Which route should I take to the office today? What clothes should I wear, keeping in mind the weather and where I am going? Is a cold salad the right lunch for me or do I need something more filling?
Just like our decisions in the real world change with circumstances (i.e., the context), so must our testing approach for products to work well in the real world. Unfortunately, not every company knows the meaning of context-driven testing or its key principles, despite its benefits.
What is Context Driven Testing?
When it comes to this form of testing, there is no singular, universally applicable best practice.
Context-driven testers identify their goals, methods, and outcomes by identifying the specifics of the situation, such as the interests of the stakeholders who ordered the testing. Context-driven testing’s greatest strength is the task-appropriate utilization of skills and decision-making – and not conventional methodologies.
How Does Context-Driven Testing Work?
Generally speaking, a conventional testing method consists of the steps outlined below. Typically, this will be followed by test preparation, record keeping, environment configuration, implementation, and reporting.
Currently, there is nothing incorrect with this method. However, if we ask whether this strategy allows for an optimal outcome, the response may be “doubtful.”
Context-driven testing, on the contrary, is opposed to following the same processes for each undertaking. As its name suggests, context-driven testing places greater emphasis on the present circumstances of the project in question rather than blindly conforming to a preset method or technique.
This is important because every endeavor we undertake has unique conditions, such as:
- Availability/composition of the test crew
- The testing and development teams are managed by separate organizations.
- Strict schedules versus unstructured timetables
- Confirmed or undocumented requirements
- The tools and equipment for testing
Before devising a test plan, it is essential to ask the project’s stakeholders questions such as the following: what, why, who, where, when, as well as how to understand the project’s context.
Let us now look at the seven principles that will guide the context-driven testing process.
Key Principles of Context-Driven Testing
While the context-driven testing process must vary based on the working conditions, seven principles define this approach:
1. There are only good practices, and not best practices
The first principle states that there are no practices considered to be the “best” across different products and test scenarios. The team can come up with good practices to be followed only in context.
2. People define the context
The human element is of utmost importance in context-driven testing, which is why this principle asks you to collaborate with every stakeholder and factor their perspectives into the testing procedure.
3. Value addition from anything depend on the context
According to this principle, the value of a technique, a tool, a guideline, etc., is inherently dependent on the context. By using different combinations, you can maximize the value you get.
4. Testing projects are unpredictable and evolve over time
No matter how much you plan, the testing journey will evolve and often throw up unpredictable challenges and needs. Context-driven testing makes room for and adapts to these changes.
5. Human decision making and the collaborative use of skills will determine success
A lot of context-driven testing is about doing the right things at the right time. Therefore, project team members must work together to execute timely decisions using their collective skills.
6. The final product must solve a problem
The ultimate test of context-driven testing is when a software product can solve the problem faced by the user. Given the original conditions, the user must no longer face the same problem.
7. Testing is as much as intellectual exercise as it is a technical one
As per this principle, testers need more than strong technical skills to succeed in context driven testing. Rational thinking, an analytical mindset, and creativity are equally important when solving problems in a given context.
In Conclusion: Why Adopt Context-Driven Testing Principles?
This is the USP of context-driven testing: making your circumstances (and not the criteria themselves) the primary inputs and controllers of your testing strategy. It urges us to glance around and consider everything around us.
By embracing these seven essential Context-Driven Testing principles, you equip your software testing efforts to thrive in the real world. Ready to implement these principles,
Get in touch with our experts here to discuss a personalized testing strategy and discover how it can benefit your organization.
It asserts that effective testing requires expertise in addition to only processes and protocols. For projects where quality is the holy grail and you are not looking to delegate to low-cost, less-skilled testers, context-driven principles can provide invaluable help.1