Title: Risks in software development with imperfect testing

Authors: Tapan P. Bagchi

Addresses: Vinod Gupta School of Management and Industrial Management and Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, Kharagpur 721302, India

Abstract: This study analytically assesses the risk of releasing defective software that cannot be exhaustively tested and of needlessly testing defect-free software. Specifically, it quantifies the probability of committing a Type II error (ß) in software development when one may release software that still is faulty while the test methods themselves may not be perfect. The study uses truncated Poisson and geometric distributed path lengths and Bernoulli-type inspection errors to link ß to software design features, the development philosophies employed and certain aspects that include code quality, cyclomatic complexity and the average length of basis paths. For risk reduction, this study finds quantitative justification for raising test coverage, perfecting the test methods, the adoption of recent innovations and programming methods such as component-based design, SOA and XP as ways to raise the likelihood that the product developed will be fault-free. Results are relatively robust with respect to the probability distributions assumed.

Keywords: software engineering; software testing; defect modelling; Type I errors; Type II errors; imperfect inspection; imperfect testing; defective software; software development; software design.

DOI: 10.1504/IJAOM.2009.026522

International Journal of Advanced Operations Management, 2009 Vol.1 No.1, pp.1 - 29

Published online: 18 Jun 2009 *

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