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Certification Testing A Procedure to Improve the Quality of Software Testing Disclosure Number: IPCOM000131431D
Original Publication Date: 1979-Aug-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Nov-11
Document File: 6 page(s) / 27K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

Alfred R. Sorkowitz: AUTHOR [+3]


Department of Housing and Urban Development

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Certification Testing A Procedure to Improve the Quality of Software Testing

Alfred R. Sorkowitz

Department of Housing and Urban Development

  (Image Omitted: Here is a presently operational plan to improve the quality of program testing After all programs are tested alone, an independent quality control staff uses automated tools to certify that minimum testing criteria have been met.)

Several past studies have shown that the various testing phases can account for up to 50 percent of the total resources spent for the development of a software system.l2 The testing phase can be broken down as follows:

(1 ) Program testing or unit testing is the process of determining that the individual programs, by themselves and in isolation from other programs, meet the program specifications.

(2) Integration testing is the verification of the interfaces among the system parts.

(3) System testing refers to the process of verifying that the system functions as a whole according to specifications and meets user requirements. Simulated as well as live data are used in this phase.

(4) Acceptance testing is the validation of the system using live data in a user environment.

In spite of the large investment in resources, little systematic attention has been paid to this portion of the development life cycle. As an example, very little is known about the economics of testing. How much testing is enough? The general consensus is that there are limits to the value of testing. Much has been written linking testing and reliability -- i.e., as testing increases, reliability increases. However, on further consideration, it becomes apparent that reliability cannot be tested into a program. The role of testing is to locate errors in what is hoped to be a well-designed system.

We need more information about the cost-effectiveness of the four phases of testing described previously. Critical management questions always involve where to apply additional resources in order to achieve the maximum benefit.

What we do know is that the cost of correcting an error increases with time (Figure 1.)3 A second relationship also follows the same general curve. The probability of fixing a known error incorrectly increases as the developmental life cycle reaches its later stages.

The relationship between errors and the stage in the development cycle in which they are found bears directly upon testing. For example, an error not detected in program testing will take longer to isolate in system testing. The reason for this is apparent: Program testing usually deal...