • Summarize message.
  • Make it easy for recipients to triage your Email and find it later.
  • Don’t “Reply All” to a message to grab addressees without changing subject.

Opening Lines:

  • With reference to your letter of 8 June, I …
  • I am writing to enquire about …
  • After having seen your advertisement in … , I would like …
  • After having received your address from … ,I …
  • Could you please help me with the following…..
  • This is to inform you that…..

Closing Lines:

  • If you require any further information, feel free to contact me.
  • Please let me know in case any other information is required.
  • I look forward to your reply.
  • I look forward to hearing from you.
  • I look forward to seeing you.
  • Please advise as necessary.

Message Text:

  • Keep the message focused and readable.
  • Keep it short.
  • Break into paragraphs; skip lines between.
  • Use short sentences.
  • Use plain text editor, not MS Word.
  • Avoid HTML.
  • Avoid fancy typefaces.
  • Write in standard professional English with Capitalization and correct spelling.
    • Don’t try to impress.
    • Avoid chat speak, e.g., gr8 & emoticons, J.
  • Don’t type in All Caps
  • Avoid !!!
    • Avoid using URGENT and IMPORTANT.
  • Use * * to highlight text if you need.
  • Proofread & Spell check.
  • Quote back selectively when replying to long messages.
    • “Yes, I agree.” is useless without context.
    • Top quote vs. bottom quote – no consensus.
    • Avoid “Fisking,” replying line by line in an argumentative manner.
  • For URL links, use Outlook inbuilt function to shorten long URLs or enclose in < >.
  • Identify yourself clearly to new contacts.
    • Hello, I am… The reason I am writing…
    • Hello, so-in-so suggested I contact you…
  • Respond Promptly.
    • Apologize if you aren’t able to reply promptly.
    • Interim reply when too busy.

Attachments:

  • Cut and paste relevant parts of attachment into text of Email.
  • Upload attachments to shared location / sharepoint and use URL links.
  • Recipients who do not know you, may be reluctant to open attachments or click URLs.
  • Ensure you insert attachment to avoid sending emails like “Oops, here’s the attachment.”
  • Post large attachments in a blog (if any) and then send an Email announcement.

Signature Line:

  • Include (For receivers information)
    • Your name
    • Title
    • Organization
    • Email address
    • Website / Blog
    • Phones
  • Can be shortened for frequent correspondents.

Confidentiality and Security:

  • Have a separate Email account for newsletters, announcements etc.
  • Delete browser history, cache, cookies, userids and passwords after using a public Internet connection.
  • Logout and close all Apps after using a public Internet connection. (Restart if possible.)
  • Don’t open company emails on non-secure personal computer.
  • Back up your Email.
  • Beware of spam.
  • Beware of Phishing attacks.
  • Never include personal or financial info in an Email.
  • Don’t unsubscribe from anything, you did not subscribe to.
  • Beware of friend’s Emails.

Using Outlook:

  • Organize Email into folders.
  • Keep a copy of all sent Emails.
  • Review and clean out folders periodically.
  • Don’t print Emails unless its important.
  • Use “out of office” status when away.

10 common Email habits that waste time and cause problems:

  • Vague or nonexistent subject line.
  • Changed the topic without changing the subject.
  • Including multiple subjects in one note.
  • Sending before thinking.
  • Inadvertent replying to all.
  • Omitting the context of a reply.
  • Misaddressed recipients.
  • Displaying addresses of recipients who are strangers to each other.
  • Replying vs. forwarding.

Points to Remember:

  • Write a meaningful subject line.
  • Keep the message focused.
  • Avoid attachments.
  • Identify yourself clearly.
  • Be kind — don’t flame.
  • Don’t assume privacy.
  • Distinguish between formal and informal situations.
  • Respond Promptly.
  • Show Respect and Restraint.

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17
Feb

Defect Life Cycle

Defect Life Cycle which is also called as Bug Life Cycle. Below is what we cover in this post:

Defect Life Cycle

Defect Life Cycle

Defect Status Explanation:

New:

When the bug is posted for the first time, its state will be “NEW”. This means that the bug is not yet approved.

Open:

After a tester has posted a bug, the lead of the tester approves that the bug is genuine and he changes the state as “OPEN”.

