7 Principles of Software Testing

Software Testing is an integral component of SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle). Testing software gives insights into the gaps, errors, and defects in the software, the quality of the software being developed, and the accuracy of specifications that are in line with the user, business, and product specifications. When testing, it's crucial to get the most effective results without departing from the objective. To that end, how can we be confident that we're following the proper testing method? In such a scenario, it's recommended to revisit previous processes and guidelines for testing to ensure you adhere to the most effective procedures. Although we've been using tests for many years, many of us do not know how useful they can be. We'll take a look at seven fundamentals for software testing. These principles could assist in making testing more efficient and contribute to the creation of software that is of superior quality. Before we proceed, let's be aware of the essence of what software testing is about and why testing is essential.

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What exactly is Software Testing?

Software tests are the method to verify and validate the functionality and the artifacts created by the software being examined. Software testing comprises:

What is Software Testing?, Source: Youtube, Telusko 

  • Check and confirm your product's free of bugs.
  • Finds out if the product complies with technical specifications under the development and design.
  • Assess the product's functionality and performance.
  • Find ways to improve software's effectiveness, accuracy, and usability.

If the testing is completed, any bugs or faults within the software are identified early and addressed before the software is released. Software that is tested properly delivers top performance, reliable security, and cost-effectiveness, eventually leading to greater satisfaction of customers. In this procedure, various aspects of the product are examined, analyzed, observed, and evaluated using manual or automated software testers. When the testers have completed their tests, they provide their results to the team working on development. 

Why is it essential to understand Software Testing Principles Important?

The common belief is that success is due to adhering to set rules. If you want to remain fit and meet your work-related goals or reach your goals in life generally, there are specific goals and guidelines that we have to follow to achieve these goals. The same is for testing software. In general, the principles of software testing outline how software testers and testing engineers can create bug-free, easy-to-maintain code that is easy to maintain. Engineering isn't art in which you can use a magic wand and turn an assemblage of classes, variables, and functions into perfect code. Still, you could apply some basic principles to judge if you're performing things correctly. Test principles can aid you in drafting error-free test cases and developing an efficient Test Strategy. Seven fundamentals guide testing software:

Principles of Software Testing | Learn ISTQB, Source: Youtube, SoftwaretestingbyMKT

  • Tests reveal the existence of flaws
  • The examination is not exhaustive.
  • Early testing
  • Defect clustering
  • Pesticide paradox
  • Testing is context-dependent
  • The fallacy of absence of errors

What are these fundamentals of testing software? Let's examine the seven Software Testing Principles curated for you.

Principles of Software Testing

Testing software is a highly creative and intellectual task for testers. Each software tester should read and be aware of these seven principles to meet high-quality standards and provide their customers with the confidence of their product being ready for production. By adhering to these principles, you will allow your project to progress smoothly. Take a look:

1. Testing reveals the presence of Defects

In this testing principle, "Testing talks about the presence of defects and doesn't talk about the absence of defects." When we test software, we search for any issues to be corrected before deploying systems into live environments. This ensures the system's ability to perform well when released to users. However, testing cannot ensure that software is 100 100% error-free. Although testing significantly reduces software-related defects, locating and fixing the issues does not guarantee an error-free system or product.

Software Testing Training - Testing Shows the Presence of Defects, Source: Youtube, Rice Consulting Services, Inc.

If testers cannot discover defects after repeated tests for regression, that is not a guarantee that the software is bug-free 100% of the time. In the case of an application, it might appear error-free after completing various testing phases, but once it is placed in the environment, a surprising flaw could be discovered. The team members must be aware of this, and efforts are needed to control expectations from clients.

2. Exhaustive Testing is Not Possible

Comprehensive testing typically tests and validates the functionality of software applications functionality, using both invalid and valid inputs and conditions. Whatever you attempt, trying everything is almost impossible. Both outputs and inputs offer an endless array of combinations. It is impossible to test the application from all angles.

Think about the scenario where we have required testing an input field that can accept the percentages of 50 to 55. We try the area with 50 51 52, 53 54 55. Assuming that the input field can take values ranging between 50 and 100, we would have to test it using 50 51 52, 53 ...., 99 100. This is an example of a simple. It is possible to imagine that an automated tool would do this. Imagine a field that can accept a billion different values. Can we test every value that could be possible?

