How Important Is Risk-based Testing In Agile & Software Testing?


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What is risk-based testing?

Risk is the unwanted or unexpected result of the events that could be positive or negative. Risk-based testing is a kind of software testing. It serves as an important principle. It is used to prioritize sorting and examining the characteristics and purpose of the software so that it makes sure that there are no errors in the existing software. It also corroborates the risk of failure in the present and the future which is necessary for the development of software. Risk-based testing is based on the chances of failure. It also designs and executes various test cases for the better functioning of the software. It evaluates the risks based on factors like business demand, use demand, etc.

Risk-based testing approach

As mentioned above, risk-based testing assesses those features or characteristics that are likely to create risks and failures in the future or in the present. This form of testing involves risk-prone areas or the critical areas of the software that may become the cause of the failure of the software. Below few characteristics are mentioned that explain how the risk-based testing approach takes place and what factors it considers:

  1. The previous and similar topic, documents and requirements are analyzed first.  
  2. In order to eliminate the bugs or errors, the documents are thoroughly read and analyzed.
  3. The requirements for the project and the ongoing construction of software are rigorously checked so that no changes are made in the requirements list later. Change in the requirements later causes a huge impact on the ongoing build of the software. This itself is a technique to reduce risks.
  4. After the requirements for the project and the software has been decided, the cost, availability and performance of each requirement are assessed. This helps in sorting the risks that the requirements can impose on the software.
  5. A risk-assessment matrix is used so that the expectant failures and risk-prone areas can be determined.
  6. If the risks have been identified, they are marked on a risk register or risk document. One of the best ways to ensure that there is not a major loss because of risks is done by rigorously tracking the risks and risk prone areas. 
  7. The capacity of risk and the damage that it can cause is then analyzed and understood.
  8. The requirements that are of utmost importance are prioritised and are worked upon. Then a risk-based testing plan and approach is made.
  9. The risks which possess the least threat can be considered by a watch on them whereas the risks that possess higher threats or the risks which are more critical are handled during planning, processing and progressing.
  10. The quality of data is analyzed to assess the risk hovering through the data.
  11. The tests and the plans to be performed on the software or the project are decided first. What sorts of tests are to be performed on what stages are also decided. Some of the test cases are also prepared to test the software. 
  12. Test data, test conditions and test cases are prepared beforehand.
  13. Any documents or the reports prepared by the testing team are reviewed. One of the major steps that help in risk identification and bug solving is the review of colleagues. 
  14. As the tests are being performed, a track is made on the results given out by the software.
  15. Risk-based testing can be done on any step or every step of the testing so as to get rid of the bugs and to keep the risks at bay. It is important to make sure that the software performs those applications that it claims to perform.
  16. So measures are taken to ensure that the software functionality is to the point. 
  17. As the testing continues at different levels. The risk register or the risk register document in the system is updated. Other factors like risk control or risk management are also updated as per the testing is performed. 

Risk-based testing in agile

Risk-based testing in agile carries out the following tasks so that it executes the reason as to why it is performed in the first case. These tasks are:

  • As the name suggests, risk-based testing is related to the reduction or the control of risks. But it also carries out a function where it does not solely focus on identifying the risks or errors but also pays attention to providing an excellent experience to the customers. 
  • If the risks are not monitored, tracked or taken care of in the initial stage, they pose a great danger to the project and the software. So it's important that risks are identified, monitored, and controlled in the initial stage itself. This way it does not create threats to the project.
  • Sometimes, if the risks are not managed, they just destroy the whole software. In order to prevent that from happening, this testing executes some high testing efforts at the greater risks areas in the agile so that no suffering is endured.
  • The testing is done through the test cases. So high value test cases are designed before itself so that testing is performed on different scenarios.
  • The gathering of the entire team is done so that the requirements for the software to be built is decided and analyzed upon. This phase is called the requirements analysis phase. Since the analysis is done, the requirements that possess the greater risks are also analysed.

Risk-based testing in software

Risk-based testing in software testing carries out a 6 steps process that makes the software secure from errors and its risks. These 6 steps are explained below:

  1. Risk-identification: Risk-based testing approach identifies the risks that are potential enough to prevent the software from achieving its objectives or results. It carries out this process by documenting it.
  2. Risk-analysis: In this process, the risk-based testing identifies and analyses those events that may be threatening to the execution of the software.
  3. Risk-mitigation: In this step, the testing has some mitigation plan that has a process to control or manage or track the risks so that they possess minimal harm to the software.
  4. Test plans and policy: The testing also drafts a document or a report that gives a brief explanation of the test cases and the test activities that will be used in testing.
  5. Test execution: The risk-based testing also includes the test cases scenarios of the users and tries to minimize the risks so that it comes up to the expectations of the customers.
  6. Test results: This step includes the results of the testing performed and the outcomes of the different scenario test cases used.

Any software built includes errors, obstacles and risks. Risks can be good or bad. But imagine, the software was designed and it was worked on for months by solving the errors and investing loads of money on it, only for it to be rejected or failed because few risks were not taken care of or were ignored at the initial stage. All the hard work, strategies, and money goes into vain. So this is where the risk-based testing comes into the picture. It is essential to track down risks from the initial stage itself for the success of the project and the software. 

Also read: Outsourcing Software Development In India

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