Assign:

Once the lead changes the state as “OPEN”, he assigns the bug to corresponding developer or developer team. The state of the bug now is changed to “ASSIGN”.

Test:

Once the developer fixes the bug, he has to assign the bug to the testing team for next round of testing. Before he releases the software with bug fixed, he changes the state of bug to “TEST”. It specifies that the bug has been fixed and is released to testing team.

Deferred:

The bug, changed to deferred state means the bug is expected to be fixed in next releases. The reasons for changing the bug to this state have many factors. Some of them are priority of the bug may be low, lack of time for the release or the bug may not have major effect on the software.

Rejected:

If the developer feels that the bug is not genuine, he rejects the bug. Then the state of the bug is changed to “REJECTED”.

Duplicate:

If the bug is repeated twice or the two bugs mention the same concept of the bug, then one bug status is changed to “DUPLICATE”.

Verified:

Once the bug is fixed and the status is changed to “TEST”, the tester tests the bug. If the bug is not present in the software, he approves that the bug is fixed and changes the status to “VERIFIED”.

Reopened:

If the bug still exists even after the bug is fixed by the developer, the tester changes the status to “REOPENED”. The bug traverses the life cycle once again.

Closed:

Once the bug is fixed, it is tested by the tester. If the tester feels that the bug no longer exists in the software, he changes the status of the bug to “CLOSED”. This state means that the bug is fixed, tested and approved.

Different Flows of Defect:

  • New — > Opened — > Fixed — >Closed
  • New — > Opened — > Rejected — >Closed
  • New — > Opened — > Fixed — >Re-opened — > Fixed –> Closed
  • New — > Opened — > Deferred
  • New — > Opened — > Rejected– >Re-opened — > Fixed –> Closed

Defect Life Cycle Implementation Guidelines:

  • Make sure the entire team understands what each defect status exactly means. Also, make sure the defect life cycle is documented.
  • Ensure that each individual clearly understands his/her responsibility as regards to each defect.
  • If a defect tracking tool (i.e. JIRA, Rational Clear Quest, Bugzilla etc ) is being used, avoid entertaining any ‘defect related requests’ without an appropriate change in the status of the defect in the tool. Do not let anybody take shortcuts, else you will never be able to get up-to-date defect metrics for analysis.

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Defect Status:

  • New
  • Open
  • Assign
  • Test
  • Verified
  • Deferred
  • Reopened
  • Duplicate
  • Rejected
  • Closed

15
Feb

Defect Priority & Severity

In this article, we will be covering following:

Defect Priority & Severity:

Priority:

—  Importance of the bug is known as Priority/Urgency to fix a fault.

Severity:

—  Impact of the bug is known as Severity /Impact of a failure caused by  this fault.

Defect Severity Levels:

Critical / Show Stopper

— An item that prevents further testing of the product or function under test can be classified as Critical bug. No workaround is possible for such bugs. Examples of this include a missing menu option or security permission required to access a function under test.

Major / High

— A defect that does not function as expected/designed or cause other functionality to fail to meet requirements can be classified as Major Bug. The workaround can be provided for such bugs. Examples of this include inaccurate calculations; the wrong field being updated, etc.

Average / Medium

— The defects which do not conform to standards and conventions can be classified as Medium Bugs. Easy workarounds exists to achieve functionality objectives. Examples include matching visual and text links which lead to different end points.

Minor / Low

— Cosmetic defects which does not affect the functionality of the system can be classified as Minor Bugs.

Defect Priority Levels:

Low

— The defect is an irritant which should be repaired, but repair can be deferred until after more serious defect have been fixed.

Medium

— The defect should be resolved in the normal course of development activities. It can wait until a new build or version is created.

High

— The defect must be resolved as soon as possible because the defect is affecting the application or the product severely. The system cannot be used until the  repair has been done.

Priority and Severity Examples:

High Priority & High Severity:

— An error which occurs on the basic functionality of the application and will not allow the user to use the system. (Eg. A site maintaining the student details, on saving record, if it doesn’t allow to save the record then this is high priority and high severity bug.)

High Priority & Low Severity: 

— The spelling mistakes that happens on the cover page or heading or title of an application.

High Severity & Low Priority: 

— If  there is an application that crashes after multiple use of any functionality (example–save Button use 200 times then that application will crash). Means High Severity because application crashed but Low Priority because no need to debug right now you can debug it after some days.

