Software Testing

Unlike physical systems, most of the defects in software are design errors. Read about the important purpose of software testing and differentiate between verification and validation and basic software testing terms. Compare and contrast the use of various testing strategies, including black-box, white-box, top-down, and bottom-up.

Test Process

Test Activities

Under this topic, a brief overview of test activities is given; as often implied by the following description, successful management of test activities strongly depends on the Software Configuration Management process.


Like any other aspect of project management, testing activities must be planned. Key aspects of test planning include coordination of personnel, management of available test facilities and equipment (which may include magnetic media, test plans, and procedures), and planning for possible undesirable outcomes. If more than one baseline of the software is being maintained, then a major planning consideration is the time and effort needed to ensure that the test environment is set to the proper configuration.

Test-case generation

Generation of test cases is based on the level of testing to be performed and the particular testing techniques. Test cases should be under the control of software configuration management and include the expected results for each test.

Test environment development

The environment used for testing should be compatible with the software engineering tools. It should facilitate development and control of test cases, as well as logging and recovery of expected results, scripts, and other testing materials.


Execution of tests should embody a basic principle of scientific experimentation: everything done during testing should be performed and documented clearly enough that another person could replicate the results. Hence, testing should be performed in accordance with documented procedures using a clearly defined version of the software under test.

Test results evaluation

The results of testing must be evaluated to determine whether or not the test has been successful. In most cases, "successful" means that the software performed as expected and did not have any major unexpected outcomes. Not all unexpected outcomes are necessarily faults, however, but could be judged to be simply noise. Before a failure can be removed, an analysis and debugging effort is needed to isolate, identify, and describe it. When test results are particularly important, a formal review board may be convened to evaluate them.

Problem reporting/Test log

Testing activities can be entered into a test log to identify when a test was conducted, who performed the test, what software configuration was the basis for testing, and other relevant identification information. Unexpected or incorrect test results can be recorded in a problem-reporting system, the data of which form the basis for later debugging and for fixing the problems that were observed as failures during testing. Also, anomalies not classified as faults could be documented in case they later turn out to be more serious than first thought. Test reports are also an input to the change management request process.

Defect tracking

Failures observed during testing are most often due to faults or defects in the software. Such defects can be analyzed to determine when they were introduced into the software, what kind of error caused them to be created (poorly defined requirements, incorrect variable declaration, memory leak, programming syntax error, for example), and when they could have been first observed in the software. Defect-tracking information is used to determine what aspects of software engineering need improvement and how effective previous analyses and testing have been.