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A Software Testing Primer by Nick Jenkins

By Nick Jenkins

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Specific – one report should be logged per defect and only one defect per report. Concise – each defect report should be simple and to-the-point. Defects should be reviewed and edited after being written to reduce unnecessary complexity. Reproducible – the single biggest reason for developers rejecting defects is because they can’t reproduce them. As a minimum, a defect report must contain enough information to allow anyone to easily reproduce the issue. Explicit – defect reports should state information clearly or they should refer to a specific source where the information can be found.

What the software actually does when the steps to reproduce are followed. g. g. “07/01/54”) are accepted and no error message is generated. Bad: Instead it accepts any kind of date. An assessment of the impact of the defect on the software-under-test. It is important to include something beyond the simple “severity” to allow readers to understand the context of the defect report. Good: An invalid date will cause the month-end “Account Closure” report to crash the mainframe and corrupt all affected customer records.

Metrics (theoretically) allow the performance of the development cycle as a whole to be measured. They inform business and process decisions and allow development teams to implement process improvements or tailor their development strategies. Metrics are notoriously contentious however. Providing single figures for complex processes like software development can over-simplify things. There may be entirely valid reasons for one software development having more defects than another. Finding a comparative measure is often difficult and focussing on a single metric without understanding the underlying complexity risks making ill informed interpretations.

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