Software Test Analyst
A Software Test Analyst is a stakeholder in product quality.
In the last century, the early software tester was a down trodden team outsider. Over time, the value of the tester has been realised by businesses, and testers have been given their deserved recognition, and real job titles.
Today’s tester is known as a ‘Software Test Analyst’. They offer an essential supporting role to software production teams. Production teams have embraced the advantages that formal test practices can bring to projects. This has expanded the role of the Software Test Analyst to become involved in the full scope of projects from start to completion.
What do Software Test Analysts do?
From project start.
For both Waterfall and Agile projects, the Software Test Analyst must engage with the customer and business to understand the product required. They must analyse the new product or features, and create test cases. Then offer test resource estimations to the project management, to aid more accurate project planning.
During the project.
As development teams begin offering technical solutions, and new code to the test environment, the Software Test Analyst must analyse test cases and user stories to create documented test methods. Manual and automated tests are executed. Discrepancies between ‘expected’ and ‘actual’ results are documented and published to the team in a defect report. Issue must be reported and tracked though to resolution, or flagged by development to the team as an impeded task if the issue can not be foreseeably resolved.
One of the many challenging tasks of the Software Test Analyst is to keep a traceable, understandable, accessible, comprehensive library of test cases and test methods. This is a big subject and we will cover some approaches used to help solve this jolly problem in a post of its own.
There are many constraints on any project that managers work to resolve. Projects can be long or short sprints with slim time frames. Some issues discovered during test may remain unresolved towards the project end. Project managers will need to make crucial decisions about the product release, or increment. It is essential that the Software Test Analyst has provided management with a clear picture of the product, identifying items such as; risk, priority, and test coverage for any and all outstanding issues.
Software Test Analysts must check that changes to an existing software have not cause functional regression in previously known good functionality. Software Test Analysts must be prepared for the possibility of frequent regression tests with wide product coverage, as is the case with Continuous Integration and iterative production methods. This is another challenge for the Software Test Analyst that requires of them leadership, organisation, cooperation, effort, creativity, and patience.