Benefits of Test Management and BDD in Software Testing Process
By Sourojit Das, Community Contributor - September 2, 2022
Software testing has been an integral part of software engineering processes since the very beginning. Implementing CI/CD pipelines has further highlighted the need to adopt modern Testing Frameworks. It would make testing software easier, such that it reduces turnaround time and can be easily understood and replicated by testing teams without requiring niche skill sets.
Rise of BDD in Software Development
Since the advent of Behaviour-driven development (BDD) from Agile and test-driven development, it has gone from strength to strength.
Current market research comprehensively forecasts the increased adoption of BDD Tools between 2022 to 2029, with companies of every size implementing BDD. Several key players like IBM, Wells Fargo, and CitiBank are also joining the league by adopting BDD.
Though the trends underline that teams and organizations can benefit from test management and BDD, it is imperative to understand that it is more nuanced than simply managing tests structured in a Behaviour Driven manner.
But before understanding the benefits of Test Management and BDD in the Software testing process, it is imperative to understand both test management and BDD first and then focus on their synchronization for optimality in the software testing process.
How do BDD and Test Management Stack Up
Test management usually refers to managing and monitoring a suite of tests. It is done to assess and report various aspects of the quality of a system and ensure that the project resources are well-utilized, minimizing any threats associated with high-risk areas.
Test Management allows the stakeholders and company leadership to organize, control, analyze, and trace the testing process. The goals of test management are:
- Reduce the time required to meet deadlines
- Increase collaboration between team members
- Streamline project resource allocation
Read More: Understanding Test Case Management
Behaviour-driven development (BDD) supports the agile methodology by providing constant input from the end user’s perspective. The three core BDD practices are,
- Discovery: This aims to create a shared understanding of the project requirements by collaboration. It is usually facilitated by structured conversations about rules and examples.
- Formulation: Case studies detailing the examples of system behavior are documented in terminology suitable to the business domain.
- Automation: The implementation design is guided by automation, and the full participation of the delivery team is essential before writing the corresponding implementation code.
This can be visualized using the diagram below:
While comparing the two, it becomes evident that Test Management is more focused on:
- Providing relevant, actionable insights into system quality, and requires the test automation/delivery team to implement both automation and manual test execution steps.
- Both the functional and non-functional aspects of the test domain
Whereas the scope of BDD focuses more around:
- Reducing misinterpretations of the software requirements and promoting collaboration in test case formulation. And since the automated interpretation of the business-readable test code is inseparable from the actual implementation, it may not depend on a separate delivery team.
- Specifying the “functional behaviour” of the system, rarely delving into non-functional requirements.
Leveraging BDD and Test Management for the Software Testing Process
Though there may be some intrinsic differences between the scope of traditional Test Management and BDD-based testing, there are a number of areas where they can work in tandem to benefit the overall Software Testing Process.
Increases and Improves Project Collaboration
Tests written in the programming language can sometimes be confusing for non-technical business stakeholders. However, BDD encourages close-knit communication and conversations within these stakeholder categories and helps clear potential misunderstandings about user scenarios and correct mistakes in the tests written in plain English.
BDD is known to promote frequent conversations among key stakeholders, famously known as the “Three Amigos”, which are:
- Business Team (BA): It consists of the Product Owner or a Business Analyst whose job is to define what is the problem to be solved through the product.
- Development Team (DevOps): This team is made up of the developers who provide solutions on how the problem will be solved.
- QA Team: It consists of the testers who find bugs in the product and verify whether it works as expected, and identifies any edge cases that can lead to product failure.
The added advantage of this collaboration is that this helps develop the tests early on, as opposed to traditional testing using code where the QA team may or may not frequently communicate with the other stakeholders.
This can be further strengthened by:
- Optimally Outlining the scenarios for BDD: The scenario outline injects the info at the scenario level rather than the step level. Scenario outline followed by the keyword.
Feature: I want to login into the site with valid and invalid data Scenario Outline: Login Validation Given I navigate to the Website When I enter “<email>” and “<validpassword>” to login Page And User click on sign-in button Then Validate the “<title>” after login Example: | email | validpassword |title| | firstname.lastname@example.org | 12345 | Home |
- Using tags to Identify Test Case Categories: Using tags could be the best practice when you want to run a bunch of test cases, especially in case they are not to be run all at once, or are to be executed in batches. These tags for the BDD test cases can clearly communicate to groups of tests like Smoke tests, Sanity Tests, Regression Tests, etc.
Feature: I want to login into the site with valid and invalid data Background: Given I navigate to the Website @SmokeTest Scenario: Login as a new sign-up user with valid data When I entered a valid credential | email | validpassword | | email@example.com | 12345 | When a user clicks on sign-in button Then Validate the title after login @SanityTest Scenario: Login with invalid data by entering an invalid password When I entered an invalid credentials | email | invalidpassword | | firstname.lastname@example.org | 123456 | When the user clicks on the sign-in button Then Error message should display | errormessage | | Authentication failed |
Assures Better Test Coverage Assurance
BDD scenarios are focused and defined around specific expected outcomes to decrease the ambiguity for developers. It can be done using:
- Mapping of BDD Scenarios with Application Lifecycle Management Tool Requirements
User Story IDs can be integrated into the BDD scenarios for smooth mapping of business requirements to BDD-based test cases. This can be mapped out in Cucumber scripts as shown below.
Makes it easier to translate into automated tests
A particular advantage of the BDD framework is that it is more convenient to replicate automated tests in a reusable and data-driven manner. It is achieved by:
- Using Background in your scenarios: It is always the best practice to put steps that are repeated in every scenario into the Background. The background step is run before every scenario.
- Using a Data Table for data parametrization: It’s recommended to use a Data Table to store the data. Data can be given as parameters within the step, and this helps in Data Driven Automation testing.
These can be implemented in Cucumber as follows:
Feature: I want to login into the site with valid and invalid data Background: Given I navigate to the Website Scenario: Login as a new sign-up user with valid data When I entered a valid credential | email | validpassword | | email@example.com | 12345 | When the user clicks on the sign-in button Then Validate the title after login Scenario: Login with invalid data by entering an invalid password When I entered an invalid credential | email | invalidpassword | | firstname.lastname@example.org | 123456 | When the user clicks on the sign-in button Then Error message should display | errormessage | | Authentication failed |
The cost of debugging the codebase can become both expensive and daunting towards the end of the product life cycle. Apart from bugs which could cost a lot in terms of both computational and/or financial resources. A bug could lead to a major code rewrite that could push back product launch by weeks, if not months.
Thus it is imperative to implement BDD along with modern test management practices like Agile Test Management to get the requirements correctly identified and tested at the very outset.
Cucumber is a great tool to get started with Behaviour Driven Development (BDD). It is recommended as Cucumber is used to execute automated acceptance tests written in the “Gherkin” language, which allows for business-readable test descriptions.
Recommended Read: Test Automation using Selenium and Cucumber Framework: Tutorial
While running the Cucumber framework, testers would want to test their applications on multiple browsers, both live and automated. This is where cloud testing infrastructure like BrowserStack comes into the picture, providing a Cloud Selenium Grid of 3000+ real browsers and devices to choose from, thus making life easier for QAs. Go ahead and implement BDD in Agile to make your testing practices highly efficient.