Risk-based testing (RBT) has proven to be a useful tool and is highly acknowledged by stakeholders and tester as a critical software testing element. Let’s explore what risk based testing is and what challenges are associated with it.
What is Risk-Based Testing?
Risk-based testing is the process of identifying risks that may have a negative impact on businesses. It involves identifying risks so that they can be classified and categorized accordingly. The idea is to determine the higher risks so that they can be addressed in the first place.
Challenges Associated with Risk-Based Testing
Despite being a foundation of modern international testing, RBT has been rarely applied due to specific challenges that are associated with it. So, let’s discuss what the challenges associated with Risk-Based Testing are?
There is No Underlying Software Defect Physics
Risk-based testing relies on the idea that software items should not fail. There is no physics of software that indicates how it should behave. We assume that we know about software and defects. We can see software behavior that evades our assumptions and approaches.
All techniques and tricks that testers use may be helpful but are not guaranteed to be effective. Most of these risk assessment methods are based on the observed behavior of software given situations. There isn’t any universal law of software. So, the tester has to be careful while deducing results.
You Can’t Predict the Future.
RBT does not allow you to predict the future with full certainty. Things are outside your knowledge. Unexpected things do happen, which may alter the risk equation drastically. The problem is that most of the time, you don’t know how things are going to work.
The Provided Information is not Always Unique.
When the tester conducts a risk-based assessment based on the people’s information, there is a possibility that the provided information is skewed, misleading, or inaccurate. It’s not because the information providers lie; instead, they sometimes forget things or adopt the wrong method to gather information.
Applying Flawed Assessment Methods
The testers may be applying flawed assessment methods. The most common reasons for this are;
- Applying someone else’s method which won’t work in your context
- Devising a new, inaccurate and unproven method on your won without any investigation
- Misapplying a suitable method due to the lack of understanding
A significant reason for these problems is that we apply a lot of faith in the assessment methods without considering the limitations and risks of those methods.
Applying No Assessment Method
Sometimes the testers do not rely on any assessment method, and risk assessment is based on intuition. Proper conclusions cannot be drawn using this method because this is just a guess. But the problem is that you have nothing upon which you can base risk assumptions.
In the future, if you have to defend a risk-based decision where you did not apply any assessment method, you won’t be able to support your decision. This isn’t recommended because a lot of money, safety, and reputation are at stake.
Performing the Risk Assessment Only Once
Another problem is that risk assessment is mostly performed only once. This isn’t the right approach. The problem is that the risks change throughout the project. To achieve perfect results, the assessment should be performed regularly. The assessment should continue even after system development because the risks are always present and keep on changing. So, performing the risk assessment process only once is not enough as it won’t give good results.
Failing to Deduce Correct and Assessment Results or Delaying the Results
Deducing good results and that too, promptly, are as important as identifying the risk. The longer it takes to report risk, the less time is available to address it. Also, the risk may increase or decrease with time.
Resultantly, when risk assessments are reported with missing, ambiguous, and incorrect information, the conclusions drawn will be wrong as well.
Failing to Act on Deduced Results
Deducing the results is one thing while acting upon them is another. After concluding the results, you have to take proper actions as well. Risk assessment might have been a great learning experience for you, but you have to make necessary adjustments to improve things to prevent problems.
You might have assessed the risk accurately and promptly, but if you do not act upon the results, the results will be disastrous.