Professional software testers have found the concept of a checklist with professional clarifications to be an excellent way of ensuring a successful testing project.
What is the software testing professional clarifications? Before you pick up a checklist either for a pilot or a software tester and attempt to fly a plane or test software, consider the professional prerequisites.
The Goal of the Checklist
The goal of the checklist is to be able to say “Yes, I have verified that” to every checklist question.
For example, the following question does appear on aircraft preflight checklists: “flight controls free and correct?” It is just one short question in the middle of a list of 15 or 20 questions. If you hold a pilot’s license, then your flight experience (2 weeks of ground school, 40 hours of flight instruction, pilot’s license, and 100–5000 hours of flight as pilot in command) tells you what stick to wiggle and what wing surface movement to expect before you say to yourself, “Yes, I have verified that.”
The following question appears on all professional software testing checklists: “testing success defined?” It is just one short question in the middle of a list of 15–20 questions. If you have successfully completed several major testing projects, then your testing experience tells you the importance of knowing how to tell when you are done testing before you can plan a successful testing project so that you can say, “Yes, I have verified that.”
Where Does the Software Testing Checklist Come From?
The pilot’s preflight checklist comes from the aircraft manufacturers. Where does the software testing checklist come from? Unlike aircraft, the software does not normally come with a testing checklist from the factory. Software testing checklists have historically come from three other sources.
- A corporation’s custom checklist developed by trial and error (pain and suffering) over years of internal organization experience.
- A consulting company’s commercially offered standard checklist—usually called a “methodology” or a “method” or a “process” or a “framework” developed over years of experience with many customers.
- A consulting company’s commercially offered customized checklist with the customization process developed over years of experience with many customers.
These three sources have produced more than a dozen testing checklists that the authors have professionally encountered. The number is surprising at first because 12+ is more than the three or four main ways of developing software and less than the different kinds of software products on the commercial market.
The answer lies more toward the software development side of the equation than the product side. Approximately 90% of the steps in the three or four different software development approaches are common, step sequencing notwithstanding. So a single software testing checklist with a few alternative steps could conceivably fill the bill for all software development projects.
5 Steps to Success
The first steps for testing a new project can be the following:
1. Learn product specification (+ yes)
2. Prepare software testing plan (+yes)
3. Prepare testing schedule (+yes)
4. Define test environments, test data, test scripts (+yes)
5. Determine responsibilities and deliverables (+yes)
These steps can differ for various companies but you should define a checklist for you to be able to quickly start testing a new project.