A better way to Test – 2
The second item to determine is the Risk. We always guess that, if you gather three people from the project together and ask them what the risk is, you will end up with 4 answers: Three from the people at the meeting and the right one that no-one mentions. Levity aside, we do need to figure out the real Risk and it is not always obvious.
Some questions you can ask (and elicit the three answers as a result):
- What is the worst thing that could happen?
- Who can be hurt the most if something goes wrong?
- What is going to cost the most if it goes wrong?
Regardless of the answer or answers to the above questions, Quality Control is aimed at Risk Reduction. Everything we do needs to be aimed at reducing the risk in the project. Doing that can mean a lot of things that are far beyond traditional testing. We might want to ask what could be done now (before the end of the project) to reduce the risk. We might want to go outside the standard boundaries of the SDLC to consider solutions. This comes back to the need for early involvement. When the project is too far along, it is difficult to suggest radical solutions that might be beneficial. People are too set in their ways and the project is careening to an end that no one likes.
This is why people who advocate a standard methodology or approach to testing for every project are locked into something that may not work. The same solution does not always work twice!