If you continue testing every possible scenario, the software's execution time and costs will rise. We'll consider crucial testing criteria impacts such as risk and priority in our testing and estimations to prevent rigorous testing.

3. Early Testing

In software development, early testing refers to that testing is included as early as you can during the development process. It is a crucial element in the life cycle of software development (SDLC). For example, it is essential to test the requirements before beginning to code. Resolving issues at this point of a project's development life cycle is much more affordable and less time-consuming than fixing problems later in the project when we need to create new functionality, which can lead to late overruns and deadlines. 

Early Testing is Important | Principles of Testing | Testing in Nutshell | Neeraj Kumar Singh, Source: Youtube, Testing in Nutshell

Let's consider two scenarios. In the first scenario, you discovered an inconsistency requirement during gathering requirements. In the second instance, you identified a defect that was not present in the fully-developed function. It's less costly to correct the lousy condition than to fix a fully developed position that's not functioning as it ought to. To improve software performance, testing should be initiated at the beginning phase, which is during the analysis of requirements.

4. Defect Clustering

In the field of software testing, the term "defect clustering" refers to a tiny feature or module which has the highest number of operating issues or bugs. This is because defects aren't equally distributed throughout an application but instead are scattered. This could result from several reasons. For example, the modules could be complex, or the code associated with the modules may be complex.

DEFECT BUG ERROR FAILURE in Software Testing, Source: Youtube, SoftwaretestingbyMKT

The Pareto principle (80-20 Rule) stipulates it is believed that the majority of bugs result from 20% of modules, and those remaining 20 percent stem from the remaining 20% of modules. Therefore, we focus our tests on 20% of the modules in which we encounter most bugs.

To ensure that a successful testing strategy is implemented, It is essential to study these aspects within the program. The method of clustering defects is based on the teams' expertise and experience in determining the modules that need to be tested. It is possible to identify high-risk modules by your own experience. So, the team must focus on the "sensitive" areas, saving time and energy.

5. Pesticide Paradox

In the field of software testing, the Pesticide Paradox generally refers to the routine of repeating precisely the identical test case over and over. As time is passed, these test cases stopped revealing new bugs. Tests are created by successful developers, allowing them to forget about the edge or negative instances. The reason for this is that if you apply the pesticide over crops to kill insects, they will eventually develop an immunity rendering the pesticide useless. The same holds the case with software testing.

Pesticide paradox | Test Principle | Experimenting in Nutshell | Neeraj Kumar Singh, Source: Youtube, Testing in Nutshell

So, to get over this Pesticide Paradox, it is essential to examine and revise the tests so that no bugs can be identified. 

6. Testing is contextually dependent

Every kind of software is tested differently. This testing is based on the context in which the software was developed, and that's valid. The fact is that each software has its own set of specifications, which is why we cannot put testing in the same box. Of course, each application has a distinct testing procedure, but the testing method may differ according to the application type.

There are a variety of methods, methodologies, and methods of tests employed based on the purpose of the application. For instance, health-related applications need more testing than gaming apps, or security-critical systems (such as an automobile or aircraft ECU) need more testing than corporate presentation websites and online banking applications. It will require different testing strategies as opposed to e-commerce or advertising websites.

7. The Absence of Error - False

The software we designed does not have to be 100% bug-free. However, it must also meet the requirements of business and user demands; otherwise, it'll be useless software. Even software with no bugs may not be usable if incorrect requirements are integrated into the software or the software does not meet the needs of the business.

If you create it, they will be there. If you build it, they will come! It is believed that if you begin bugs-free software, users will flock to it and utilize it. However, it's not the case. To allow software systems to function and be usable, they must be 100% bug-free and satisfy the needs of businesses and users. Therefore, regardless of how error-free or flawless the software maybe if it's not user-friendly and is challenging to use or doesn't meet the business or user requirements, it's not a success.


As you've seen, the seven fundamentals of software testing result in quality products. Implementing these principled practices in your testing will aid in increasing effectiveness and efficiency, in addition to improving the overall strategy for testing. Additionally, it is common to discover that applying one principle can incorporate other principles. For instance, early testing will help to avoid what's known as the "absence of errors fallacy," including testers at the stage of requirements can ensure that software meets the expectations of clients or their needs. Combining these concepts can allow you to utilize your time and efforts efficiently and efficiently.

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