Value-Driven System Level Test Case Prioritization

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Title: Value-Driven System Level Test Case Prioritization
Author: Srikanth, Hema Lakshman
Advisors: Laurie Williams, Committee Chair
Abstract: Software testing is an expensive process often consuming at least 50% of the total development cost. Among the types of testing, system testing is the most expensive and complex as it involves configuring multiple complete integrated systems to closely emulate customer needs. System testing involves validating system compliance with its specified requirements. Companies are frequently faced with budgetary constraints, which may limit their ability to effectively complete testing efforts before delivering a software product. The Prioritization of Requirements for Test (PORT), a system-level approach to test case prioritization, builds upon prior test case prioritization research. PORT prioritizes system test cases based on four factors for each requirement: requirements volatility, customer priority, implementation complexity, and fault proneness. Test cases for requirements with higher priority based upon a weighted average of these four factors are executed earlier in the system test. A feasibility study was conducted on four similar student projects at graduate software testing class at North Carolina State University. Also, three post-hoc industrial case studies of PORT were conducted with Tekelec and I-Cubed. The results indicate that PORT can be used to improve the rate of failure detection when compared with a random and operational profile-driven random approach. Furthermore, the contribution of the prioritization factors towards the improved rate of failure detection was investigated and the results show that customer priority was the most significant contributor, followed by implementation complexity and fault proneness. The results indicate that PORT can be used to improve test efficiency. Tool support is provided for the PORT scheme via the Requirements-Based Testing (ReBaTe) tool. ReBate provides a ranking of tests and also allows for end-to-end traceability between requirements, test cases, and defects.
Date: 2006-04-17
Degree: PhD
Discipline: Computer Science

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