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13
Feb

Requirement Traceability Matrix – RTM

In this article, we will be covering following:

What is Requirement Traceability Matrix (RTM)?

  • RTM is a document that links requirements throughout the process of validation .
  • It is to ensure that all requirements defined for a software are tested.
  • It is a tool for the validation team to make sure that requirements are met during the validation of a software.
  • Matrix is created at the beginning of project on the basis of the project’s scope and deliverable’s.
  • It is bi-directional, as it tracks the requirement forward by examining the output of deliverable’s & backward by looking at the business requirement that was specified for a particular feature of the product.

Requirement Traceability Matrix – Parameters:

  • Requirement ID
  • Requirement Type (BRD and FSD)
  • Risk
  • Test Scenario ID
  • Test Case ID
  • Status
  • Defects ID

 

How to Create a Matrix?

Requirement Phase

QA Team start writing Test Scenarios & eventually Test Cases based on some input documents – Business Requirements Document (BRD), Functional Specification Document (FSD) and Technical Design Document (optional).

Ex:- BRD & FSD

BRD FSD
BRD

BRD

FSD

FSD

Design Phase

Based on the two input documents, below is the list of high-level scenarios to test:

TestScenarios_BRD

TestScenarios_BRD

For each Test Scenario, you are going to have at least 1 or more Test Cases. So, include another column and write the Test Case IDs as shows below:

BRD_TC

BRD_TC

At this stage, Traceability Matrix can be used to find gaps. For example, you see that there are no test cases written for FSD section 1.2 in the above Traceability Matrix.

As a general rule, any empty spaces in the Traceability Matrix are potential areas for investigation. So a gap like this can mean one of the two things:

  • The test team has somehow missed considering the “Existing user” functionality.
  • The “Existing user” functionality has been deferred to later or removed from the application’s functionality requirements.

If it is scenario 1, it will indicate the places where test team needs to work more to ensure 100% coverage. In scenario 2, TM not just show gaps it also points to incorrect documentation that needs immediate correction.

Execution Phase

Let us now expand the TM to include test case execution status and defects.

The below version of the Traceability Matrix is generally prepared during or after test execution:

BRD_Status

BRD_Status

 

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10
Feb

Difference Between Test Cases and Test Scenarios

This article isn’t only going to cover Test Cases Vs Test Scenarios but it will cover following:

Few years back, when I was working in an MNC and dealing with a testing project, I suggested my colleagues to document the test Scenarios instead of test cases. Can you imagine, their reaction amazed me as they all were staring at me all together, I could not argue. It was like I have made a big mistake in my life. Everyone’s opinion was same except mine. They prefer to follow the traditional method of writing Test Cases and not Test Scenarios. Those who are newbies in this field might get confuse with the word Test Scenarios and Test Cases. This article will clear all doubts about it by giving real time examples and explanation.

Few years later, I Switched to another company and handled a testing project which was based on searching and generating different reports with the help of different menu options. We in a team were discussing about the project and how we can proceed with that? Actually, client wanted that project early and we were having deadline to complete the project. Considering my last experience about suggesting the documentation of Test Scenarios, I kept quiet and thinking of other idea. Suddenly, one of my colleagues raised his voice that “We should prepare Test Scenarios in a document”. This time, everyone was quite satisfied with his idea and we further started preparing the Test Scenarios. The conclusion of both cases suggests that preparing the Test Scenarios and Test Cases depends on the urgency and requirement of the project. Generally, in companies, test cases are prepared rather than documenting test scenarios.

Test Cases are replaced with Test Scenarios

As we all know nothing is permanent and with this concept, the software industries and their processes are also changing with time and cost constrains.

V-models and waterfall models which are considered to be traditional models are being replaced by iterative and agile models. In every testing project, document is indeed essential but to complete the project fast within the deadline and to make the process transparent and easy, the way of documentation is changed these days.

Following conditions are applicable for documenting Test Cases:

  1. Client may ask for the same as part of his project
  2. No Time constrain(But, I don’t think, it’s possible)
  3. When software testers are fresher and new to the product.
  4. When there is Company policy (I strongly have faith that it can be altered)

One of my experience will give you clear picture.

I was handling one of the testing projects from fortune 500 company and they didn’t give us any deadline to complete the project. That mean we were having flexible timelines to complete the project. We were already having template of test cases, and with the help of that we prepared the test cases and it got approved from client as well.

