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The software applications help insurance companies to make their processes efficient and run business smoothly. But the insurance applications are designed with features to facilitate a wide variety of activities including development of policy forms, payment processing, and facilitating intra-branch transactions. At the same time, the apps also need to store sensitive business and customer data securely, and deliver seamless customer service across a variety of devices. The features and functionality make insurance apps complex, and different from normal software applications. The insurance companies also need to assess all aspects of their apps to deliver quality customer service and effectuate business processes.
5 Reasons Why Insurance Applications Must Be Tested Continuously
1) Integration of Many Systems
In addition to being domain-specific software, the insurance application also includes a number of systems. For instance, an insurance application may include individual systems for insurance policy administration, claim management, risk management, investment management, and calculation and valuation of insurance policy. At the same time, it also provides detailed and updated information to users according to the Compliance and Regulatory. So the overall functionality and performance of the application depend on the quality of each integrated system. A company must perform elaborate integration testing each time an integrated system is modified or updated.
2) Need to Test Each Unit Rigorously
As noted earlier, each insurance app is designed by integrating a number of systems. Each of these systems is designed as independent units, and integrated with other units subsequently. Often insurance companies integrate new units into the application to automate new activities. So each of these units must be tested independently and as part of the application. The insurance company must deploy testers to identify and eliminate all bugs in individual units. Likewise, it must get the systems tested after the integration to ensure that the app performs seamlessly.
3) Changes in Regulation and Guideline
Unlike generic software, an insurance app must deliver accurate, exact and updated information to each user. So the company needs to ensure that the application delivers information according to the latest regulations and guidelines issued by the Compliance and Regulatory. Also, the insurance companies must make changes to the insurance apps immediately to accommodate the new guidelines and regulations. Each time any changes are made to the app or individual systems, it becomes essential for testers to repeat all tests without any delay. Thus, the company need to ensure that the insurance application is tested thoroughly each time the rules change.
4) Security of Business and Customer Data
The insurance applications are also designed to store and deliver a wide variety of data. The application will enables employees and vendors to access a large amount of business data. At the same time, it will also store sensitive information of customers, and allow them to access updated information. So the application must be designed with advanced security features and techniques. The testers further need to perform a variety of tests to ensure that the app can store and deliver sensitive information securely. They also need to review the source code of the application rigorously to ensure that it can combat the emerging security threats.
5) Focus on Functionality, Usability and Compatibility
Nowadays, most insurance companies allow their employees to bring and use their own devices. Likewise, the customers also access the web-based insurance apps on a variety of devices. So it becomes essential for the insurance company to ensure that the application delivers quality user experience across many devices. The company must deploy testers to assess the application’s functionality and performance across many devices. Also, the testers need to check the application’s user experience on individual devices. When the insurance app is tested continuously, it becomes easier for the company to deliver quality user experience and customer service.
On the whole, an insurance company can reap several benefits by testing its applications thoroughly and continuously. However, it is also important for the company to review and customize its software testing strategy at regular intervals to enhance the insurance app’s quality and user experience.
Before we strive to write a good bug report let’s think of why we write a bug report in the first place! The whole point of writing a bug report is to get the bug fixed so that the software becomes a better version of itself. So before you sit to write a bug report you need to do it in a manner where the developers will be clear about what’s wrong with the software and will be able to rectify it else your moral as well as reputation can be harmed.
Writing a bug report is a piece of cake, however, writing an effective bug report may not be as easy. In order to make your bug report effective you may consider following the below mentioned pointers.
- Having Clearly Specified Bug Number: It is very important that you number all your bug reports uniquely and in a chronological manner so that the bug can be easily identified and located. If you are utilizing any automatic bug reporting tool then the number will be generated automatically. Always keep a brief account of the bug report along with the unique identification number.
- Reproducible: The developers can’t rectify the bug if they can’t reproduce it. This is why it is very important that you mention clearly the steps to reproduce the bugs. This will allow the developers to follow the given steps and reproduce the bug so that they can verify the nature of the bugs and rectify it with ease.
- Be Specific: There is no point in writing an elaborate report of the bug. No one has the time to read it. When you are writing a bug report always be specific about the bug and write a report which is short, to the point and specific about the problems created by the bug you are reporting. Make sure to reproduce the bug multiple times, read the report before submission and avoid using abusive language.
