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Good intentions for software testing

January 22, 2016

The turn of the year is a good opportunity to look back on the past year and to formulate improvements for the new year. In practice, however, in most cases little remains of these good intentions at the end of January.

Practical tips

Parallels can be drawn between good intentions and the field of software testing. After all, often little remains of 'good test resolutions'. Experts have shared many tips in recent weeks on how to keep your good resolutions, which are also perfectly applicable to your good test resolutions. Whether it concerns regression testing, acceptance testing or software testing tools, we are happy to help you with the following practical tips.

Limit the number of good intentions

It is a good starting point to make a list of all desirable improvements in the area of software testing. From the appointment of one test responsible colleague to risk based testing and from the selection of a test management tool to the reuse of test scenarios. After all, there is plenty to wish for in the area of testing.

However, it is unwise to then name all these wishes as good test resolutions. Therefore, prioritise the list and select some of the most important ones and then focus all your attention on them. It is better to have only a few resolutions that are fully realised than to have to divide all your attention over a large number.

Set realistic goals

In order for goals to be achieved, it is important to set them realistically. A good example of this is, instead of automated regression testing, to first set the goal of building a good (manual) regression test.

Achievable goals work better than goals that are too ambitious. Improving the testing process is a gradual process. It is recommended to make small test improvements and secure these before taking the next step. An achieved goal also gives a good feeling and is a good basis for the next realistic goal.

Write down the good intentions and share them

By recording the good test intentions, you significantly increase the chance of success. Preferably do this in the form of a presentation rather than an extensive document. Share and test the presentation with those involved in the testing process in order to give weight to the good test intentions.

It is easier to realise the good intentions if those involved in the testing support you. It also creates a healthy pressure to execute the plans, because you do not want to leave already shared plans unfinished. Finally, sharing the plans creates awareness of the desired test improvements.

Choose a good starting moment

Starting with improvements in the testing process immediately after an ERP implementation is not the same as starting to exercise in the morning of 1 January. There are still too many issues that demand attention, leaving insufficient room for the good test intentions. Better starting points are found in the run-up to an upgrade, release or large software project.

In some cases it is wise to take a shorter period than one year for a good testing intention. A holiday period, for instance, is an ideal time to start using test tools, so that you can reap the benefits in the busy periods that follow. The summer period is a good time to make time for this.

Small mistakes are not the end

When implementing improvements in the testing process, mistakes are made. It is therefore important to regularly take stock of good test intentions and to evaluate together what went well and what did not.

Are you unable to secure the many test cases in the regression test set? Does an audit reveal that it is impossible to find out what the test results were? Use the results of the evaluation to adjust the plans.


The various pieces of advice on keeping good resolutions have one thing in common: the importance of rewarding. Although keeping a resolution is a reward in itself, success must be celebrated. With cake, champagne... Or even with a test management tool!

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