Testing Methodology – A Beginner’s Guide

Testing Methodologies
Testing Methodologies

Testing Methodology includes various testing strategies that we can employ to test systems. They provide a framework for the entire testing process at an organization.

These methodologies commonly include functional and non-functional testing to validate requirements.

One thing to remember is that software testing is an integral part of development so, many companies use the term Development Methodologies and Testing Methodologies interchangeably.

So, testing methodologies could, at some organizations, could also refer to models such as Waterfall, Agile, and other QA models.

In this blog, we will cover these QA models and briefly touch upon the testing types that fall under them.

Testing Methodology vs Testing Type

One school of thought considers the different types of testing as Testing Methodologies but that is not entirely true.

Even so, there are two types of testing that every QA engineer should be familiar with:

  • Functional Testing
  • Non-Functional Testing

Functional Testing

As the name might be glaringly obvious, this type of testing covers the essential part of any system. One of the primary tasks of Quality Assurance is to ensure a system does what it is intended to do. And functional testing is one way of ensuring the overall usability of software.

Non-Functional Testing

Oftentimes, there are non-functional requirements of a system that QA engineers need to consider. These can be things like the speed, performance, and aesthetics of a system.

Although what is classified as “non-functional” largely depends upon the requirements, there are certain features that we don’t really need but it’s nice to have them.

Testing Methodoloy – Types

Let us now discuss the 5 main types of testing methodologies and see what their benefits and drawbacks are.

Waterfall Methodology

Waterfall methodology is a sequential and linear approach to testing. 

All the phases in testing happen after another in a sequential manner. The waterfall model provides clear structure while developing a system, but it lacks flexibility.

Benefits

  • Structured and well-defined phases.
  • Easy to manage and track progress.
  • Clear documentation.
  • Suitable for projects with stable requirements.

Drawbacks

  • Inflexible for changing requirements.
  • Testing happens late in the cycle, leading to potential rework.
  • Limited user feedback until later stages.
  • Can be time-consuming for large projects.
  • High risk of discovering critical issues late in development.

Please refer to our blog on waterfall methodology to learn more.

Iterative Methodology

Iterative model focuses on repetitive cycles of development and testing.

In iterative model, each iteration delivers a partially functional product, with feedback incorporated into subsequent cycles.

Benefits

  • Adaptable to changing requirements.
  • Early and continuous testing throughout the development cycle.
  • Faster feedback loop for improvements.
  • Reduced risk of major issues at the end.
  • Better user experience through iterative feedback.

Drawbacks

  • Requires good project management and communication.
  • Can be challenging to estimate project timelines.
  • More complex to document due to evolving requirements.
  • May require more upfront planning for testing each iteration.
  • Potential for scope creep if requirements are not well-managed.

Agile Methodology

Agile is an iterative and incremental approach emphasizing continuous collaboration between everyone involved in the project.

It uses short development cycles (called sprints) to deliver continuously evolving features. Agile is highly adaptable but it does require strong communication and a team that can self-manage.

Benefits

  • Highly adaptable to changing requirements.
  • Focuses on delivering working software in short iterations.
  • Encourages close collaboration between development and testing teams.
  • Continuous integration and testing throughout the development cycle.
  • New features can be released fast.

Drawbacks

  • Requires a highly skilled and dedicated team.
  • May not be suitable for projects with strict deadlines or complex requirements.
  • Increased emphasis on documentation can be challenging.
  • Quality assurance processes need to be well-defined within short sprints.
  • Requires ongoing stakeholder involvement and prioritization.

Please refer to our blog on agile testing to learn more.

Spiral Model

Spiral Model is a risk-driven, iterative approach combining elements of waterfall and prototyping.

In the spiral model, each iteration assesses project risks, defines functionalities, develops, and tests. The spiral model provides a structured, risk-mitigating approach but complexity can increase project management overhead.

Benefits

  • Combines the strengths of waterfall and iterative methodologies.
  • Risk assessment is integrated throughout the development lifecycle.
  • Allows for early prototyping and user feedback.
  • Adaptable to changing requirements with iterative cycles.
  • Provides a structured approach for managing risks.

Drawbacks

  • Can be more complex to manage than waterfall or agile.
  • Requires a clear understanding of risk management principles.
  • May not be suitable for small or simple projects.
  • Finding the right balance between planning and iteration can be challenging.
  • Increased emphasis on risk management can add overhead.

Please refer to our blog on spiral model to learn more.

V-Model

V-Model is a synchronous development lifecycle that mirrors the waterfall model.

In the V-Model, development phases have their corresponding verification phases that happen concurrently.

This model ensures early and continuous testing but inflexibility to changing requirements can be an issue.

Benefits

  • Strong focus on testing throughout the development lifecycle.
  • Testing phases mirror development phases for a comprehensive approach.
  • Easier to identify and track defects early in the process.
  • Suitable for projects with strict quality requirements.
  • Clear documentation of testing activities.

Drawbacks

  • Less flexible for changing requirements compared to iterative models.
  • Testing activities are highly dependent on completed development phases.
  • Can be time-consuming for rapid development projects.
  • Requires upfront planning and well-defined requirements.
  • Less emphasis on user feedback during early development stages.

Please refer to our blog on V-Model to learn more.

Choosing the right Testing Methodology

There are tons of factors to consider before you choose the appropriate testing methodology for your projects.

Here are a few:

Time and Budget

Not all projects have the same timeframes and budget. So, the testing methodology you adopt should be in accordance with the resources available for the project.

An average software testing process can take anywhere from three to six weeks, but this largely depends both on software complexity and involvement/depth of the testing method used.

When it comes to budget, the cost of testing can be all over the place. It is important to remember that a project’s complexity is also a major factor in its budget allocation.

If you don’t have a big budget and the project is small which can be delivered in a week or so, there’s no point in adopting the Agile methodology. In this case, you can use iterative methodology.

Test Objective

We all know that the primary purpose of software testing is to ensure a bug-free system. But there are certain situations where looking at the overall application is important.

Discovering bugs is just one part of the process. There are other things that need a QAs attention and that include things like performance, stress, and load.

We need to ensure there are enough guarantees and redundancies to minimize software crashes and laggy experiences in our software.

Possible Defects

Defect testing is an example of exploratory software testing that’s used to learn the landscape of the software in-depth and test its design.

Normally, defects that occur at the later stages of software development can be difficult to detect and may require intensive testing to locate, especially compared to other errors or faults in the system. They are software flaws that can impact functionality, value, and usability.

Bugs, however, are errors or mistakes in code that may crash or malfunction a software. Also, defects are commonly discovered early by software developers, while bugs are more likely detected by QA engineers.

Why should you understand Testing Methodology?

The world of software testing is vast and navigating it can feel overwhelming. But you don’t have to worry. By understanding various testing methodologies, you will be able to implement the appropriate one in your projects.

One key takeaway from this blog would be to realize that there isn’t one size fits all approach. So, consider your project needs, time constraints, budget, and risk tolerance before you dive headfirst into a particular testing methodology.

Testing Methodologies
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