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How do you know when to stop testing?

How do you know when to stop testing?  The answer isn’t exactly simple.  Every situation, every company, and every product is different.  The best answer to that question is a generalized one, since each company or organization have their own subjective criteria, assuming they have any criteria at all.

Is it ready for prod because you ran all of the tests and they all passed?  Possibly, but that assumes the tests addressed all of the possible risks and covered all features and scenarios. Not a very likely possibility.

In every testing situation there’s a fine balance between time, quality, and budget.  One possible approach is to have the lead tester or QA manager make a determination about the status of the software. This approach presumes that this person has an understanding of all risks and considerations, the skills of testers, knowledge of test cases run, and the defects found, fixed, or not fixed.

The QA Manager would then relay that information to various stakeholders and the final decision may be a group one.   Release criteria may involve things that the QA Manager isn’t aware of.  Such as sales goals, market considerations, legal requirements, end-user expectations, budgets, other project releases, or more.

Allowing a group of people to make the “go or no go” decision based on their respective knowledge of all company issues is probably the best way to go.  But the most vital component of that group decision is undoubtedly the tester’s knowledge of how thoroughly the application has been tested, and the software risks associated with a release. If you’re not the lead tester or QA Manager, remember that they’re relying on you to help keep them informed when it comes to deciding if it really is ready for production.


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