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Workflow Testing


With the ever increasing competition in the world, it has become vital for organizations to implement necessary testing strategies and processes that can validate the quality and functionality of their software product and help their business flourish and reach a new height of success. To ensure this and to reap excessive benefits from the software products, organizations are adapting new and abreast versions of testing techniques, which enables them to test their software accurately and to get expected results. Workflow testing is the latest trend in software testing, which is being executed by software testers to produce desired outcomes. Therefore, to elaborate the importance and relevance of workflow testing, here is a detailed discussion on the same.

Defining Workflow Testing:

Workflow testing, which is a type of functional testing, has recently garnered rapid popularity among software testers. It is a newly adopted testing technique, wherein testers ensure that each workflow or process accurately reflects the business process and that it provides precise as well as expected results. Performed while keeping the business process workflow in mind, workflow testing imitates the production environment into the testing phases and tests it from the perspective of the end users. Additionally, the objective of this testing is to ensure that the expected output matches with the output derived from the test data. Other features of workflow testing are:

  • It extensively tests the business process workflow & software application before it is deployed to the production or live environment.
  • This type of testing is best for workflow based applications and software systems.
  • Workflow testing involves parts of system & integration testing.
  • Tests the software workflow, a document in the Business Requirements Document.
  • Requires in-depth knowledge of the business process & its workflow.
  • Understanding of the entire process flow and the goals of automation are needed from the tester.

Process of Workflow Testing:

With the ever increasing complexity of workflows, the chances of detecting errors and defects is also increasing day-by-day. To tackle these issues, it is important for software testers to implement workflow testing during the early stages of software testing, which can help them avoid such scenarios as well as allow them to increase the productivity of their client’s business. Therefore, to help testers following is the process of workflow testing.

  • Analyzing Business Workflow: During the first stage of the process, the team works together to analyze and understand the workflow of the business, based on which the workflow testing will be implemented.
  • Test Case Development: Once the business workflow is understood by the team, they develop test cases with the assistance of various techniques, such as use case, decision table, and more.
  • Verification: In this stage of the process, the team verifies the flow with various user types such as testers/professionals acting as users, end users, customers, clients, etc.
  • Test Execution: Here, positive and negative tests are performed by providing valid and invalid data as input.
  • Comparing: After the culmination of testing, the actual and expected results are compared and any discrepancies or defects are logged.
  • Resolve & Deploy: Finally, the team works together to resolve and fix the issues and defects logged in the earlier stage and prepared the product for deployments or implementation.

Phases in Workflow Testing:

The process of workflow testing involves numerous testing phases, which enables the team to accurately execute the test cases and to improve the effectiveness of the software. Moreover, with the assistance of these testing phases, the team is able to test the workflow of the software without any hassle. These phases of workflow testing are:

  • Inception Phase: The initial phase of testing involves test planning and prototype testing, which helps the team to manage the process of testing and prepare steps for test execution.
  • Elaboration Phase: During this phase of workflow testing, the baseline of the test architecture is defined.
  • Construction Phase: The construction phase of workflow testing includes thorough testing of each stage, which allows the team to find any discrepancies or defects in the system or its workflow that was left undetected by the team earlier.
  • Transition Phase: In the final phase the team performs regression testing. Moreover, re-tests are conducted to ensure the accuracy of the workflow as well as to validate that no defects were left unattended or unresolved by the team.

Workflow Testing Strategy:

In order to achieve accurate and effective results, the team of testers use three important strategies of workflow testing, which simplify the process of testing and enable them to work on various components of software’s workflow based on the requirements of the client. Therefore, the three strategies for workflow testing are:

  • Workflow Analysis: The main purpose of this strategy is to analyze various components that can impact the output of workflow testing. From analyzing the requirements document provided by the client and the test data, to understanding and evaluating the production data, all important components required for testing are analyzed and created here to ensure that the process of testing is executed without any interruption or difficulty.
  • Workflow Designing: Here, the team in inclined towards creating a proper test design, which can assist them in performing workflow testing. In this stage, the team prepares the test plan based on the understanding of client and business requirements, such as the process, events, etc. Also, detailed test cases are developed by the testers, which are then reviewed and compared with the workflow defined by the users. At the end of workflow designing, various combinations of test data are developed, which are then executed at the end of the process.
  • Workflow Execution & Monitoring: At this level of workflow testing the team executes the developed test cases and identifies various defects by analyzing the output. Furthermore, the identified defects and bugs are reported to the responsible individual, who then prepares a plan to resolve or fix the issue. Once the defect is taken care off, the workflow is retested and the results are reported in the status report published at the end of the process.

Who will Perform Workflow Testing?

Though the process of workflow testing involves the efforts of the whole testing team, there are few vital roles and responsibilities which are handled by some important members of the team. Hence, following are the individuals responsible for performing workflow testing.

  • Test Engineer: The role of the test engineer is one of the most important one. S/he is responsible for planning and scheduling the goal and purpose of testing, for defining testing procedures and test cases, as well as for evaluating the results/output of testing.
  • Component Engineer: Another important role is of the component engineer, who is responsible for the development of test components as well as for automating various test procedures.
  • Integration Tester: As suggested by the name, the integration tester is responsible for executing integration testing and reporting various defects found during the process.
  • System Testers: Similar to integration testers, the role of system tester is to perform system testing and to report any defects, bugs, or errors found by them while performing the tests.

In short, the combined efforts and skills of these testers and engineers make the process of workflow testing possible.

Importance of Workflow Testing:

The importance and popularity of workflow testing has spread rapidly because of its ever increasing demand in this competitive world. This new and advanced type of functional testing allows organizations promote smooth functioning of their business, which further benefits them in numerous ways. The other reasons that increase the importance of workflow testing are:

  • It improves the efficiency of the processes and streamlines the workflow of the business.
  • Offers an insight into the various rules, tasks, steps, procedures, etc. assigned to numerous roles and individuals.
  • Enhances the performance and security of the software application.
  • Validates the accuracy and effectiveness of the workflow.
  • Helps achieve desired process or testing outcomes, which further help organizations deliver optimum user satisfaction.
  • Automates various business procedures and makes it abreast with latest technologies and trends.
  • Tests the business process and software workflow before it is deployed to the live environment.
  • Helps improve the workflow of the business process.
  • Offers assistance with Business process management.

Conclusion:

Workflow testing might be a new type of testing technique, but the advantages and benefits offered by this technique makes it immensely popular among software testers. With the assistance of this technique, software testers around the world are able to improve the quality, security, and performance of software applications as well as are able to enhance the effectiveness of various software procedures. Therefore, there is no doubt that workflow testing is revolutionizing the realm of software testing and making it more efficient and effective day-by-day.