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Risk-Based Testing in Agile

04/07/2015 by PraveenKumar Prem

Testing rarely can be exhaustive, given that we have time constraints. How, then, do we ensure quality?

One way is to focus on finding the highest-risk defects.

Creating a risk-based testing strategy is the first step in the right direction.

How can risk-based testing be used in Agile?

Risk-based testing is an approach in which the test efforts are directed toward the highest-risk areas. But Agile is all about being flexible when it comes to requirements and incremental approaches, so this makes one wonder, "How can a risk-based approach work in Agile environments? We would require a definitive requirements specification when finding the highest-risk areas."

Well, of course, Agile development does not mean that testing is ad hoc.

When each sprint is defined and tasks are assigned, testers can start creating a risk-based analysis by using the stories given for that iteration, identifying the high-risk stories that can be tested on that iteration, and prioritizing the user stories depending on their criticality to the business. This will ensure proper regression and integration testing for each sprint.

Highest-risk tasks must be placed in the earliest sprints.

Is risk-based testing more costly?

If the risk-based testing strategy is defined up front, we do not have to wait for the business user to determine the criticality of the problem. The team is prepared to write plans, factoring in the associated costs.

Can a risk-based approach be used for all types of testing?

Yes, why not? The risk-based approach can be the basis for any type of testing, be it functional, performance, or security testing.