First of all we should know that what is Baseline before understanding what Baseline testing is.
Technically Speaking –
Baseline is a formal document which acts as a base document for future work. Talking in layman language, for making a building, you require base. Same thing applies to testing. We need to create Baseline, from which further testing is done. First of all, it is very important to know that it is non-functional testing which means it has nothing to do with testing of functionality of application. Rather testing of document is done which lays solid foundation of the work to be done in future. So it can be said that it acts as a base for future development whatever it is. It may be performance, test case development.
Talking In Terms Of Performance Testing –
If it is seen that performance of the application of a particular server with load of 100 users, if it is working fine on server with load of 100 without any interruption or slowness or breakdown and after that server performance decreases drastically after load of more than 100 users is applied to the server containing the application. Then we can say that standard for this server is 100 user. Now this standard can be compared with the standard server and future scope of performance testing can be defined.
Let us understand this with other example, suppose release 1 has response time of 2 second and release 2 has response time of 3 second. Now for release 3, response time of 2 second of Release 2 acts as basis or baseline for performance for release 3. So, from now we can infer that Baseline is a document which is referred as a base for comparison or reference for future work. There has to be some document which can be referred as stable finalized document for future work.
Talking In Terms Of Software Development –
If we talk in terms of Software Development, There is document called Design Document .It may be Low Level Document or High Level Document on the basis of which development works start. If we talk in testing term, document prepared by Business Analyst who is in contact with Client and is responsible for fetching the requirement from Client, acts as point of reference for contact for the testers to start development and testing process. Business Analyst goes to client’s place after taking the appointment and takes the requirement and fills that in specific template. Now, he discuss the requirement with Engagement Manager or Project Management Manager to test the requirement and check its feasibility. In case, they are not clear of the requirement, they ask developer to create prototype and if satisfied, they hand over the requirement document to the project manager which prepares Software Requirement Specification. Document prepared by Business Analyst is called Business Requirement Document or Functional Requirement Specification or User Requirement Specification or Business Design Document or Business Document depending on the organization’s used terminology. So, here we see that requirement testing is done in order to finalize Requirement Document which acts as base on which Design Document or Project Plan and Test Plan is prepared and forms the basis for Software development and testing. This type of testing is called Baseline testing. In this type of testing we check whether document prepared is up to the mark and meets expectation properly or in other words, we are validating the document and finalizing it.
After Baseline Testing is done and Software Requirement Specification document is finalized, we are ready to move ahead and start development and testing process. For testing, we can start preparing test case based on requirement document. Main advantage of Baseline Testing is that we can remove errors in requirement in early stage of Software Development Life Cycle and remove so many problems and effort at later stage and help us delivering the project with minimum rework and less effort.
Talking In Terms Of Software Development Life Cycle Phase –
As we know that more work in early phase of Software Development Life Cycle reduces too much effort at later stage. For understanding how important is Baseline testing, we need to have little understanding of Software Development Life Cycle. First Phase is requirement phase where Business Analyst gathers information from client and prepares requirement document which is called Business Requirement Document or Functional Requirement Specification or User Requirement Specification or Business Design Document or Business Document depending on the organization’s used terminology. From the requirement document, testing of the requirement document is done, what is called Baseline testing and requirement is finalized or we may say that requirement is freeze. Once it is up to the mark and up to be considered to prepare Software Requirement Specification in Analysis phase. In this document, Project Manager or Technical Manager or System analyst prepare Project Plan about how the project will be developed. Based on SRS document, Design Document such as High Level Design Document and Low Level Design Document is prepared based on which other phase of Software Development Life Cycle such as Coding ,Testing and Delivery is done is carried out.
Suppose Baseline Testing is not done properly and Business Requirement Document is not properly finalized, then SRS prepared on the basis of Business Requirement Document will not be proper and Design Document will also not be correct and therefore all the activities of development and testing will not be as per client’s expectation as there may be slight mistake while taking the requirement or the requirement was not baseline properly. From this we can understand how much important is Baseline testing.
One important thing is that there is a term Baseline which is used in configuration management, though meaning is more or less same there also. It is related to versioning of document where base version of the document is finalized and new version of document is released per software application release. But there is little concept of Baseline Testing in Configuration Management, as well because Base Version of all documents whether it is related to Development, Testing, Web designing or any other document prepared in relation to Software Development, needs to be reviewed properly in terms of formats and content, so that next version of document is prepared with less effort in already properly formatted document.
Thus we see that Baseline testing is of how much importance and unless and until requirement Document is not properly validated or in other words if Baseline testing is not done, there will be lot of problem in later stage and effort utilization will be much more in solving the problems which will be just wastage of effort and time and new requirement will be taken and need to go through all phases of Software Development Life Cycle, in order to solve the issue completely. So, we can say that Baseline Testing solves many issues at earlier stage, reduces cost, effort and time to the organization at the later stage of Software Development Life Cycle.
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