F11-1001: Using Failure Analysis to Power Up your Tests

Track: Test Strategy and Design

Failures are not only opportunities to fix problems, but also can be used to improve our development methods and testing approaches. Defects and anomalies are wonderfully rich places to do data mining and feed our test generation efforts. We can’t hope to find all the bugs, but we can look for gaps in our methods and thinking processes and insert some new types of tests in the hopes of widening the net.

Performing more in-depth analysis on reported bugs is a great place to start. Schemes for revealing patterns and root causes can help us eliminate more than a single instance of a bug. On the other hand, many anomalies never get resolved because the behavior can’t be reproduced. Performing FMEA or using cause/effect graphing can help us get to the sources of these issues. Lastly, there are many attack methods that are based on generic software failure modes and can often be enhanced with fault injection tools. Where could you dig for new test ideas?

  • Learn to mine new test ideas from defects and other undesirable software behavior
  • Find ways to overcome the “cannot reproduce” barrier
  • Extract patterns from the root-cause of defects instead of one-hit regression tests

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Session Speaker:

Dawn HaynesDawn Haynes – Senior Trainer and Consultant, PerfTestPlus, Inc.
Dawn Haynes is a highly regarded trainer of software testers. She blends experience and humor to provide testers of all levels with tools and techniques to help them generate new approaches to common and complex software testing problems. In addition to training, Dawn is particularly passionate about improving the state of performance testing across the industry. She has more than 20 years of experience supporting, administering, developing and testing software and hardware systems, from small business operations to large corporate enterprises. Dawn holds a BSBA in MIS with a minor in programming from Northeastern University.