Using Risk to Guide Testing

Tutorial C     Start Time : 09:00     End Time : 17:30

* Please note this tutorial is now fully booked *

Talk Abstract:

It seems obvious that the way to make testing more efficient is to focus where the risk is: don’t test places where there aren’t any bugs worth finding. But if you haven’t already found all the bugs, how do you know where they are going to be? It’s a chicken-and-egg problem. And how do you know when to stop testing? How much is enough?

This workshop sorts it out. We can use various methods outside of performing tests to learn where some of the risk is, and we can use testing itself to learn about other aspects of risk. Over time risk comes into focus. This is not a process of calculation, but rather learning, exploring, and conversations that build a shared idea about what matters and what doesn’t matter so much. It’s a process that can be made systematic through the use of guideword heuristics, technical insight, and building up evidence about “risk drivers” that indicate trouble in your product.

It is recommended to bring a computer or tablet and a (paper) notebook to this tutorial

Key Takeaways:

  1. Risk is about learning, not about calculation.
  2. Risk can be modeled more deeply and more effectively than most testing folklore suggests.
  3. Testers can learn, practice, and develop analysis skills — and greatly improve them — when they decide to do it.

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  • Speaker


    Michael Bolton - Consulting Software Tester, DevelopSense, Canada

    Michael Bolton is a consulting software tester and testing teacher, who helps people to solve testing problems that they didn’t realize they could solve. In 2006, he became co-author (with James Bach) of Rapid Software Testing (RST). RST is a methodology and mindset for testing software expertly and credibility in uncertain conditions, and under extreme time pressure. Since then, he has flown over a million miles to teach RST in 35 countries on six continents.

    Michael has 25 years of experience testing, developing, managing, and writing about software. For the last 18 years, he has led DevelopSense, a Toronto-based testing and development consultancy. Prior to that, he was with Quarterdeck Corporation for eight years, where he managed the company’s flagship products and directed project and testing teams both in-house and around the world.

    Contact Michael at [email protected], on Twitter @michaelbolton, or through his Web site,

    View this year’s programme here.