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Economics of Software Testing

This section looks at some of the economic factors involved in Software Testing activities. Although some research has been done to put forward the ideas discussed, few organizations have yet to provide accurate figures to confirm these theories.
Major retailers and car manufacturers often issue product recall notices when they realize that there is a serious fault in one of their products. Perhaps you can think of other examples. The fixing of the so-called millennium but is probably one of the greatest product recall notices in history


Boehm's research suggests that cost of fixing faults increases dramatically as we move software product towards field use. If fault is detected at an early stage of design, it may be only design documentation that has to change resulting in perhaps just a few hours work. However, as project progresses and other components are built based on faulty design, more work is obviously needed to correct fault once it has been found. This is because design work,coding and testing will have to be repeated for components of system previously thought to have been completed.

If faults are found in documentation, then development based on that documentation may generate many related faults which multiply the effect of the original fault. Analysis of specifications during test preparation (early test design) often brings faults in specifications to light. This will also prevent faults from multiplying i.e. if removed earlier they will not propagate into other design documents.


Analysis of specifications during test preparation (early test design) often brings faults in specifications to light. This will also prevent faults from multiplying i.e. if removed earlier they will not propagate into other design documents. In summary we suggest that it is generally cost effective to use resources on testing throughout the project lifecycle starting as soon as possible. The alternative is to potentially incur much larger costs associated with the effort required to correct and re-test major faults. Remember that the amount of resources allocated to testing is a management decision based on an assessment of the associated risks. However, few organizations are able to accurately compare the relative costs of Software Testing and the costs associated with re-work.




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