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Understanding Test Monitoring and Test Control

Testing is paramount in determining the success of any product. Due to the number of activities involved in testing, being on top of things becomes difficult, especially in big organizations where multiple teams operate simultaneously. Moreover, with the pressure of delivering quickly, staying on track and keeping stakeholders informed about the progress tends to be a challenge. However, despite meticulous planning, there are high chances of issues arising during the cycle, leading to delays and missing deadlines, which ultimately affect business. With test monitoring and test control, it is possible to proactively survey the progress and make informed changes in the process in case of unforeseen circumstances. Let’s delve into the nitty gritty of these processes to better understand them.

What is test monitoring?

Usually done by seniors like test managers, test monitoring focuses on tracking the progress of testing activities during a testing cycle. This tracking is done by checking if certain milestones are achieved on time. These testing activities and expected milestones are detailed in test plans.

Test monitoring data can be generated in the form of reports that include metrics or execution statuses. The frequency of extracting this information depends solely on the project and how the team operates. For example, if the testing cycle is two weeks, then a report can be generated at the end of each week. If it is a very critical project, then reports can even be extracted twice a week.

Why should you do test monitoring?

Test monitoring is a proactive approach for dealing with execution snags during the testing cycle. Though it may seem like an intensive effort, its benefits are manifold.

  • Efficient QA: Monitoring testing efforts ensures that you achieve expected results in a time-boxed fashion. Through test monitoring you can manage testing resources like testers, test environments, test data, and testing tools, ensuring that they are available when needed, reducing delays and resource bottlenecks.
  • Early risk detection: Test monitoring helps in identifying and managing risks associated with the testing process. Teams can assess the impact of potential risks and implement strategies to mitigate them, reducing the likelihood of testing delays and project failures.
  • Communication and collaboration: Effective communication and collaboration among team members, including testers, developers, project managers, and business analysts, are essential to address issues and ensure alignment with project goals.
  • Customer satisfaction: By identifying and addressing issues early in the testing process, test monitoring contributes to the overall quality of the software product, which, in turn, leads to higher customer satisfaction.

If done right, test monitoring provides confidence that the software is thoroughly tested and ready for production deployment, reducing the likelihood of critical issues occurring in the live environment.

What should you monitor?

Through test monitoring, you can track various aspects of the testing process like

  • Resources: Due to unforeseen circumstances, one might need to reallocate resources like manpower, test data, testing environment, or testing tools.
  • Schedule: There is always a time crunch when it comes to delivery and staying on schedule is vital for the business. This tracking is possible through test monitoring.
  • Cost: Managing the project budget throughout the process is possible only if one is actively tracking expenses and savings.
  • Quality: Examining certain standards throughout the testing process helps ascertain if the product is delivering a certain quality standard.

Usually, metrics for each of these parameters are employed for tracking purposes.

What is test control?

Based on the observations during test monitoring, test control focuses on making necessary adjustments, taking corrective actions, and making decisions to ensure that testing remains on track and meets its intended goals. Through the metrics observed during test monitoring, actions on defect prioritization for resolution, resource reallocation, and testing scope changes are done.

What do test monitoring and test control entail?

Test monitoring and test control go hand in hand. The common tasks involved in doing them are

  • Test execution monitoring: Tracking the progress of test case execution to ensure that tests are being carried out according to the test plan and schedule.
  • Tracking test metrics: Any sort of monitoring is meaningless without relevant data or metrics to indicate progress. Test metrics help make informed decisions to meet targets.
  • Course correction: Sometimes there may arise a need to deviate from the original test plan to accommodate present occurrences while meeting deadlines. This sort of future prediction can be done using the data collected during test monitoring.
  • Continuous feedback to the team: Test monitoring highlights the areas that need to be changed to stay on track or to adhere to the new plan. It is imperative to apprise the testing team of these updated objectives. If there are some other suggestions in the way testing activities are being executed, then those too should be shared with the team.
  • Regular updates to concerned parties: Generating and distributing regular test progress reports to stakeholders helps provide insights into testing status, metrics, and any issues encountered. This facilitates a great way to keep everyone on the same page.

Tips for effective test monitoring and test control

To get the most out of test monitoring and test control, you can follow some simple steps.

  • Always set standards before beginning: What this essentially means is having a standard guideline, like a test plan along with suitable test metrics. The guidelines will give a clear-cut direction to those working on the testing activities whereas the predefined test metrics will help the one monitoring to document the progress.
  • Document and make it available to all: All discussions and agreed-upon standards, issues, test results, and metrics need to be documented and shared in a format that is understandable and accessible to all parties involved.
  • Perform proper risk assessment: The essence of test monitoring and control lies in constant risk monitoring and mitigation. Before diving into the execution phase of the project, take the time to document potential risks and their contingency plans. This will help everyone involved to be flexible and ready for change.
  • Leverage experience: As effective data-driven planning can be, there are some situations where you will benefit the most from the experience of some of your senior team members. When setting standards and performing risk assessment, include such members to see if they have better approaches to tackle such situations.
  • Have a growth mindset: Change tends to bring up resistance. Condition the team in advance to expect situations where they need to alter course. Use every incident as a learning for future test cycles so that the team can function smoothly going forward.
  • Set a protocol for driving changes: In the pressure to deliver, there is a high chance that unilateral decisions might be made which will backfire once the product reaches the client. Discuss a standard protocol in situations where changes are required. This will ensure that everyone knows how to deal with unexpected predicaments during the test cycle.
  • Make strategic cuts: When faced with the task of making changes to the original test plan in the testing cycle, weigh the pros and cons of deviating from the course and choose the option that causes the least damage to the business.

Selecting an effective test automation tool minimizes the need for test control

With the support of reliable test automation, you can ensure greater test coverage, lower test maintenance costs, and stable test runs. This helps reduce the chaos that arises when test monitoring detects the need for test control to course-correct due to delays in the testing process. testRigor is one tool that offers all these benefits and more.

testRigor employs AI to provide the most stable test runs, drastically reducing test maintenance. This allows the QA team to concentrate on their primary task: creating quality test cases. With testRigor, you can automate complex scenarios, such as 2-factor authentication, email and SMS content manipulation, and interaction with table data, all without any coding. The tool’s AI identifies elements on the screen based on plain English statements, eliminating the need to mention the elements’ implementation details and further reducing test maintenance.

This tool is user-friendly, boasting a minimal learning curve. Its intuitive UI presents test report statistics graphically, simplifying the interpretation of test execution status. You can also enhance testRigor’s capabilities by integrating it with test case management, issue-tracking tools and frameworks, as well as CI/CD tools.

Conclusion

Being proactive with test monitoring during the testing cycle can prove beneficial for your business as it makes you privy to the live status of events. Based on these observations, you can further employ test control tactics to make changes to the existing plan of action so that goals can be met. Make sure to use suitable tools like those meant for test monitoring or test automation to ensure that you get the most out of these exercises.

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