Risk Management – Understanding Necessary Quality Levels
As a Test Analyst, I'm always striving for that perfect bug free release. However, in an industry where traditionally test time is squeezed, it's not always possible to perform 100% coverage. More often than not, I have to call upon my risk management skills to make the best judgement call.
Remember - Software is embedded in the larger, more complex business world. Quality must be considered in that context.The relentless pursuit of quality can dramatically improve the technical characteristics of a software product, but is it really necessary?
In safety critical applications - medical instruments, railway-signaling applications, air-navigation systems - the need to provide a certain high level of quality is beyond debate. But in non safety critical applications, quality levels should be driven by financial risk.
Fewer defects do not always mean more profit! For example: an article rating widget on a web page, displaying an incorrect rating, is not going to provide much risk. Whereas a page not displaying an advertisement call most defiantly will! So if you're pushed for time, which one do you focus your efforts on? To me this is obvious. Test Analyst and Business Owners have to be sure which qualities and functions are important financially. Following this model allows Testers to focus on the areas that really matter!