good-enough

The Never-Finished Axiom: Testing never finishes; it stops

Summary

Recognise that testing is usually time limited and may not complete. Manage the expectations of testers and stakeholders accordingly.

Consequence if ignored or violated

Testers are frustrated that testing is stopped early. Stakeholders lose confidence and are reluctant to make decisions based on incomplete evidence.

Questions

  • Are stakeholders aware that testing probably will not complete in planned timescales?
  • Do testers appreciate that all tests might not be run, that the acceptance decision may be made on incomplete evidence and that the accepted system could be imperfect?
  • Are testers prepared to inform, advise and facilitate the acceptance decision?
  • What role will the testers have in presenting test evidence and completion (or incompletion) status?
  • How will the testers support stakeholders in judging the relevance/significance of inconclusive evidence?

The Good-Enough Axiom: The scope of testing and acceptance are always compromises

Summary

Stakeholders and testers must jointly appreciate that there is no limit to testing and that the acceptance decision will always be made on incomplete evidence. In fact, acceptance may occur in spite of evidence, based on information known only to stakeholders.

Consequence if ignored or violated

Stakeholders are frustrated by poor system quality or late delivery because their expectations are unrealistic. Testers are frustrated because they cannot finish testing, the system is imperfect and stakeholders decide to accept regardless.

Questions

  • How much evidence from testing will be required to make the acceptance decision?
  • Who is authorised to make the acceptance decision?
  • What is the mechanism for assessing the value of evidence gathered during testing?
  • What coverage model(s) can be used to judge that enough evidence has been gathered?
  • What criteria will be used to judge that the system under test is acceptable or unacceptable?
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