Functional vs. Nonfunctional Testing Types

by René Ceelen, on June 7, 2022

No matter your industry, your software’s success will be defined by its ability to deliver the quality, reliability, and functionality your customers expect. This is why it is vital to perform the testing required to identify defects and assess usability before a product is launched into the market or delivered to a customer.

There are many types of software tests, and they generally fall into two categories: functional and nonfunctional testing methods.

In this article, we explore these two groups of tests and how they can ensure your product meets your customers’ expectations.

What is functional testing?

Functional software testing assesses a design’s ability to meet the specified business requirements provided by a customer. The goal is to ensure that the software performs as expected when put into operation by a customer.

Several functional tests can be performed to evaluate how well the software meets requirements, including: 

  • Unit Testing: This testing evaluates software design by assessing individual units of code or modules. Unit testing can occur as units are completed or after a group of individual units are completed.
  • Integration Testing: This tests two or more related units or modules to evaluate how a design can complete a designated workflow or multistate process. 
  • Functional System Testing: This is the end-to-end evaluation of a system’s ability to meet business requirements. For example, a design can be evaluated for its ability to accept financial data, perform an analysis, or generate reports.

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What are nonfunctional testing methods?

Functional software testing ensures a product meets identified business objectives and requirements, whereas nonfunctional testing methods evaluate a system’s performance, reliability, security, and ease of use.

Examples of nonfunctional testing methods include:

  • Performance Testing: This evaluates the software’s ability to deliver the expected responsiveness, stability, reliability, availability, and speed under various load testing scenarios. This may also be called load, stress, volume, or endurance testing.
  • Security Testing: This attempts to exploit software vulnerabilities or bugs to test the data integrity or availability of the software.
  • Usability Testing: This tests how logical and intuitive a software’s design is to ensure it provides a smooth user experience. These tests usually include potential end-user testers.
  • Compatibility Testing: This testing evaluates the software’s ability to integrate with other applications and work across different operating systems, hardware architectures, and network environments.

What are the keys to successful functional and nonfunctional testing?

Although software development teams may vary in their testing approach, timing, and frequency, there are certain best practices all teams can use to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of their quality assurance (QA) process.

Several of these best practices include:

  • Involving a wide range of testers, including representation from different end-user target personas and trained QA professionals.
  • Dedicating set times and resources to conduct testing, even if teams utilize the agile development methodology.
  • Using an industry-leading test management platform to streamline test case organization and storage, schedule and manage test runs, maintain testing consistency, and enhance communication throughout the testing process.

Take your testing to the next level.

By taking the time to apply both functional and nonfunctional testing methods, you invest in verifying your software’s functionality, quality, and ability to meet customer expectations.

Your team can maximize that investment by spending more time and resources on the actual testing processes and less on the administrative elements with the help of a modern test management platform like TestMonitor. TestMonitor helps teams streamline their testing portfolios and provides a comprehensive and intuitive way to manage and monitor test efforts, no matter the scale or type of testing.

Want to learn even more about how to take your software testing to the next level with the help of cutting-edge technology? Then make sure to take a moment to download our complete resource, The Ultimate Guide to Effective Test Management.

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