Why requirements test coverage is key to success?

Updated by Tatiana Glazkova on June 23th, 2021

Requirements are an essential element of every software development process. These are the requirements that determine how the process will look and what quality criteria a given system, module or specific functionality has to match. Developers implement solutions and testers design tests on the basis of the information included in requirements. If requirements are clear and well-defined, the testers can start writing tests at the early stage of software development – when the solution is still under construction.

Major challenges for IT teams

According to the survey conducted among 150+ software development companies by GoodFirmsthe major challenge for an IT team is adapting and meeting customers’ changing requirements (53.8% of the participants mentioned it). 17.7% of the surveyed companies noted that they regularly have to face problems with performance management and testing. Moreover, about 8.9% of developers point to a misunderstanding in the customers’ requirements, as the latter are not confident enough in their requirements.

Major challenges - software development survey results graph: Integrating Different Systems and Technologies 6,5%; Understanding User Requirements 8,9%; Finding and Hiring Right Developers 13,1%; Continuous Performance Management 17,7%; Adapting to Changing Client Requirements 53,8%

 GoodFirms, The survey conducted among 150+ software development companies 

Covering requirements is a process that allows you to control how many requirements have been developed by testers, what types of tests have been designed, and how much is still needed to be done before the requirements are ready for execution. If you’re working with numerous requirements, a coverage report can save you time by getting the information you need quickly, rather than checking each requirement separately.

Requirement-based tests

Approaching testing with requirements doesn’t mean that you will only design tests on the basis of requirements, but also that you will be checking requirements themselves at the stage when they are formulated.

By doing that, you’ll be able to eliminate mistakes that could soon turn out to be very costly. You will also be able to tell whether the requirements are complete, straightforward, testable, and coherent.

In the next stage of your work – preparing and verifying requirements – you will be adding test cases. It’s smart to do that before your software is ready. That way, when the first version of the application is delivered, you will save up a lot of time and go straight to testing, planning the next test cycles in advance.

If you will not relate your tests with a requirement, you will not be able to check which tests have already been created. This information is critical to learning at what stage you are in your process.

Note: Tests need to realize business aspects of requirements and always focus on user expectations regarding the application.

Coverage level

How do you know that you have reached an adequate level of coverage when it comes to testing its requirements?

That question is tough to answer. In fact, the answer to this question probably doesn’t exist, especially if you’re talking about testing at the functional level and not the code level. This is quite a subjective aspect that needs to be assessed on the basis of characteristics such as the priority or risk of a given requirement.

You can assume that every requirement that describes a business need has to have at least one test designed for it that checks the so-called positive path. However, you often want to test a broader scope that includes alternative paths.

The fact of the requirement test coverage doesn’t really tell you much, especially when you assume that a requirement is covered by at least one test. That’s why it’s a good idea to look at each requirement separately.

While one test may be sufficient in one case, another requirement may demand a different scope of test design. Test analysts will need to use their experience and knowledge of business needs to determine if tests designed for specific requirements are comprehensive enough.

Checking coverage with Jira reports

If the version you are working with contains a large number of requirements, it may be difficult to check the coverage for each of them. Do you want to have access to crucial information and a quick view of requirements and related tasks?

What is particularly important here are the requirements that have not been covered. You don’t want to end up in a situation where you plan the next test cycle or, even worse, execute it, and it turns out that a part of the requirements has not been tested.

Before starting the test execution phase, you need to be sure that the range of tests for a given version is complete.

That’s where Jira Software comes in. By using it, you can save requirements in the form of issues. And by taking advantage of applications available on the Atlassian Marketplace, you can expand the functionalities of Jira Software to cover test management as well.

Two applications developed by Deviniti are an example of such an extension. They are TestFLO – Test Management for Jira and Requirements & Test Management for Jira (RTM).

TestFLO enables setting a complete testing process, as well as test case creation and connecting to the requirements. To verify the requirements coverage, there are two reports. They are a Requirement Test Coverage report and a Requirement Traceability one.

The Requirement Test Coverage report shows the connection between the two object types, Requirements and Tests, and allows displaying all the requirements together with their attributes such as status or summary. The requirements can be filtered using its version or other saved filters.

TestFLO - Requirement Test Coverage Report screen view

TestFLO – Requirement Test Coverage Report 

The Requirement Traceability report analyzes requirements vs tests vs execution of these tests vs reported errors. In other words, it gives you an overall picture of the requirements testing efforts in a release. Moreover, in TestFLO you can filter out requirements that have and haven’t been covered.

TestFLO - Requirement Traceability Report Screen View

TestFLO – Requirement Traceability report 

To check, if the requirements are covered by the tests in RTM, you can use a Traceability Matrix report and a Requirement Coverage report.

The Traceability Matrix provides the ability to compare any two basic requirement types on a many-to-many basis. However, it’s used not only to check the coverage of Requirements but to compare two different types of test objects with each other to check their relationship. It means you can check the coverage of Test Cases by Test Plans, Test Plans by Test Executions, etc. The report also shows the number of Requirements covered by the Test Case and the percentage of those covered by all of them.

Traceability Matrix in RTM screen view

Traceability Matrix in RTM 

As for the Requirement Coverage report in RTM, it keeps track of whether the Requirements are covered by any of the other attributes provided in the application.

Requirement Test Coverage Report in RTM Screen View - Requirements, Test Cases, Test Plans, Test Executions, Test Case (Executions), Deffects, TCE 2

Requirement Coverage report in RTM 

Key takeaway

Building software on the basis of previously defined requirements is a popular approach because it allows you to quickly identify bugs and design tests that are closely related to a given requirement. That type of process helps teams to verify the real business needs of users efficiently and measure the rate of requirements coverage as well.

Requirements coverage is a useful factor that shows how many requirements have been covered and what types of tests were written for them. By assessing requirements coverage, you can tell whether you can start test execution for a given version or still need to design some more tests. Naturally, you can avoid the situation where particular requirements are never tested.

RTM and TestFLO allow comfortable monitoring of the requirements together with the tests related to them. The requirements and tests are equipped with the most important attributes to enable easier verification. The ability to filter out the requirements makes the entire process of looking for information in the applications even more straightforward. Go ahead, choose a better option of our applications for you, and get a demo version for free for 30 days.

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Marcin Żurawiecki

Test specialist, Jira enthusiast. With a few years of experience in testing and the Atlassian environment, I strongly believe that Jira combined with other Atlassian tools is a great place to design almost every process, not only test management. After hours a big fan of speedway and board games, also a homebrewer.

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