Here are some of the best testing practices I learned from experience:
1) Have a good test plan. A plan should be written by a good and experienced tester (maybe QA leader). A good test plan must encompass all areas of the testing product and consider budgets, activity definition, scope planning, schedule testing, risk identification, staff acquisition, procurement planning and more.
2) Understand the product. It is a good practice to involve testers right from the software requirements and design phase. This way testers can get knowledge of application dependability resulting in detailed test coverage. If you are not asked to be part of this development cycle then make request to your lead or manager to involve your testing team in all decision making processes or meetings. Besides, talk more with developers to know more about the product.
3) Test early, test often. If you want to find bugs, start as early as is possible because a bug found during design stage costs ten times less to than one in coding and a hundred times less than one found after launch.
4) Think positive. Start testing the application with a determination to find bugs and errors. Don`t think beforehand that there will not be any bugs in the application. If you test an application with intention to find bugs you will definitely succeed to find even those subtle bugs as well.
5) Go beyond requirement testing. Yes, this is a rule in software development industry. Test application for what it is not supposed to do.
6) Write your test cases during the requirement analysis and design phase. This way you can ensure all the requirements are testable. While writing test cases, write test cases for intended functionality first i.e. for valid conditions according to requirements. Then write test cases for invalid conditions. This will cover expected as well unexpected behavior of an application during tests.
7) To ensure maximum test coverage break your application under test into smaller functional modules. Write test cases on such individual unit modules. Also, if possible, break these modules into smaller parts.
8) Write clear, descriptive, unambiguous bug report. Do not only provide bug symptoms but also provide the effects of bugs and all possible solutions. Don`t forget that testing is a creative and challenging task. Ultimately, it depends on your skill and experience, how you handle this challenge.
9) Make your test cases available to developers prior to coding. Donâ€™t keep your test cases to yourself waiting to get final application release for testing, thinking that you can log more bugs. Let developers analyze your test cases thoroughly to develop a high quality application. This will also save the re-work time.
10 ) If possible identify and group your test cases for regression testing. This will ensure quick and effective manual regression testing.
11) Applications requiring critical response time should be thoroughly tested for performance. Performance testing is a critical part of many applications. In manual testing this is mostly ignored part by testers due to lack of required performance testing for large data volumes. Find out ways to test your application for performance. If it is not possible to create test data manually, then write some basic scripts to create test data for performance test or ask developers to write one for you.
12) Take down the new terms, concepts you learn while testing. Keep a text file open while testing an application. Take down testing progress, observations made during it. Use these notepad observations while preparing final test release report. This good habit will help you provide a complete unambiguous test report and release details.
Finally, I hope this article is useful for you. And the last thing I want to say that a good tester working in software outsourcing industry should share best testing practices, experience with other testers to promote better software all over the world.