Test Control

What is meant by the Test Control?

In the field of software testing, the term test control may be seen as an open-ended exercise performed throughout the testing phase to compare the actual progress of the phase with the pre-specified & developed plans and accordingly directing the testing process.

Thus, the main intent, behind the test control activity is to meet the specified objectives, and implementing the corrective actions, to control and mentor the testing phase in order to achieve the goals, in accordance with pre-decided strategy and time duration.

Why it is needed?

The probability of, what a human being thinks of, and what actually happens, is close to "zero", unless and until, all goes well, from beginning to end.

Similarly, in the field of software engineering, a project is planned, to be completed within the stipulated time period, but most of the time, the progress of the project lacks behind its specified deadline. This situation, has become the common scenario in most of the projects and may arise due to various factors such as

  • Deviation in the functioning of the software product may require additional time to resolve the issue.
  • Requirements and specifications, to be added or deleted as desired by the client or the stakeholders.
  • Rescheduling or decreasing the working hours due to some unavoidable circumstances.

Test Control Activities

Basically, the activities of test control are based on the results of the test monitoring. So first, let's have a small overview of "Test Monitoring".

The terminology "Test monitoring", itself describes its job. Test monitoring is a time management activity, used to evaluate and observe the status of the current process. What is observed in the test monitoring, is being used in the test control process to implement the corrective actions.

Now coming back to the test control. For test control, a tester may opt for the negative approach. Its basic working consists of following steps in a sequential manner:

  • Reviewing and analyzing the till-date status of the testing phase, which may include, the number of tests being executed, severity of the risks, defects and issues covered, percentage of tests passed and failed, etc.
  • Observing and documenting the testing phase progress, including coverage and exit criteria, in order to inform and make development team aware about the test status, which may be prove to be useful for them.
  • Regular reporting of the test status, so as to make Test/Project Manger and chief stakeholder, updated in order to make decisions and strategies.
  • Identifying the risk, to design and develop the matrix, associated with risks and its several attributes.
  • Implementing corrective actions and taking effective decisions to achieve the desired objectives.

Based on the status report of the test monitoring process, following activities may be implemented as the corrective measures:

  • Restructuring the environmental set-up as per the current requirements.
  • Re-Prioritizing the test cases, based on the severity of the risks and important critical functionalities.
  • Re-considering the test exit criteria.
  • Re-visiting and re-scheduling the test execution dates.

Thus, it may be concluded that test control is a management activity, which constantly execute throughout the testing phase to bring the derailed ongoing process back on the track in order to achieve the set-up goals.

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