5 Test Management

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5.1 Test Organization

5.1.1 Independent Testing

Testing tasks may be done by people in a specific testing role, or by people in another role (e.g.,customers). A certain degree of independence often makes the tester more effective at finding defects due to differences between the author’s and the tester’s cognitive biases (see section 1.5).

Degrees of independence in testing include the following (from low level of independence to high level):

  • No independent testers; the only form of testing available is developers testing their own code
  • Independent developers or testers within the development teams or the project team; this could be developers testing their colleagues’ products
  • Independent test team or group within the organization, reporting to project management or executive management
  • Independent testers from the business organization or user community, or with specializations in specific test types such as usability, security, performance, regulatory/compliance, or portability
  • Independent testers external to the organization, either working on-site (insourcing) or off-site(outsourcing)

Potential benefits of test independence include:

  • Independent testers are likely to recognize different kinds of failures compared to developers because of their different backgrounds, technical perspectives, and biases
  • An independent tester can verify, challenge, or disprove assumptions made by stakeholders during specification and implementation of the system

Potential drawbacks of test independence include:

  • Isolation from the development team, leading to a lack of collaboration, delays in providing feedback to the development team, or an adversarial relationship with the development team
  • Developers may lose a sense of responsibility for quality
  • Independent testers may be seen as a bottleneck or blamed for delays in release
  • Independent testers may lack some important information (e.g., about the test object)
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