Common System and Software Testing Pitfalls

Donald Firesmith, Software Engineering Institute

In spite of many great testing “how-to” books, people involved with system and software testing—testers, requirements engineers, system/software architects, system and software engineers, technical leaders, managers, and customers—continue to make many different types of testing-related mistakes. Think of these commonly-occurring human errors as a system of software testing pitfalls. And when projects fall into these pitfalls, testing is less effective at uncovering defects, people are less productive when testing, and project morale is damaged. Donald Firesmith has collected more than 150 of these testing anti-patterns, organized them into twenty categories, and documented each with name, description, potential applicability, characteristic symptoms, potential negative consequences, potential causes, recommendations for avoidance and mitigation, and related pitfalls. Donald introduces this repository of testing pitfalls, explains its many uses, and provides directions for accessing additional information including his associated “how-not-to test” book and website that documents pitfalls and identifies pitfall categories.

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