Saturday, July 7, 2007

The Time Trade-Off

I started prepping for the CAST conference next week by reading up on some test patterns that the AST group has produced in the past. I was reading some great stuff this weekend by Cem Kaner on Scenario Testing, when I came across a fantastic quote:

"The fundamental challenge of all software testing is the time tradeoff. There is never enough time to do all of the testing, test planning, test documentation, test result reporting, and other test-related work that you rationally want to do. Any minute you spend on one task is a minute that cannot be spent on the other tasks. Once a program has become reasonably stable, you have the potential to put it through complex, challenging tests. It can take a lot of time to learn enough about the customers, the environment, the risks, the subject matter of the program, etc. in order to write truly challenging and informative tests."

It's so true, it's painful. Deciding on what to test is becoming increasingly important in my own work, as the amount of work stacks up, and the amount of time to test it decreases. It's an interesting balancing act.

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