Fundamentals of Testing – Testing principles
Principal 1: Testing shows presence of defects
Testing can show that defects are present, but cannot prove that there are no defects. Testing reduces the probability of undiscovered defects remaining in the software but, even if no defects are found, it is not a proof that the application is defect free
Principal 2: Exhaustive testing is impossible
Testing everything (all combinations of inputs and preconditions) is not feasible except for trivial cases. Instead of exhaustive testing, we use risks and priorities to focus testing efforts.
Principal 3: Early testing
Testing activities should start as early as possible in the software or system development life cycle and should be focused on defined objectives. Static testings like review of requirement, design etc should be part of the process.
Principal 4: Defect clustering
A small number of modules contain most of the defects discovered during pre-release testing or show the most operational failures.
Principal 5: Pesticide paradox
If the same tests are repeated over and over again, eventually the same set of test cases will no longer find any new bugs. To overcome this ‘pesticide paradox’, the test cases need to be regularly reviewed and revised, and new and different tests need to be written to exercise different parts of the software or system to potentially find more defects.
Principal 6: Testing is context dependent
Testing is done differently in different contexts. For example, safety-critical software is tested differently from an e-commerce site.
Principal 7: Absence of errors fallacy
Finding and fixing defects does not help if the system built is unusable and does not fulfill the users’ needs and expectations.