How to Avoid 8 Most Common Software Testing Problems

According to a study by the National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST), inadequate software testing costs the American economy between $22.2 and $59.5 billion every year. (

Organizations invest large chunks of their budgets into testing, so how come the industry still notes such losses? Despite the dedication of companies to deliver high-performing and bug-free products, testing might still be less efficient than we would wish.

Testing is key to boosting the performance of your product and reducing software vulnerabilities, so make sure that your organization implements best practices and tools for test management to avoid common testing problems.

Here are 8 testing problems you should avoid to ensure that your testing process brings your product to success.

Test planning and scheduling issues

If you’re not operating on the basis of a separate test plan but scatter your testing data over several planning documents, prepare for a challenge. You can’t afford to ignore your test plan once you write it down. Your test case descriptions aren’t enough to guide your testing process.

Test scheduling is just as important as planning. I’ve noticed that many organizations fail to predict the amount of time required for testing, especially if testing is mostly manual. It’s not smart to postpone significant testing endlessly – you don’t want to get down to it when the development process is too advanced.

Your test team doesn’t collaborate well

Project managers often deal with testing that falls behind schedule and try to push their teams into higher productivity.

If your team needs to deliver a project on an aggressive timetable, you need to ensure that they’ve got enough resources and qualifications required for testing your product.

And that includes communication and collaboration – you simply need your team to work well together.

Testing projects are complex, and their progress depends on team collaboration. If your team is unable to meet the schedule, you need to detect and address the problem as soon as possible. Trust me – the longer you take to manage it, the more difficult it will become.

Selecting tests

Remember one important thing: you will not be able to perform all possible and desired tests.

That’s why choosing the right test for your project is a critical step. If you fail to do that, your testing process might not cover an important aspect of your product.

Prioritize functions and requirements that are likely to contain problems and that are critical to the working of your product.

Most of the time, your product will be way too complex to be tested from every possible angle. Starting with these elements is a smart move – that’s how you help your team save time and focus on what matters. Especially when deciding which parts won’t be tested.

Not enough automation

If your team spends most of their time on running test cases, but tests are still executed slowly, you probably need to introduce more automated testing to your process.

A new system feature might require an entire day of manual testing – and you risk that the test fails anyway because of a system time-out. Not to mention regression tests which are simply way too expensive to be carried out manually.

Finding defects in products during a late phase of testing leaves almost no time for regression tests, especially when it comes to defects which originate not in the code itself, but a requirement which wasn’t defined accurately.

There are many downturns to manual testing: your team might not be sure about repeating failed test cases, or it fails to produce new test specifications to match changed requirements. As a consequence, you’ll end up with an imprecise testing process and documentation which isn’t updated.

That’s why you need automated methods in your testing.

Test process issues

I’ve seen these issues happen when testing and engineering processes aren’t integrated enough. Some projects may require more integration than others. But most organizations develop one testing approach and stick to it in all projects.

And that’s how they end up with testing processes which are too integrated for their good. It’s not smart to begin testing components or subsystems before they’re mature enough for testing. You can expect test evaluations and maintenance to become problematic as well.

Tailor your testing process to the needs of the project at hand, every single time.

Lack of the right testing tools and environments

If your team doesn’t have access to the right testing tools, needs to rely on manual testing or deals with an insufficient number of test conditions, prepare for trouble. Provide your team with everything they need to render your testing process productive.

If your testing environment is in bad quality and doesn’t accurately represent the actual system that is being tested, your testing efforts will be all in vain. Make sure that your test data and environment are all accurate and under configuration control.

Testing doesn’t handle requirement changes

It’s not unlikely that after a year or more into creating test specifications, a team learns that requirement specifications has changed. Expect to spend plenty of time on locating the test which needs to be updated to match the new requirements.

Requirements-specification changes are a huge challenge to testers. The traceability of requirements is problematic, and the test method might not lead to detecting the consequences of requirement changes that are vital to test specifications.

That’s why you need to design your testing processes without forgetting about their maintainability. Group test by requirements and remember to implement traceability from requirements.

No archiving of testing results

Finally, some testing processes simply fail to archive testing log. How are organizations supposed to gather valuable information or enable learning?

Documenting the consequences should always be a part of the testing process.

Regular reporting helps in communication – having a trail of what you’ve done is essential for showing that your optimization efforts pay off.

Spotted a testing problem?

You’re already on your way to dealing with it. Once you identify the problem, make sure to describe it, so everyone knows what it is. Then sketch its potential consequences, so all stakeholders realize the gravity of the problem.

You also need to identify the underlying causes of the problem and develop recommendations to help your organization remove it from the testing process.

That’s how you make sure that your test management is top notch.

Have you got a question about testing? Add a comment, I’ll be happy to help you out.

Boguslaw Osuch

Bogusław is the Head of Atlassian Services at Deviniti. His brightness star in Deviniti Galaxy is to share knowledge about methodology, best practices, and IT standards. He uses his many years of experience every day to support companies in optimizing their internal processes and developing strategies. He believes that people are the essential element in every team, and the most effective teams are those that work according to jointly developed processes and use tools that release their potential. Bogusław is a pragmatist, entrepreneur, and passionate developer of algorithms, interested in psychology and development.

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