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Negative publicity because product failure is prominent Risk level can be evaluated qualitatively or quantitatively. If the probability of a risk and its impact is calculated then these numbers can be multiplied to get a risk priority number which is quantitative.
However, usually risk level can be determined only qualitatively. So probability of a risk occurring can be called very low, low, medium, high or very high. But a percentage value for the probability cannot be calculated to any degree of precision. In the same way, impact of a risk can be very low, low, medium, high or very high but it cannot be depicted in financial numbers.
However, qualitative evaluation of risk levels should be taken to be below par as compared to quantitative methods. In fact, incorrect use of quantitative evaluations of the risk levels can result in misguiding the stakeholders regarding level to which the risks are actually understood and can be managed.
The stakeholders — project managers, architects, business analysts, programmers and testers — tend to have their own subjective view of the risk probability and its impact.
So they will have different and at times highly varied opinions about each risk.
The process of risk analysis must incorporate some method of reaching a consensus or at least an established risk level. This prior agreed level could be through management order or by calculating mathematical figures like mean, median and mode.
The risk level should also have a good enough distribution in the given range, so rate of risks can provide correct guidelines for deciding on sequence, priority or effort allocation for test cases. Else, risk levels will not be able to act as risk mitigation guideposts.
How to mitigate risks? The first step is analysis of quality risks i. All test plans are based on this analysis of quality risks. Test designing, test implementation and test execution is done to mitigate the risks as per the test plan.
The effort allocated to developing, implementing and then test execution is directly proportional to the risk level.
This implies that thorough techniques like pair wise testing are designed for higher level risks while not so detailed techniques like exploratory testing for limited time or equivalence partitioning are designed for lower level risks.
Development and execution priority of a test also depends upon risk level. Risk level should also influence these decisions: Should the project artifacts and tests documents be reviewed? What should be the experience level of the tester? How much retesting should be done?
How much regression testing should be done? While the project is continuing, some extra information may change the quality risks that the test team was working with or impact level of the risks.
Test team must always be alert to such information and tweak tests as and when required.
The adjustments like detecting fresh risks, re-evaluating risk levels, assessing efficacy of risk mitigation tasks completed, etc. For example, if risk detection and evaluation session was held on the basis of requirement specification in the requirements phase, it is advisable to re-asses the risks after design specification is complete.
Let us look at one more example. If number of defects in any part of the product is much higher than the anticipated amount of defects during testing, the testers can safely summarize that the probability of a defect occurring in this region is higher than anticipated.
So, the probability of risks must be revised upward for that part of the product. This would also raise the extent of testing to be done for this part of the product. Risks in product quality can be minimized even before execution of test cases begins.
For instance, if the issues concerning the requirements were detected during risk identification itself, the issues can be mitigated just after the process through reviews.
As this is done before subsequent phases in product development lifecycle, it will reduce the number of tests needed during subsequent quality risk testing process. How to manage lifecycle risk?
Ideally, managing risk is a continuous effort through the complete product development lifecycle. If available, documents pertaining to test policy or test strategy must explain the following: Process to be followed for managing tests for project as well as product risks Integration of risk management to all test levels Impact of risk management to associated test levels In an experienced organization, the project team is highly aware of risks and committed to managing risks at multiple levels, not only for testing.I did not expect so much love and such a response to the song.
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