Priyanka Charak | Posted on June 5, 2023June 6, 2023 | 2 min Read What is Test Monitoring and Test Control? Introduction In the realm of application testing, the ability to monitor and control the execution of your test suite is fundamental to the successful delivery of high-quality software. These essential strategies allow managers to gauge progress and make real-time adjustments to maximize efficiency and accuracy. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the definitions, mechanisms, and benefits of test monitoring and test control. We’ll also explore how these methodologies can enhance your testing approach, improve communication within your team, and ultimately lead to better software outcomes. What is Test Monitoring? At its core, test monitoring is a process in which the execution of testing activities is tracked, measured, and assessed. This continuous review allows testing professionals to gauge current progress, identify trends through analysis of testing metrics, estimate future trajectories based on test data, and provide timely feedback to all relevant parties. Test monitoring data can be collected both manually or through automated tools and is vital for assessing exit criteria like coverage. Moreover, test monitoring is a proactive and iterative process, involving frequent reviews to guarantee that targets are met at every stage of the testing lifecycle. By comparing the current state of testing activities to the anticipated goal, test monitoring provides valuable insights into the effectiveness of the process. This feedback loop enables teams to identify potential issues early, ensuring more accurate and efficient testing outcomes. What does test monitoring involve? Test monitoring encompasses several activities that provide valuable feedback on the status of the test process. These activities include: Updating the test goals achieved so far: This involves continuously monitoring the progress towards the predefined testing goals. Identifying and tracking relevant test data: Test data forms the backbone of any monitoring activity. By identifying and tracking relevant data, teams can make informed decisions and accurate predictions. Planning and projecting future actions: Using the data and trends observed, teams can create an action plan for the remainder of the test process. Communicating status to relevant parties: Keeping stakeholders informed about the progress of the testing process is crucial to ensure alignment with the overall project objectives. Key Metrics in Test Monitoring? Test monitoring relies on a collection of key metrics to measure progress and inform decision-making. Commonly tracked metrics include: Test case execution metrics: These metrics detail the number of test cases that have been executed, along with their outcomes (pass, fail, blocked, etc.). Test preparation metrics: These metrics monitor the progress of test case preparation and test environment setup, highlighting potential delays or bottlenecks. Defect metrics: These include the number of defects discovered, their severity, the rate of discovery, and the rate of resolution. Test Coverage metrics: These metrics measure how much of the application or system under test has been covered by the test cases. Test project cost: This includes the cost of resources, tools, and time spent in testing, as well as the potential cost of not discovering a defect. Requirement Tracking: This ensures that each requirement has corresponding test cases and that all have been executed. Consumption of Resources: This includes the time and human resources consumed by the project, and helps in planning and allocation of resources. When to collect data for Test Monitoring? The frequency and method of data collection in test monitoring depend largely on the nature and timeline of your project. In a project due to be delivered in a month, weekly data collection might be sufficient. In complex or critical projects, however, more frequent updates may be necessary to identify and respond to issues quickly. Test data can be collected manually, by individual testers, or automatically using test management tools. Regardless of the method, ensuring accurate and timely data collection is paramount. Clear guidelines should be set for what data needs to be collected, by whom, when, and how often. How to evaluate progress through collected data? To accurately gauge progress, it’s beneficial to establish an evaluation plan at the beginning of the project. This plan should outline the criteria against which progress will be assessed, providing clarity for all involved. Progress can typically be measured by comparing planned versus actual progress, and by evaluating project performance against predefined criteria. For instance, if the actual effort spent on testing exceeds the projected effort, it can be inferred that the project is progressing. Importance of Test Monitoring: Let’s consider a scenario to understand the significance of test monitoring. Suppose that after initial estimation and planning, the team commits to certain milestones and deadlines. Due to an unforeseen setback, the project gets delayed, causing missed milestones and deadlines. As a result, the project fails, and the client is lost. This example illustrates that even with meticulous planning, unexpected issues can arise. Test monitoring serves as an essential early warning system to identify such deviations, allowing teams to intervene and correct the course as soon as possible. Other benefits of test monitoring include providing a transparent view of the project status to management, enabling resource and budget adjustments as needed, and preventing significant problems by identifying and addressing minor issues early. What is Test Control? While test monitoring offers a clear view of the current state of testing activities, test control enables teams to take corrective actions based on the insights gained from monitoring. Essentially, test control is the process of managing and adjusting the ongoing testing activities to improve project efficiency and quality. The test control process is initiated once the test plan is in place. A well-defined testing schedule and monitoring framework are prerequisites for effective test control. This ensures that the Test Manager can track the progress of testing activities and resources used against the plan, making adjustments as required. Checklist for Test Control Activities To manage and monitor your test control activities, consider the following checklist: Review and analyze the current state of the test cycle. Document the progress of the test cycle, including coverage and exit criteria. Identify potential risks and develop matrices associated with those risks. Implement corrective measures and decisions based on