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Software Test Maintenance [Checklist & Techniques]

Author: Pricilla Bilavendran

Last updated: February 24, 2024

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Hello there, in the last blog, we discussed the fundamentals of test maintenance. Test maintenance is a vital, yet often overlooked, activity in any software development life cycle. There are many reasons why test cases need to be updated, including changes to the product, new features, and bug fixes. Software testers can perform test case management tasks, which is just as important as testing. Test maintenance helps qualify your software in its final stage.

In this blog, we will discuss detailed tips, and best practices to help us with an effective test maintenance strategy. We will also present an overview of the major parts of a successful test maintenance process as well as recommendations on how to create an effective test maintenance plan.

 

 

How to Set Up an Effective Test Maintenance Plan

Keeping the software test setup updated and working smoothly is critical for any business seeking to maximize the return from its software testing efforts. It is not just about creating new test cases or upgrading existing ones, but also about properly preserving them so that they may be utilized for future reference.

Setting up an efficient test maintenance plan, on the other hand, might be a challenging feat. To guarantee that all tests are performed consistently and with the most recent data, rigorous planning and execution of the appropriate processes are required.

We can manage this with some tips and tricks:

  1. Keep a checklist of all your test cases along with their statuses (passed/failed etc). This will help you to keep track of what has been done and what needs to be done.
  1. Use automation tools to automate repetitive tasks such as generating data sets or running tests on multiple environments such as QA, UAT, and so on, so that you can save time and focus on other aspects of your project.
  1. Automate regression testing to reduce the burden on you if there are numerous defects identified by users after each release of the product that need to be fixed quickly before releasing another version for public use.
  1. Always ensure to map the requirements to the test cases. This helps to update the test cases whenever there’s a change in a particular requirement.

 

Let’s see these checklists in greater detail:

 

 

Checklist for Effective Software Test Maintenance

Many useful aspects of test maintenance contribute to the quality of the product. Follow these guidelines to learn more and maximize your results.

  • Analyze release notes: Every build comes with the release notes with the list of changes/additions. Examine the release notes thoroughly to understand any modifications that will affect the test cases that are currently in use.
  • Keep an eye on the test environments: Ensure that automated tests are running on the most recent versions of the product and its dependencies. Also, ensure that the test environment configurations match the production environment.
  • Prioritize tests: Prioritize tests to guarantee that the most critical tests are updated first. This will assist to decrease the amount of effort and focus on the tests that will most likely need to be modified.
  • Update test cases: Modify any existing test cases affected by the modifications or upgrades along with the dependent test cases. This may necessitate changes to the test processes, expected outcomes, and data used.
  • Refactor test cases: Refactor existing test cases to increase test performance and lower the number of duplicate tests. This will reduce the maintenance time and effort for the product.
  • Don’t underestimate the power of regression testing: Implement regression testing for any changes or adjustments to ensure that current functionality continues to function properly.
  • Reassign tests: Reassigning tests to the appropriate person or team to ensure that big or complex tests are properly managed. They are the right ones to manage it.
  • Document the changes: Track the changes made to your test cases and processes. This can aid in tracking when tests have been adjusted and why. This may seem terrible, but believe me, it will save you a lot of headaches in the future.
  • Archive old tests: Archive old and outdated tests that are no longer applicable to the current system. This will make it easy to evaluate recent test cases and will also assist to avoid misunderstandings about older test cases.

 

All these processes might help you in the effective maintenance of the test cases.

 

 

How to Optimize the Software Test Maintenance Process to Bring Maximum Value to our Organization

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”

Abraham Lincoln – 16th U.S. President

For every organization, test maintenance plays a very important role in terms of time, quality, and budget. Here are a few pointers to help you improve your test maintenance process so that it adds the most value to your business.

  1. State well-defined requirements: It is essential to have explicit test requirements, including exact test objectives, parameters, and expected outcomes. Before commencing any maintenance procedure, the team should review the existing test requirements and develop a plan outlining any modifications that must be done to guarantee the criteria are satisfied.
  1. Plan testing activities in advance: Before producing a new build or deploying an application into production, the best method to enhance your testing efforts is to plan activities ahead of time. So as soon as the project is finalized and initiated, start planning your testing activities.
  1. Design tests efficiently: Think about the impact of each test on the maintenance process and design tests that are easy to maintain. Use design patterns to create tests that are simple to maintain and alter. Using parameters/variables while designing can save a significant amount of time and effort when upgrading tests.
  1. Regular review of tests: Frequent review of test cases is needed to ensure accuracy. This evaluation should involve checking for missing test cases, confirming that tests are still valid, finding obsolete tests, and changing tests as needed.
  1. Implement version control: Using version control throughout the maintenance process allows you to track changes and guarantee that no changes are missed and that all changes are simply rolled out.
  1. Implement continuous testing: Continuous testing enables tests to be written, updated, and performed considerably more quickly. Continuous testing offers the company real-time feedback with each build and helps to guarantee that the application is free of bugs and makes the process of test maintenance significantly easier.
  1. Manage test data: Managing test data is an essential component of the testing process. Keep test data in a centralized repository and properly identify it so all team members can access and change it as needed.
  1. Leverage DevOps practices: Adopting DevOps methods can support teams in optimizing the testing process. Continuous integration, automated testing, and continuous delivery are DevOps approaches that may help teams save time on manual test maintenance and just-in-time changes.
  1. Automate test maintenance: Reduce the amount of manual work necessary by automating as much of your test maintenance process as possible. This can involve automated issue tracking, creating reports, evaluating test results, and verifying bug fixes.
  1. Utilize continuous improvement processes: Implementing continuous improvement processes helps ensure that teams continually look for ways to optimize test maintenance. Implementing continuous improvement processes helps teams to ensure that tests remain valid, test coverage is up to date, and the organization achieves the highest value from the test maintenance process.
  1. Process standardization: Consider utilizing template documents, implementing processes for review, and automating as much as possible to simplify operations. Process streamlining can significantly minimize the cost and time necessary for maintenance.
  1. Track changes: Track any modifications to tests during the maintenance process and verify that all changes are documented. This can assist verify that any modifications made were tested and that no changes were neglected.

 

 

Conclusion: Key Takeaways

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

Benjamin Franklin – Founding Father of the United States

The quality of products is ensured by having good test cases updated and maintained every time there is a modification in the product.

The maintenance phase is crucial to the whole software testing life cycle. This is because it allows for a fluid transition between the stages of Analysis, Development, Testing, and Evaluation. To make that happen, you must ensure that your test plan template and test scripts are sustainable. This may be accomplished by utilizing the appropriate tools and approaches to make the tests easy to edit, update, and maintain while they are running.

We hope this article helped you grasp different aspects of test maintenance and also provided you with some tips and best practices for making the tests easier to maintain and update.

Pricilla Bilavendran

Pricila Bilavendran is a test engineer and a certified mentor, currently at Billennium, as well as an advocate for diversity and inclusion. Her experience with Functional, EDI, ETL, Automation, API testing and Postman is part of what she shares in her workshops, webinars, and writing. A global ambassador for the WomenTech Network, and one of the speakers at its 2023 conference, she can be found on LinkedIn, Twitter, and her blog.