Once the development team finished their module, they were giving us to test it and most of our duty was to follow 100 test cases in a day. We used to document with pass/fail result, further sending it to the client at the end of the day. The project was really big and had different modules within it. To do the same process of documenting the test cases was a monotonous work for some of my colleagues. But at the end of the day, the company was generating revenue from it.

During the project, we had one break where we were not having any task of documenting the test cases. We were having a good time and I was discussing about new ideas and techniques so as make improvement in the existing test cases. I have found during that discussion that none of my colleague was interested in implementing those new ideas and techniques as they thought all the test scenarios is been covered already while making huge amount of test cases. No one was really interested in putting the efforts for new techniques as it a human mentality that we do not want to rework once the work is done. Our mind automatically stops making any efforts for any new ways and techniques for the past work. Same had happened with my colleagues and they just wanted to relax on that certain day.

It is also a fact that in IT companies, most of the testers follow the mechanical process of making the test case and no one really makes effort to make additional test case for the existing one? The same might have also happened with you, if I am not wrong.

Another experience:

While extensively involved in a team challenge activity, we were having a discussion and asked the team members to prepare the test scenarios for the product. We have all started to make the test scenarios and there was not a specific document where we would literally fill expected result and pre-condition for each test case. At the end of the day, we have collected almost 50 test scenarios and it was indeed a great experience while proceeding with that project.

Below example will make picture more clear:

Assume that you are having your website and it has features like username, password, and login page along with cancel button. If you were asked to write the test cases for the above features then your test case may exceed 50 and if you would ask to write the test scenarios, then it will be just a matter of lines. Below explanation will give you the exact idea about test scenario.

High Level Scenario:   Login Functionality
Low Level Scenarios:

  1. To check Application is Launching
    2. To check contents text on login page
    3. To check Username field
    4. To check Password field
    5. To check cancel button and Login Button functionality

As we all are at short of time, test scenarios just acts as pain killer spray rather than that old time IODEX. And still the effect is same in both the case.

Finally, I would like to summarize difference as below:

 

Test Cases

Test Scenarios

What it is => A concept which offers complete info what to test, steps to be taken and expected result of the same A concept which offers one-line info about what to test.
It’s about => It’s more about documenting particulars. It’s more about rational and conversing particulars.
Importance => It’s significant when testing is off shored and development is onsite. Writing test cases with particulars will aid both dev and QA team in sync. It’s significant when time is less and most of the team members can agree / appreciate the details from one-liner scenario.
Advantage => One time documentation of all the test cases is helpful to track 1000s rounds of regression testing in future.
Most of the time, it is helpful while bug reporting. Tester just need to give reference of test case ID and does not require mentioning each and every minute detail.
A time saver and idea generation activity, favoured by new generation software testing community.
Modification and addition is simple and not specific to a person.
For a huge project, where group of people know specific modules only, this activity gives a chance to everybody to look into other modules and brain storm and deliberate.
Beneficial to => A full-proof test case document is a life line for new tester. Good test coverage can be attained by dividing application in test scenarios and it decreases repeatability and complexity of product
Disadvantage => Time and money consuming as it requires more resources to detail out everything about what to test and how to test If created by exact person, the reviewer or the other user might not sync the precise idea behind it. Need more discussions and team efforts.


Conclusion of this Post:

Test cases are most significant part of Software Testing Life Cycle which is also referred as STLC. With its absence, it’s tough to understand, track, follow and reason out something. But in the era of Agile, test cases are being substituted fast with test scenarios.

Database testing, GUI testing, functionality testing has the common test checklist which is coupled with modern artillery and test scenarios. With participation in trainings, Discussions, questions and practice one can definitely learn and change the final graph of Bug report matrix and your productivity.

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8
Feb

Tips for Salary Negotiation

Salary Negotiation is itself an art and this article will help you to engage few important points to consider while negotiating salary.

You need to be very smart while negotiating your salary. It is easier to say yes for the job, but when it comes to negotiating your salary then all the scenario changes suddenly. That’s why it is indeed essential that you know the tactics of it hence gaining satisfaction for the work that you will accomplish.

