Pair Testing: How To Get The Maximum Out Of It.

Pair Testing

Among many test techniques that are out there in Software QA discipline, Pair Testing has been a long-standing technique used by Quality Engineers to track and verify issues. But due to how it’s practised and the time constraints, pair testing tends to be left out. Knowing when to use Pair testing will enable you to identify issues that need to be fixed and it will save time and resources.

As stated in the website, Pair testing refers to the technique which involves two members using a single workstation to test different aspects of a software application. Who’s going to be in the pair now? Well, that depends on the testing requirements. It can be two Quality Engineers, a BA and a Quality Engineer, a Developer, and a Quality Engineer, etc. The bottom line is that an exercise of pair testing should provide an effective output in test execution and finding defects compared to normal test execution. Hence, the question arises “How am I going to get the maximum out of it?”

To do this, here’s a list of criteria which can be followed to assess the capability of conducting Pair testing

Is it worth the effort to start things off?

Pair testing is effective when used to verify a complex or broad set of functionality in the application. If you’re going to test a feature that has very straight forward functionality there won’t be a big requirement to conduct pair testing. For example, user login for a goods delivery application is better tested by one person. But if there’s the feature to track delivered goods, that feature itself has the potential to do pair testing due to the different selection criteria a user will have to enter to get the desired result.

Is the time with you OR against you?

Though there may be content/features to pair test, it’s important to look at the time available to conduct pair testing before you decide to get started. Based on the time constraints of the project, it may not be feasible to allocate time to conduct a pair testing session since you have to give priority to individual test execution. We are utilizing another person’s time so it should be a responsible decision towards making it a productive pair test session. The ideal approach would be to talk to your project manager and come to a decision on going ahead with pair testing.

Choose the right person to Pair Test with

It takes two to tango but the performance depends on how good your partner is. If you’re to do pair testing, you need to make sure you’re doing it with the right person next to you. Because our goal is to make sure the feature is working according to the requirement. And depending on the situation the person whom you’re conducting pair testing has to change. If you’re to have a pair test session at the end of a sprint, doing it with one of the main developers would benefit in finding any issues. If you’re to test a part with more integrated components, perhaps doing it with your BA or your product manager would result in a better output on identifying issues.

Identify your observation criteria

Pair testing is not there only to detect bugs. You can use pair testing to Identify issues that may obstruct the intended user requirement. Identifying UX improvements can be done effectively with the use of pair testing. It helps the Quality Engineer to get a better understanding of aspects that he or she may haven’t looked at among all possible viewpoints of an application feature.

Defect verification? Pair Testing to the rescue!

When you have a list of defects to be verified, doing it in pair testing will save you some time and effort in communicating. This is most effective when the defect list is fixed for one or two developers because getting them paired up for the testing will allow you to verify your test inputs and possible edge cases for that defect. If the defect still exists, the developer is aware then and there. This saves time in reporting a reopened issue and perhaps it may be resolved at the moment itself saving time on another defect verification cycle.

Pair testing can help project teams utilize their time and resources in a collaborative manner to help build the quality of an application. But it’s the responsibility of the Quality Engineer to identify feasibility on how to use it with the support of other project team members. This in return, will ensure a significant improvement in the overall quality of the application.

Thaveesha Gamage

QA Engineer

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