It is difficult to identify the means through which a product might fail, define how significant the failures would be if they happened, and then create and execute tests to determine whether the product certainly fails in such ways. For software testers, it is always important to make the decisions about what to test, what not to test and what to do more or less of. This is the key element when you are providing software testing services. To accomplish this, testers always set the focus on those parts of the software where the risks is maximum because effective testing does not depend on the amount of time or resources that are available for QA process, but rather on choosing the right things to test.

By definition, risk is a “probability” or a “prediction” which may or may not happen, but when it happens, results in some definite loss.

According to Shari Lawrence Pfleeger, “A risk is an unwanted event that has negative consequences.”

Before we discuss more on software testing services and the risk based testing approach, let’s understand that testing itself is a “risk based exercise” where we have to analyze or identify the “risk” occurrence that leads to a minor or major loss. If we test software on the basis of risk, it makes our process easier and reduces the probability of risk. So before starting the testing of a software product, we should analyze these risks.

This basically involves prioritizing the QA testing effort and the specific features and functions to be tested, based on the identified risks.

While performing this, we can deliver a quality product within the limited amount of time and resources dedicated to the project. In this case, we recognize the requirements of the software from business and technical aspects; then these requirements are prioritized on the basis of risk.

The main focus here is on addressing the following two points for the requirements under test:

Likelihood of failure is the probability of risk’s occurrenceImpact of failure is the severity of risk’s impact

Risk based test is used to deliver a quality product so that customer would have the best experience with the product. There are a few strategies associated with this technique:

Priority indicator-Recognizing the most important/critical functionalitiesDefect indicator- Recognizing the areas where the probability of failure is highSeverity indicator- Recognizing the failure’s impact on a particular functionality

Risk based test planning is the method that determines how we proceed with our testing process. In risk based test planning, first, we identify the risks in software. In risk identification, we collect all the information related to the software and analyze the information to identify the risk. Since we now know which risks can be eliminated and which cannot, mitigation activities are planned to reduce the impact of these risks.

A risk based test approach requires QA testing experts who have good knowledge of the application and are experienced with the test environment. This is because test engineers create test cases and test scripts themselves for the test data. Inexperienced test engineers require training to become familiar with the approach.

If testers proceed with this, they can cover all drawbacks that are not covered in normal testing, such as poor software design and casual programming etc.

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