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What is Risk Based Testing?

Chances are, if you have been in the testing community for any length of time, you have heard the concept of risk based testing.  The concept of risk based testing is not really new.  When I first started testing 15 years ago, we were applying the same principles as most risk based testers do today.  However, we did not call it risked based testing.

There are a few basic ideas you need to follow when looking at risked based testing.

  1. Identify the risks to the system and group them into categories.  For ease of use, I use high, medium, and low.
  2. Once you identify the risks you can create functional test cases that will help test those risks.
  3. Run those test cases starting with the highest risks first until you run out of time.

The concept is quite simple yet it helps to perform testing in a methodical approach.  You test until you run out of time.  This concept is very useful if you have a small group of testers or if you have a very short window to test.  If planned and used effectively, risk based testing is a valuable approach used when testing.