Hidden Scoop on Risk-Based Testing - Sponsored Whitepaper

Hidden Scoop on Risk-Based Testing
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Go Pro Management, Inc.
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Testing is our primary means of controlling system/software risks. Virtually every testing authority explicitly states something to the effect that testing should be in proportion to the amount of risk—the greater the risk, the more testing is needed. For example, the IEEE SWEBOK software engineering body of knowledge section on Software Testing says “testing must be driven based on risk, i.e., testing can also be seen as a risk management strategy” (Version 1.0, May 2001, page 75).

In this way, risk-based testing enables better using limited time and resources to assure that the most important testing is accomplished and that any tests which are skipped or shortchanged are the less important ones.

In order to be able to devote available time and resources to the most important tests, testing should be planned and designed, largely through identifying, prioritizing, and addressing potential risks. Emphasis should be on systematic thinking about what needs to be demonstrated to be confident the system works, not on the busywork paper-pumping that many seem to confuse with planning. Value is maximized by economically documenting risks appropriately so they can be remembered, shared, refined, and reused. Write no more than is useful—and no less.

Risk exposure represents the combination of impact (damage if the risk occurs) times the likelihood (that the risk will occur). Much of what is written about risk involves nothing more than variations on a useful but mechanical method for quantifying risk: assigning respective values such as 1=Low, 2=Medium, and 3=High to impact and likelihood, and then multiplying to produce a risk exposure score of 1 (very low) through 9 (very high). Figure 1 shows the respective exposures graphically—Low=1 box, Medium=4 boxes, or High=9 boxes—which can enhance understandability.
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