Crafting a Mobile Software Testing Strategy

In a perfect software development world, you have all the time and the resources available to test every aspect of your mobile apps. In reality, the time and resources for software testing are limited. In his book “Tap Into Mobile Application Testing“, Jonathan Kohl discusses how to define a strategy for mobile testing projects.

Whenever you test, your job is to use your limited time and resources to generate ideas, execute tests, observe and document what happens to the application you are testing, and provide that information to the people who need it. While that sounds simple, software can be used in many ways, in many environments, for different purposes by different people with different handsets. There is a potentially limitless universe of options to test out. It is up to you to find an optimal path, and that’s just what you’ll do.

You have two choices:

1. Choice One: Ignore thinking about strategy and therefore, implicitly create a strategy.

That means you don’t really think about it and just dive in and test. If that’s your choice, you’ll likely miss important information and problems. You may do what you have always done before on testing projects, or ask someone else to tell you what to test. You can be passive and hope you stumble on the important problems, (and win that lottery) or you can be active and strategic about how you spend your time.

1. Choice Two: Think about and explicitly create a strategy to maximize your time and effort and find out important information at the right time.

An explicit strategy is always a better way to go. In business school, we were taught that up to 80% of new business ventures fail. Another metric they drilled into us was that 100% of business ventures that don’t plan will fail. Even though plans change, or were completely wrong, that act of planning and figuring out how to use your resources is an important part of a project. It helps you focus your efforts towards high-value activities. The first step in a solid plan is to create a strategy.

Here are some questions to ask to help you form a strategy:
* What is my objective for this testing project?
* What can I use to try to reach that objective?
* Is the objective clear enough so that we can tell whether we have reached it or not?
* How do I prioritize so I can focus my work, especially if I run out of time?

Source: Tap Into Mobile Application Testing, Jonathan Kohl, LeanPub

A mobile software testing strategy is highly dependent on the usage context of the application. You will have to use a different approach if you are testing an ebanking application in Austria than if you are developing an international music streaming service. A mobile testing approach should consider both the mobile-specific aspects of software, like the possible interruption of network connection, and the features of the app under test. In all cases, a mobile strategy should include usage scenarios that test both perspectives. As the time and resources for software testing are limited, an important part of the mobile testing strategy is to define priorities, as it is as much important to know what to test than what NOT to test.

More references on mobile testing strategies

How the Google+ Team Tests Mobile Apps

Test Strategy for Mobile Applications

Mobile Testing Best Practices

Mobile Testing: How to Maintain Your Devices

Better Mobile Testing for Better User Experience

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