Functional Testing and It's challenges

Functional Testing Mar 04, 2020

What is Functional Testing?

Functional Testing is a type of software testing that validates the software system against the functional requirements/specifications. The purpose of Functional tests is to test each function of the software application, by providing appropriate input, verifying the output against the Functional requirements.

Functional testing mainly involves black box testing and it is not concerned about the source code of the application. This testing checks User Interface, APIs, Database, Security, Client/Server communication and other functionality of the Application Under Test. The testing can be done either manually or using automation.

What do you test in Functional Testing?

The prime objective of Functional testing is checking the functionalities of the software system. It mainly concentrates on

  • Accessibility:  Checks the accessibility of the system for the user
  • Error Conditions: Usage of testing techniques to check for error conditions.  It checks whether suitable error messages are displayed
  • Basic Usability: It involves basic usability testing of the system. It checks whether a user can freely navigate through the screens without any difficulties.

Challenges In Functional Testing

The increasing complexity of software in production systems leads to a growing relevance of testing. This trend will continue due to the flexibilization, and IT networking of production systems. The most important criteria for any product success is to launch the right product at the right time. High quality applications are expected to be developed and delivered within limited schedules and limited resources. This requirement of delivering more with less has brought forward innumerable challenges for managing the quality of the software application through functional testing.

The entire functional testing life cycle is constrained with innumerable challenges and technical limitations. This leads to the formulation of strategies and best practices to overcome these issues. Functional testing starts with gathering the test requirements and goes through design and development tests, execution of the tests into further analysing the product defects.

Here we look deeper into the challenges associated with and how to overcome that challenges to make your life smoother.

1. Changing Requirements

It can sometimes happen that management changes requirements or drops stories during a sprint execution. This means that work already half-done needs to be discarded or modified, which changes the scope of testing unexpectedly.

Method to Overcome:

Testers should be able to react and modify their processes according to changing conditions. When requirements change, testers should share as much information as they can about what tests they have conducted, and which areas of the application have not been tested yet. This can help the team understand how to make the required changes to the sprint without hurting the quality of the release.

2. Not Enough Information

Product owners, who are responsible for defining product definition, may have an idea about a new feature but may not be aware of the specifics. This means they can’t write a good set of acceptance criteria. If there is missing information about requirements, testers can’t build comprehensive test cases.

Method to Overcome:

Testers do not need in-depth requirements to begin testing, they can begin by coming up with high level scenarios that test the idea of the story, confirming them with the product owner. Testing can be done without the complete details about a feature. You can create high level test scenarios, even when particulars change.

3. Continuous Testing

Testing is not restricted to one part of the development process, rather it’s an ongoing activity that starts before the development phase. This creates a major challenge because testers are expected to start building tests for features before coding has even started, or while coding is taking place.

Method to Overcome:

To make life easier for testers, user stories in the backlog should be expanded during sprint planning. The team should ensure that each story has sufficient acceptance criteria and that the context of the story is universally understood before work on development begins.

4. Technical Skills

Testers needs to be technically savvy, helping developers with API testing, integration testing, and scripting UI automation checks with different automation frameworks.

Method to Overcome:

Testers can and should learn programming or scripting languages such as Java and Ruby. Testers who are familiar with programming but lack practical experience can ask for help from developers. Testers can also learn automated testing tools.

5. Lack of Communication

If communication between developers, testers and the product owners is lacking testing will simply not work.

Method to Overcome:

Direct communication within the team should be strongly encouraged. Developers, testers and product owners should talk face-to-face on a regular basis to ensure everyone is on the same page.

6. No Quality Measurement

Today we have no single measurement of quality, which we can use to optimize and plan testing efforts.

Method to Overcome:

There are numerous metrics like unit test code coverage, lines of code (LOC) and code complexity, but none of them provides a clear picture as to “where we stand” with quality at each point in a sprint or release – which areas of the product are working well, which are less stable and at higher risk of quality issues.

Functional Testing Tools:

There are several tools available in the market to perform functional testing. They are explained as follows:

  • Ranorex Studio: all-in-one functional test automation for desktop, web, and mobile apps with built-in Selenium WebDriver.
  • Selenium: Popular Open Source Functional Testing Tool
  • QTP: Very user-friendly Functional Test tool by HP
  • Tesbo: To preform end to end testing
  • SoapUI: This is an open source functional testing tool, mainly used for Web service testing. It supports multiple protocols such as HTTP, SOAP, and JDBC.


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