Software quality assurance is a vital component of the software lifecycle. It is the best way to minimize unexpected bugs and deliver good-quality products in order to achieve customers’ confidence and good repute overall as a company.
There are certain metrics that can help measure software quality – Bugs count is considered to be one of them. Some companies believe that bugs count and test coverage have a direct relationship as a bigger bugs count leads to better test coverage. This can be true in some cases but also can be a ‘not so reliable’ approach in other cases. This article will shed light on when this test strategy can be proven to be meaningful and in which situations it has chances of going wrong.
Bugs Count is a number that represents the number of bugs found in a release by the QA team. However, test coverage is a metric that measures the amount of testing performed and helps identify any areas that the testing effort might have missed.
Usually, it is sometimes assumed that if the number of bugs found in a release are less then there have to be some areas that wouldn’t have been covered during the testing cycle, or the quality of testing performed must not have been up to the mark. These bug counts can directly represent the quality of work being done by the testing team and how actively they have been engaged to “assure quality” of the software products.
When the bugs count is lower than expected, certain conclusions are mostly drawn by software managers:
- Either the test coverage is not maximum such that certain areas of the product are being missed during testing cycles.
- Or testing is being performed only on the surface level and edge cases are being missed.
- Or the testers are not just as good.
This assumption can be correct when testing is being performed on a software product for the first time but there are some exceptions. When the product has already been through some rounds of testing and it is in its third or fourth release, this does not necessarily have to be true. The developers might be doing their jobs exceptionally well and writing, and executing unit tests vigorously – this can also be one of the reasons for a lower bugs count. In such cases, the QA team has to properly justify before the upper management as to why the count of bugs is lower than expected so that the quality of work performed by them does not get questioned. In scenarios where test coverage is thorough, bugs count is only a secondary measure for the quality of testing being done.
Either way, to ensure the quality of the software product – it is important to measure the test coverage while keeping certain factors in mind. First and foremost, the Project manager or QA lead needs to make sure that the test suites that are being executed should cover all of the features of the product under test. Let’s say if there are 20 features in an application in total then each one of them should be tested. If only 15 of the features are being tested by the set of tests being performed then the test coverage of the product is only 75%. This is how you identify gaps in your testing cycle, assess if the existing tests are good enough, and eliminate any useless test cases that might exist in the test suites.
Automating your tests is another way to maximize the test coverage of your product as it utilizes the time of the QA team that they spend in executing tests again and again planning new test scenarios and writing automated test cases.
Manual testing and the time of the QA team being spent on this activity have a linear relationship, but this is not the case with automated testing. Automated tests can run on their own and the QA team can make the most of this time by spending it on something more useful, improving the productivity and quality at the same time. It is not necessary to automate the complete product; rather only those tests need to be automated that have to be run repetitively – this results in saving a lot of time for the testers.
While all these things can help measure the test coverage during the execution of testing cycles, this can also be done ahead of time even before the start of development. The QA team can make sure that their tests would provide maximum coverage at the time of writing test cases and planning a test strategy. Doing these tasks beforehand can save them from a lot of hassle at the time of test execution.