There are major differences between a Software Application and a Product.

Challenges In Software Testing

Due to the above differences, A Software Product Life Cycle (PDLC) differs from a Standard Software Development Life Cycle(SDLC) in certain ways and even more from a testing perspective.
The Key challenges while testing software Products are:

  1. Multiple environments to replicate each production version – in order to replicate defects
  2. Multiple test configurations to test multiple versions
  3. Selection/Creation of test suite-since each version/customer can have different functionalities
  4. Planning of testing activities for every release to ensure high quality
  5. Managing Regression test suite that can be used in multiple versions
  6. Testing of Non-functional requirements like Performance, security, Compliance, etc requirements
  7. Technology stack upgrades
  8. Keeping the specification documents in sync with the product versions

Some of the best practices that can be adopted to address the challenges are:

  1. Use of virtual environments that can be set up at a fraction of the cost of physical environments to replicate production versions
  2. Adoption of Cloud environments to create test configurations quickly
  3. Tagging and grouping test cases based on product features
  4. Adoption of Test management tools for easier handling of test assets
  5. Identification of Regression suite based on a Risk-based testing approach
  6. Test estimation to include a quarterly/half year reconciliation exercise to sync up project assets
  7. Setting up of a Non-functional test lab that focuses only on the efficiency aspects of the product
  8. Creating a phased technology roadmap based on a pilot project
  9. Creating a dashboard reflecting all the critical activities
  10. Creation of Knowledge assets like Wiki, FAQ, Self-service guidelines for team members as well as users that can minimize incidents

In addition to the above, product companies need to constantly watch out for competitor products that can capture market share. Hence they need to have a medium and short term vision to assess new markets, customer segments, usage patterns and new trends.

Happy testing!!!

– Srini Raghavan