Ad Hoc Testing & Best Practices

Ad Hoc Testing

A Comprehensive Synopsis

Digital transformation of businesses is the new thing that the global economy is racing towards. When talking about digitizations what comes elementarily is the role that computers and software applications play in the process. Testing this software become very crucial and ad-hoc testing is one of the best ways to do so.

From executing the simplest of tasks like calculating to complex accounting and tax compliances, making presentations to complex designs and planning, there is a myriad of software applications in the global tech universe to make them happen in a jiffy. While we all use hundreds of software and applications across our digital devices, be it for work or personal use, have we ever stopped to ponder how these digital tools come into being or work incessantly and flawlessly?

The answer is continuous testing during and post-launch, which helps detect the bugs and errors hidden between the coding lines. Our blog today is a synopsis on ad-hoc testing. One of the most critical ways to keep the software or application bug-free throughout the development phase.

What is Ad-hoc testing?

This is an unplanned and unstructured testing process, conducted during the different software or application development phases to detect errors at the initial stages. It is done arbitrarily without any test documentation. One need not follow a pre-designed testing structure to bring in an element of abrupt testing. To make it simpler, it is like a surprise test to gauge the preparedness and efficacy of the class or students (here the software in question). 

It can be performed at any time on any given part of the software codes and is mostly done by the process of “error guessing”. Experts use it to detect or predict the probable errors and their sources. Additionally, this type of testing is done in an unstructured format, devoid of any documentation, the errors are not mapped to the test cases. All of this makes it extremely cumbersome to reproduce.

When to execute Ad-hoc testing?

This randomly conducted software testing process detect bugs and coding errors at a nascent stage. A pre-designed testing architecture is not required for testing. Hence, you can easily do this on any desired part of the code sheet. Ad-hoc testing is very much useful when there is a deficit of testing time at hand. This helps the developers or testers having a herculean task at hand for testing. It takes a marginal amount of time to run the test. For better results, do this testing on a particularly suspected coding area or the entire system. However, such testing requires the involvement of someone extremely adept in the system in use.

Best practices

When you want to conduct arbitrary ad-hoc testing, here are a few practices to ensure the most unambiguous results. Let’s check them out:

  • Thorough knowledge: Make sure your testers are familiar with every triviality of the business and assigned modules. They should be able to find or diagnose the maximum possible defects in the given test module. 
  • Identify & test key modules: Identification, targeting, and testing the key business modules. The critical modules must undergo ad-hoc testing procedures to achieve the most confident results and ensure quality.
  • Chronicling the defects: Note down all the errors detected during the ad-hoc test process for immediate action and rectification.

Types of Ad-hoc testing

While this may sound very simple, ad-hoc testing comes in multiple types of processes. Here’s a list of the different types:

  • Buddy testing: Two professionals, often one from the developer team and one from the testing team buddy up to work mutually to identify the errors in the assigned test module. The person from the testing team can detect the bugs. And, the one from the developer team can simultaneously make the amendments in the codes for a better and faster resolution.
  • Pair testing: In this case, a pair of testers (usually a tester and a scribbler) collaboratively work on a given module. Testers can also share their ideas and detect the defects.
  • Monkey testing: In this variety of, the software or application is tested arbitrarily without any test cases. This process aims at breaking the order of the system.

How to make ad-hoc testing most effective?

Like any other process of evaluation and testing, there are miscellaneous ways to improve the efficacy of ad-hoc testing. We have carefully cataloged some of the best ways to ensure optimum effectiveness of ad-hoc testing:

  • Preparing & designing a rough sketch: Nothing can beat staying prepared and ad-hoc testing, however contrary to the concept might it be, is no exception. It is always advisable to learn from previous case studies on similar grounds. Then, jot down a rough plan of course for the testing.
  • Divide & rule: Two is better than one. Division of labor and modules is the best approach when it comes to ad-hoc testing. It not only saves time but also makes the process more accurate and error-free.
  • Targetted testing: In the case of ad-hoc testing, especially in cases of a time crunch, a targetted module approach works best. In this, prioritize the modules to be tested based on their criticality. The testers target those critical areas that aren’t tested while framing the test cases.
  • Smart tools: Using digital tools specifically meant for ad-hoc is the smartest way around the corner. Testers can detect errors in a jiffy using debuggers, profilers, and even something as simple as task monitors.
  • Documentation: Typically, there is no documentation for ad-hoc test cases. But, it is always a wiser way to work. Documenting the detected glitches can help in easier rectification and case resolution.

Ad-hoc testing acts as a complementary advantage to planned testing, ensuring no glitches in the thousands of lines of codes go undetected. This ensures additional efficacy and precision of the software or application. It is also a very popular testing mechanism among software programmers and developers. This is because it involves minimal planning, time, documentation, and test case cataloging.

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