There are some simple templates which you can follow in order to write a perfect and effective bug report.
- Reporter: This will have your details so the developer can contact you if necessary.
- Product: The product in which you found the bug.
- Version: Which version of the product was tested.
- Component: Various modules of the products.
- Platform: The platform in which the bug was detected.
- Operating System: The operating system in which the bug was detected.
- Priority: How quickly the bug should be attended to on a scale of P1 to P5.
- Severity: Here you will be discussing about the impact of the bug based on the following points.
- Status: mention whether the bug is a new one or an existing one which has popped up again.
- Assigned to: If you have any information about which developer is going to fix the bug, mention it in your report.
- URL: It is best if you can mention the URL of the page in which the bug was detected for ease of the developer to detect it and pin point it.
- Summary: A short yet to the point summary of the bug report always helps the developer to get a quick glance of the whole report and hence to identify how to rectify it.
- Description: Describe the bug which you are reporting.
These are some of the tips and tricks to prepare a good bug report which will be effective for developers.
Often managers or QA leads find it a daunting challenge to prepare an effective software testing plan. In addition to preparing the test plan by following an organized approach, they also need to keep in mind test objectives, scope of testing, risk identification, test execution schedule, metrics to assess the project, and constraints related to time and resources. That is why; it becomes essential for the manager to focus on a number of important points to make an effective software testing plan.
7 Tips to Make Your Software Testing Plan more Effective
1) Test the Software Frequently
Many reports have highlighted that an organization can save both time and cost by testing the software application early and frequently. When the bugs in the software are identified in early phases of software development lifecycle, the testers can fix the defects without putting extra time and effort. So you must introduce software testing in the early phases of the project, and ensure that the software is tested repeatedly and frequently.
2) Create Small Functional Modules
You must understand the test coverage clearly to make a better testing plan. So it is important to divide the entire software application to be tested into a number of smaller modules. Each module will cover specific features or functionality of the application. Thus, the small functional modules will help you to understand and track test coverage. However, you must consider dividing the each functional module into small logical parts, and writing test cases for each module based on these small parts.
3) Focus on Test Case Development
It is also important to identify the business requirements that are testable. You can easily identify the testable requirements by getting test cases written during design and requirement phases of software development life cycle. The valid or positive test cases will help you to cover all expected behaviour of the software, whereas the negative test cases will cover its unexpected behaviour. However, you also need to ensure that the test cases are written by experienced programmers, and explain each step clearly.
4) Pick the Right Metrics
The test plan must focus on documenting, tracking, measuring and reviewing the quality objectives during various phases of the project. So you must pick the right metrics to track and assess the quality objectives more effectively. It is always important to pick metrics that are effective but simple to execute. Also, you must pick a variety to metrics to cover all aspects of the project. You can always consider using some of the commonly used metrics like schedules, size, quality, rework and resources.
5) Build a Custom Test Environment
You must create a custom test environment by replicating the production environment exactly. Also, the environment must include the right test automation tools and systems with customized configuration. It is also important to keep the testing and production environments separated, and prevent the developers from accessing the test environment. When the test environment is accesses exclusively by testers, it will be easier to identify and control the missing components.
6) Emphasize on Informative and Precise Bug Reporting
You must remember that the quality of the bug report will have a direct impact on the defect turnaround time. The testers must provide detailed and specific information about the bugs identified during testing to enable developers to fix the defects easily and quickly. They can even reproduce the bugs to reduce the defect turnaround time drastically. Your test plan can even recommend testers to use a predefined bug report template to provide adequate information about the defects.
7) Divide and Allocate the Tasks Properly
Your test plan also needs to focus on allocating the tasks to the right professionals. While allocating tasks, you must keep in mind the test schedule, size of the team, and the skills and expertise of individual testers. You can even consider preparing a skill chart of all members of the testing team, and allocate the tasks based on the skill chart. Also, you need to ensure that each member of the team understand the objective and nature of the task assigned to him clearly.
While making the test plan, the manager must ensure uninterrupted communication between testers and programmers. The communication will result in getting the problems resolved in a quick and efficient way, while avoiding misunderstanding in future. However, the professionals must communicate with each other through emails instead of sticking to verbal communication.
