Since my early IT days, I've been a part of developing custom businessintelligenceand customer relationship management applications. I love the process of bringing to life the idea or strategy that was hatched by a marketer or strategist to help the company acquire new customers, save ones that were planning to leave, or produce reports based on a single version of the truth. Those ideas need to be translated into actionable requirements, the design and development have to meet those requirements, and the deployment needs to be well-planned for a smooth transition and user adoption. Every piece of the project lifecycle is important. But perhaps the most crucial part of the project lifecycle is the testing methodology. The testing methodology covers many areas - unit, integration, system, security, regression, performance/stress, acceptance and others as dictated by the project, and all are paramount. In my experience, unit, system and acceptance testing are the bare bones required testing forms for all application development.

The goal of custom application system testing should be to ensure that each work unit or module (those identified during unit testing) interacts with one another as designed. While unit testing procedures ensure that each component works independently of one another, the system test process ensures that interactions between those units have no unintended consequences. Specifically, the end-to-end business functionality, including both front and back-end components, will be tested. While sometimes broken out, the system test plan could include security testing and performance testing as well. These are just additional test cases in additional sections. The goal for each component should be to define quantifiable test cases that cover all interrelated functionality of the application.

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