With so many different methods to learn in software testing, you might hear the question, what is pair testing? To explain briefly, it's a software testing technique where two people work together to test the same product.
Pair testing is not very adaptive as a method, so unlike other more commonly used types, it won’t be a part of every software testing requirement. It’s mainly used in Agile and large projects involving cross-functional teams or projects with unclear requirements and missing specifications. Unlike other types of software testing, prior preparation like writing test scripts, reviewing, and getting approval before the actual test execution is not needed.
Pair testing can be relatively informal and can sometimes happen spontaneously, such as when a tester discusses and learns about a feature from a designer. During their discussion, they might identify several gaps that designers can address before handing the designs to the developers.
If a team plans to conduct a Pair Test, they usually follow these steps.
Form a Pair
The first step is to create a pair made up of a team of two or more people. In software testing, this doesn’t mean they must both be testers. The two of them might be a tester and a developer, a tester and a business analyst, a tester and a product owner, or any other combination of people within the project.
Set up a Workstation
After the pair has been designated, the next step is to check their availability and the resources they will need. Eventually, they will sit together on the same machine and begin testing.
When the duo includes a developer, bugs can be identified and addressed during the test. Alternatively, the team can consolidate their findings, then share them with the broader team for further action.
What are the benefits of Pair Testing?
As mentioned, this form of testing is not included in all test cycles. However, when used, it will meet the common testing objective of identifying bugs and go beyond by enhancing the testing process and improving team communication.
Things get done faster when two people work together because pair testing helps avoid back and forth reporting, resolving any identified issues more quickly during the test. A developer and tester combination can help recreate the bugs quickly, identify the root causes, and fix them. A tester and business analyst combination helps the tester better understand the feature requirement and help achieve broader test coverage. A tester and tester combination helps utilize cross-functional knowledge and avoid dependency delays.
Learning through watching a real-life example in software testing can be more effective than learning from the documentation. A walkthrough when questions and answers can be instantaneous can be highly beneficial to both halves of the pair. Pair Testing is an excellent method that helps members, especially beginners, learn from their counterparts by observing what they do.
Establishes a Robust Team
Pair Testing requires a person to step out of their comfort level and work with others. The process helps develop the skill for listening to others, accepting differences in opinions, resolving conflicting thoughts, and working collaboratively. Overall, it helps establish better communication among the team members, broader understanding, and well-structured team dynamics.
Individually, our thoughts can be narrow, and we may continue to do things in our own familiar way, but when we collaborate, it teaches us to think beyond. Pair testing requires two people to sit together, discuss together and work together. The same feature or story is examined from an alternate perspective, which helps expand the reference user base.
Fewer than usual pre-testing activities are needed in pair testing. Although it may seem straightforward, the outcome of the entire process depends on the proactivity of the team members. The expression “Two heads are better than one” is the main point of pair testing. A review or walkthrough involving two people can establish greater confidence in the built system. Overall, it helps speed up testing and deliver a product of more outstanding quality but with significantly less effort or additional cost.