exit criteria

A set of targets to be met by a test stage to plan when to stop testing.

The Event Axiom: Testing never goes as planned; evidence arrives in discrete quanta

Summary

Acknowledge the testing uncertainty principle, and manage stakeholder expectations. Agree a mechanism for managing and communicating events that have a bearing on the successful delivery of test evidence.

Consequence if ignored or violated

Stakeholders are surprised at the outcomes and progress of testing and blame the testers. Unplanned events stop testing, cause delays, upset plans and undermine the evidence produced.

Questions

  • How does the test approach accommodate unplanned events?
  • How do plans articulate the uncertainties and expectations of test execution?
  • How will changes to the test bases, system or environment be managed?
  • How will test failures be communicated, tracked and managed?
  • How will unplanned events having an adverse effect on testing be recorded, tracked, analysed and reported?

The Execution Sequencing Axiom: Run our most valuable tests first – we may not have time to run them later

Summary

Sequence tests to ensure the most valuable tests are run if execution time is limited or testing is stopped.

Consequence if ignored or violated

Stakeholders do not get the evidence they require to make decisions because the required tests have not been executed.

Questions

  • What criteria for selection and/or prioritisation will be applied to sequence the planned tests?
  • What criteria for selection and/or prioritisation will be applied to sequence unplanned or ad-hoc tests?
  • What are the constraints to sequencing tests?
  • How will dependencies between tests be minimised and managed?
  • Under what circumstances can tests run out of sequence?

The Confidence Axiom: The value of testing is measured by the confidence of stakeholder decision making

Summary

Testers must understand the relationship between test evidence and the decisions that stakeholders must make. Testing should focus on providing the evidence that stakeholders require to make decisions with confidence.

Consequence if ignored or violated

Stakeholders regard the evidence produced by testing as irrelevant, unreliable, incomplete and not aligned with their goals.

Questions

  • What evidence do stakeholders need to make decisions with confidence?
  • How will stakeholders use that evidence?
  • How are the goals of testing articulated in plans, specifications, meetings and other communications?
  • How will we ensure that evidence is delivered as early as practical to stakeholders?
  • How will we assure the accuracy and currency of the evidence produced?
  • What preferences for format, detail, frequency, precision, accuracy exist for the evidence produced?
  • How will the evidence be transmitted, acknowledged and reviewed by stakeholders?

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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