You need to impress your hiring manager by showing him your value gracefully. This might impress him while changing his mind to raise your salary. There are chances that your hiring manager may not change his mind at all, but that is absolutely fine as it is always good to raise your voice, hence adding value to personality. It will also show that you are taking this position seriously. If company goes through the whole recruiting-interviewing-hiring process again, chances are more that they spend huge cost, compared to previous scenario in the long run.

Salary Negotiation Tactics

Let’s take a simple example to make you understand more about Salary Negotiation and the tactics involved in it. Assume that you are selling your old car and the buyer asks you “What is the best price you have kept on this car?” You answer him by saying $9000 and the buyer quickly says agreed, sold it. Huh! This is the point when you start doubting yourself and feel that you might have offered very less value to the car. You might think that you would have increased the price with more dollars. Moreover, if the buyer asks you, “Don’t you think the price is too high, for this car?” then you firmly answer him “I have done my homework perfectly and this is the best price the car deserves”. At the end of the talk, the buyer finally agrees and pays for the asked price. This also gives you winning the conversation feeling, further gaining worth for sticking to your guns. Well, getting the big difference here?

The same happens while negotiating your salary in front of hiring manager. If you came to know that the company needs resource in their current project and they are looking for you as their potential employee, then it’s time for you to keep your worth. Have a discussion with your hiring manager at proper situation and tell him that you are beyond your midpoint level and need a boost in your salary so as it will keep you motivated. Tell him you are getting less salary then your peers, in spite of being such an incredible resource. Keep in mind that you need to be very polite and say this in very joking manner so that the hiring manager notices your perspective while not taking any negative out of it.

One tester from our Testing Community have applied same tactics in his current company and got a bonus of $5000 in base salary that finally benefitted him in the long run.

Have Courage

Having courage doesn’t mean you have to directly ask your employer about salary at first instance. Have patience first and see that you clear the pre-screening process and first round of interview. After that when you are being called for the second or final round of interview that time pay attention to the intention of the employer and what he is trying to convey you. Based on his question, answer smartly while keeping value of yourself. Believe in yourself and ask what you deserve. Do not hesitate for asking the value which you deserve the most. Have some courage while asking and negotiating the same.

Following questions and answers will help you in this.

Employer: Mr. John, what salary are you looking for?”

Candidate: Well, I am here for two reasons. Firstly, this company is excellent and always beyond in every aspect. Working here will definitely enhance my skills and confidence. Secondly, I will have a secure job. I have researched for this position and as per my knowledge, the salary offered for this role is around $65000-$70000. I would love to have salary in such range.

Employer:” We are impressed with your credentials and what salary would you expect for this position?”

Candidate: I am flattered to hear this and would like to work with this company. We will definitely work together and give our best. Currently, I am earning $65000 and primarily looking for at least $70000 as a base salary.

Tips for Negotiating Salary:

  • Don’t ask for salary unless employer asks you
  • Ask for benefits packages when answering for salary
  • Research well before applying for position
  • Don’t discuss salary over telephone
  • Keep in mind what salary you are worth for
  • Never underestimate your worth
  • Have patience and self-confidence

 

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6
Feb

How to Report or Log Bugs?

Following sample bug/defect report will give you precise clue of how to log bugs in a bug tracking tool. You can use any bug tracking tool for tracking the bug for your reference.

Below is the sample scenario which caused the bug:

Let’s say you have built a new application. Now, you want to create a new user with new information in the application. To achieve this, you should login and then navigate to USERS menu>New User and under that fill all the required details such as First Name, Last Name, Address, Age, Phone etc. After entering all the details you should save that info by clicking SAVE button. After this, you will get the message “New User has been created successfully”. This is the exact process that you should follow for creating new user in your website.

Log in and then navigating to USERS menu > New User you save all the info by clicking the SAVE button and BANG! You get an error message and system suddenly crashes down. At that moment, you should save that error message by capturing it and saving it into Microsoft paint file or wherever you feel comfortable.

This is actually a Bug scenario for a tester and he now needs to log that BUG into bug tracking tool. Different tools are used for tracking the BUG and some of them are JIRA, Bugzilla, IBM Rational Clear Quest etc.

How the bug is reported effectively in bug tracking tool?

