Risk-based testing is essentially a business risk mitigation process. The focus is therefore on identifying potential software risks, and on evaluating their likelihood of occurrence and degree of impact. This risk evaluation is then used to prioritize the execution of tests, with a key goal being to minimize the number of test cases – and therefore the time and cost required for testing.
Economic testing is a fundamentally different approach, as it is a “success enabling process.” Thus, the focus is not on potential problems, but instead on potentials for success. The following analogy should help illustrate the difference: You can go see the doctor for regular checkups, during which he/she performs heart and blood tests to identify significant health risks. A test may show that you have an illness, in which case you can follow the prescribed treatment to counteract it. However, to remain in top health you must also scrutinize your lifestyle – nutrition, exercise habits, stress level, etc. – and make changes if necessary. Even in the latter case, it is prudent to get an occasional checkup to ensure that there are no health risks.
Thus, economic testing also uses risk-based methods. However, the main focus is on scrutinizing the project goals and supporting their achievement. In addition, economic testing focuses on meeting the client’s budget requirements. The core questions are therefore: Which goals are most important for the project to succeed, and what is the most efficient means of meeting these goals?
The following are several examples of how OBJENTIS uses the economic testing approach to support client projects:
Focus on the Use Case
The use case is the most important starting point for testing, and we thus take great care to develop suitable use cases. Only a well-defined use case makes prioritization possible and useful.
Matrix-Supported Test Case Selection
As with risk-based testing, test case selection is a decisive success factor. Our matrix-supported selection of test cases enables optimal test coverage for critical areas and helps avoid redundancies.
The Test Team as a Communication Interface
Communication between software developers and users is a critical success factor in many projects, and a test team must actively foster such communication. Our test team members are equally well versed in interfacing with business specialist and developers.
Management needs to be kept informed about a project’s progress, and the test team must therefore be able to develop suitable indicators for communicating the project status. Backed by an in-house developed method and adaptable tools, OBJENTIS is able to summarize test results for management in the form of highly informative indicators.
Test automation is a key component of any economic testing method. At the same time, by analyzing the cost/benefit equation in each area, we make sure that automation does not turn into a “cost trap” for the client.
Economic testing requires three vital “ingredients:” 1) Belief in the precept that testing must be committed to the project’s success (vs. simply accompanying its failure!); 2) The ability to set clear priorities when the testing budget is limited; 3) The willingness to embark on a new path during any project phase.