TestingBestPractice - Copyright IBM Research - Technical...

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Software Testing Best Practices Ram Chillarege Center for Software Engineering IBM Research Abstract: This report lists 28 best practices that contribute to improved software testing. They are not necessarily related to software test tools. Some may have associated tools but they are fundamentally practice. The collections represent practices that several experienced software organizations have gained from and and recognize as key. 1. Introduction Every time we conclude a study or task force on the subject of software development process I have found one recommendation that comes out loud and clear. "We need to adopt the best practices in the industry." While it appears as an obvious conclusion, the most glaring lack of it's presence continues to astound the study team. So clear is its presence that it distinguishes the winners from the also-ran like no other factor. The search for best practices is constant. Some are known and well recognized, others debated, and several hidden. Sometimes a practices that is obvious to the observer may be transparent to the practitioner who chants "that's just the way we do things." At other times what's known in one community is never heard of in another. The list in this article is focused on Software Testing. While every attempt is made to focus it to testing, we know, that testing does not stand alone. It is intimately dependent on the development activity and therefore draws heavily on the development practices. But finally, testing is a separate process activity -- the final arbiter of validity before the user assesses its merit. The collection of practices have come frohm many sources -- at this point indelibly blended with its long history. Some of them were identified merely through a recognition of what is in the literatures; others through focus groups where practitioners identified what they valued. The list has been sifted and shared with increasing number of practitioners to gain their insight. And finally they were culled down to a reasonable number. A long list is hard to conceptualize, less translate to implementation. To be actionable, we need to think in terms of steps -- a few at a time, and avenues to tailor the choice to our own independent needs. I like to think of them as Basic, Foundational, and Incremental. Copyright IBM Research - Technical Report RC 21457 Log 96856 4/26/99 1
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The Basics are exactly that. They are the training wheels you need to get started and when you take them off, it is evident that you know how to ride. But remember, that you take them off does not mean you forget how to ride. This is an important difference which all too often is forgotten in software. "Yeah, we used to write functional specification but we don't do that anymore" means you forget to ride, not that you didn't need to do that step anymore. The Basic practices have been around for a long time. Their value contribution is widely recognized and documented in our software engineering literature. Their applicability is broad, regardless of
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This note was uploaded on 08/25/2011 for the course EEL 5881 taught by Professor Staff during the Spring '09 term at University of Florida.

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TestingBestPractice - Copyright IBM Research - Technical...

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