Software Testing: Defining Failure

By on January 23, 2016

Failures in software testing can come from a variety of sources, and all of them will require extra time and effort to fix. Here is a look at what can be considered a true failure and some handy avoidance tips.

Software Testing: Defining Failure

Failures are not all equal: Not all defects lead to a failure. For example, if there are defects in dead code, they will most likely not come to the attention of testers. In addition, it’s not just defects that result in a failure. Environmental conditions such as a particularly strong magnetic field or a radiation burst might lead to the software not executing as it should.

Human error can also lead to failures. This could be due to the entry of wrong input values or even an output being misinterpreted. Of course, negative human intervention might lead to someone deliberately attempting to cause the system to fail. Employing independent, professional software testing services can be one way to ensure you truly know the cause of your failure.

Defining a failure: There is also a significant difference between an error, a defect and a failure. An error is generally caused in the programming and might be due to a miscalculation, confusion regarding the software functionality, or a similar human error. A defect is generally introduced during programming within the code. In contrast, a failure occurs when those defects are actually executed by a given tester within the testing process.

It’s also important to note that observed functionality behaviour differences might be observed during testing that are not necessarily due to a failure. It could be incorrect entry of test data, a lack of awareness of the full functionality, or a poor test environment. Likewise, defects can be introduced unwittingly within various parts of the specification by business analysts. These should be caught in the review process and should not result in a recorded failure as software execution hasn’t occurred. Using testers such as Bug Finders software testers can help you to confidently analyse whether your failures are true failures, failures introduced by third parties, or merely errors.

In summary, failures and defects can arise out of specification errors, system use errors, environmental conditions or intentional misuse, but utilising professional testing services can ensure you overcome these errors and successfully execute your software implementation.

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