Reasons Behind Common Software Testing Failure

Jayateerth Katti
5 min readSep 5, 2023

You know testing is fun and motivating.

It gives satisfaction when you uncover defects. When deliver quality product. When user gets delighted.

But as you also know, testing is not a smooth sailing boat.

There will be ups and downs.

Failures too.

In this newsletter, I will uncover the reasons behind common testing failures.

This will empower you to rise above them.

So, let’s dive in together and unveil the heart and soul of software testing challenges!

But before that,

When do you consider testing as failed?

Testing a crucial activity in product life cycle. You know that already.

Testing can be called as failure when:

  • The software crashes or hangs in production environment.
  • The software produces incorrect results.
  • The software does not meet the requirements of the users.
  • The software is not secure.
  • The software is not user-friendly.

Now, let me give you some of the causes for testing to fail.

Why testing Fails?

1. Not understanding the User

You know it. You are building the product/software for the user.

You (your team/organization) is trying to solver user’s problem.

So, it is very important for you to know who is the user.

What are the different user personas, who would use the product.

You should know which type of user uses the product in which way.

If you do not know the user, his/her problems, you can not provide solution to him/her.

If you don’t understand user and hid/her problems, testing fails.

The product itself fails.

Therefore, if the product needs to succeed, testing should be successful.

If testing needs to be successful, you need to understand the user well.

Else, be ready for disaster. I am sorry.

2. Inadequate Test Coverage

User requirements are basis for your testing.

You write test cases based on these requirements.

As you know already, your test cases should cover all the requirements.

You should have the positive and negative test cases as well.

If you do not have the proper test coverage, it most likes causes the testing to fail.

3. Insufficient Test Data

“Testing without the essence of realism is like a love story without chemistry”

I got this quote when I was reading something. Looks funny, but is applicable to testing as well.

You should have the proper test data to test.

Sometimes, most of the times you can test using dummy data.

But, in other scenarios, you need some real data like credit card, etc.

Insufficient test data leaves you in the dark.

Due to this, you might miss crucial edge cases and real-world scenarios.

4. Incomplete Bug Reporting

No software is free from bugs. Its truth.

You need to uncover them. Report them so that they can be fixed.

Bug reporting is the medium of communicating bugs to developers.

Incomplete bug reporting like missing the steps to reproduce, OS/browser/environment info missing etc can communicate incomplete data to developers.

They might reject bug or fix partially.

5. Misaligned Requirements

As mentioned earlier, requirements are the requirements for the product.

Without clearly documented requirements, it is very challenging to develop product.

The product might be developed which is not in alignment with requirements.

It is you, a tester who has to understand them.

Build your tests according to them.

If requirements are assumed the tested, it can cause failure.

💡 Assumption is the greatest enemy of testers !

Misalignment between test cases and requirements leads to inefficient testing efforts.

This leads to defect escapes.

6. Time and Resources

You might have observed this.

Testers always work with constraints. Usually time constraints.

You don’t get sufficient time to perform the testing.

💡 Testing is not just test case execution.

You need to understand requirements-specified and unspecified.

Plan the tests. Collaborate with other testers.

Test beyond the test cases. Do exploratory testing

Report the defects.

Reproduce the defect multiple times.

Re-test them when they are fixed.

This consumes time.

You need to have other team members as well.

Balancing the urgency to deliver quality products with thorough testing can be a daunting challenge.

If not planned and executed well, testing can be disastrous.

7. Improper Regressions

Product needs to have new features.

And bug fixes too.

So as product evolves, new features and updates may unintentionally introduce bugs.

Regression is not just repeating test case execution. Every time.

You need to do impact analysis. Identify which features/functionalities are impacted due to fix or new feature.

If this analysis is missed or not proper, regression testing is meaning less.

It’s just waste of time by re-executing same test cases.

And regression is on-going process.

Therefore, improper regression may lead to defect leakages. This causes testing to fail.

8. Ineffective Communication

💡 Communication is hear beat of successful testing.

You are not testing in isolation.

The software/product has many stake holders. They can be developers, customers, users, product managers, project managers, testers, top leaders, legal teams, deployment teams, to name a few.

You, as a tester is a crucial stake holder.

You need to communicate well.

Assuming something, not communicating the risks, etc are dangerous.

Similarly, if communication from other stakeholders to testers is also critical.

If communication is not clear, entire testing can fail.

This leads to product failure.

9. Test Environment Issues

There can be different environments- Development, Testing, UAT, Production etc.

You might have experienced this.

The defect reported by user in production is not reproducible by you in Testing environment.

Yes? Experienced?

I have seen this too.

These defects may be specific to environment.

The DB, the server, load balancer, CPU usage etc can be hardware and or software related.

Configuration of Test environment should be identical to Production. If not, there can be many issues in production.

Example : Due to load of the requests, server can respond slow, might even crash.

Conclusion

In the ever-evolving software testing, you must embrace both the struggles and triumphs.

They define our journey. Uncovering the reasons causing common software testing failures empowers you to grow and refine our testing practices.

Welcome challenges as opportunities for improvement.

Understand the user, their requirements, cover all requirements in testing, communicate well, set your environment right.

P.S : If you need any support, do ping me. I will be happy to support you in your career journey !

Happy testing !

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Jayateerth Katti

20 Years of experience in testing. I write about testing and growth.