Software Testing: Methods, Pitfalls, and Tips

Software development and the benefits of working with offshore teams: efficiency, expertise and cost savings

Software testing has become an essential step in the production and programming of software products to ensure quality, reliability, and security. As an essential part of the software development lifecycle, software tests play a crucial role in identifying and fixing errors before delivering software to end-users. In this article, we take a closer look at the topic of software testing and share our experiences gained over 15 years of in-house and IT outsourcing software testing.

What is Software Testing?

Software testing is the evaluation of a software application to ensure that it meets the specified requirements and is free of errors. This process typically involves executing the software in a controlled environment to identify and fix bugs or defects and reveal usability deficiencies.

What Types of Software Testing are Distinguished?

In the field of software testing, there are various approaches based on criteria such as the degree of automation, the focus of the test, or the timing of execution in the development cycle. Two of the most fundamental categories are manual testing and automated testing, both of which play essential roles in the testing process. Additionally, there are other more specific types of tests that can be applied depending on project requirements.

  •  Manual Tests

Manual tests are the most traditional form of software testing, where test cases are executed by a human tester without the use of automated tools. This method is particularly suitable for exploratory tests, usability tests, or other scenarios where human judgment and flexibility are required.

  •  Automated Tests

Automated tests use specialized software tools to execute and verify test cases independently. This type of testing is particularly effective for conducting recurring test cases or verifying large amounts of data. Automated tests allow for high efficiency and consistency since they can be performed faster than manual tests and are less susceptible to human error.

  • Other Types of Tests

In addition to the basic forms of testing mentioned above, there are several other specific terms for certain types of tests, including functional tests, non-functional tests, integration tests, and acceptance tests.

How to Properly Conduct Software Testing?

In practice, it is crucial that software testing is carried out systematically, professionally, and comprehensively to ultimately deliver flawless and functional software. In particular, process-related or structural errors can be tricky and can hinder the success of entire projects.

1. Planning and Preparation

Successful software testing begins with solid test planning, including defining test objectives, selecting test methods, and allocating resources. It is important to set clear and measurable goals to evaluate the success of the testing process.

2. Test Case Development

The next step is to develop test cases that cover all aspects of the application, including functional, non-functional, performance, and security aspects. Good test cases are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.

3. Test Execution and Documentation

The previously defined test cases are to be executed according to a structured test plan. All errors and inconsistencies are to be documented according to defined standards and categories to facilitate their tracking and resolution.

4. Result Analysis and Reporting

Subsequently, the test results are analyzed based on the documentation to understand the causes of errors and derive measures to improve software quality. It is also useful to create reports containing the test results and recommendations for the project team.

Typical Pitfalls in Software Testing

Here are some frequently occurring pitfalls based on our experience:

  • Incomplete Test Coverage: Not all parts of the application are tested, leading to undiscovered errors. This often results from inadequate execution of steps 1 and 2 (as mentioned above).
  •  Lack of Realistic Test Data: Tests conducted with unrealistic data cannot accurately predict the behavior of the software in the real world. During planning and preparation (step 1), it should be ensured that this problem is avoided and reliable data sources are used.
  •  Excessive Reliance on Manual Tests: Conducting exclusively manual tests is time-consuming and error-prone. Therefore, we also advocate for a balanced mix of manual and automated tests in our offering to increase efficiency and reliability.
  •  Neglecting Non-Functional Requirements: Security, performance, and especially user-friendliness (usability) are as important in testing as functional requirements and should be tested accordingly.

And finally, which constellations pose particularly high risks for errors in software testing?

  •  Agile Development Environments: In agile environments where flexibility and rapid iterations are required, implementing fast feedback through continuous integration and continuous testing is crucial.
  •  Large Projects with Multiple Teams: In large projects, a coordinated testing strategy is essential to avoid overlaps and gaps in test coverage.
  •  Projects with High Security Requirements: In projects where security is a high priority, such as in the financial or healthcare industry, specialized security testing and regular penetration testing are essential.


Software testing is a complex but indispensable process that contributes significantly to the quality assurance of software products. By adhering to the above best practices and adapting the testing process to the specific requirements and configurations of a project, IT outsourcing providers can ensure that their software products meet the highest quality standards.