Detection Theory Applied to Finding and Fixing Defects

Ru Cindrea, Altom Consulting

Detection theory says: When trying to detect a certain event, a person can correctly report that it happened, miss it, report a false alarm, or correctly report that nothing happened. Under conditions of uncertainty, the decision to report an event is strongly influenced by how likely it is that the event could happen or what the consequences of the event might be. Using real life examples, Ru Cindrea shows how this theory can be applied not only to finding defects but also to fixing them. The decision to fix a defect is also made under conditions of uncertainty and, although testers are not the ones making such decisions, testers may influence how decisions are made. Ru discusses how we testers, in addition to finding the right balance between misses and false alarms when hunting for defects, must use our credibility to provide the right information to stakeholders making decisions about fixing defects.

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