Below is the sample bug report for above stated example :
(Note : ‘bug report’ fields vary depending on Bug Tracking Tool)

SAMPLE BUG REPORT:

Bug Name: Application crashed while clicking the SAVE button for creating a new user.
Bug ID: (It will be automatically created by the BUG Tracking tool once you save this bug)
Area Path: USERS menu > New Users
Build Number: Version Number 3.0.4
Severity: HIGH (High/Medium/Low) or 1
Priority: HIGH (High/Medium/Low) or 1
Assigned to: Developer-X
Reported By: Your Name
Reported On: Date
Reason: Defect
Status: New/Open/Active (Depends on the Tool you are using)
Environment: Windows 10/SQL Server 2008

Description :
Application crashed on clicking SAVE button for creating a new user, henceforth not able to create a new user in the application.

Steps To Reproduce:
1) Logon into the application
2) Navigate to the Users Menu > New User
3) Filled all the user information fields
4) Clicked on ‘Save’ button
5) Seen an error page “OWX847 Exception: Insert values Error…”
6) See the attached logs for more information (Attach more logs related to bug.. IF any)
7) And also see the attached screenshot of the error page.

Expected result: On clicking SAVE button, it should give a success message “New User has been created successfully”.

(Attach ‘application crash’ screen shot. IF any)

Save the defect/bug in the BUG TRACKING TOOL which you are using.  There, you will get a bug id that can be used further as a Bug reference.

Default ‘New bug’ mail will go to particular developer and the default module owner (Team leader or manager) for further action.

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2
Feb

Why to Learn Automation Testing?

This article is all about opting Automation Testing. But every tester who hasn’t yet learnt automation testing or never faced any need of automation might have a question that Why to Learn Automation Testing?. So, here we go:

In today’s rapid and changing day to day life, technology is going so far and challenging human mind to take risks so as to improve the quality and efficiency of software systems development. Considering the time and cost constraints, testing is neglected most of the time in an IT industry. This eventually affects the quality of the product which is further followed by customer disappointment and dissatisfaction. This also affects the overall quality costs of the project. For this reason, it is extremely important that testing should be carried out so as to improve the quality of the project along with customer satisfaction.

Below are few reasons which affects testing quality:

  • Poor testing strategy
  • Delay in Testing
  • Less efforts for creating test cases
  • Subsequent test maintenance

We can do testing of the application manually or by automation. If you are preferring manual testing then you have to do the monotonous work of writing test cases daily and maintain it as per the changing requirements. It is really a tedious work and requires lot of efforts to sit in front of computer continuously while getting bored at the same process. If the project is big and requires more test cases then manual tester’s life is hell as he fails at maintaining proper test cases. Here comes the role of Automation testing where you can actually automate your testing process hence increasing the efficiency of the complete testing process.

With Test Automation, you can improve the testing process of any software application. Initially, you may need to pay attention to the automation process but later you can thoroughly enjoy its results. Main benefit of automation testing is you can execute your test cases during night so that till morning you are done with the testing process.

Optimization of speed, efficiency, and quality along with decrease of costs:

Automated tests re-use modules within different tests and aids in fast running of the tests with great performance. If requirements are frequently changing in the project then you need to do the testing again and again to ensure the quality of the software product. Automation testing plays key role in this and provides great results on automation of regression tests. This saves time and benefits the company while quickly out-gaining the initial costs. This is the main reason that automation testing has overcome manual testing over past few years.

Increase of Test Coverage:

Another benefit with automation testing is that it increases the test coverage in wide scale. Manually covering the test case is very laborious and time consuming. With automation tests, you can achieve sufficient test coverage of your software projects.

Some examples of it include:

  • On different platforms, software testing with different configurations.
  • Data-Driven Testing (where there is a creation of tests using the same test steps but with different inputs)

With Test automation, you can actually perform different kinds of testing effectively and efficiently.

If you want long maintenance of your software products then you should automate your tests as it is very fast and frequent. It also decreases cost while enhancing quality of your software product. Most of the companies now work in agile environment where requirements change frequently and automation testing is better option to react with these ever changing requirements. The best part is new test cases are continuously generated which can be further added to existing automation in parallel to the development of the software.

Your test cases need to be extended for longer periods of time whether in manual or automation testing environments. This is indeed essential because software project continuously progresses and maintaining test cases is extremely important. You can achieve complete coverage of your test cases with automation as it is very reliable and realistic. Value of the test case vs the effort to create them should be considered while deciding which tests to automate first. Test cases which have low effort and high value should be considered first for automating. Moreover, frequently used test cases, regression test cases; along with test cases having low to moderate effort in setting up the development and test environment of the automation project are best matched for automation.

