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Pair Testing


Professionalqa pair testing image

What is Pair Testing?

A vital software testing technique, pair testing session involves two individuals or team members, who work on a single workstation/keyboard to test various aspects of a software application. This type of testing basically comes under ad-hoc testing and aims at pairing two individuals to work on same software product and on the same machine.

During pair testing, both the individuals are responsible for different tasks that validate the quality as well as the functionality of the software. While one of them executes the process of testing, the other member is responsible for analysing and reviewing the process. Hence, with the assistance of this approach one can rapidly perform thorough software testing, while saving time and money.

Pair Testing Features:

To offer you a better insight into this type of software testing, mentioned below are some of the features of pair testing.

  • Pair Testing is also known by the name of Buddy Testing.
  • Responsible for generating effective test cases, quickly.
  • Time-saving approach.
  • Best method to train novice or new testers along with the task of testing, at no-additional cost & time.
  • Bridges the gap and increases the coordination between developer and tester.
  • Exchange and gain of knowledge, both by the testers and developers.
  • Not suitable, when the product needs automation.
  • Pair testing can be related to Pair Programming and Exploratory Testing.

What is the need of Pair testing?

The answer to the above question is quite simple. In this process of testing, "Two head is better than one".

why pair testing?


Pair testing involves incoming of ideas, strategies, scenarios, plans, solutions and many other things, which may or may not be exclusive from two different resources. This ensures the wide test coverage along with exchange of ideas and reviews to explore more and unseen defects in the minimal time.

  • It speeds up the process of testing.
  • Enhances the quality of testing and test result.
  • Helps create agile teams that are focused on executing tests rapidly as well as accurately.
  • It is a collaborative effort, which further helps validate various aspects of the product, such as functionality, performance, code, privacy policy,
  • compliance to standards, etc.
  • Pair testing can be performed by one tester and developer or a business analyst, test manager, etc.

What combination will work better for the Pair testing ?

pair testing combinations


Any combination can work effectively and efficiently in pair testing. The possible pairs could be - tester & tester, tester & developer and tester & user. A tester needs to be one of the members of the pair. However, each pair has its own significance. Let's go through each of these pair.

  1. Tester & Tester: Pairing of testers will surely bring more inputs and resources to the testing activity. Both of them will be applying their core technical skills, knowledge and tactics, which may or may not be same to produce effective results. Further, this pairing may consists of one novice tester and one experienced tester, thereby providing an opportunity to novice tester to work with the experienced professional to enhance and update his/her skills & knowledge.
  2. Tester & Developer:

    This pairing of tester and developer ensures the mutual understanding of each other's process. This pair is effective as one is aware of the complete development process and may impart knowledge and understanding of the software technicalities to the tester in order to identify and locate defects easily in a shorter period of time. Inclusion of a developer in the pair enables tester to understand the complexities of the software product.

  3. Tester & User: This pairing is useful in preparation of possible testing scenarios from users-perspective with the help of user and subsequent "execution of these cases by the tester. The importance of this pairing is that software product will be accessed explored by the user who will assist the tester in preparing and executing test-cases to meet the desired expectations & needs of the end users.

Pairs in pair testing


How does the Pair works?

This type of testing is based on the methodology where the members of the pair will test the same product by making use of the same resources such as machines or computers. Generally, one works on paper in taking notes preparing scenarios, including reviews and analysis of the test results, while another is responsible for carrying out testing procedures on machines or computer by making use of the other member's output.

Pairs testing working


However, the places of these members may not be fixed, they could be interchangeable. After each defined session or some interval of time, the members may exchange their positions.

Advantages of Pair Testing:

The process of pair testing is an extremely beneficial one. It offers various advantages to the team as well as the product owner. During pair testing, the team works in an agile environment and execute the process of testing together. Other advantages of pare testing are:

  • It promotes knowledge transfer.
  • Ensures more angles of the software are tested.
  • Improves the quality of the product, as it is validated by two individuals.
  • Helps save time and efforts invested in testing.
  • Assists in improving interpersonal skills of the involved individuals and breaks down barrier.
  • Promotes communication among team members.
  • It can be used as an opportunity to train different employees.
  • Helps identify the cause of defects without any hassle.
  • Allows an expert and a novice to work together and exchange knowledge.
  • It does not require any special training.

Challenges of Pair Testing:

Though, pair testing is an extremely beneficial testing technique, there are few challenges that are encountered by the team while executing its process. These challenges are:

  • As the bugs are reported after the culmination of the testing process, it becomes time consuming and tedious for the team to report and rectify them.
  • It becomes difficult for the team to define the portions of the test that has been performed.
  • At times, it is difficult to find two individuals who are willing to test the software together.
  • This type of testing cannot be used during test automation.

Tips to Improve Pair Testing:

Since the significance of pair testing is monumental in software testing life cycle, it becomes vital for the team to execute it without missing out critical elements. Therefore, to help you ensure this, following are some tips to improve pair testing:

  • Before starting the process of testing, the team should create a test plan or strategy.
  • Test mission should be prepared based on the focus, scope, and aim of the test.
  • The team should focus on testing critical areas, where the possibility of finding bugs is high.
  • New functionality of the software should be tested after the end of an iteration.

Difference between Pair Testing and Pair Programming?

Pair Testing Pair Programming
1. Pair testing is an agile software testing technique, which is also known as Buddy Testing. 1. Pair programming is an agile software development technique.
2. The process is performed by any two individuals, whose roles are interchangeable. 2. The process is performed by two programmers, who switch their roles frequently.
3. The team can consist of a tester, business analyst, developer, programmer, etc. 3. The team members are known as driver and observer/navigator.
4. The team is focused on testing the software and ensuring its compliance with specified requirements. 4. The team is focused on designing and analyzing the code as well as the product.
5.It helps narrow down the root cause of a problem, while continuously testing it. 5.It defines how good a software works.
6. Does not require internal knowledge of the structure. 6. Pair programming is a part of Extreme Programming.

In a nutshell, it may be stated that pair testing is a useful testing approach that utilizes the skill-sets and knowledge of two minds on one product to reveal the flaws and issues present in it, in an efficient and effective manner.