A gradual increase is being noted in the number of businesses switching from scripted testing to exploratory testing. The conventional scripted testing approach requires the active test cases to be designed in advance, with clearly defined processes and expected results. The predesigned tests are used by testers to compare the actual test results with expected results. So the testers must be provided with adequate information to execute the tests and interpret the test results effectively.
But exploratory testing approach emphasizes on concurrent test designing and execution. It further requires businesses to deploy skilled software testers, and allows testers to become more imaginative and exploratory. While performing exploratory testing, the QA professionals have autonomy to decide what tests to perform next, and how to prioritize tests due to time constraints. So a business can avail a number of benefits by adopting the modern software testing approach.
What Makes Businesses Switch from Scripted Testing to Exploratory Testing?
Defects are Found Quickly
The predesigned test scripts restrict professionals’ imagination and creativity. When the testers have adequate information about the software to be tested and use the predesigned test scripts, they do not come up with fresh and innovative ideas. Exploratory testing requires them to design and execute tests concurrently. So they can learn and improve continuously, while coming up with new ideas and innovative ways to solve problems.
Accommodate Individual Testing Approaches
Exploratory testing approach requires enterprises to deploy skilled and experienced QA professionals. So each tester can analyze the specific problem in a particular way. The members of the team can further suggest various ways to test a particular feature or functionality of the software. So the same aspect of the application can be tested in a number of ways. The different approaches effectuate testing, and help testers to identify all flaws in the software.
Allow Testers to Control the Testing Process
The scripted testing approach differentiates the process of test design and test execution. So an enterprise has option to deploy different teams to design and execute tests. Also, the testers need adequate product information and detailed business requirements to execute the tests effectively. So the testers fail to execute tests if the test cases are not designed in advance or they are not familiar with the application. But exploratory testing enables testers to design and execute tests concurrently. They can easily gather the required information, and design and test cases in each situation.
Freedom to Follow Leads
Nowadays testers have to test all aspects of the software within a shorter amount of time. So they find it daunting to read, understand and execute predesigned test scripts. Most modern testers prefer designing and executing tests in parallel without referring to any predesigned test cases. Further, they want to deploy the limited time in finding bugs instead of reading and understanding test cases. The absence of predefined constraints further enables testers to identify bugs in the software by following all promising leads.
Facilitates Agile Testing
Many businesses nowadays adopt agile methodology to reduce software testing time and cost significantly. But the delivery cycles in agile project is extremely short. Further, the developers and testers have to collaborate with each other deliver a flawless software application. So the businesses are no longer required to deploy skilled professionals to make test plans, design test cases, and manage defects in the software. When a business adopts exploratory testing approach, it becomes easier for it to design and execute test cases concurrently without deploying any additional professionals. So exploratory testing helps businesses to reap benefits of agile project management methodologies.
On the whole, the exploratory testing approach is completely different from conventional scripted testing approach. But companies like Microsoft have proved that both testing approaches are compatible with each other, and can also be used on a single project. So a business has option to either adopt exploratory testing model or use both testing models simultaneously.
While testing a software application, testers have to focus on both functional and non-functional requirements. They need to perform various types of functional tests to ensure that the software meets all business requirements. Likewise, they also need to assess the application’s user experience by performing a variety of tests against the non-functional requirements. That is why, it is important for the testers to understand some of the major differences between these two types of software testing.
5 Important Differences between Functional and Non-Functional Testing
As a type of black-box testing, functional testing is performed to check it the application meets all predefined business requirements and specification. The outcome of functional testing helps managers to decide if the software is ready for release. On the other hand, non-functional testing is performed to assess the application’s user experience. The testers perform a variety of tests against non-functional requirements to determine the amount of time required by the application to perform specific actions or respond to user request.
2) Types of Tests
A business has to perform both functional and non-functional testing to make the software popular and profitable in the longer run. So the testers need to perform usability, regression testing, smoke testing, and sanity testing to decide if the application is ready for release. At the same time, they also need to assess the application’s behaviour and user experience by performing a variety of non-functional tests like stress, load/performance, compatibility, reliability, compliance, and security testing. However, the types of functional and non-functional tests to be performed will differ from one project to another based on the nature and usage of the software.
