Test estimation and execution are just as critical as the development cycle for the success of any project. It’s crucial to stick to the estimate to earn the client’s trust.
When evaluating “Software Testing Efforts,” experience is crucial. Working on various projects allows us to prepare an accurate testing cycle estimation.
Any testing task cannot be assigned several days arbitrarily. Test Estimations should be realistic and precise.
The calculation of test estimation techniques is based on:
- Past Data/Past experience
- Available documents/Knowledge
- Calculated risks
“Why do we estimate?” is a common question in testers’ minds before they begin. The solution to this issue is straightforward: we estimate the task to avoid exceeding timeframes and budgets for testing activities.
Before calculating testing efforts, there are a few things to consider:
- Check if all requirements are finalised or not.
- If it is not, then how frequently they will be changed.
- All responsibilities and dependencies are explicit.
- Check if the required infrastructure is ready for testing or not.
- Check if, before estimating the task, all assumptions and risks are documented.
1. Test Estimation
Test estimation is a managerial function that estimates the time it will take to accomplish a task. One of the most significant aspects of Test Management is estimating the test effort.
One of the most critical and significant responsibilities in the software development process is estimating test efforts. If you accurately estimate your project, you will be able to test the software with the most significant amount of exposure.
2. What should be estimated?
- Resources: Any project activity will necessitate the use of resources. They can be people, equipment, facilities, funds, or anything else that must be defined for a project activity to be completed.
- Time: The most valuable resource in a project is time. Every project has a completion date.
- Personal Skills: The expertise and experience of Team members are referred to as human skills. They have an impact on your estimation. For example, a team with poor testing abilities will take longer to complete the project than one with excellent testing skills.
- Cost: The project budget is referred to as the cost. It refers to the amount of money required to complete the project.
3. Test Estimation Process
“Estimation is the process of determining an estimate, or approximation, a value that may be used for a specific purpose despite inadequate, uncertain, or unreliable input data.”
As professionals, we all face a variety of jobs, responsibilities, and deadlines. There are two approaches to finding a solution to a problem.
The first is a reactive strategy, in which we try to discover a solution to the problem only after it has occurred.
In the second approach, known as the Proactive Approach, we use our past experiences to train ourselves well before the issues arise. Then we use our past experiences to find a solution to the difficulty when it appears.
An estimation can be thought of as a strategy used when we adopt a proactive approach to a problem.
As a result, an estimation can be used to anticipate how much effort will be necessary to complete a task in terms of both time and money. It is easier for the testing team to develop a solution that is optimal to the problem at hand if they have an approximation of the issue at hand.
The estimation process can thus be more precisely described as an estimate of the likely cost of a piece of work.
3.1 Prerequisites of the Test Estimation Process
The Basic Prerequisites for the Test Estimation Process are listed below.
3.1.1 Insights gained from previous work experience
It’s always a good idea to think about previous projects that faced issues similar to the one you’re working on now.
3.1.2 Documents or artefacts that are available
In these situations, the test management repository systems help because they contain the requirements and clarification documents. The testing team can refer to these documents to properly define the project’s scope.
3.1.3 Preconceived ideas regarding the nature of work
Making assumptions about the project is aided by previous job experience. Hiring experienced individuals are critical in this situation. Testing managers can pick these people’s brains to get their desired results.
3.1.4 Checking to see if the documents have been baselined
The testing team must also establish whether the requirements have been baselined. If the papers haven’t been baselined, it’s crucial to figure out how often they change.
3.1.5 All responsibilities and obligations must be clearly defined
The organisation must clarify the roles and responsibilities of all those involved in the estimates process.
3.1.6 Estimation records documentation and monitoring
All vital information about the estimation process should be documented.
3.1.7 Tasks to complete during the test estimating process
- Create a group to carry out the estimations.
- Decompose the project into project phases and the activities that follow.
- Calculate the estimate using information from past projects and professional expertise.
- Prioritise potential dangers and devise strategies for mitigating them.
- Examine and document all essential aspects of the project.
- Submit the work to the key stakeholders.
4. Software Testing Estimation Techniques
For estimating a task, a variety of software testing estimation techniques can be employed. The list is mentioned below:
- Delphi Technique
- Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)
- Three-Point Estimation
- Functional Point Method
4.1 Delphi Model
The Delphi Method is based on surveys and collects expert participants’ information. Each task is allocated to each team member in this estimating technique, and surveys are conducted across numerous rounds unless and until a final task estimation is reached. Each game collects thoughts on the task and provides comments. You can achieve quantitative and qualitative findings with this strategy.
