Context Driven Testing in Practice

If you’re not aware of Context Driven Testing, it is here at: http://kaner.com/?p=49 .

Testing is empirical in a lot of ways. There are areas which are greatly impacted by experience and there are areas not. It’s less risky when we are aware that we’re unknown to something. Each testing project has its own unique context, thus it requires different testing focus strategy, different quality definition. Context driven testing is an approach that requires a bit more experience, as well as exploratory testing. 

All the followings actions need experience, so use your experience or BORROW others experience if you’re new to accomplish that. I usually take following steps periodically to understand a project and to build up my confidence on quality.  Yes, periodically, as the context is changing from time to time, thus the risk factors may vary a lot. 

  1. Understand the context, using whatever tool you like to organize it, ensure it lists the important context factors, such as stakeholders, project goal, quality criterial, people, resource, time, impact of the failure, defect management. 
  2. Context mapping to testing.  This step actually places a focus on testing, to deep further on the fact by challenging.
  3. Defining the general strategy. It usually involves how do we define the instance of testing pyramid, the target percentage of different testing approaches, including unit testing, functional testing, system testing , exploratory testing and etc.
  4. Set the quality priority. This is from the entire system stakeholders view, not only from testing.  There are a few popular quality KPIs, including: functional, performance, cost, maintainability, supportability, extendability, security and etc. This impacts a lot on the testing execution as well as defect management.

Note that in the above activities all test activities are context-centered. That means if there is any context change, the corresponding assessment needs to be made and the impact shall be evaluated and the action shall be taken if needed. It’s important to understand context is not a constraint only factor!

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