3) Identifying Defects in the Software
Often the features and functionality of a software application is impacted by bugs, defects or flaws in it. These defects further prevent the software from meeting business requirements exactly and effectively. So the testers have to perform functional tests to identify the bugs or defects in the software, and get these eliminated without any delay. But the testers are not required to focus on finding bugs or defects in the software while performing non-functional testing. They have to perform tests against the application’s non-functional requirements to assess its behaviour and user experience.
4) Both Negative and Positive Testing
Normally, non-functional testing is performed based on a number of criteria that are not considered while performing functional testing. The tests performed against these criterions help testers to assess the quality of the software from the perspective of multiple users. But the testers have to perform both positive and negative functional testing. While performing positive functional testing, they have to submit valid inputs, and check how the application responds to these valid inputs accurately, and generate the desire outputs. Likewise, they also need to perform negative functional testing using invalid inputs, invalid operations, and unexpected operating conditions.
5) Test Automation Tools
An enterprise can automate both functional and non-functional testing efforts. In addition to reducing the testing time, the tools further help testers to perform the tests repeatedly. But often businesses find it easier to automate the non-functional testing. The testers can use a variety of tool to perform load, performance, stress and compatibility testing quickly and repeatedly. However, the testers have to write additional test scripts to perform both positive and negative functional testing through the tools. It is always important for the business to pick the right test automation tools to automate each type of testing effectively.
On the whole, the software testing strategy of a business has to focus on both functional and non-functional requirements of the applications. At the same time, it is also important for the testers to understand the objectives of each type of testing clearly to assess the software application more effectively.
In addition to implementing a comprehensive software testing strategy, the businesses also need to manage the regular testing activities efficiently. Many businesses nowadays use customized tools to effectuate test management in agile environment. Atlassian has designed JIRA with features to help businesses to effectuate project management in an agile environment. At the same time, the commercial tool also makes it easier for QA professionals to track a variety of bugs and issues. There are also a number of reasons why JIRA is hugely popular among both enterprises and QA professionals.
Features that Differentiate JIRA from Other Project Management Tools
Refer Anything as an Issue
As noted earlier, JIRA helps testers to track a variety of issues and bugs. It further allows users to treat anything as an issue. For instance, the users can refer a software bug, any specific project task, a leave request form, or a helpdesk ticket as an issue. So they can use the software to track and mange all aspects of the software testing project.
Categorize and Link Issues
JIRA further allows testers to categorize and link various issues in a flexible way. They can categorize individual issues by assigning them to a specific component or version. The labeling makes it easier for users to find issues based on their labels. Likewise, the users can establish connection between two distinct issues hosted on the same or different servers.
Clone Original Issues
JIRA allows testers to clone individual issues. So they can easily duplicate the original issue, and allow multiple users to access and manipulate a single issue simultaneously. The clone issue can also be connected with the original issue efficiently to accommodate the changes made by multiple users. The software further allows testers to differentiate the cloned issues by adding relevant information like description, summary, issue type, priority, environment, assignee and reporter.
Create Two Types of Boards
JIRA allows agile teams to create and manage issues efficiently using boards. The testers can refer to the custom boards to monitor issues from a single or multiple projects from a single place. They also have option to create two different types of boards, i.e., Scrum and Kanban. The scrum boards help users to focus on iterative and incremental chunks of work. On the other hand, kanban boards make it easier for testers to monitor the workflow and reduce work-in-progress to deliver maximum output on a continuous basis.
Use Filters, Add-ons and APIs
JIRA further effectuates agile testing project management by providing a variety of add-ons and APIs. The testers have option to customize and extend the software by downloading plug-and-play add-ons from the Atlassian Marketplace. Likewise, they can use a variety of APIs to integrate JIRA with other tools used by the agile team. At the same time, the programmers can simplify the software by writing custom filters in JIRA Query Language (JQL).
Make Data-Driven Decisions
The project managers need to monitor teams, resources and projects consistently to manage software testing process efficiently. They can use JIRA as a project management tool to create realistic roadmap for the project, while monitoring the teams, resources and project continuously. JIRA can even be used by managers to take various data-driven decisions quickly.
