What is risk-based testing? Why do you need to implement it?

Most businesses and companies have adjusted to the digital world and now offer website or application access to customers. In addition to what the user sees, there is a lot of hard work behind it. One example is risk-based testing, which ensures that the most critical and vulnerable parts of the application are functioning properly. If that sounds interesting, keep reading, as we are about to discuss risk-based testing and analysis.

What is risk-based testing?

Risk based testing (also known as RBT) is a type of software testing based on risk probability. It focuses on testing the application areas most likely to cause harm or have the most damaging impact if they fail. However, the risk can also be positive. Since there may be no time to analyze every potential risk, workers often focus on those that are more dangerous to the project.
Risk is the possibility of an unexpected event happening, which can have a positive or negative effect on the measurable success criteria of a project. These uncertain events can impact the project’s cost, technical, and quality targets. As mentioned, and contrary to popular belief, unexpected events can be positive or negative.

  • Positive risks refer to opportunities in business sustainability, such as developing new products, changing the process, or investing in a completely new project.
  • Negative risks, however, are threats to minimize or eliminate for project success.

What projects should implement risk-based testing?

Although any project should have the time and budget to do so, it’s not realistic. That is why there are some projects and applications where testing is more critical and significant:

  • Projects with constraints on time, resources, and budget (the iron triangle project management we discussed in previous posts).
  • Projects with SQL attack vulnerabilities.
  • Cloud computing environments.
  • New projects with risk factors like lack of technology experience or lack of business domain knowledge.
  • And more.

This testing should be implemented, especially when sensitive and personal information is at risk. Cybersecurity is extremely important these days, where everything is turning digital and all our personal and business data can easily be leaked.

The final goal of risk-based testing is to identify and prioritize the testing of functions, components and features most likely to fail. All of this is based on the likelihood of failure and the potential impact of said failure. Then, it’s crucial to design and execute tests to mitigate these possible risks that affect the application.

Risk-based analysis

Once the potential risks have been analyzed, the next step is to analyze them and filter them based on their significance, probability, and impact of the risk. Risk based analysis comprises five key steps:

  1. Risk Identification: Identifying and categorizing risks.
  2. Risk Analysis: The previous step allows the company and stakeholders to prioritize which risks are more significant to the project.
  3. Risk Response: This step involves formulating software tests and selecting the most appropriate techniques to demonstrate that the test activity meets the objectives and requirements.
  4. Test Scope: This is a review activity that requires stakeholders and technical staff to be present. Testing must be done in front of everyone with responsibilities involved in the project. They need to agree on the potential new project scope and budget.
  5. Test Process Definition: After all the previous steps are complete and the testing scope has been finalized, the company needs to compile in a standard format all the assumptions and dependencies for each stage of testing.

If this all sounds confusing and overwhelming at once, don’t worry. Test Pro offers Quality Assurance and software testing courses. After taking them, you will become familiar with the terms and will be able to QA test any type of software in front of you. But, of course, this takes dedication, lots of studying, and working on real projects to build a portfolio and land a job!

FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions

What is risk based testing?
Risk based testing (RBT) is software testing that focuses on testing the application areas that are most likely to cause harm or have the worst impact if they fail.
Can I become a software risk tester without previous education?
Yes, you can. Though you may need some background in computer science and basic programming languages, you can become a software tester with our online software testing bootcamps at Test Pro.
What projects should implement risk based testing?
Ideally, all of them. Thus, the most critical part of the project is protected from software failures. However, if you have to choose: projects with constraints in time, resources, and budget (the iron triangle); projects with vulnerabilities to SQL and cybersecurity attacks; and projects where employees lack experience with the technology or lack business domain knowledge.


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