This technique provides a high level of estimating confidence in terms of overall methodologies. This strategy can be used in conjunction with the other methods.
4.2 Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)
A large project is broken down into smaller components in a hierarchical structure known as the Work breakdown structure, or WBS, to make it accessible.
The WBS assists the project manager and team in developing work scheduling and cost estimates for the project. The project manager and crew will have a very decent idea of whether they’ve incorporated all of the necessary tasks based on the project requirements that will need to occur to get the job done if they use the WBS movements.
You can figure out what tasks need to be performed using this. Because they are broken down into detailed tasks, estimating the complicated work is more accessible than counting the entire complex project at once.
4.2.1 Advantages of Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)
- Work Breakdown Structure compels the team to implement detailed steps
All steps required to construct or provide the service are detailed tasks by the Project Manager, Team, and Customer in the WBS. It aids in the early identification of important issues, the reduction of project scope, and the creation of a dialogue that aids in clarifying assumptions, ambiguities, the removal of project scope, and the identification of critical issues.
- Work Breakdown Structure facilitates the optimisation of the schedule and budget.
WBS enables you to create an effective schedule and sound financial strategies. Because all chores are already completed, creating a relevant timetable and planning a reasonable budget are more accessible.
- Work Breakdown Structure creates accountability.
The amount of information in the task breakdown makes it easier to allocate specific module tasks to individuals, making it easier to hold them accountable for completing the assignment. People cannot let themselves hide under the “cover of broadness” in WBS, either.
- Work Breakdown Structure creation develops Persistence.
The process of creating and finishing a WBS inspires enthusiasm and persistence. Although the project manager will often design the high-level WBS, he will enlist the help of his core team to fill out the WBS in great detail. This involvement will pique people’s interest in the initiative.
4.3 Three-Point Estimation
Three-point estimation is a quantitative data-based estimating method. Tasks are divided into subtasks, and three sorts of estimation are performed on these subparts, similar to the WBS technique.
Optimistic Estimate (Best case scenario in which nothing goes wrong and all conditions are optimal.) = A
Most Likely Estimate (most likely duration, and there may be some problem, but most of the things will go right.) = M
Pessimistic Estimate (worst case scenario where everything goes wrong.) = B
Formula to find Value for Estimate (E) = A + (4*M) + B / 6
Standard Deviation (SD) = = (B – A)/6
4.4 Functional Point
The Functional Point is calculated from the perspective of a functional or user. It is unaffected by the team’s computer language, capability, technology, or development approach. It is based on publicly available documents such as SRS and Design.
Each functional point must be given weightage in this FP approach. Before beginning actual estimation tasks, available topics are categorised into three types: Complex, Moderate, and Simple. We must develop an estimate per function point based on similar projects and organisational standards.
Estimated Total Effort = Total Function Points * Estimate per Functional Point
5. Best Practices of Test Estimation
This section covers broad guidelines for estimating testing accuracy.
5.1 Add some time frame
Many unforeseeable events may occur in your project, such as a talented team member quitting his job unexpectedly, testing taking longer than expected, and so on. That is why you must account for a buffer in your calculations. Including a buffer in the estimation allows you to account for any potential delays.
5.2 Consider resource planning when estimating.
What should you do if some of your team members take extended leaves? It may cause the project to be delayed. In estimating, resource planning is crucial. The availability of resources will aid in ensuring that the projections are accurate. You must take into account your team member’s leaves, which are typically extended.
5.3 Make use of previous experience as a guide.
When preparing time estimates, previous project experiences are beneficial. You can utilise the last estimation because some projects are similar. Suppose you used to undertake a project like a website testing, for example. In that case, you can learn from that experience and avoid any of the challenges or issues you encountered in previous projects.
5.4 Maintain your Estimations
You should evaluate the test estimations periodically in the early stages of the project and make any necessary changes. Unless there are significant changes in the requirements or you need to talk with the customer about a re-estimation, we should not prolong the estimation after it has been fixed.
Software test estimation necessitates the participation of skilled individuals and the implementation of industry-wide best practices such as test case points and uses case point methodologies.
It’s also crucial to keep an open mind when personalising the needed processes. The successful adoption of these techniques improves the testing process as a whole.
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