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Matching Test Techniques to the Extent of Testing

By Rex Black

In the Pragmatic Risk Analysis and Management process described in books such as Managing the Testing Process, Pragmatic Software Testing, and Advanced Software Testing: Volume 2, I define the following extents of testing, in decreasing order of thoroughness:

  • Extensive
  • Broad
  • Cursory
  • Opportunity
  • Report bugs only
  • None

Risk based testing does not prescribe specific test design techniques to mitigate quality risks based on the level of risk, as the selection of test design technique for a given risk item is subject to many factors. These factors include the suspected defects (what Boris Beizer called the “bug hypothesis”), the technology of the system under test, and so forth. However, risk based testing does give guidance in terms of the level of test design, implementation, and execution effort to expend, and that does influence the selection of test design techniques. This sidebar provides heuristic guides to help test managers and engineers select appropriate test techniques based on the extent of testing indicated for a risk item by the quality risk analysis process. These guides apply to testing during system and system integration testing by independent test teams.

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Categories: Risk Based, Quality Risk Analysis

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