All businesses have recurring tasks that have to be accomplished on a regular basis.
This inevitably leads to some sort of written process that helps guide team members on how to accomplish that particular task. As a company grows these processes should get updated, automated, and reviewed for relevancy. The point of this is to ensure that the team is as efficient as possible and that the process is helping as opposed to hindering.
This is where business process testing comes into play.
A study conducted by Łukasz Tartanus of Procesowcy.pl found that 69% of the companies they surveyed had documented and repeatable processes built out. However, only 4% of the 236 participating companies measured and managed them! A GAP analysis isn’t needed to determine a quick win on how to improve efficiency.
This post gives a high-level overview of what business process testing is, the pros and cons of BPT, and outlines the methodology.
What is business process testing (BPT)?
Business process testing (BPT) is most commonly associated with HPE UFT (Unified Functional Testing). It was formerly called HP QTP (Quick Test Professional) and was created by Micro Focus to help automate functional and regression testing for applications and different environments.
Some of the other frameworks that can be used are:
- Linear Scripting
- Modular Testing
- Data Driven Testing
- Keyword-Driven Testing
- Hybrid Testing
- Behavior Driven Development
BPT was designed to make sure that a specific business process can withstand testing. The building blocks of the process testing framework are comprised of Components, Application Area, Flows, and the BPT.
“Testers don’t like to break things; they like to dispel the illusion that things work”.— Kaner, Bach, Pettichord
Business process testing seeks to verify the end-to-end business processes.
A systematic process that confirms if all business rules are functioning appropriately and identify if any deviations or defects exist. It is a scenario that consists of a series of business components, which are designed to authenticate a specific business process under the test.
It also allows analysts to design automated scenarios and execute them according to the initial scope document without coding/automation knowledge. Some of its the most useful features are as follows:
- It allows non-coders, such as subject matter experts and business specialists, to quickly create tests for the entire business process. This expedites the test design and allows the QA teams to ramp up quicker. Ultimately leading to a shortened time-to-deployment.
- It also enhances the productivity levels of both QA teams and subject matter authorities. This is due to engaging these users earlier, documenting all activities, and simplifying complex tasks down to more comprehensible blocks.
- Allows subject matter specialists to plan quality assurance tests for applications in the development cycle. BPT is not reliant on the end of comprehensive testing scripts.
- BPT also allows for manual testing as well as automated testing.
Business process testing methodology
A good way to look at BPT is to understand the reason behind its creation. It is a blend of manual and automated testing. Originally built to solve some of the traditional problems that can be found in fully automated testing frameworks. The primary problems that come to mind are maintenance efforts, poor coordination between manual testers and automation engineers, and inefficient scripts.
A hybrid process like BPT is not limited to a singular business process stage or application environment. The BPT methodology offers an effective test framework that can streamline testing for non-technical business specialists. These can range from test design and test maintenance to test creation and documentation. The emphasis is, however, on offering a business-oriented testing framework.
Below are some of the benefits of a BPT Methodology.
- It can improve business productivity and process efficiency.
- Aids in the planning stage of the design and execution of tests.
- Speeds up test execution, if a scenario or a component is automated.
- Integrates both automated and non-automated components, hence, provides a single repository for all test cases.
- Easier test maintenance. Specifically when modifying a component. This action can be replicated to all further tests which utilize a component. This is similar to pushing all updates from a Process Street template to related checklists.
- Minimizes redundancy if business processes share common steps or elements, which means that one component can then be implemented and re-used over different scenarios.
Many of these benefits have been pre-built into Process Street. A great way to reduce redundancy is through proper template creation.
Now that you know what BPT is, the mindset behind its creation, and why it is beneficial it only makes sense to actually demonstrate the steps needed to implement it.
Step 1: Choose your tool: There are many great tools that can be used. It is up to you and your organization to scope out specific business process management needs.
Step 2: Create your application: Developing, populating and maintaining a logical repository for testing of resources.
Step 3: Design the test components: Businesses can create new opportunities and define them in a quality center (business component module).
*BONUS MATERIAL* A business component module consists of the following:
- Details: A summary of the goals or purpose, post, and pre-conditions.
- Snapshot: Pictures that aid in visualizing the description of components (if required)
- Parameters: Choose the input and output component parameters values. These allow the components to receive data from different sources and pass on to other components. In your Process Street account, you can easily do this through our Zapier integrations.
- Design steps: Develop views and automate manual steps of organizational components.
- Used by: Consists of existing selected business components.
- Component Request Pane: This handles the new components requests, which are generated in the test plan module. For instance, if you create a test and you identify any missing component, this is where a request is generated
Step 4: Create actual business process tests: You can create business process tests by selecting a component that can be applied to a business process. Every component can be used differently for a different business process.
Step 5: Automating business components: After a business process template has been created, the components are then ready for coding and can be forwarded to the quality assurance testers.
Components can be categorized into two different categories. These are:
- Component shell: This is the outer layer of any component, the information that is given at the test level.
- Component implementation: This is known as the inner layer of the component. This information is only available at the component level.
Step 6: Running BPT: This step involves running business process tests like any other regular test.
Business process testing challenges
Unfortunately, nothing in this world is perfect. There are always pros and cons that need to be weighed when determining if something is right for you and your business. Although BPT has many positives there are also some negatives that should be mentioned. Below are a few challenges that should be kept in mind.
- There is a greater focus on a singular positive completion of application flows. Many times alternative flows are overlooked. One example is a flow setup for an online ticket purchase. The progression is modeled out as if the user fully completes the purchase. However, there is a high likelihood that the user may click the back button right before the point of purchase. This would cause an alternative scenario. These are typically not covered in BPT due to the heavier focus on positive flows.
- If the alternative path has to be mapped, this can make the number of scripts very large and the test suit massive.
- BPT does not emphasis negative testing. This could result in performing additional rounds of exploratory testing by the QA teams. This will increase labor costs.
- The user who develops the test must make sure to follow strict naming conventions for folders. If poor naming conventions are used then automated scripts may break due to coding failures.
- Splitting the application into logical and reusable components may require comprehensive knowledge of the application.
- Most of the testing responsibility falls on a small group of key users. The individuals capacity may create lag time in testing.
- The level of complexity and specializing required for testing is increasing. End-to-end business processes are increasingly spreading beyond SAP and over various, APIs, third party data integrations, web UIs, mobile interfaces and much more.
Business process testing is an advanced technique that is perfectly situated between automation and manual testing frameworks. It helps with creating specifications for complex business processing and making automation suitable for high-level processes. Efficient utilization practices and quick implementation of standards are a few of the main features that make BPT a powerful testing technique.
Business process testing is not a new methodology but it can be considered a paradigm shift from traditional testing methods. It offers a level of completeness, ease of use and accessibility that reduces the barrier to entry by minimizing traditionally necessary technical skills.
Have you utilized the business process testing framework in your organization? If so, how did it go? Leave a comment below.