Generate Different Types of Reports
JIRA further helps testers to generate a wide variety of reports to facilitate decision making. The reports can also be used by various stakeholders in the project to take crucial decisions. Based on their requirements, the users have option to generate recently created issues, resolution time, resolved vs. created issues, time tracking, and user workload reports. They can even use pie charts present the information in a more appealing and readable format.
However, each enterprise has to incur additional expensed to avail these benefits of JIRA. Atlassian allows business to choose from several pricing options according to their team size and requirements. At the same time, the users also have option to host the software on their servers or in the cloud. So it becomes easier for businesses to use JIRA without spending a lot of money.
As a non-functional software testing technique, load testing is conducted to assess the performance of a software application under varying load conditions. The testing helps QA professionals to identify the maximum amount of load or pressure an application can withstand. But the testers need complete the load tests within a stipulated amount of time and controlled lab conditions to assess the performance of the application accurately under both normal and peak conditions. That is why; most testers use load testing tools to assess the performance of the application regularly and repeatedly under varying loads. They also have option to take advantage of a number of open source load testing tools to assess the performance of the software regularly without increasing project overheads.
Understanding 8 Widely Used Open Source Load Testing Tools
1) The Grinder
Despite being a popular load testing tool, The Grinder is often described as the Java load testing tool. It can be used to load test any application with a Java API. But The Grinder supports major protocols like SOAP, HTTP and REST web services. It allows testers to write test scripts in Jython or Clojure, while providing centralized script editing and distribution feature. The users also have option to use data stored on files and databases, and generate test data on the fly. So it becomes easier for them to load test the software based on a variety of parameters.
Unlike other load testing tools, JMeter is designed as a desktop application with a graphical user interface. The Java-based tool further runs on any platform that supports the programming language. It further supports major web servers and protocols including HTTP, SOAP, REST web services, MangoDB, TCP, Mail and LDAP. The testers also have option to enhance test coverage by integrating JMeter with a number of commonly used build and continuous integration (CI) tools.
Tsung is designed as a distributed load testing tool. It supports most of the commonly used protocols including HTTP, SOAP, MySQL, PostgreSQL, WebDAV and LDAP. Tsung is also designed with features to assess the performance of IP based client/server applications by simulating the behaviour of a large number of users. As the testers have option to run Tsung on multiple machines, it becomes easier for them to simulate a large number of virtual users simultaneously.
The cross-platform load testing tool is written in Scala. It comes with a recorder that enables testers to record all user actions and simulate all probable user actions. So it becomes easier for them load test the applications by creating many test scenarios. Gatling further allows testers to modify and customize the test scenarios according to the requirements of the project. At the same time, Gatling also helps testers to generate clear, colourful and information test reports to facilitate decision making.
Locust is one of the popular user load testing tools for websites and web applications. It requires testers to write all test scenarios in Python programming language. The users also have option to run Locust on single or multiple machines. So it becomes easier for them to distribute load tests over several machines, and simulate a large number of users simultaneously. Locust further makes it easier for testers to generate real-time and relevant test results by providing an extensible web-based user interface.
6) Diesel Test
DieselTest is actually designed as a regression testing tool. So it is different from other traditional regression testing tools available in the market. As it supports only keyboard and mouse driven test scripts, the scripting support provided by DieselTest is not powerful. But the testers can Playback the test scripts to assess the performance of the software by simulating behaviour of real website visitors. They also have option to generate and analyze real-time test results.
OpenSTA is popular among testers as a flexible load testing tool. It enables testers to use and playback recorded scripts to assess the application’s performance regularly. At the same time, the testers also have option to edit the convert the recorded macro into a test script, make necessary changes to the script, and inject it as a hypertext stream. They can even use the tool to load test a variety of software applications. But the open source load testing tool looks dated as it was last updated in 2007.
OpenWebLoad is one of the simple and easy-to-use load testing tools available in the market. It can be used for assessing the performance of a web application under various loads. The testers also have option to use a command line to configure and execute load tests. OpenWebLoad further allows testers to monitor the impact of load optimization in an instant and realistic way. However, DieselTest is not being updated at regular intervals like other tools.
However, it is also important for the testers to pick the right open source load testing tools according to the nature and needs of the project. In addition to focusing on key features of various load testing tools, they also need to compare the tools based on test scenario and infrastructure. They can even consider using multiple tools to assess the performance of the applications accurately under a variety of loads.