November 18, 2020
0 min read

Types of software testing methodology

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What are the main software testing methodologies?

There are several main software testing methodologies. Let’s take a detailed look at each of them and their strengths and weaknesses.

Agile Methodology 

When a development team uses the Agile methodology, they test often and thoroughly. Agile testing happens at the end of short development cycles called sprints. Each sprint consists of phases that usually include:

1. Requirement analysis 

2. Test planning

3. Test case development

4. Test environment setup

5. Test execution

6. Test cycle closure

Using Agile methodology reduces risk. Each sprint builds on the knowledge gained in previous sprints. Teams operating under the Agile methodology regularly use the scrum approach. According to the Agile Alliance:

Scrum is a process framework used to manage product development and other knowledge work. Scrum is empirical in that it provides a means for teams to establish a hypothesis of how they think something works, try it out, reflect on the experience, and make the appropriate adjustments.

When a team completes a scrum sprint, they hold a review meeting. In the review meeting the team members review progress and plan future sprints. 

Advantages of Agile Methodology

  • Teams and stakeholders may make changes in the project to fulfill requirements. 

  • Testing often during each sprint minimizes risk.

For more insights read our guide on Agile testing methodology.

Waterfall Methodology

Waterfall methodology is structured in five steps:

1. Requirements analysis

2. Design

3. Development

4. Testing

5. Maintenance

Waterfall methodology, while simple, is highly regimented. The development team plans the entire project, documenting each step. The team cannot move on to the next step until the previous step has been completed. 

Advantages of Waterfall methodology

  • Waterfall is a simple methodology

  • Waterfall is easy to understand

Disadvantages of Waterfall methodology

  • Teams cannot make quick changes to the testing process

V-model methodology (Verification and validation methodology)

V-model methodology is another step-by-step method of software testing. In V-model testing the team conducts the development and testing simultaneously.

Verification phases

Validation phases

requirements design

acceptance test

system design

system test

architecture design

integration test

module design

unit test


V-model methodology allows teams to test early and often. They catch bugs and trouble spots before they become larger problems later in the software development process.

Incremental methodology

Incremental methodology has several stages, which we will break down into sub-steps:

Stage 1 – Initiation

State 2 – Analysis

Stage 3 – Design

Stage 4 – Development

Stage 5 – Testing

Stage 6 – Implementation

The incremental methodology has an advantage over waterfall methodology because incremental proves itself much more flexible.

Part of Incremental methodology is spiral methodology. Using spiral, a team plans cycles that follow on one another. The cycles are:

  • Planning

  • Risk analysis

  • Engineering

  • Final Evaluation

XP methodology (Extreme programming)

XP methodology requires two development team members working very closely together. One team member writes code that the second member immediately test and reviews. All code is checked quickly and carefully.

Now that we’ve looked at the main software testing methodologies, let’s examine the two main types of software testing methods: functional and non-functional software testing.

Functional software testing involves testing the software against the business requirements. Functional testing allows teams to ensure the software behaves according to plan. The Business analyst or design team will provide test cases. Functional testing usually includes:

1. Unit testing

2. Integration testing

3. System testing 

4. Acceptance testing

Let’s take a closer look at each of these tests:

Unit testing

The development team starts with unit testing. They use Unit testing to make sure the code functions as designed. Unit testing can be conducted manually or automatically on small parts of the overall project.

Integration testing

The development team moves on to integration testing after unit testing. Integration testing makes sure each unit or module works with the others. Integration testing is conducted with a combination of manual and automatic tests.

System testing

Teams next use System testing. System testing is a black-box test on the whole project. System testing confirms that the project meets requirements. System testing is usually conducted by a team separate from the development team to ensure a fresh set of eyes and perspective on the project.

Acceptance testing

Acceptance testing is the final test of the functional testing method. The team uses acceptance testing to ensure the software is ready for delivery and meets business requirements. Acceptance testing includes beta testing as well as QA testing.

Read more on QA testing and how to perform it in Software Quality & How to Measure It article.

Non-functional testing

Non-functional testing means testing the underlying systems that allow the software to function. These test focus on operation of the software, they include:

  • Performance testing

  • Security testing

  • Usability testing

  • Compatibility testing

Performance testing determines how applications will respond to various conditions. There are four different types of performance testing:

Load testing tests how the software responds to a simulation of normal user demand.

Stress testing test how the software responds under higher demand, at or over predicted peak load.

Endurance testing tests how the software responds to sustained use. The process is longer than load or stress testing. Endurance testing helps developers find memory leaks.

Spike testing looks to see how software will perform under large burst of heavy activity.

Security testing checks for weaknesses in the security of the software. These weak points must be testing to prevent data being compromised or unauthorized use of the software.

Useability testing ensures that end users find the software easy to use.

Compatibility testing examines whether the software functions across different operating systems and environments. For example, that a website works in all browsers and on mobile phones as well as personal computers.

In sum, the main testing methodologies are agile, waterfall, v-model incremental and XP methodologies. Test types fall into two categories, functional and non-functional. So which software testing methodology is right for you? The agile methodology works well because it’s flexible and responsive. Waterfall methodology is simple but highly regimented. The V-model methodology allows for simultaneous coding and testing, but may require more resources. The incremental methodology allows for more flexibility than waterfall, but may increase costs and delivery times. XP methodology works well but usually adds time to the project because of the small team size and meticulous line-by-line code testing. 

At Blocshop we prefer the flexibility of agile methodology, agile allows Blocshop to deliver solid results on time. Get in touch and we can give you a deeper understanding of how agile methodology helps businesses grow and thrive.

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