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The first challenge is quality assurance. The tendency is to think that the testing team are the people responsible for QA. This is where the challenge comes in. The reality is that quality assurance is the responsibility of both development and testing. Both are actually parts of the same team. Shoving all quality control off on testing can cause bad blood between two elements that should be working together. It must be remembered that development can't always account for everything and testing cannot increase quality, but only assure a minimum level. Development and testing must meet the challenge of working together from day one of the project.
Another challenge is recognizing usability problems as bugs. It's very easy to dismiss certain types of usability problems because they don't immediately stop software function. These problems may be something simple like printouts that are not as good as they could be or data presented in a non-optimum fashion. Such problems appear more as inconveniences that must be lived with, when they should be red flags. The key to overcoming this challenge is to put the user first at all times while using experienced testers who aren't shy about reporting usability problems.
The third challenge is knowing when to use automation and when to test manually. There is a strong drive to push automation, as it is faster and can be less expensive under certain circumstances. However, automation can’t cover everything and there are times when there is no substitute for a skilled tester. Generally, the best time to start automated testing is after the software has been stabilized, to some extent, by manual testing.
There are a number of myths about testing that have to be overcome. A prominent myth is that software testing is not a specialized activity and can be done by the development team. However, testing and development are two different mindsets. There is a big difference between building a software application and intentionally trying to crash that application. These two mindsets don’t go together. Building and testing belong in different magisterium. Nor can software be tested by just anyone.
Putting testing in perspective is perhaps the single biggest challenge. No amount of testing can guarantee to find all the bugs in any system. This is why testing often continues beyond release. How long testing continues and how often retesting is done depends on the complexity and purpose of the software.
Testing is a vital part of the software development pipeline and it is the best way to assure long run performance which requires high quality skilled testers who can meet its many challenges.
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