7 Principles of Software Testing: More About Defect Clustering & Pareto Principle

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Software testing is an integral part of deploying a successful, bug-free software product. And that’s the reason it’s quite complex and a tough job to do. To make your software testing efforts worthwhile, this blog post will help you learn 7 principles of software testing.

You can make the most out of software testing efforts if you follow certain rules and tips. Because software testing is an art of testing and you can always bring creativity and uniqueness to this process.

These 7 software testing principles will tell you the software testing fundamentals that can make your software testing more productive. And not just that, these principles of testing will also help you save your resources (time and money).

Let’s begin with the first principle of software testing.

1. Exhaustive testing is not possible

Of course, it’s not feasible to test everything because of the limited resources and the set deadlines. Exhaustive testing in software engineering is not possible because it will require unlimited efforts which may go in vain.

But what’s the solution?

Here you need to be more skeptical about what operations cause your software product to fail. And you can do it on the basis of your experience. Simply try to rationally decide what functions you must test thoroughly.

Also, you can use proven methods that help you deal with this in a better way. Boundary Value Analysis and Equivalence Partitioning are the two most recommended methods in this regard.

2. Defect Clustering

Defect clustering is a software testing principle, which says that a small number of modules cause the most defects. You might have heard the Pareto Principle, this is similar to that. And you can say it’s the Pareto Principle of software testing.

Nearly 80% of the problems in a software product are found in 20% of the modules.

Well, it depends on your experience how efficiently you can identify that 20% of the modules that cause problems. But like any other approach, it has some problems too. The biggest problem is that you repeat the same tests again and again. Consequently, the test cases will become ineffective and won’t be able to find new defects.

3. Pesticide Paradox

If farmers keep using the same pesticide mix to go away with insects, it becomes ineffective with time. Why does so happen? Well, the insects become immune to those pesticides. Similar is the case with bugs/ defects in software testing. If we keep on using the same set of tests, we won’t be able to discover new defects. Consequently, the method will become useless. It’s called the pesticide paradox.

Another reason is that new bugs appear when we introduce new requirements and features in the software. So if we keep using the same method, we won’t catch the new bugs.

To deal with the problem of the pesticide paradox, we need to focus on reviewing and revising our test cases. Newer additions will help identify more bugs and defects. Looking for new techniques is a continual process that makes software testing more effective.

4. Testing shows a presence of defects

Software testing discusses the presence of defects but forgets the importance of the absence of defects.

No matter how effective is the software testing process, it must be able to decrease the probability of undiscovered defects. You may make the software 99% bug-free but still, your testing method must also target the undiscovered defects.

You may have encountered such situations where you accurately follow everything to get rid of the defect. Consequently, you may also become successful in making almost bug-free software. But what about if it still doesn’t turn out to be software that complies with the requirements of the clients. That’s exactly what the next principle talks about. Let’s check out.

5. Absence of Error – Fallacy

Why does so happen that 99% bug-free software is still unusable? The reason behind that is the wrong requirement for which you’re testing the system. Here, we learn an important lesson!

Software testing is not about identifying bugs, but also checking if the software product is complying with the client’s needs.

In such a situation where there is an absence of error but the system is not usable, it’s called a fallacy.
We can tackle such situations with the next principle of software testing i.e. early testing. Let’s look at how early testing can solve this problem.

6. Early Testing

According to the early testing principle, the software testing process must begin in the initial stages of SDLC.

Early testing helps to identify defects in the design or requirements phase where it’s easy to capture and fix bugs. And not only that, but it also helps to reduce software testing costs.

But what’s the ideal time to begin finding and fixing bugs in the initial stage of SDLC?
It’s recommended to begin this process once you define the requirements.

7. Testing is context-dependent

Software testing is not the same for every software. This principle suggests that you should conduct software testing based on the context.

In much simpler words, you cannot test an eCommerce website the way you do for ERP. This is due to the fact that all the software products are not identical. However, they may have similarities but we have to test them in a different way.

Amongst different types of testing in software engineering, you have to wisely decide which one you choose. Your chosen testing approach, techniques, and methods must depend on the type of application.

Wrapping Up

In this blog, you have learned 7 principles of testing. These seven testing principles ensure your software product is not only bug-free but also fulfills end-user needs.

These 7 principles of software testing are results-driven and proven testing fundamentals. Many QA testers follow these seven testing principles during actual software testing.

We highly recommend you to follow these seven testing principles because not following them can cost huge to the project.

And as we always say, we really appreciate your participation. You can always write down your thoughts in the comments.

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