Methodology of Test Effort Estimation

Each enterprise frequently explores options to build a software application that will become hugely popular within a very short span of time. Along with optimizing aesthetics, performance and scalability of the software, the development strategy also need to concentrate on making the application flawless. Therefore, a consistent increase is noted in the number of companies opting for test-driven software development projects. However, a software testing plan must consider several key factors to identify all bugs, errors and flaws. A well constructed test plan is the core of software application testing - Do it well and your test is successful, do it wrong and it adversely impacts your business revenues.

In addition to the size, cost and schedule of the test, the plan also needs to determine resources and efforts required to achieve the objective. Also, the strategy has to identify the tools, techniques and methodologies of test method estimation according to the specific software development environment. Normally, test method estimation involves four steps. Along with the size of the development and required efforts in terms of man-hours, the estimation also includes determination of the testing schedule and estimated cost in currencies.

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Widely Used Methods to Estimate Test Effort

Functional Point Analysis: The ISO recognized method of test effort estimation is designed to measure the functional size of an application or information system by analyzing the functional user requirements of the project. The estimation also considers several factors including inputs, outputs and inquiries along with internal and external files. Despite being independent of the technology used to implement the application or system, the method is still purely dependent on the specification requirement document (SRD).

Test Point Analysis : This test effort estimation technique is used widely as part of black box or acceptance testing. It is also considered to be effective in function point analysis by considering a number of key factors like development size, strategy, interfacing, productivity, uniformity and complexity. Similar to functional point analysis, test point analysis can also be done without depending on the technology used to deploy the system. But this method is also relies hugely on the specification requirement document (SRD).

Work Breakdown Structure: As the name indicates, this test effort estimation technique breaks down the entire project into a number of small chunks or sub-tasks. The division also makes it easier to link each task with deliverables according to the requirement documents. Also, the management has to do estimation only for individual sub-tasks. However, the element of the work breakdown structure can be a service, product, data or any combination of these factors. Along with providing guidelines for schedule development and control, the method also offers a framework for detailed estimation and control of cost.

Wide Band Delphi: Like work breakdown structure, this consensus-based ach task or sub-task is allocated to team members and experts. So the team members and experts estimate the amount of time and effort required for the assigned task. After receiving estimates for individual tasks, the data are aggregated to determine the final estimate of the project. An enterprise has options to choose from different variants of Wide Band Delphi according to its specific needs.

Hybrid Test Effort Estimation Approach: Each test effort estimation method offers several advantages, but it also suffers from lacunas. So many enterprises are opting for hybrid estimation approaches to avail the benefits of multiple methods. The hybrid approach also makes it easier for organizations to customize the estimation. Based on your organization’s approach and historical data from other processes, the Wide Band Delphi or Work Breakdown Structure method can be customized to improve the estimation process.

As an enterprise has options to choose from a variety of conventional as well as modern test effort estimation techniques, it becomes essential for the management to evaluate the pros and cons of each methodology. Also, an organization can consider amalgamating different techniques to customize the test effort estimation according to the software development project. 

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Methodology of Test Effort Estimation Methodology of Test Effort Estimation Reviewed by Nishit Prakash on 22:47:00 Rating: 5

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