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  1. #1
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    Prioritisation of Tests

    What is the best way of prioritising tests?

    We're having trouble, due to conflicting priorities, identifying what areas we need to concentrate on when writing our test cases, which is causing us some problems to say the least!

    Because of the type of software we test, and the business our customer is involved in, most of the change requests we recieve are because of changes in legislation - which means that technically, every change and peice of functionality is as important as every other...

    When we have asked for guidance in prioritisation of tests, we have been told "Just test everything!" - which is not particularly helpful!

    Personally, I believe that we should carry out all positive testing first - "Does the system do what it is supposed to do?" - and when (and only when) the new functionality has been tested, we should move onto negative testing - "Does the system do anything it's not supposed to do"

    That way, if we run out of time, we at least know that the customer is going to be able to use the system to do what they need it to do.

    My manager believes that we should fully test each piece of functionality - postively and negatively - before moving onto the next piece...

    The end dates of projects cannot move, though!

    Which is better - fully testing half of your functionality, or half-testing all of your functionality?

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  2. #2
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    Re: Prioritisation of Tests

    half testing all your functionality.

  3. #3
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    Re: Prioritisation of Tests

    Try looking into the ideas behind the concept of Essential Use Cases.

  4. #4
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    Re: Prioritisation of Tests

    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Rachel S:
    What is the best way of prioritising tests?
    ...
    Which is better - fully testing half of your functionality, or half-testing all of your functionality?

    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    These are not the only options. You said you have to choose between:
    - 100%(testing) of 50%(functionality) or
    - 50%(testing) of 100%(functionality).

    If you consider:
    - 70%(testing) of 70%(functionality) you'll see that the effort is similar, but the result could be better.

    If the time is limited (and it always does), you have you choose what functionalities to test first and which test to perform first .

    Even if it seems that all functionalities are equally important you always can put some priorities. I'll give you an example:

    - an error on an invoice is critical, an error on the confirmation message is major and an error in the help menu you could consider as minor.

    Also, when you choose to perform boundary and negative tests, if you have no time to perform all the tests, choose first the most common mistakes ( for example for a field for age, considering the negative testing I'd test first the "null", one digit, character, and three digit age)

    Anyway, I would never choose to do only positive tests. Most bugs are find in negative testing, from my experience. These kind of test are not something common among developers, as far as I observed, so you must take more care.



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    If you need a reason to be happy - FIND IT, don't wait it !
    Don't worry, be Happy!

  5. #5
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    Re: Prioritisation of Tests

    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Rachel S:
    What is the best way of prioritising tests?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Sounds to me you could be helped by a risk analysis that you can use to priortise your test work.



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    Roland
    Roland Stens

  6. #6
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    Re: Prioritisation of Tests

    Well, the sort of testing we have to do is primarily on letters - the system we test produces them from data entered on screen, and the whole purpose of the computer system is to produce the letters...

    The way I would prioritise the tests is:

    1. Can the letter be produced?
    2. Does the format of the letter conform to the design (including whether the address will appear in the window of the envelope to be used)?
    3. Does the screen allow me to correctly enter valid data which is to appear on the letter?
    4. Does the data entered on screen and picked up from the database appear correctly on the letter?
    5. Does the screen correctly trap invalid data entry, including null values in mandatory fields etc (negative testing)

    However, I have noticed that because of the conflicting advice we have been given, a lot of the testers get hung up on checking field validation, and backwards navigation through the fields, before they check if the letter can actually be printed.

    I think that one of the reasons for this is because we use automated testing a lot - and automated test tools are very good at testing field validation, but not so good at reminding the tester to pick the print-outs up from the printer and go through them with a highlighter, comparing the printout to the automated test log!

    (Plus, that part of the job is pretty boring...)

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