The Out-of-Scope of Testing

The Out-of-Scope of Testing has only one definition (unlike the Scope of Testing) but it is much harder to document. We want to list everything we are not planning to test! However, the inevitable question is how far to go with our list. Obviously we are not going to list everything we are not going to test and we cannot simply say that everything that is not in-scope is out-of-scope (tempting as that may be).

The (not entirely rhetorical) questions you will get asked include the following:

  1. Are you planning to omit that from your testing? (should be included)
  2. What made you think that isn’t part of this project? (should also be included)
  3. There is too much risk to avoid testing that.

The danger with listing out-of-scope items is that they remind people of other items and they then start to think about the risk of avoiding testing that item. You start to get scope creep on your testing and since it is not part of the plan you start to get schedule slippage and cost escalation. Very few people will tell you to test less – it is too risky to state that.

Whatever your policy; the following will guide the creation of the out-of-scope list:

  1. What can we avoid testing?
  2. What will simply not be able to be completed within budget and resource constraints?
  3. What is the best use of the resources?

Make sure to document the out-of-scope up front and get it signed off. That will reduce the problems later on and create a much more harmonious working relationship.

One of the best methods is to build a System Boundary Diagram and let that drive the Scope of testing. Not only does it clarify the thoughts of everyone in the project, it is very effective way of conveying the scope and out-of-scope pieces of the project.

In general we try to test the interfaces of the System Boundary diagram but avoid full testing of the items outside the System Boundary Diagram. Those are out-of-scope.

Discussion Questions

  1. Do you define your Out-of-Scope of Testing?
  2. Has it been disputed?
  3. What would you have done differently based on what you know now?

Next Week: Training

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