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1
Feb

Project Estimation Rules

Below Project Estimation Rules should be recalled when doing Estimation of a Testing Project: 

 

1st Rule: Software requirements are considered for Estimation

Software requirements are indeed essential for test estimation as it is based completely on what would be tested. The development team has much involvement in the software requirements as compared to the testing team and the requirements are mostly established by the development team. When all the estimation are done related to the project cost, duration of the project then the development team asks the testing team that how much time will be required by them in order to complete the testing of the application. The answer given by the testing team is considered for the SDLC process.

Testing team plays a vital role in estimation of the project because testing is an essential part of SDLC. Testing application, one can deliver a bug free application to the client.

2nd Rule: Expert judgment matters for the Estimation of the Project

The testing team classifies the requirements before estimating them in the following categories:

  • Critical: The development team has slight knowledge in how to implement it;
  • High: The development team has worthy knowledge in how to implement it but the task is not easy at all;
  • Normal: The development team has decent knowledge in how to implement. 

The expert opinion in each requirement suggests how long it would take for testing them.  The categories would eventually help the experts in estimating the effort for testing the requirements.

3rd Rule: Previous projects matter most for Estimation of project

Previous project knowledge and experience are used for the estimation of the project. If new project is introduced then its estimation is based on similar projects which have been executed previously. 

4th Rule: Metrics Helps in Estimation

Organization should create an Organization Process Database which is also referred as OPD, where the project metrics are recorded and referred for future projects.

5th Rule: The past should never be ignored while doing Estimation

Spreadsheets and Old process is still used by the testing team in order to estimate the project completely. If new rules are introduced during the process then the testing team follows that and at the same time compares the old process too so as to get complete idea in test Estimation.

The results which come from the new estimate process should be faster and cheaper as compared to the old process and in percentage of 20 to 20%. If different percentage are measured by the testing team then they go back to the old process to check whether they are missing something during the process or not.

 6th Rule: Recording of Estimation is indeed essential

During testing of the process all the results should be recorded in order to refer it for future projects. It is also beneficial when requirements of the projects change and hence the recording will eventually help the testing members in estimating the project. This will help testing team to not return all the steps again and will further help in taking same decisions. It also gives the opportunity to test the estimation before making any changes to it. 

7th Rule: Tools should be used while doing Estimation

A spreadsheet containing metrics eventually helps reaching the estimation as quickly as possible. The spreadsheet will calculate it automatically hence giving ease to the team members. It also helps in tracking the duration and time of the projects. 

Risk Table, and free notes should be included in the template and need to be filled in the tool. These tools also help in showing different options for testing which actually aids the customer in deciding which types of test he needs practically.

8th Rule: Estimation should continuously be verified

All estimation should be verified in a certain period of time.  Along with this, another spreadsheet for recording the estimations should be created.  The estimation is compared to the previous ones recorded in a spreadsheet so as to see if they have similar trend.  If the estimation has any deviance from the recorded ones, then it is indeed essential to a re-estimation of the entire project.

9th Rule: Risk factors should be covered in Estimation

Product down time, resource unavailability, skill improvement and learning capability are some of the risks that should be covered in test estimation.

Scenario for an Estimation:

Assume you have a project and you have estimated that it will take a 10 person team 300 days to complete. (3000 workdays – Sunny day scenario)

Knowing that there are 365 working days in a year (52 weeks x 5 days), without holidays, means that the project, at best, will take 1.13 years or 13.6 months to complete.

Suppose the average year includes 12 days company holidays (total impact = 12×10 people = 120 daysx1.13years = 136 days) and average employee takes 4 sick days and 3 comp days off a year (total impact = 7 x 10 people = 70 x 1.13 = 79)

Average employee takes 7 work days of vacation a year (total impact = 7 x 10 people = 70 x 1.13 = 79)

Suppose also that each employee drops 3 days out of each year for training (30 days)

Total duration change due to employee holidays, sick time, vacation and training = 136+79+79+30=324

Total workdays for the project is now 3000+324 = 3324 or a 10.8% increase in duration (300 day schedule is now 333 days or 15.1 months.)

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