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What is Risk-based Testing?

Risk-based Testing is a type of testing process performed on software and applications, based on the probability of the occurrence of risk in the future. The testers identify the potential risks and analyse them to see their impact on the project functionally and finances.

There are times when you cannot perform a functional test for all the features of the software. The best way to tackle this issue is by identifying the features that are prone to most risks and create risk-based test cases for them.

The basic aim of performing such risk-based testing is to prevent huge negative impacts on the performance, quality and other technical aspects and costing of the software. The idea here is to predict the behaviour of the software or app and prevent it from failing due to the risks. Moreover, you can also learn from past experiences and account for such risks beforehand.

When should you implement Risk-based Testing?

  • You should use risk-based testing in projects that have constraints in any of the following – budget, time, or resources.
  • You can implement this in security testing while using cloud computing environments.
  • When there is a lack of technologies or lack of previous knowledge about the domain or even lack of experience in the industry, you should definitely invest in good-quality risk-based testing.
  • You can use it to detect vulnerabilities in SQL injection attacks.
  • You can use it to test risk incremental and iterative models that can come with each step.

What is the Risk Management Process?

Risk Identification

Identifying the obvious and potential risks is the first and the most important step in the whole process. For this, the testers usually take a plethora of routes like risk workshops, checklists, cause and effect diagrams, root cause analysis, interviewing, Delphi technique and so on, based on the project. With all the information, a spreadsheet called a Risk Register is created and has the list of identified risks, root causes and viable solutions to them. This spreadsheet helps when it comes to tracking the progress of the tests in future.

Another important step at this stage of the risk management process is that of creating a risk breakdown structure. Here, the categories of risk prone areas in the software are identified and broken down to the last point, so as to evaluate the performance of the risk-based tests down to the T. It also helps in identifying the time and resources required for each test beforehand, thus helping in the efficient scheduling of the overall plan.

Risk Analysis

Now that the risks have been identified, the experienced testers analyse each of them to see their potential to harm the project. The analysis is done based on both quantitative and qualitative attributes of the project.

One of the common methods to perform a robust qualitative analysis is by creating a Risk Matrix. Through this method, one can determine the probability and impact of the risk. All the risks are filtered and categorised based on the impact they can have on the functionality of the software.

Risk Response Planning

Here, the testers determine if the risks do actually need a response or not. While some risks may require a response during the planning phase, some may require it during the monitoring phase while some may not require a response at all.

The ideal way to go about this is by taking both these routes – risk mitigation and risk contingency. Risk mitigation is all about reducing the impact of the possible threats by either completely eliminating them or by reducing them to an acceptable level. Risk Contingency is all about having a backup plan, which prepares you for the worst-case scenario or when an unpredictable risk crops up. All the responses to the risks are planned based on these two ideas.

Risk Monitoring and Control

In this step, testers monitor and track the risks and the effectiveness of the responses. Here, the risk register is updated from time to time, existing risks are taken care of, new tests are identified and risk triggers are monitored. It basically involves risk audits, risk and trend analysis and risk assessments.

Thanks to all the information, the technical performance measurement can be carried out, after which, meetings are held for status updates and retrospection of the project.

With a full-proof plan, experienced testers can identify, solve and monitor all the possible risks involved in your software, so that you release a robust and efficient product in the market.

Merits of Risk-based Testing

  • All the important functions of the software are tested, thus improving the quality of the final product.
  • One can align the rest of the tests and strategies to be performed in accordance with the risks involved in the project and the adjustments made to negate them.
  • Identifying the risks in the right manner and solving them before the release will reduce residual errors that arise later on.
  • As a client, you get maximum satisfaction since you get regular updates on the project and risks involved in the project.
  • Since all the risks are identified early on in the project, the contingency plan can start then and there. This also improves the quality of the other test cases you choose.
  • One can prepare test cases even for the smallest of risks if they have the ability to impact your business or operations.
  • The number of overall tests can be reduced by identifying the risk-prone areas.

Demerits of Risk-based Testing

  • There are times when some risks are deemed to be of low potential and hence are side-lined, but this can backfire if the risk creeps up later in the project. This is a problem caused due to the lapses during the risk identification and analysis phase, which emphasises the importance of experienced and skilled testers performing the job.
  • Another disadvantage comes when there are no reliable objective criteria but only subjective criteria to base your tests. In such cases, you often end up not detecting the actual risks, hampering the overall quality and functionality of the product.

Risk-based testing is very important for projects where performing functional tests for each and every function is not a feasible option. To make the whole testing phase more reliable and cost-effective, you should opt for risk-based testing. For this, you should seek services from the experienced and skilled testers at TestUnity! Get in touch with us today.

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