We all know that software testing is an important component of the software development process. And for some people, this can be a complex and demanding task.
In software testing, you have to grow a thick skin for task management. That's because you have to deal with tasks like planning, designing, execution, and reporting. But it doesn't stop there. You also have to deal with bugs, risks, and resources.
This is where efficient task management techniques can help you perform these tests quickly and efficiently.
So, here are ten techniques for efficient task management in software testing:
1. Set Your Software Testing Priorities Right
Setting your software testing priorities right involves choosing which software you would test first. And which you would be testing last. You would also have to decide which part of the software to focus on and how you would test them.
The benefit of prioritization when testing software is that you can avoid wasting time and resources on low-value tasks when you should be concentrating on delivering high-quality tasks.
The complexity prioritization method involves sorting the most complex tasks first and the least complex tasks to the bottom. You can sort tasks based on their technical difficulty, software features, and requirements. For instance, complex software involving new technologies or algorithms or having many dependencies or interactions with other components can be tested first.
Business value prioritization
Business value prioritization involves sorting tasks based on how much business value they have. In other words, you would first attend to the software with the highest monetary value, expected benefits, or costs. This is especially useful when you're testing multiple software simultaneously.
Risk-based prioritization involves identifying and sorting each software based on their risks of failure. Software with high risks and severity should be addressed first because they could be detrimental to a company's performance or cause serious damage or loss.
2. Use Agile Task Boards
Agile task boards are visual tools or table-like columns with cards that you can use to display your tasks, update testing progress, assign individuals to a testing or iteration task, and streamline your backlog.
Say you want to test a CRM software that is still in its infantile stage. All you need to do is create a digital, agile board containing various testing checkpoints and to-dos, which the software testing team or CRM developer is assigned to the tasks, tools to use, and a timeline for them to work with.
This makes the whole testing process simpler because everyone on the team gets to know what task is assigned to them and what tasks are yet to be completed. In turn, your team gets to finish their tasks in time and conclude the testing as soon as possible.
However, you must understand the different methodologies backing agile boards up - Scrum, Kanban, Scrumban, Lean.
Scrum divides the testing process into sprints.
Kanban is focused on continuous flow of testing tasks.
Scrumban is a hybrid of Scrum and Kanban.
Lean aims to remove waste and maximize value.
For software testing, implement Scrumban since it contains the sprint features of Scrum and the visual presentation of Kanban.
3. Employ Timeboxing
Timeboxing is all about allocating a particular amount of time to a certain task or activity. It covers splitting a huge task into subtasks and allocating a certain amount of time you'll spend on each.
With Timeboxing, you can set a fixed amount of time to work on each testing task and stick to it. This means you would avoid all manner of distractions and avoid extending or reducing your set time for each testing task.
Here are three methods you can implement timeboxing:
The MoSCoW technique is rooted in prioritizing tasks based on their urgency and importance. The wording for this technique shows you how this technique works by using the categories of Must have, Should have, Could have, and Won't have. For instance, tasks listed in the must-have category must have your full attention or time, and so on.
The Pomodoro technique is all about breaking your tasks into small tasks and allocating about 25 mins each, followed by a 5 mins break. After handling 4 major tasks, you can take a longer break of about 15 - 30 minutes.
For this technique, you set a shorter deadline than the original deadline for each task. This technique is ideal to reduce inefficiency and buy you time to deal with unnecessary roadblocks.
4. Invest In Test Automation
Test automation includes using software tools and scripts to perform mundane and repetitive testing tasks without total human intervention. For organizations facing loads of test projects and prone to errors, this is truly a deal-maker that can fast-track testing and help focus time on other priorities.
A perfect use case is regression software testing. Regression testing involves checking if a recent code update or change has not affected the existing software negatively. The only problem is that tests like this usually require repeated tests. This spells out the benefits of automation tools, including the ability to execute test tasks quickly and repeatedly with high consistency and fewer errors.
5. Explore Defect Tracking
Software defects are big headaches for testers and software developers, especially those tiny bugs that escape every check radar. Funny enough, they cause the biggest damage and can shut down your entire software on use.
The downside of this is that you need to divert your time and attention to sorting out the issues that come with software defects every time they come up. And this can affect how you execute other tasks.
To avoid that, you should introduce defect tracking tools. These tools work like social monitoring tools or Google's crawler to scan your entire software in search of minor and major breaks, disruptive line codes, and even numerical errors that can break your codes.
6. Set Up Effective Communication and Team Collaboration
Team collaboration and communication boost information sharing, feedback, ideas, solutions, development, and testing process. Plus, it can ensure an error-less final product. For effective communication and collaboration, you should take advantage of chat, document sharing, and project management tools to manage tasks efficiently.
Professional communication platforms like Slack provide workplaces with integrative features. This means you can link all other work tools into a dashboard and monitor how others progress.
7. Leverage Task Decomposition
Software Testing is a bulky process. Sometimes, you need to deal with flurries of checkpoints and several influxes of bugs, especially at the beginning. You can implement the task decomposition approach to make this process much easier and efficiently manage all the available tasks.
Task decomposition means breaking down a complex task into small, manageable components.
As a result, you get to focus on a simpler and smaller scope of the task, which in turn, improves the accuracy and output of the testing.
8. Utilize Metrics and Reporting At Intervals
Software testers can get lost in loads of testing tasks and have limited visibility into the progress of their projects. But with metrics and reports, you can track what has been tested issues found, and identify critical areas, and prioritize them.
Software testing metrics are used to estimate the quality and progress of the software testing process. By using metrics like "passed test cases," "failed test cases," and "schedule lapse," you can easily identify the percentage success of a test.
On the other hand, a software testing report summarizes all the testing activities and holds a test project's final test results. This is very useful for gaining an overall insight into your entire testing process.
We have gone over eight proven and tested approaches to manage your software testing process effectively. To set everything in motion, remember to outline your testing priorities. If you are a team, utilizing metrics and reports while setting up effective communication channels would help you better manage tasks. Don't forget to invest in test automation and timeboxing techniques to speed up your testing process and save time.