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Who tested my software? Testing as an organizationally cross-cutting Activity

Mäntylä, Mika LU ; Itkonen, Juha and Iivonen, Joonas (2012) In Software Quality Journal
Abstract (Swedish)
Abstract in Undetermined

There is a recognized disconnect between testing research and industry practice, and more studies are needed on understanding how testing is conducted in real-world circumstances instead of demonstrating the superiority of specific methods. Recent literature indicates that testing is a cross-cutting activity that involves various organizational roles rather than the sole involvement of specialized testers. This research empirically investigates how testing involves employees in varying organizational roles in software product companies. We studied the organization and values of testing using an exploratory case study methodology through interviews, defect database analysis, workshops, analyses of... (More)
Abstract in Undetermined

There is a recognized disconnect between testing research and industry practice, and more studies are needed on understanding how testing is conducted in real-world circumstances instead of demonstrating the superiority of specific methods. Recent literature indicates that testing is a cross-cutting activity that involves various organizational roles rather than the sole involvement of specialized testers. This research empirically investigates how testing involves employees in varying organizational roles in software product companies. We studied the organization and values of testing using an exploratory case study methodology through interviews, defect database analysis, workshops, analyses of documentation, and informal communications at three software product companies. We analyzed which employee groups test software in the case companies, and how many defects they find. Two companies organized testing as a team effort, and one company had a specialized testing group because of its different development model. We found evidence that testing was not an action conducted only by testing specialists. Testing by individuals with customer contact and domain expertise was an important validation method. We discovered that defects found by developers had the highest fix rates while those revealed by specialized testers had the lowest. The defect importance was susceptible to organizational competition of resources (i.e., overvaluing defects of reporter’s own products or projects). We conclude that it is important to understand the diversity of individuals participating in software testing and the relevance of validation from the end users’ viewpoint. Future research is required to evaluate testing approaches for diverse organizational roles. Finally, to improve defect information, we suggest increasing automation in defect data collection. (Less)
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organization
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Contribution to journal
publication status
in press
subject
in
Software Quality Journal
publisher
Springer
external identifiers
  • Scopus:84855358438
ISSN
0963-9314
DOI
10.1007/s11219-011-9157-4
language
English
LU publication?
no
id
95c5e42f-09b6-4baf-9e1a-daf96e316c32 (old id 2225616)
date added to LUP
2011-12-15 14:53:08
date last changed
2017-02-05 04:38:40
@article{95c5e42f-09b6-4baf-9e1a-daf96e316c32,
  abstract     = {<b>Abstract in Undetermined</b><br/><br>
There is a recognized disconnect between testing research and industry practice, and more studies are needed on understanding how testing is conducted in real-world circumstances instead of demonstrating the superiority of specific methods. Recent literature indicates that testing is a cross-cutting activity that involves various organizational roles rather than the sole involvement of specialized testers. This research empirically investigates how testing involves employees in varying organizational roles in software product companies. We studied the organization and values of testing using an exploratory case study methodology through interviews, defect database analysis, workshops, analyses of documentation, and informal communications at three software product companies. We analyzed which employee groups test software in the case companies, and how many defects they find. Two companies organized testing as a team effort, and one company had a specialized testing group because of its different development model. We found evidence that testing was not an action conducted only by testing specialists. Testing by individuals with customer contact and domain expertise was an important validation method. We discovered that defects found by developers had the highest fix rates while those revealed by specialized testers had the lowest. The defect importance was susceptible to organizational competition of resources (i.e., overvaluing defects of reporter’s own products or projects). We conclude that it is important to understand the diversity of individuals participating in software testing and the relevance of validation from the end users’ viewpoint. Future research is required to evaluate testing approaches for diverse organizational roles. Finally, to improve defect information, we suggest increasing automation in defect data collection.},
  author       = {Mäntylä, Mika and Itkonen, Juha and Iivonen, Joonas},
  issn         = {0963-9314},
  language     = {eng},
  publisher    = {Springer},
  series       = {Software Quality Journal},
  title        = {Who tested my software? Testing as an organizationally cross-cutting Activity},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11219-011-9157-4},
  year         = {2012},
}