the data and analysis. Why do you need Test Control? In software development projects, it’s common for teams to encounter unexpected challenges that can hinder progress towards project deadlines. These challenges might include discrepancies in software functionality that require additional time to fix, changes in requirements and specifications based on stakeholder feedback, and unforeseen circumstances that cause delays. In such situations, test control activities become crucial to manage these changes effectively and maintain the quality of the software. Executing Test Control activities The following sequential actions are fundamental to the test control process: Reviewing and analyzing the current state of the test cycle: This includes the number of tests executed, the severity of the defects, the coverage of the test cases, and the number of tests passed or failed. Observing and documenting the progress of the test cycle: Keeping the development team informed about the test status, including coverage and exit criteria, is crucial. Identifying risks and creating associated matrices: Proactively identifying potential risks and preparing to address them helps minimize project delays and defects. Taking corrective actions: Based on the data analysis, the team can implement corrective measures to stay on track and achieve the desired result. These actions help the team adapt to the evolving needs of the project and ensure the testing process aligns with the project goals. Corrective Measures in Test Control Based on the insights gained from test monitoring reports, teams can implement several corrective measures: Prioritizing testing efforts: Based on the criticality of the defects and areas of the application, the team can prioritize testing efforts for maximum impact. Revising testing schedules: If testing activities are not progressing as per the planned schedule, it may be necessary to revise the timeline. Adjusting resource allocation: If certain testing activities require more attention or manpower, resource allocation may need to be adjusted accordingly. Changing test scope: If test coverage is not adequate or if new requirements are introduced, the test scope may need to be adjusted. pCloudy: Elevating Test Monitoring and Control through Real Devices In the vast realm of testing operations, a cornerstone principle resonates with undeniable clarity – all tests must be performed on real devices. This mandate is driven by the necessity for real user conditions, which ultimately infuse credibility and accuracy into Test Monitoring and Test Control. Using emulators or simulators for testing purposes, while valuable in certain scenarios, can’t replicate the precise environment that real devices offer. Hence, they invariably fall short in providing a comprehensive representation of test results. As a result, the accuracy of the Test Monitoring process might be compromised, leading to a ripple effect where the ensuing Test Control activities might not be appropriately adjusted to enhance the test cycle’s overall productivity. Harnessing the Power of Real Device Cloud Testing Regardless of the nature of testing, be it manual or automated Selenium testing, the undeniable significance of real devices is non-negotiable. The pool of devices deployed for testing should encompass both the latest models such as the iPhone 14 and Google Pixel 7, and the older, still widely-used legacy devices and browsers. This is crucial because in our highly fragmented tech landscape, the specific devices and browsers used to access a website or application can be diverse and unpredictable. The broader the array of devices incorporated into your testing process, the more robust and inclusive the test results. Confronted with the challenge of maintaining an extensive in-house device lab, the question invariably arises: should one build or buy a device lab? The demands of this conundrum become particularly acute when considering the need for an infrastructure that regularly updates with new and legacy devices and maintains the highest levels of functionality, cost-effectively. Cloud-based testing infrastructure, such as pCloudy, is an effective solution to this quandary. pCloudy provides a comprehensive suite of 5000+ real browsers and devices that can be accessed for testing from any location worldwide, at any given time. Reaping the Benefits of Real Device Cloud Testing with pCloudy Embracing the pCloudy platform is a straightforward process. Users can sign up for free, select a specific device-browser-OS combination, and initiate testing immediately. This offers the ability to simulate user conditions, including factors such as network speed, battery status, geolocation changes (both local and global), viewport sizes, and screen resolutions. By executing tests on the real device cloud, QA managers can take real user conditions into account, thereby ensuring a high degree of accuracy in test results. As Test Monitoring and Control are instrumental in sculpting a highly functional test cycle, the use of a real device cloud provides QA managers and testers a more authentic and precise set of data. This allows for better management and control in every project, thereby ensuring its success and affirming the pivotal role of real devices in Test Monitoring and Test Control. Remember, no emulator or simulator can fully replicate the diverse and often unpredictable conditions of real user environments. Hence, real devices hold the key to a more effective and accurate testing process, and cloud-based platforms like pCloudy are leading the way in making this an accessible reality. Conclusion To sum up, test monitoring and control are critical for maintaining the quality of your testing process and aligning it with your project goals. By keeping an eye on key metrics and making necessary adjustments, your team can better meet project timelines, enhance the quality of the delivered software, and ensure satisfaction for all stakeholders. Whether you’re a testing professional looking to sharpen your skills or a project manager seeking to improve your team’s performance, understanding and employing these concepts can significantly elevate your software testing outcomes. In the ever-evolving software industry, the need for effective test monitoring and control is undeniable. So, consider this guide as your stepping stone towards more efficient, streamlined, and successful software testing endeavors. The possibilities are endless when you’re in control of your testing process. Remember, it’s not just about preventing defects or maintaining schedules, but also about driving forward towards your goals, with your team, and delivering high-quality software to your end-users. And that is where test monitoring and control shine the brightest.